Just as technology and scientific advances have changed every aspect of our daily lives, it has also altered what type of jewelry and gemstones are available to us.
Fine jewelry enhances how we look and feel and it all begins with the allure of gemstones. While rarity is a component of the pricing of gemstones, the allure or love of gemstones is primarily about their Beauty, Sparkle and Color …created by Mother Nature. Technology, however, is altering the supply and color of gemstones, in addition to maybe altering our definition of a “Gemstone”.
Gemstones & Beauty
Gemstones/rocks too soft to be cut or faceted into gemstones (in the not so distant past) are now heavily marketed and popular with many women. For example: Precious Gemstones (i.e. Diamonds, Sapphires & Rubies) are still treasured, but the category of Semi-Precious gemstones has expanded to include stones like “Drusy” (a type of quartz that to me, sounds like one of Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs) and “Chrome Diopside” (Doesn’t that sound like a dangerous chemical?). So, there are many beautiful gemstones, not as durable and not as sparkling as a Diamond, for example,…but it terms of beauty, well beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
Sustainable Jewelry – Buzzword or The Real Deal?
We’re all concerned with creating a cleaner world with a brighter future, and that starts with each one of us. For those of us who love (love love) jewelry, this may be a concern a of yours. The making of jewelry starts with mining minerals and metals from the earth, can involve harsh chemicals during the manufacturing process, and might take\ place in the poorest countries with the worst worker safeguards. So what is a jewelry loving person like me (& you!) to do? Thankfully, we have many options today that didn’t exist even ten years ago.
So excited that NYC will be filled with my industry friends this coming week during 3 Jewelry Shows! Visions of a big apple will be replaced with big diamonds ….and I can’t wait to scout for hot new designs and catch-up with industry insiders! There will be lots of parties and after-parties, too; after all it is NYC!
Spring Swing – Get Your Fine Jewelry Out of that Stuffy Box and Into the Spring Air!
Nothing says spring quite as brightly or as optimistically as colorful jewelry. Big pops of color can dress up a sundress or go straight to an evening function. And why not? If you’re like me, each of your jewelry pieces has a special story – of the day you bought it, the first event you wore it to, or the person who gave it to you. Spring is the perfect time to take a fresh look at your treasures….so you can start the next beautiful spring morning with the additional promise of selecting some of your favorite color gems to wear?
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and pink is the color of breast cancer awareness. If you didn’t notice pink rubber awareness bracelets throughout the year, you’ll have a hard time missing them during this month. Purchases of those bracelets provides income for breast cancer research and support, so here’s an example of how a rubber bracelet can claim a type of quality all its own – the quality of philanthropy. But if you want to give back while wearing something with more fine jewelry appeal, you have several options. First, stop by your local independent jeweler. Many independent jewelers create their own cause jewelry and donate a percentage of each purchase to research. Ostbye in Minneapolis offers a 14k two tone pendant with diamond melee that makes a simple, delicate . . . and fine statement of support. Studio 2015 Jewelers in Woodstock, Illinois designs a new breast cancer awareness piece each year that is auctioned off for breast cancer research and is available for sale through the store. Chances are very good that an independent jeweler in your area is doing something special too.
Jewelry designers create cause pieces as well. Tacori’s 18k pink gold pendant with diamonds is a beautiful statement piece, and at the other end of the price spectrum Sara Blaine designs a series of silver dog tags in her “It’s the Journey” series supporting breast cancer research. My point, as always, is that quality can be part of every jewelry purchase. Of course, my preference for pink this month would probably be Omi Prive’s amazing pink tourmaline ring – with a personal donation to breast cancer research on the side.
Studio 2015 18k White Pendant
Tacori 18k Rose with Diamonds
- Ostbye 14k 2-Tone Pendant
The Diamond Industry is currently whispering and trying to resolve their concerns & fears regarding synthetic diamonds (i.e. lab-grown). The drama started when recent parcels of synthetic diamonds were submitted to grading labs (in several countries) as natural diamonds. Most industry leaders, however, are calm and confident that detection systems and instruments are effective…and all is well.
Yet, as “officials” sourced-back to the suppliers of these covert and fraudulent submissions …there is evidence that even natural Diamonds are surrounded by disturbing fears. Remember the movie “Blood Diamonds”? This Oscar nominated movie told the horrific story of unimaginable human suffering due to diamonds mined in the conflict areas of chaos and civil war that enveloped 1990’s Sierra Leone. A blood diamond, also known as a conflict diamond, is rough diamond used by rebel movements to finance war against legitimate governments. Well, in 2000 The Kimberly Process (KP) began as a joint governments, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds. As of January 2012, KP members account for approximately 99.8% of the global production of rough diamonds and its important work continues throughout the world. In addition, every reputable jeweler in the US participates in the diamond industry’s “System of Warranties” to ensure their jewelry does not include even a single conflict diamond (aka blood diamond).
