Tag Archives: watches

Jewelry Terms: Fascinatingly Fancy

Starting with “F”

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-faience-pattern-mosaic

Faience – a “non clay based ceramic” the ancient Egyptians used to craft things with a flare of color and a flourish of glaze.  Those sneaky Pyramid builders would use this material to deceive onlookers into thinking they were seeing actual sapphire, malachite or turquoise.  Do not give you fiancée a faience ring or they will give you back a slap.

Fausse Montre – Legend has it, that there was once a time when people didn’t have cellular phones, and needed something called a “watch” to tell the time.   In fact, so coveted were these “watches,” that some dreadful individuals couldn’t even afford them.  For just such a rakish cad, the fausse montre, or “false watch,” was invented by the ever resourceful Frenchies.  This Georgian era device of deceit had the shape of a watch, the dials and hands of a watch, but, alas, only told the correct time twice per day…

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-pocket-watch

Fede Ring – these are the two-hands-grabbing-each-other rings.  They were originally conceived during the Roman times and remained popular in Europe for quite a while.  They eventually switched hands and became more of an Irish thing.  Certain people use them in lieu of diamond engagement rinds, including internationally renowned DJ Fedde Le Grand (one can assume, right?)

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-fede-ring-jewelry-Irish

Fer de Berlin – a German term, correct? Nope – French again.  It means “Berlin Iron,” and refers to a very specific style of jewelry that was worn during the turn of the 19th century.  Needing supplemental finances to combat the lilliputian warrior Napoleon and his advancing troops, Prussian citizens were ever so nicely asked to hand over their gold jewelry.  In exchange for their patriotic efforts, they received alternate, cast-iron jewelry, with the inscription “Ich gab Gold fur Eisen” which roughly translates to “I got screwed by the government.”

Ferronnière – here we have a cranial jewelry piece that first appeared during the renaissance period; it made a comeback during the 1830’s and then recently started popping up on the foreheads of girls at Coachella (even though they definitely don’t know what it’s called).  It’s a fine chain that loops around the forehead with a small gemstone in the middle.  It means “the blacksmith’s wife,” originating from a portrait Leo Da Vinci did (‘La Belle Ferronnière’) of a woman wearing this item, that he definitely had the hots for.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Ferronnière-jewelry-hot-model

Festoon – oh those NeoClassics and their love of festive jewelry.  This fellow surfaced during the middle part of the 18th century; a collection of flowers, fruit, leaves and other flouncy things.  Used in all sorts of jewelry forms, festoons are the fancy precursor to wearable Edible Arrangements.

Fibula – is indeed the name for a leg bone, but it also the thingy that the Romans used to clasp their togas together (to avoid anything funny happening on the way to the forum).  They are like super elaborate and fancy safety pins (minus the safety).

Fichu Pin – French dammes of the 1650’s wouldn’t be caught dead without these.  Anyone who was anyone wore a fichu, which is an elegant scarf that is draped around the shoulders, that is held together at the bosom with a beautiful brooch, the fichu pin.  Rumor has it that this jewelry piece received its name because when one inquired to the tailor about how it looked on them, the tailer would reply “It fichu perfect.”

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-fichu-pin-jewelry

Figural – this style of jewelry (of having little figurines attached to things) goes all the way back to the ancient times, with popularity pockets popping up throughout history.  The reason for the unrelenting admiration is simply because people will always like little miniatures of big, living things; of animals, bugs, mythic creatures…themselves.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-figural-jewelry-koala-cute

Fleur de Lys – is a highly recognizable, stylized version of a lily, used in many jewelry pieces all over the globe.  French in origin, it was often seen in the family crests and the coat of arms of many monarchs, who liked to showcase how florally fluent they really were.  There was an abrupt cessation to this style after the French Revolution, as certain people suddenly didn’t want to be identified as the ‘ruling class’ so much anymore (watch ‘Les Mis’ for further clarification, and to see a bald Anne Hathaway cry.)

