Sapphires are September's Stone
Oh the mighty blue Sapphire. Did you know that sapphires are from the same family as rubies? Corundum, the scientific mineral name, comes in every different color of the rainbow. From diamond like clear stones to the deepest black of the night sky, every vibrant hue in between can be found in this durable gem family.
While the gem world considers Ruby to be it's own stone with it's bright red color, go in any direction and we're right back to Sapphire. While blue is the most popular choice, sapphires continue to be showstoppers in pink, green, or even orange. Yellow sapphires are often mistaken for canary diamonds, and color change sapphires are a great and more affordable choice for those seeking alexandrite. Great for every day wear, sapphires have enjoyed a long history as being an engagement diamond alternative.
While they are September's birthstone, they also are the stone for the Astrological sign of Taurus, the bull. In Feng Shui, it represents water energy: stillness, quiet strength, and purification. Many mystics believe they grant the wearer wisdom, prophecy, and divine favor and for those reasons have long been favorites for the royal and religious alike. A stone prized throughout history, the sapphire is always a perfect gift: for yourself or a loved one.
Well, it's official! We've made our move and we're settling in our new offices at 115 N. Howe Street in the idyllic coastal village of Southport, North Carolina. Nestled next to the Atlantic Ocean, the Cape Fear River, Bald Head Island, and Oak Island- Southport has welcome visitors from near and since the times of privateering.
Southern hospitality at its finest, we couldn't be happier to be closer to home: this is where owner and operator, Deanne K. Hoffman calls home.
While there is no current storefront, you can still shop a curated collection every Thursday at All About Art on Bald Head Island through the rest of the 2016 Season (see our sister site Gilt Trip Vintage for everything you want to know about the Trunk Shows and how to get out there).
If you are in the need of an appraisal, estate evaluation, brokering, private shopping, or just want to catch up with Deanne- give her a ring! The old shop number: (910)815.3455 is still in working order and we are delighted to hear from you!
We are continuing to provide all our customers, clients, and friends with the services and fellowship they've come to know and appreciate over the last 15 years in Wilmington- only now it's just a couple of miles down the road in a quieter, sleepier, and "safer" location (we're inside an old bank!).
We are currently accepting appointments for the following:
So give us a call, or stop by on Thursday- we'd love to see you!
It's no coincidence emeralds share their color of money- a very fine emerald can out value a diamond quite easily. Part of the beryl family, other gemstones include Aquamarine, Morganite, and the interesting Trapiche Emerald- which is naturally shaped in a star pattern. Loved throughout the ages, archeologists often uncover emerald beads and jewelry dating back thousands and thousands of years. Celebrities, royalty, and just about everyone else loves this verdant stone- and many have been mined right here in North Carolina! Emeralds are interesting because the naturally tend to have many internal flaws- or inclusions- which can vary from white to black, and can be lines, spots, or even give the stone a milky look. A number of collectors prefer this to a flawless stone, because it proves that it's natural, or real. In the industry, we've come to appreciate stones that have these inclusions and actually call them "The Garden" within the emerald. According the Gemological Institute of America (the Harvard of gemological schools and laboratories), "the stone endowed the wearer with the ability to foresee the future when emerald was placed under the tongue, as well as to reveal truth and be protected against evil spells. Emerald was once also believed to cure diseases like cholera and malaria. Wearing an emerald was believed to reveal the truth or falseness of a lover’s oath as well as make one an eloquent speaker. Legend also states that emerald was one of the four precious stones given by God to King Solomon. These four stones were said to have endowed the king with power over all creation. Its color reflects new spring growth, which makes it the perfect choice of a birthstone for the month of May. It’s also the gemstone for twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries."
While many people prefer to say the gemstones in their jewelry are "natural" or "untreated", the emerald is one of the gemstones that often does go through some type of treatment- not to hide flaws or to trick the wearer, but to both enhance the natural beauty and strengthen the stone and these treatments more often than not, only add value to the stone. Our friends at Minerals.net explain it quite clearly, "Flaws are often hidden by treating the Emeralds with oil or synthetic lubricants, and this is a common practice in the industry. Though Colombian Emeralds have traditionally been the highest quality Emeralds with the finest green color, a new source of Emerald from the African country of Zambia has been producing deep green Emeralds with fewer flaws."
Emeralds come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the most popular being (of course) the emerald cut stone. Another favorite are cabochons, smoothly polished half globes, or teardrops- as these enhance the luminosity and mysterious play of light through the stone. While it is a hard stone, the beryl family does tend to be brittle- so it's not necessarily the ideal choice for bracelets or engagement rings that are to be worn every day, as they have a tendency to break when hit or smacked against surfaces like counters, keyboards, or whatnot. Of course, earrings, necklaces, brooches, cocktail rings, or special occasion bracelets are perfect ways to wear them! Perhaps that's why they seem to be the darling of Hollywood awards celebrations and the crown jewels of Royalty? Either way, I'm certainly green with envy each time I see someone sporting an incredible stone worthy of the Emerald City in Oz....
Dream big, because we want to make your jewelry dreams come true. Our 100% custom made jewelry perfectly tailored to your needs and desires. Executed to the highest of industry standards, no detail is ignored or missed.
