Tag Archives: pearls

Cursed Jewelry!

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Zounds!  We once (daringly) took a look at the world’s most notoriously cursed diamonds.  As the creepiest month of the year is upon us yet again, it’s time to broaden our spooky horizons and investigate some more infamously bedeviled jewelry items.  Behold, the conclusive list of cursed gems, jinxed gold and other ghostly rocks.

The Delhi Purple Sapphire 

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Everything about this dastardly stone is shrouded in mystery and conflicting lore…including it’s name.  It isn’t really a sapphire, rather it’s a piece of super high grade amethyst masquerading as the violent violet/precious cerulean gem.  Legend has it that the allegedly sacred stone was one of the many pieces that were pilfered from the Temple of Indra in Cawnpore, India.  The ransacking of this holy place occurred during the Indian Mutiny (one of many) in 1857.  Much like all of the sacrosanct artifacts that Indiana Jones was seeking, this gem turned evil after it was removed from it’s temple – and became determined to exact revenge on all of the successive heathens who would ever come in contact with it.  The first person to feel the wrath of the Delhi Purple was Colonel W. Ferris, the very man who transported it to England.  Soon after completing the voyage, he lost his entire fortune.  Having hardly a quid to his name, he passed the vile stone down to his son.  And guess what?  This unfortunate heir went bankrupt shortly after as well.  After a family friend, who was holding the stone for a spell, just up and flung himself off a bridge, the Ferris clan knew they had to be rid of it.

The next person to be plagued by the gem was Edward Heron-Allen, a thriving scribe at the time who bought the nefarious stone on a whim.  After a series of unfortunate events, Heron-Allen made the oh-so-generous gesture of trying to give it away to several of his pals.  Each one of these chums would give the stone back to him (probably cursing Heron-Allen under their breath) after their luck turned to excrement.  One example: a singer who, after only possessing the stone for a short while, completely lost her voice and would never to able to utter a single note again.  ‘Not-So-Fast’ Eddie then took the accursed rock and heaved it into the gloomy Regent’s Canal and watched it sink to the murky depths, finally relived to be rid of it.  …Or so he thought.  Nay, a few months later a jeweler, who knew the memorable stone belonged to Heron-Allen, came upon the jewel and sought out its rightful owner.  He gave it to him with a smile (likely expecting a reward), only to watch Edward’s face turn ghost-white.

Heron-Allen would then get the bright idea to send it to the Natural History Museum of London.  He did not want it displayed, rather kept hidden away, until three years after his death (guess he thought harm could still come to him after he was dead for two years?)  The stone’s dark power seems to be subsiding somewhat, as people who have been charged with transporting it have not died or befallen horrible fates as of late, other than a couple of intense snowstorms and debilitating flus.  In a somewhat ironic turn, the last person to move the stone was bequeathed with a horrible stone of his own during its stewardship: a kidney stone.

The Lydian Hoard

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The nomenclature of this treasure collection just doesn’t conjure up pleasant thoughts, does it?  A conglomeration of golden pieces, ranging from wearable jewelry to pots, plates, pans and other forms of regal cutlery, this heavy load of loot once belonged to King Croesus.  He reigned over Lydia from 560 to 547 BC (Lydia is the western portion of modern day Turkey).  His epic rule came to an abrupt end when a Persian King, Cyrus the Great, dethroned him (certainly Croesus didn’t think he was all that great).  It is uncertain if the curse on this gold began right after Croesus was so unceremoniously check-mated, as its whereabouts were largely unknown for roughly the next 2,500 years.  In 1965, Villagers who were poking about in the ground of Güre (a small town in the Uşak section of Turkey) stumbled upon the tomb of an anonymous Lydian Princess.  After yanking it open, they were delighted to find a shimmering expanse of golden goodies.  They probably weren’t too delighted once an ensuing havoc and ubiquitous madness were unleashed.  There were 150 prized relics extracted from the tomb, and each and every person who took part in the purloining of the gold would fall victim to a terrible fate.  Disease, famine and death spread through the village like a rapacious and conscious wildfire.  Whether the malevolent forces contained in the gold were avenging the death of Croesus or the unidentified, entombed Princess is unsure, but one thing is for certain; don’t buy any discount golden dinner-wear while visiting Turkey.