Yet, just a few days ago, a new episode of the TV series, “Covert Affairs” (USA Network) aired with conflict diamonds, again in the spotlight. When pop culture keeps blood diamonds in our conversation, all is not well (even in the US) from my point-of-view. To those of you who don’t follow the show: During a 36 hour assignment, Auggie (CIA) tells his friend and colleague (Annie) about his decision to propose to his new girlfriend (Parker). Now, never mind the “tension”/bond between Annie & Auggie….watch the show for that stuff. Simultaneous with the proposal-plan announcement, however, Auggie shows Annie the engagement ring he purchased. Auggie bought a Pearl Ring—not a Diamond Ring; YIKES, Auggie! He explains to Annie, “I couldn’t go the traditional route, because of the blood diamond trade.” Yes, I shed a tear for Diamonds & Covert Affairs.
Diamonds & Pearls are both classics within the world of fashion. Oh, how I love the old movies with Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn wearing their pearls! Yes, I have a strand (or two)…and sometimes I am in the mood to wear a pair of simple, elegant pearl stud earrings. Diamonds, however, are in another league. Only a Diamond is the ultimate symbol of beauty, because a set-diamond is more than a jewelry accessory. Diamonds become part of us as soon as these natural beauties touch our skin. (BTW, pearls can be damaged if they are not gently wiped after being worn or touching our skin.) More importantly, a Diamond remains the ultimate symbol of love. Diamonds communicate what many men cannot seem to get out of their mouths – LOL. So, as I delight in the fact that more and more confident women purchase diamonds for themselves, (refusing to wait for a man to buy them ), many of these same confident women (like me)ALSO remain moved, breathless or teary-eyed when a man pops “the” question with a Diamond Engagement Ring.
As the character on “Covert Affairs” chose a pearl stud ring for his engagement ring last week, I shed a tear, because I believe that most women (and some great men) feel the same as me. Above all else, a Diamond means love and publicly “says” love like no other gemstone or gift. My last post, “Changing the World with Jewelry Activism” also spoke of the good Diamonds do for so many throughout the world. In the US, an estimated 80% of engagements remain sealed with a Diamond Engagement Ring (DER), but I am obviously concerned that the DER may not remain the cultural imperative it is. The Diamond Industry must do a better job communicating the status of global Diamond trading. So, this article is my attempt to contribute to that discussion…and I’m not whispering!
Many marketers feel that Quality is all about perceived value. In fact, it is “value” that is perceived… when the quality of something is thought to be worth its price. There are true standards of Quality …that have little to do with price and nothing to do with perception. In the past, when a fine jeweler sold a Diamond, it was real, natural and untreated…NOT necessarily today. In the past, the words “Fine Jewelry” distinguished real, quality jewelry from the fake….but NOT today. I have worn and promoted quality diamond jewelry valued in the millions of dollars …and I also promote sterling silver jewelry that is under $50. Quality is not about the price, but it is based on reality!
I remember wearing a beautiful $100,000+ diamond necklace and matching $25,000 diamond ring for an important industry gala….and they both scratched my skin and constantly tangled my hair (OK, my hair is always a bit long). I personally own and often wear another expensive diamond ring that never scratches my skin and never catches my hair or any fabric of my clothes…I don’t even feel it; it is part of me. Most recently, I promoted and wore a Sterling Silver Necklace with diamond accents, which was so well crafted and manufactured that it felt like silk on my fingertips. It was quality. Quality jewelry is first and foremost about craftsmanship!
Quality, like Luxury also has an aesthetic and an emotional component… both quality and luxury can engage us emotionally. A home, a car or an item of jewelry are some of the most emotionally loaded purchases we can make. I think it is funny, that people commonly say we should never buy a home based on emotion, but diamond sellers and jewelry sellers generally agree that they are selling emotion. Well, I love that I am emotional about what I buy …. I love to “feel” right about a purchase. That does NOT mean that I do not need expertise and experience to validate the quality of which I am emotionally drawn. And therein lies the rub.
I am motivated to share my expertise and inside information on this site to:
1. Help those that want real quality jewelry…so they don’t settle for less.
2. Demonstrate that quality jewelry is available for everyone, at every price point.
3. Honor those jewelry sellers & manufacturers that offer real quality gemstones and jewelry.