Archive | November, 2005

Tips for Outside Jewelry Shopping

30 Nov

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I spent eight years on the arts and craft show circuit selling my hand-crafted jewelry, and it always used to amaze me at all the talented artists that surrounded me. However, as the years went on, I saw fewer jewelry artists and more and more imported goods. Today, it seems like this trend has continued, but believe it or not, if you keep your eyes opened, you'd be amazed at some of the great jewelry bargains you can find at local outdoor showsows. Plus, it feels good to support local artists.

I was Cruising through a small farmers' market this past weekend, which is often another place to find some jewelry bargains believe it or not, and it occurred to me that shoppers can really find some fabulous deals and beautiful miniature pieces of " art to wear," if you just keep your eyes open. Here are a few tips for you:

  • Look in your local paper for art show announcements. Usually, this will be in the local section of your paper, but it might also appear in the entertainment sections as well.
  • Most jewelry vendors will have a signature look, so if you don't have much time, quickly scan tables for a few large items, like necklaces, to get an idea of their style appeals to you before moving on to the next both.
  • Don't be afraid to bargain, nicely of course, especially if you are purchasing more than one item. It doesn't hurt to ask nicely, but if the artist says, " no," then accept that. Many artists will have their jewelry already priced as low as possible.
  • Try to avoid booths that don't specialize in jewelry. Many vendors these days toss a few pieces of jewelry on their tables even though they may primarily sell everything else but jewelry. This is a signal that their quality may be in question.
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  • Bring a small mirror if you plan to try on a necklace. A compact can come in very hand if a vendor doesn't have a mirror available. But, remember, you should not try on earrings. If you see a vendor allowing this, don't buy from them because this is not sanitary.
  • Before attending a show, think of a list of people you may be shopping for and a price range. Inexpensive earrings and bracelets are perfect gifts for teachers, day care workers, and baby sitters.
  • Remember that you get what you pay for. If you see some earrings at one table that are imported and sell for $2 and see hand-crafted earrings at another table that are made by the artists sitting next to them and sell for $10, then think about what is important to you – quality or quantity. Often, $2 earrings will be made with plastic or base metal while those $10 earrings might be made of gemstones and sterling.
  • Ask questions. If you aren't sure what an item is made of or how much it costs or how to care for it, ask the person selling it. If it's made by the person selling it, then he or she is usually more than happy to answer your questions.
  • Dress for shopping: comfortable shoes and a fanny-pack or backpack purse are great for comfortable hands-free shopping.

Enamel Jewelry Coming Back?

29 Nov

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When you think of enamel jewelry, what comes to mind? The first type of enamel jewelry that pops into my head is cloisonné (a type of in-lay enamel usually over bronze). But, while I have to admit that cloisonné is beautiful, there is so much more to enamel jewelry.

Basically, the technique used to make enamel jewelry requires a combination of metal and glass. Yes, that's right. Glass is actually what makes up enamel. Ground up colored glass, which looks more like colored sand before it is fired, is arranged on top of metal and then baked in a kiln.

According to an article in Time Out New York, this method of jewelry making is starting to become popular again: " A cluster of avant jewelers are riffing on the time-worn technique, and the edgy results are getting high-profile exposure: The foxy servers at the sleek Sushi Samba restaurants are currently sporting it around their necks, trend arbiters Kate Spade and Anthropologie are rolling out enamel accessories this winter, and style-aggressive celebrities Gwen Stefani and Kelly Osbourne have been spotted wearing chunks of the formerly fuddy-duddy stuff. Hey, if macramé can make a comeback, so can enamel."
My vote is " go enamel."

You can find out more about this new trend as well as some of the artists who are working on an enamel jewelry " come back" here: Kiln Joy

Become a Virtual Gemologist

28 Nov

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If you've been wondering how to break into the jewelry industry but haven't been able to find any schools in your area, then the Internet is probably your best bet. While there are numerous schools on-line these days, for those interested in a jewelry-related career, one of the most well-known schools is the Gemology Institute of America (GIA), Established in 1931, GIA is internationally recognized as one of the leading educational institutions when it comes to gems and jewelry, and like many schools they are now plugged into the Internet, offering distance learning classes in all kinds of jewelry subject matter.

According to GIA's web site: " Learn in the convenience of your home or office. GIA's acclaimed course material can be sent straight to your door. And using GIA's Virtual Campus, you can submit assignments, receive results instantly, and monitor your progress all online with just a few computer keystrokes. That means you earn professional credibility and confidence without disrupting your life."

Some of the available classes through GIA's distance learning program include:

  • Jewelry Essentials
  • Diamond and Diamond Grading
  • colored Stones
  • Diamond Essentials
  • Colored Stone Essentials
  • Gem Identification

You can find out more on GIA's web site under Distance Education Courses.

More Jewelry Designers to Dream About

27 Nov

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Here's another Internet web site pick for your shopping needs this season: Stylism.

