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MOSAIC AND INLAY JEWELRYUnder the influence of original Greek and Roman examples, mosaic jewelry was stylish throughout the 19th century. The method of making a mosaic is to use small sections of fine blocks of coloured enamels, and to cement them into designed pictures within a frame.
The whole piece is then set in an outer gold or silver frame which gives additional protection to the fragile center piece. Panoramic views, landscapes, enamel themes, exotic birds and insects were all popular subjects.
Hard stone jewelry is also known as Florentine art. In the development of Mosaic jewelry, stone, lapis, ivory, glass, corals and etc. are pasted into carved black marble or onyx and complemented with precious metals such as gold or silver.
AMERICAN RED BERYL FROM WAH WAH, UTAHRarity and beauty are two of the prime qualities a faceted mineral requires to be called a gemstone. Red beryl - which belongs to the same family as emerald, aquamarine and morganite - eminently qualifies. This American gem has yet to be found on any other continent. But collectors and connoisseurs the world over clamor for red beryl, despite its hefty price and lilliputian size.
Bixbite by another name: Hexagonal crystals of the mineral were first discovered around 1905 and named "bixbite" in honor of jewelry and gem collector and dealer Maynard Bixby of Salt Lake City, Utah. The name fell into disuse for several reasons. First, it was confusingly similar to bixbyite, another mineral. Second, bixbite lacked the mellifluous sound considered necessary to market the stone. The name red beryl was suggested and accepted by all gemological associations and most gemstone jewelry dealers and enthusiasts.
While the name red beryl is accurate enough - referring to species and color - it has its detractors. Some, including emerald jewelry dealer Ray Zajicek of Equatorian Imports, Dallas, Tex., prefer the term "red emerald." Fred Rowe of House of Onyx, Greenville, Ky., has promoted the material as "American red emerald" for several years. "People who own red beryl call it red emerald," he says, "and people who don't insist that is wrong until they own one."
When the name was proposed during the 1991 International Colored Stone Association Congress, it sparked heated debate. A small but vocal group of red beryl dealers feels that association with the word emerald would help sales. But gemological and geological purists say such use of the word contradicts its ancient meaning. The word was derived from the Greek smaragdos and used to describe green stones. The Oxford English Dictionary says the term "emerald" was associated with the color green as far back as 1634 A.D.
Standard gemological tests, such as refractive index and specific gravity, easily separate red beryl from other red materials. And synthetic red beryl is relatively rare, though Russia recently has produced a variety of colors, including hydrothermal red beryl. These, too, should be easy to distinguish with standard gem tests.
Slow starter: Red beryl remained a nonentity in the commercial gem world for decades after its discovery in 1905. In the mid-1970s, faceted sizes and grades began to be mined in what are now the Violet claims in the Wah-Wah mountains of southwestern Utah. The Harris family primarily owns the claims, and initial production brought a trickle of faceted red beryl to market of about 100 stones per year. Since then, production has increased slowly. Owner Rex Harris says they now produce about 600 1-2 ct. stones a year and a startling 4,200 gems in melee sizes (.02-.10 Ct.). These "drop in the bucket" quantities still make red beryl as well as beryl jewelry rare.
"It is usually gem, jewelry and mineral collectors who prize it most, followed by ladies who like unusual red gemstones and already have their supply of rubies," says dealer Fred Rowe. "In my opinion, there's a tremendous U.S. collector community out there; I'm constantly surprised at the numbers of people collecting rare gems." Harris adds there is a heavy and increasing demand from jewelry manufacturers for red beryl in Europe and Japan, where the material can't be found.
Jewelry with gem-quality red beryls don't often come in sizes over 2 carats. Those that do fetch amazing prices - up to $18,000 per carat for stones of good size and exceptional color and clarity. Good quality gems can be had for $4,000 to $6,000 per carat. And if you're looking for jewelry with red beryl accents, prices range between $200 and $1,000 per carat.
ART DECO JEWELRYThe beginning of the Art Deco jewelry era is dated around 1900 and was inspired by the French "Art Decorative" movement. The peak was seen in 1920 and the decline in about 1930. In general, the Art Deco movement was a combination of different styles and techniques of the past characterized by flowing curves and naturalistic motifs, mainly present in Art Nouveau and Edwardian.
The new stone-cutting and metal casting technologies made it possible to produce more dramatic jewelry designs with interconnecting symmetrical geometric lines and extraordinary color combinations of colored stones and enamels.