Black Prince’s Ruby

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Yet again, another doom spreading gem with an incorrectly assigned title; it’s a spinel, not a ruby.  Weighing in at 170 carats, it’s hard to miss this precious stone (which is a good thing, because it wants to kill you).  Much like its deep red hue, the gem’s past is quite bloody in tone.  Its first appearance in the record books came thanks to Spanish King Pedro of Castile (known to his buddies as “Pedro the Cruel”), when he murdered the original guardian of the stone in 1367.  Severely needing the help of Edward, the Prince of Whales, Mr. Cruel gave the Brit the dazzling crimson stone as payment.  Edward was known as the Black Prince because he wore all-black-everything armor.  The stone’s curse was unleashed at this point, as ole Pedro would die at the hands of his own brother not long after (apparently a real dysfunctional Cain/Abel relationship there).  Nevertheless, Eddie the Black transported the gem to England and it became a part of the royal crown jewels.  It mysteriously survived the epic shakedown that Charles I’s empire underwent at the power hungry hands of Oliver Cromwell.  Charles the First would lose his crown, his whole head actually, yet the gem curiously lived on.  A man – coincidentally named Colonel James Blood – would attempt to snatch the stone from the London Tower, only to meet his own bloody fate…  (well, he supposedly survived, but barely.)

La Peregrina Pearl

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Pearls look so pure and innocent, don’t they?  One would never suspect that they could be responsible for the utter devastation of an entire royal family.  Well, that seemingly is the case with the La Peregrina Pearl.  Translated from Spanish to “The Pilgrim,” this massive creme colored orb has left a wake of shattered dreams and tainted memories in its past (much like many a pilgrim).  When Phillip II of Spain was set to marry the Queen of England, one Mary Tudor, in 1554, everything was going as smoothly as, ahem, a pearl.  In fact, the whole world seemed as if it were their oyster – that is, until Phillip gave the recently discovered pearl to his betrothed as a wedding present.  Phillip suddenly changed his newlywed mind about Mary (she now repulsed him), and he set sail for what was only supposed to be a 3 hour tour…  He was scarcely seen again by his once beloved, and she died a few years later.  Keeping the evil bulb in his possession, Phillip would marry two more unlucky dames, who would befall similarly horrific ends.  These women were both meant to be brides to Phillip’s heir, Carlos, but the poor boy was stricken with insurmountable mental and physical issues.  Phillip’s clan was known as the “Spanish Hapsburgs,” and by the time the 18th century had rolled around, they were completely wiped out by voracious maladies.  History attributes this to excessive inbreeding amongst said royalty (kissin’ cousins syndrome), but many believe the family’s downfall to have been spurred on by the poisonous pearl.  This prized artifact would eventually be given to Elizabeth Taylor as a wedding present, and we all know how her marriages ended… Perhaps, as the pearl was formed, in the mouth of a mollusk under the inky sea, some dismal energy became trapped inside; ensconced in numerous coats of invertebrate mucus.  We’ll never truly know for sure…but probably best to avoid purchasing any gigantic vintage pearls on eBay.

At the end of the day, all some people want is a beautiful gem to call their very own…just be careful what you wish for.

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-Joe Leone 

“How Much Jewelry Should I Own?”

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The question of how much jewelry a person should wear is hard enough, but what about how much jewelry you should own? Purging closets is a popular and freeing activity, but you may have never considered purging your jewelry collection. Getting rid of pieces you haven’t worn in ages can help you remove clutter not only from your dresser, but from your mind as well. Think of how much time (and possibly money!) you could save if you vow to keep your jewelry collection simple.

First and foremost, deciding on the amount of jewelry you should own is a personal choice based on the size of your storage area, your budget, and your style. If you’re reading this because you think you have too much jewelry and you want to pare back your collection by selling a few diamonds with us, or if you’re reading this because you would like to score some extra cash for your wares, then you’re on the right track.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-beauty-jewelry-items-colorsYour style of jewelry—and the amount you own—all depends on your desired daily look. People everywhere have used accessories to liven up outfits for thousands of years, and having the right collection can make your daily life easier and help you achieve the style you seek.

Once you’ve committed to stripping your collection of clutter, choosing which pieces constitute “clutter” can be a big challenge. Here are some gentle guidelines to help you choose how you want to outfit your jewelry wardrobe:

  • Earrings: While some minimalists advise against owning more than five pairs of earrings, other style experts focus more on which earrings you should have. The basic types of earrings are stud, hoops, and chandelier earrings. When you’re choosing which ones you want, consider paring your collection down to basic diamond studs and hoops. If you think diamonds and hoops offer an unnecessary amount of bling for your taste, consider selling your diamonds with us and trimming back to a pair of studs in every basic color: pearls, silver, and gold.