This site offers an A to Z list of jewelry designers including: Angela Caputi, Ann Egan, Balu, David Aubrey, jane Diaz, Lisa Toland, Michal Golan, and Roxanne Aussoulin to name a few.

The earrings pictures – which just popped out at me as I was surfing/shopping – are from Gerard Yosca. Other than the price, $80, no information was provided about what these are made of, which I find disappointing. Come on! If I'm paying that much for earrings, the web site should have information about the materials. Don't you think?

Jewelry is a Steal

26 Nov

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I usually don't blog about many jewelry heists. There are just so many of them! Really, if you keep up with the jewelry news on-line, you'd be amazed at how many people steal jewelry.

But, this isn't your usual jewelry heist story. This could be a movie, and I'm sure there's someone working on the screenplay right now.

Doris Payne looks like our typical " little old lady," the type that made cookies for the neighborhood children or volunteered at the church bazaar. Looks, however, can be deceiving, and that's exactly what she counted on as she made her way throughout the United States and Europe stealing high-end jewelry, mainly diamond rings because they were the easiest. At 75, her career as an international jewelry thief has come to an end as she's spending her time now in jail on multiple charges of grand theft.

I, of course, don't condone stealing of any kind. However, I couldn't help but feel her life was a little romantic, lonely, but also exciting too. I think one of the articles linked below summed it up well: " It's been a long journey. It was fun dressing up, fun forging this career all on her own. It was never about making money or spending it. It was about the game."

Read more:
Real Life ' To Catch a Thief"

75-year-old woman remembers jewel thief daysDiamonds are a girls best friend

Secrets about “ Natural” Gemstones

25 Nov

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It's no secret in the jewelry-biz that gemstones are commonly altered. They are heated, dyed, chemical-ized – you name it and it's been done to most gemstones used in fine jewelry today. The term " natural" is loosely used in the industry, and most jewelers will tell you if asked about how a gemstone has been treated. If they claim it's not been treated, then this should send up a red flag.

Now whether this is a good thing or bad thing is open to interpretation depending on how you look at it. Treated stones allow provide more affordable stones that look much nicer than untreated stones. On the other hand, some vendors may not know or provide information about whether a stone as been treaded, and of course, it would be nice to think nature is total responsible. Either way, if you want a little education about how " natural" gemstones are treated these days, take a look at this article by Wild Fish Gems: The International Jeweler UpdateSo, what are your thoughts on treated gemstones? Is it good or bad or what?

Rare Gemstone Discovery

24 Nov

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While reading this latest press release about the discovery of a rare gemstone in Baffin Island, I got a quick geography lesson. For those who don't know, and I didn't, Baffin Island is located in the Canadian artic. To say this place it out in the middle of nowhere is an understatement, but they are now in the news as the location where True North Gems " discovered an extremely-rare, cobalt-rich variety of the gemstone mineral commonly known as spinel. [...]The Beluga spinel has an unusually-intense and strikingly-beautiful blue colour, the chromophore (colouring agent) of the new mineral find is the rare element cobalt."

The company is still trying to figure out how much money they are going to make off this new gemstone find, but who knows? Maybe you'll be seeing this hyped on your local home shopping network in the near future.

From their site: True North Gems' Discovers Rare Gemstone on Baffin Island Property

Russian Necklace at Discount Price

23 Nov

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I wrote about this not too long ago in my post " Diamonds from Russia with Love," and it looks like the predictions where pretty close. Rather than 1.9 million it was sold for 1.5 million. This diamond necklace, according to Sotheby's is the most historically significant necklace they've auctioned off in 30 years. They wouldn't say who purchased this necklace, once worn by Katherine the Great, other than that she was also a lady of noble birth. At least this time, the articles I found on line offered a few pictures of the finished piece. I've been dying to know what this thing looked like! Not something you'd wear grocery shopping, but amazing none the less.

Read more:
Imperial necklace sells for $1.5m

Jimi Hendrix Jewelry

22 Nov

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Along with other rock and roll memorabilia, you'll find " a medallion worn by Jimi hendrix at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival" up for auction this Monday. Find out more about this Christie's auction: Dylan Poems, Hendrix Jewelry at Auction.

Read more here too: Dylan poems, Hendrix jewelry highlight rock auction

Jewelry Designer Leaves Wired Life

21 Nov

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I never get enough of these stories about how someone traded their high-tech corporate careers for the life of a creative Artisan. So, here's another one for you. The story goes like this: Amy Steinberg left Silicon Valley for Charlotte, North Carolina to raise her daughter and peruse her creative dreams. She sells her jewelry, a mix of beads, metal, and textiles, through her web site, Charming Sam and numerous boutiques throughout the U.S.

You can see her jewelry designs at her web site: http://www.charmingsam.com/, and learn more about her move from the board room to the studio here: Jewelry is natural fit for her