The symmetrical style of the jewelry was perfectly blended with new types of cuts - emerald, marquise and pear shaped diamonds and colored gemstones. The dramatic contrast of colors like black and white in combination with precious and semi-precious stones found extensive use.
Art Deco Jewelry production virtually ended during the Depression and the beginning of WW II. Some unsuccessful attempts to revive the movement had occurred after the end of the war. Today, Art Deco Jewelry is still produced but in fairly small quantities and as special orders.
DIAMOND INSPIRED ARTSDiamonds have inspired some of the most glorious pieces of jewelry ever created. But could other artists use the form and shape of diamonds for inspiration in media such as architecture, painting, photography, ceramics, textiles, monumental arts and graphic design?
That’s the question Antwerp’s artistic community asked and the result is “Diamond Inspired Arts,” the second diamond jewelry exhibit to open in Antwerp. Contemporary artists will try their hands at creating works in which diamonds appear literally and figuratively. The artists are current and former students and teachers from the Royal Academy of Pine Arts and the National High Institute of Fine Arts. The exhibit will give them a chance to display Antwerp’s continuing artistic tradition to an international audience. The exhibition is sponsored by Paribas Bank.
17th century diamond jewelry
Antwerp in the 17th century was a native city to a host of masterful Flemish Baroque painters, such as Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jacob Jordaens. This artistic flowering was only matched by the growing expertise of Antwerp’s master diamond cutters and jewelry designers, who created spectacular jewelry for the political and cultural leaders of the time. The Diamond High Council has capitalized on Antwerp’s 17th century heritage with an ad campaign that features beautiful paintings from the period, showing such personalities as Rubens’ wife, Helene Fourment, draped in magnificent jewelry.
Now many of the jewelry masterpieces created at that time will be on display in Antwerp for a special exhibit entitled “Diamond Jewelry from Antwerp’s 17th Century,” and organized by the Provincial Diamond Museum.
DIAMOND MASK UNSOLD DESPITE LIZ’S PLEASDespite fervent pleas by actress Elizabeth Taylor, the much-publicized Lachrymosa diamond mask failed to sell at a jewelry auction designed to raise money for the American Foundation for AIDS Research. The auction was held at Christie’s in New York.
The mask, created by jewelry designer Henry Dunay, reportedly carried a reserve price of $1 million. Francois Curiel, Christie’s international jewelry director, started the mask at $200,000. Bidding rose slowly to $400,000, at which point Taylor walked to the podium and asked the audience to be generous.
Bidding continued to $550,000, then stalled. Taylor again implored the audience to be generous, but her pleas went unanswered and Christie’s withdrew the mask from sale.
George Kramer, coordinator of the jewelry fund-raising “Glitter and Be Giving” campaign, said the mask failed to sell because the audience consisted mainly of dealers, not celebrities. “A number of people, mostly celebrities, were interested in buying the mask, but they weren’t at the sale,” he says.
Because of recent changes in the AmFAR board, he says, “the group failed to get behind the sales event in time.” The mask had been exhibited around the world and was the showpiece of AmFAR’s “Glitter and be Giving” campaign designed to raise funds for research through the sale of donated jewelry pieces.
The mask was the only piece not completely donated for the campaign. Partial proceeds from sale of the mask were to have been used to reimburse William Goldberg for the 135 carats of diamonds he provided at cost and Dunay for the 2,000 hours of manufacturing time required (Dunay donated the design). The Platinum Guild and World Gold Council donated the metals used in the mask.
GOLD COUNCIL - INFORMATION PROGRAMThe World Gold Council has launched a Retail Information Program to help retailers boost gold jewelry sales. The program includes seminars, one-on-one consultations and seasonal, directional and statistical publications.
Under the umbrella title of Jewelry Market Reports WGC will provide: Gold Jewelry Directions, a twice-yearly brochure that identifies merchandise design directions and illustrates with examples. WGC will mail the brochure to more than 10,000 retailers; jewelry featured in it will be displayed at the council’s booth at major international trade shows.
Twice-annual brochures will take an in-depth look at a broad spectrum of merchandise by specific classification. The first one, now available, is devoted to earrings. Merchandise updates will be published throughout the year to introduce product/designer innovations, information on sources, news from abroad and technological information.
The annual Gold Jewelry Retail Sales report includes an overview of national retail sales, average prices and sales by channel, classification and season. Information is collected from more than 1,300 retailers annually, including independent and chain jewelry stores, department stores, catalog showrooms and discount stores. This report is supplemented with quarterly updates.