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  • Layering Necklaces: Whether you choose pearls or a chain, it’s a good idea to have 1920s style layering necklaces to wear on a night out. They are an easy way to add an element of romance to an outfit, especially if you mix and match pretty pearls with shiny metals or clear gemstones.

 

  • Pendant or Charm Necklace: A short collar-length necklace that holds your favorite pendant or charm is a great piece to wear every day. While it’s not showy, it is pretty and will add some dazzle to an otherwise plain outfit.

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  • Statement Necklace: If you’re a jewelry lover, you know all about statement necklaces. They’re lovely, decorative pieces that can turn a plain outfit into an exciting one. Some fashionistas recommend choosing a turquoise necklace every time, but no matter which color you choose, it is an easy way to take an outfit from work to dinner.
  • Cocktail Ring: Like a statement necklace, a cocktail ring is a pleasant and pretty reminder that wearing jewelry is supposed to be fun, not a difficult task. Hang on to that crazy-big cocktail ring you bought on a whim last year, or add a new one you’ve been thinking about to your collection. A cocktail ring is an easy way to add a splash of color to your outfit and to show off your personality and style.

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  • Chunky Watch: While this might seem like a strange choice to add to a must-have list, a chunky menswear-inspired watch is a great piece to add to your outfit if you want to make a statement. Plus, it’s practical.

When picking out the pieces that make the final cut, remember that jewelry exists to add to your style, not add to your stress levels. More isn’t always better, and a few key pieces can really go a long way.

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Comely Jewelry Terms

(starting with “C”)

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Here it is: Part III of our super informative and fun collection of fancy jewelry phrases.

Cabochon – (sounds like “Cabbage Shawn”) – stemming from the French word for “knob,” what this connotes is a gem that is ‘domed’ (not “doomed”), meaning the top is rounded and silky smooth.  Like a wondrously sleek egg, a cabochon formed stone holds unlimited potential, with nary a facet to hold it back.

Cairngorm – is a brownish citrine quartz that hails from the Cairngorm Mountains in the land of haggis and Ewan McGregor fans.  Found throughout history in typical Scottish jewelry, like kilt buckles, naturally.  You can take their land, but you can never take their Cairngorm.

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Calibré – yes, this is a highly popular font style, but it also refers to gemstones that are cut in a very deliberate way to fit into a particular mounting design.  For instance, if you wanted a Pikachu shaped engagement ring, you would need several calibré yellow diamonds to complete the elegant piece.

Cameo – in addition to being the type of appearance you make at less than desirable friends’ birthday parties, cameos are lovely and intricately carved works of art.  Dating back to the ancient times, before Instagram, cameos were used to depict scenes or selfies, by carving into gemstones or various other precious materials.  The technical term for jewelry with this type of design is “glyptograph,” but that just sounds like one of those excessively expensive calculators.

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Cannetille – What was the most desirable jewelry design style during 1827?  Well, cannetille. Obvi.  This is a highly sophisticated way of structuring settings, so that complicated and baroque patterns can be achieved (similar to filigreed).  Some such patterns include: curls, webs, snakes, floral shapes, seashell motifs, squiggly things and momma’s spaghetti and meatballs.

Carbuncle – no, this is not an avuncular person that loves ingesting carbohydrates.  This is a type of garnet, with a rich purple, red red wine color.  Highly sought after during the Victorian era, carbuncle themed jewelry goes best with mauve hued Gothic Princess Ball Gowns – so if you have one of those, march into a jewelry shop and demand to know “Dude, where’s my carbuncle?”

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Cartouche – is a fashion of framework that encircles a primary jewel.  Often features elaborate and labyrinthine patterns (like the cannetille style!) and glorious glyphs.  Tip: If someone tries to impress you with a beautifully byzantine piece of jewelry, simply retort “Car-touché.”

Cat’s Eye (aka “Chatoyancy”) – is one of the coolest jewel-based things known to humanity.  It’s the mystical effect that light has on certain gems, whereby it reflects out and produces a vertical slit that eerily resembles a feline’s contracted pupil.  In order for this to occur, the gem must be cut and polished “en cabochon.”  Hence, if you’re crazy cat-lady aunt loses one of her furry beloveds, a thoughtful present would be two rings that exhibit Chatoyancy – that she can stare at and pet.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-jewelry-cat's-eyeCave Pearls – these guys almost didn’t make the list, because they are hardly ever used in jewelry – but they are ultra fancy nonetheless.  The term refers to “pearls” that form in underground limestone caves.  Water flowing over them naturally polishes the stones to a lovely luster, but they are so porous that they could crumble upon a firm squeeze.  Would make a great center stone for an engagement ring being given to someone who is highly unstable.