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Fluer-de-Lys-Lis-pattern

Florentine finish – this is a technique that can be applied to the surface of metals to make them appear like they are made up of numerous alloy types.  The different pieces intersect and interlock in an alternating pattern that looks cool but can make you dizzy if you stare at it for too long.  A ‘Florentine’ finish is also what non-meat-eaters get (in the form of iron-rich spinach) in lieu of Canadian bacon on Eggs Benedict.

French Jet – if you couldn’t afford actual jet (or your own private jet) in the 1800’s, you wore French jet to funerals.  It’s just black glass that resembles the precious gem.  Since it is French by name, it is inherently fancy, and lets you mourn in fiercely fabricated style.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-French-jet-jewelry-black-noir-glassFringe Necklace – once again, a jewelry commodity first made relevant by the ancient Egyptians (the Tom Fords of their day), the fringe necklace showcases numerous pendant-like units that hang from a chain or cord.  They went out of vogue after a few centuries but were figuratively and literally resurrected in the 1850’s.  Still the go-to necklace for anyone into #ThrowbackThursdays or #FringebackFridays.

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-Joe Leone

The World’s Best Jewelry Designers

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At times, jewelry can transcend mere fashion and reach the status of high art.  The following international designers consistently deliver their wares with such unpredictable ingenuity and stylistic acumen that they leave critics and consumers equally speechless.  Behold, the top ten highest rated jeweler designers currently dazzling the world stage.

Costis

credit: Costis.com
credit: Costis.com
credit: costis.com
Credit: costis.com

The Costis brand was officially established in 1994 in the land of piazzas and pizzas.  The key element that Costis employs in their designs is the concept of the ‘everyday turned fantastical.’  An ordinary pencil is transformed into a gem encrusted bracelet.  A fish monger’s barnacle laden net becomes a bizarrely fascinating and chic necklace.  Two kiwi slices are transmogrified into deliciously gilded earrings, while a skyscraper decadently descends to wrap around your index finger.  Whatever the commonplace inspiration, the pieces emerge as anything but ordinary.

Autore

credit: Pearlautore.com.au
Credit: Pearlautore.com.au

Autore has done a fabulous job of carving out a very specific and eye-catching niche for themselves.  They are the go-to designer for all pieces featuring the pulchritudinous pearl.  The signature element of their earrings, rings, necklaces and more, is this singular and most sought after treasure of the sea.  The pearls they showcase are not simply white, but come in a wide array of exotic and mixed colors.  Black pearls and south sea pearls are beautiful in their own right, but are brought to new levels of comely opulence when featured in Autore jewelry.

Efva Attling, Stockholm

credit: efvaattling.se
Credit: efvaattling.se

This Swedish designer brings an elegant and uniquely Nordic look to all her pieces.  There is something simultaneously warm (the bold colored gems) and icy (the sleek silver mountings) inherent to each of her stunning specimens.  Born Efva Katarina Attling, she spent a lot of time in the fashion world working as a model before crossing over to design.  She also,  un-ironically, was in a band called “X Models.”  The company motto governing their pieces is “beauty with a thought,” and you can really see how much thought goes into each alluring article.

via Wikipedia
via Wikipedia

Graff

credit: graffdiamonds.com
credit: graffdiamonds.com

Founded by the venerated Laurence Graff in 1960, this British jewelry behemoth has not shown any signs of slowing down.  Year after year the Graff conglomeration cranks out dynamic and dazzling numbers.  Graff is widely regarded as one of the premier designers in the elusive world of deluxe diamond jewelry.  Extremely rare and sought after diamonds, from pure whites to fancy vivids, are showcased in the Graff catalogue, a name synonymous with high end design and unlimited class.

Harry Winston

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Harry-Winston-jewelry-Emma-Rossum

Another monster name in the diamond jewelry world, Harry Winston is not afraid to push boundaries in his creations.  Having put a new spin on numerous classical looking pieces, from winter-themed, icicle reminiscent earrings to starkly striking, exquisitely contoured multi-colored diamond necklaces, Winston’s modern take on antique structures has been very well received.  This chap and his operation seems to be quite magnanimous as well; he coughed up the infamous Portuguese Diamond to the Smithsonian Institute in 1963.  Before that he relinquished the Hope Diamond to the very same museum.  You know you’re pretty financially sound when you can just give away the darn Hope Diamond.