Training program: WGC and the Gemological Institute have developed the GIA Gold Seminar, a three-hour workshop to be presented around the country. The seminar is an introduction to the first GIA 12-part home-study course dedicated to gold and precious metals.
WGC will provide a consultant-like service to many council partners, by customizing sales training and product knowledge to specific retailer needs, in the form of seminars, printed brochures and videos. The training videos “Golden Time” and “Golden Moments,” will teach jewelry salespeople the finer points of gold karatage, colors, finishes and care in four-minute segments.
JEWELRY IDEAS FROM AROUND THE WORLDItaly
Generally, the Italians offer brilliant, bold gold with interesting links, gem treatments and colors. They prefer polished gold to matte gold, but some are beginning to experiment with textures. Many designs feature diamond pave accents or large sections of pave as a design element. Bi-color and especially tri-color gold is the biggest trend among the Italian designers.
Color for the Italians now means enamel almost as much as gemstones. Quite a few firms offer enamel-accented jewelry, especially in smaller pieces like brooches, pendants or earring danglers.
Another favorite, the rigid pearl choker, is usually made with three or more rows of pearls wired together and accented with diamonds and/or rubies, emeralds and sapphires. The Italians like to make pearls part of the design, perhaps as the center of a flower, or part of a pendant.
Flora, fauna and insects remain Italian favorites. This year, the garden won out over the zoo, as jeweled flowers shared equal billing with jeweled or enameled bugs. Pink pave set diamonds in rose gold; canary diamonds in yellow gold and white diamonds in white gold, then the three are combined most often in a flower motif.
Some companies also experiment with the pave setting of colored gemstones, but with less impact. Finally, the Italians again are proving themselves masters of the coral jewelry and cameo, offering many different designs, shapes, colors and styles from which to choose.
Here sleek geometrics and clean, crisp lines are instant identifying marks. German jewelry design tends toward the avant-garde, sometimes stretching the line between art and wearable jewelry. But most German jewelers show salable pieces, with many that should appeal to American tastes.
Most notable among the Germans are earrings, pins, slim collars and eyeglasses. The Germans seem to have mastered the art of simple but attractive earrings, often priced well for the women’s self-purchase market. The predominant style has a long, slim dangle, formed by putting a geometric design element on a post, attaching a long wire or tube, and finishing with a matching or complementary element. Earrings have movement and length, usually from about chin to mid-neck. Hoops with danglers also available.
The long, slender look continued in many pins is the kind which looks best on a lapel, against a plain sweater, suspended from a single wire choker or holding a scarf in place. Most pins are gold, many mixing yellow and white gold or yellow gold and platinum; some have diamond accents. The Germans use a lot of matte gold and platinum, as well as hammer-set diamonds. They usually favor smaller and fewer diamonds per piece than the Italians; often just one diamond serves as the focal point of a piece. Slim round wire or leather collars with a geometric design element hanging front and center are very popular. The theme is repeated in round hoop earrings inserted through the center of a hanging charm.
Karat gold eyeglasses, often set with gemstones, are a distinctly European trend. German, Austrian and Greek jewelry manufacturers all offer them. Franz Fialka, an Austrian firm, said Americans haven’t yet caught on to the trend. The jeweled frames are approved for use with prescription lenses. Although Idar-Oberstein is a major gem-cutting center and Germans Bernd Munsteiner and Dieter Lorenz are world-renowned gem-cutting pioneers, the Germans don’t use many colored stones in their jewelry designs. They prefer to stick to the yellow and white look of gold, platinum and diamonds. Such design tends to appeal to western European tastes.
The French approach jewelry much as they approach fashion — fresh and individualistic, but classic enough to endure for decades. French designers offer jewelry which is either small, elegant, beautifully made, classically styled and suitable for everyday wear, or large, ornate, gem-encrusted and worthy of a ball at Versailles. Flowers are the motif of choice, beautifully executed in ruby, emerald, sapphire and the color diamond pave.
Antique jewelry and antique reproductions are the favored design style among Portuguese and English jewelers. The English offer a lot of sterling and fine porcelain desk and dressing table accessories, many in Victorian or other traditional English styles. Spanish firms offer wellmade, high-quality jewelry that leaned toward the smaller, more conservative side. Companies from Hong Kong and Singapore prefer gem-studded jewelry and some newer designs reminiscent of those by the Italians and Germans. Lapponia, the Finnish design consortium, offer avant-garde designs in a variety of price points and styles.
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