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Champlevé – is as sultry as it sounds.  Translated from the French “raised field,” this is an enameling process where a surface area (metal, bone, Play-Doh) is dug or etched into to form a design, which is then covered in a nice, thick layer of enamel.  Then the material is often thinned out from the other side, so light can somewhat penetrate through, like a très fancy Lite Brite.

Chatham – is a super scientific method of creating synthetic gemstones utilizing a smoldering medley of mixed minerals and molten materials – and, it’s an exotic archipelago off the coast of New Zealand – AND, a super boring town in upstate New York.

Chenier – not as glamorous as it sounds, but definitely a very useful item in jewelry construction.  It refers to the ‘hollow tubing’ that is employed in hinges, such as the ones found in bracelets, watches, secret lockets and Gramma’s antique “snuff box.”  Like a bird’s brittle bones, chenier is essential for some jewelry to truly take flight.

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Chiaroscuro – finally, a non-French term!  This phrase, in the geological sense, refers to the reciprocity of light and dark areas in gemstones.  It is derived from the Italian word “chiaro,” which means “clear,” and “oscuro,” which means “dark” or “Momma Mia, you burn-a the pasta sauce!”

Chute – this is a pearl necklace where every one of the pearls featured is of the identical size (except the little baby ones near the clasp – which prompts people to exclaim “Isn’t that chute?” upon seeing them).

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Châtelaine – has very intriguing origins.  The 1600’s saw the first popular inception of a chatelaine – which means “Lady of the Castle” in, oui, you guessed it, French.  It was simply a hook that attached to one’s belt, which housed the entire key collection for said castle (making the Lady of the Castle look like a janitor).  Over time, it evolved into a jewelry piece that held several chains, each with a different adornment hanging from it.  Like a modern day, functional charm bracelet, you could attach all sorts of ostentatious/useful items, like combs, looking glassses, writing tools, watches, vials of arsenic for the lurking and lascivious, and other such fun trinkets.

Clawed Collet – no, no Collet.  This is a type of ring mounting, where the main jewel is bezel set amongst a vast array of prongs, that serve to hold the stone securely in place.  Like a cougar clutching a valuable stone (either an actual cougar or the euphemism-kind).

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Commesso – an elaborate form of cameo, where finely cut gems meld with enameled gold, producing a three-dimensional and dynamic jewelry piece (different from a regular cameo which is just cut from a solitary chunk of stone or other material…how droll).  When finished assembling such delicate and beatific pieces, jewelers often shout “Commesso and get it!”

Croix a la Jeanette – this is a lovely pendant which was at the height of fashion during the mid 1800’s.  It’s a heart with a little crucifix hanging from it, and was quite possibly named for Janet Jackson (Ms. Jackson…if you’re nasty).

-Joe Leone 

Beautiful Jewelry Terms

(starting with “B”)

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Bail – yes, this is indeed what you had to lay out for your incorrigible grandpa that time he got caught shoplifting at K-Mart, but it’s also a glorious jewelry-related homonym.  The bail is that little loop that gets fastened to the top of a gemstone or pendant or Olympic Gold Medal that enables it to hang (or “chill”) from a chain.

Bakelite – there won’t be a ton of plastic-based things on this list, but the once highly sought after Bakelite is definitely one of them.  While it sounds like it gets its name from being baked in an oven (with less calories than usual!), its nomenclature stems from its creator, Leo Bakeland (and yes, his name clearly sounds like a dough-based amusement park).  Bakelite was conceived by this fellow in 1909 and peaked in desirability during the not-so-roaring ’30’s (mostly for its affordability and highly durable nature), as it was used in a wide gamut of jewelry items.

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Bandeau – is a headband, but in French; hence it is fancy.  They first rose to popularity during the Middle Ages in Europe, where they were simply constructed of jewels strung together with ribbons, which were tightly yanked and secured on to these Middled Aged ladies’ foreheads.  Later they were crafted out of various metals and took on a more tiara-esque look.  They saw a significant surge during the 1920’s Art Deco era (the flappers sure loved them some bandeaus), and fairly recently as well, as poet laureate Paris Hilton has been frequently sighted donning one.