Van Cleef and Arpels

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VC & A have been designing stunning and bold pieces since 1896.  Blending a variety of metals and gems in their jewelry, they somehow consistently make wondrously ostentatious works (that would come off as gaudy in the hands of less skilled designers).  As their pieces have been flaunted around the world on the likes of the Duchess of Windsor and film darling Grace Kelly, Van Cleef and Arpels has received quite a bit of international publicity.  Having famed diamond-ophile Liz Taylor as an unofficial spokesperson didn’t hurt this company either.  One of the more mystical design teams on this list, their items often contain wild floral elements, real and imagined creatures and even mischievous and whimsical fairies.

credit: vancleefarpals.com
credit: vancleefarpals.com

Piaget

credit: piaget.com
credit: piaget.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This swank Swiss outfit is known primarily for their luxury watches which just drip diamonds, but are major players in all high end jewelry forms as well.  Taking a piaget out of the book of adorable, Georges Edouard Piaget initially crafted a tiny watch workshop in 1874 on the family farm in a little hamlet in the Jura mountains of Switzerland.  As the company exploded onto the jewelry scene, they never lost sight of George’s primary goal of supplying superb craftsmanship and highly original designs.  Piaget currently owns and operates Geneva’s most massive jewelry workshop (something ole Georgey probably never dreamed of).  Their timeless timepieces adorn the wrists of anyone who’s anyone, including Athlete-of-our-Generation, Serena Williams (a testament to how sturdy the watches are too, as Serena wears hers while actually competing).

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Bulgari

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credit: bulgari.com
Credit: bulgari.com

Leave it to the Romans (or Rome-based designer Bulgari) to concoct a jewelry line that has some pieces which offer unprecedented, sheer regal elegance and others that look almost like the sleek shackles of an ancient (and stylish) prisoner.  Their signature, trademarked logo, where their name is spelled out “Bvlgari” (as the Italians of yore did not have a “u” in their alphabet), is as iconic as the brand’s illustrious assortment of pieces.  Bulgari boasts one of the most impressive collections of jewelry works which contain (some of) the world’s most sublimely scarce gemstones.

Cartier

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Cartier-jewelry-Sarah-Jessica-Parker

Cartier - via pinterest.com
Cartier – via pinterest.com
credit: Cartier.de
credit: Cartier.de

Cartier has never shied away from creating potentially polarizing jewelry parcels.  Perhaps it is because they are so highly regarded in the jewelry milieu that they have no qualms about engaging in daring experiments in form.  Their famous leopard head ring echoes lustrous Egyptian jewelry of yesteryear, while their “nail” ring embodies quite a funky take on modern design aesthetics.  As one of the oldest functioning jewelry companies on the planet (founded in Paris by Louis-Francois Cartier in 1847), Cartier holds a rich tradition of designing jewelry for the world’s most elite clientele, from heads of state to heads of movie studios to celebrity head cases.

Chopard

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Chopard-jewelry-necklace-Eva-Herzigova

The 1860, Swiss-born Chopard dynasty is unanimously held in the highest esteem in the realm of all things jewelry related.  Initially focused solely on watchmaking (the Swiss really have been adamant about perfecting watch designs), it wasn’t until over one hundred years after they were founded that they ventured into crafting other types of jewelry.  In recent years, Chopard has helped to pioneer the ‘green jewelry movement’ (which doesn’t mean it features just emeralds).  The official name given to their program is the somewhat ephemeral sounding “The Journey,” which was established to help create sustainable, fairly mined and assembled jewelry.  Hopefully all designers will follow suit in Chopard’s quest to design things that are as beautiful as they are ethically derived.

credit: us.chopard.com
Credit: us.chopard.com

 -Joe Leone