Basket Mount – why, this is one fancy gemstone setting that creates the illusion that the stone is set in a woven, wait for it…basket.  Guess an explanation of that wasn’t really necessary.

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Basse-Taille – those who are in favor of the process of “translucent enameling” are typically said to be ‘All about that Basse-Taille.’  This term, in French, means “shallow cut,” and this is a reference to how the metal here is treated.  The metal is etched into very deeply, so that when a nice shellack of enamel is applied, it dries in various hues.  These different colors draw attention to the minute contours of the overall design.  This technique can often been seen in jewelry items that feature intricate shapes, such as leaves, butterfly wings, flower petals and replicas of Donald Trump’s hair.

Bavette – Is this from Bavaria?  No, no Bavette.  Here’s another phrase from the land of fine wine and stinky cheese.  Bavette in French means “bib,” and is used to describe necklaces that are constructed of numerous strands of beads (usually pearls), of various lengths.  They form a beautiful bib-shape, and can be used to showcase your opulence out on the town – or simply as a way to keep bar-b-que sauce off your camisole.

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Bayadére – this is just twisted.  It’s a necklace formed from a multitude of strands of “seed” (aka: tiny) pearls.  The strands are twisted around and around, like a pair of earphones in bottom of the jostled purse of someone desperately running to catch a bus.

Belcher Ring – is not necessarily named after those with audible indigestion symptoms.  Legend has it that this style of ring was christened after infamous English bare-knuckle boxer, Jem Belcher, at the turn of the 19th century; whether he was gassy or not remains a mystery.  The ring features a stone that is set in place with prongs that are fashioned out of the original, core metal of the band.  Also of note, is the fact that the guy’s name was Jem.

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Belle Époque – the “beautiful era” in France (1901-1915).  This was known as the Edwardian period in nearby, contentious England; for the contemporary king, Edward (aka “Fast Eddie”).  The designs of this stylish epoch are quite flowery and flowing, consisting of many floral patterns, intertwined lace and billowing bows (just like Belle’s outfits in “Beauty and the Beast”).

Benoiton – surprisingly, this is not the precursor to the Benetton line of clothing.  It’s a weird thing that women put in their hair during the 1860’s.  It’s made up of a bunch of chains that come out of the hair (reminiscent of a lovely octopus or spider) and then clamp down into one’s dress.  These non-functional hair clips first came into the public eye onstage, in a play written by satirist Victorien Sardou: the farce “La Famille Benoiton.”  They fell out of favor when scores of people began injuring themselves while brushing their hair.

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Billet-Doux – this one is a touch scandalous.  A French expression connoting a “love letter,” the jewelry manifestation of this took its form in flower based pieces – that were given to clandestine lovers.  The type of flower used would indicate a specific message, for instance:  roses symbolized true love, daisies conveyed purity, gardenias meant secret love.  Taking things to a Da Vinci Code level of crypticness, certain gemstones would be used in pieces, and the first letter of each stone (ie – “C” in crystal) would be used to spell out a covert message.  For example, Labradorite, Opal and Lazulite (“LOL”).

Biscuit – a) the most delicious item on the menu at KFC, b) what you call your sweetie, c) the name given to the sumptuous ceramic, porcelain, when it has not yet been glazed.

Bloom Finish – this is a complicated process that utilizes a vast array of deadly chemicals (the charming hydrochloric acid, to name one) to remove the shiny surface from gold and essentially leave it looking softer and “pitted,” like a morose teenager’s face.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-gold-braceletBluite – now here’s some good marketing in action.  Manhattan based jewelry company Goldfarb & Friedberg conceived this term around 1922 to describe an 18k white gold compound they sold which, they purported, was the closest approximation to platinum ever created.  They found that “Bluite” sold far better than their previous product “Greenish Gold.”

Bombé – looking exactly how they sound, these jewelry pieces are the bomb.  They exhibit a curved, bulbous shape, like that of a little explosive device.  Most common in ring and earring design, these were a ‘hit’ during the greater part of the 20th century.

via Queensbee.ru
via Queensbee.ru

Brown Émail – before your imagination begins to run wild, know that “émail” is the French word for “enamel.”  So this simply refers to enamel that has that particular, earth toned hue.  Interesting to think that the French have been using email for hundreds of years (…don’t be jaloux, England.)

-Joe Leone