We begin with a conversation with you, then our fabulously talented jeweler Chelsea Lea starts with a sketch. The two hefty diamonds in this ring were given to a customer by a beloved aunt. She wanted something really spectacular to showcase their beauty, but as a piece that was easy and comfortable enough to wear everyday.
After the sketch is approved, our jeweler creates a 3D model of the piece through a computer animated drafting program (or CAD). This allows even the smallest details to be augmented and corrected to ensure a perfect piece. We work hand in hand with some of the most brilliant metalsmiths in North America to have the basic mounting created off site through a process called "lost wax casting." This creates an original mold of your item (in this case a ring) in which the molten silver, gold, or platinum is poured. Once finished, they ship it insured to us, and you are able to approve it once again. If there are stones involved, Chelsea then sets them with meticulous care and finishes everything by hand. If desired, you can also have a formal insurance appraisal by Deanne Hoffman, owner and appraiser for Precious Gems & Jewelry. Once that is completed, you are presented with the exact piece of jewelry you dreamed of and truly wanted- exactly to your specifications and to highest industry standards. Beginning to end, the process only takes 3-4 weeks. A short time to wait for a piece you'll keep forever. Also, if you're looking for something a little simpler, you can get a semi-custom piece in far less time.
We also offer repairs, sizing, gem setting, pearl/bead stringing, engraving and stamping, estate evaluations, and informal appraisals as well.
Click through the slideshow below to see an example of the 100% full custom ring we designed. Nearly four carats of beautiful diamonds, 14k white gold, and exactly what the customer wanted.
INSIDER INFO: Contrary to what Instagram and Hollywood promote, a bigger diamond doesn't necessarily mean a better diamond. "You get what you paid for" rings especially true for these stones. Concentrating on acquiring a bigger gem by heavily sacrificing the clarity and/or cut means that you could be investing in big problems. Just like people, years of damage (yes! you can chip a diamond!), interior flaws, poor cutting techniques/ damage prone cuts (think the points on a princess, heart, or marquise) can really be a recipe for disaster. Enough rough days and they very well might just break and fall apart.
Instead, consider getting a slightly smaller stone with better quality and "very good- excellent" cut, and realize that color- while important- can be easily disguised by playing with the metal choice. Rose and yellow gold can enhance slightly colored diamonds, and if you happen to find a greyish stone, it's stunning set in brushed platinum. Be wary of stones with a grade of "I" meaning included- but if you're in love with an i-1 stone, make sure your jeweler plots out all of the inclusions and helps you to figure out the safest, most protected way of mounting it (sorry ladies, no cathedral settings for you!).
Whatever you do, make sure you develop a relationship with a jeweler that you can trust. While there's always a snake oil salesman out there, a good jeweler prefers to build a relationship built on trust. We know that if you're buying a diamond, that means there are probably birthdays, holidays, and more special events that (we hope) involve jewelry gifts :)
Stay Sparkling Loves! xo
MYSTERY GEM GRAB BAG STARTS MONDAY, FEB 1, 2016!
Love Rocks? Who loves rocks? We love rocks!!! Specifically, we love sparkly rocks. As a mater of fact, we love sparkly rocks so much that we've run out of space in our vaults.
So, in honor of Valentine's Day (and Spring, and it being a Tuesday, or Wednesday, or it's daytime...) we've gone through our overstock inventory and filled up a Mystery Gem Grab Bag with synthetic, semi-precious, and precious gemstones! Every purchase* now through the end of March (or until we run out of gemstones), qualifies you for one reach into our mysterious bag of treasure! Sourced from antique, estate, and vintage pieces as well as others that are brand new, these gems have all been checked for quality and are ready to be set into the piece of your dreams!
We've included huge single stones, doubles perfect for earrings, and multiples to inspire you to build just about anything you might dream up.
We've also hidden some really amazing stones inside as well... and maybe even a little bit extra... who knows? Because like love, this bag is a MYSTERY- and LoveROCKS!
*Every jewelry purchase qualifies to one "grab." 1 grab=1 bag guaranteed to contain no less than one synthetic, semi-precious, or precious gemstone. Limit one per customer per day. Gems are non transferable. Due to the age of some stones, we can not guarantee against breakage or loss. This offer will run through March 2016 or until the bag is empty, whichever occurs first. For more information, please feel free to stop by the store, call us at (910) 815-3455 or email Sara.
Sometimes our fairytales turn out to be more like macabre psychological thrillers, or worse yet- flat out B-rated horror movies. It happens to the best of us, and trust me: I feel your pain. However, I beg you: put down the hammer and don't go destroying your jewelry as some kind of vengeful metaphor for how your heart is also destroyed (tempting as it may be and regardless of how much he/she deserves it).
Instead, stop for a moment, think of what the late Zsa Zsa Gabor once (and rightly) quipped: "I never hated a man enough to give him diamonds back." Unless it's a family heirloom or outlined in some kind of pre-nup, there is no reason that you shouldn't continue to sparkle like a queen (even if he turned out to be more of a frog than a prince).
Consider this: Many have turned to us to consign or broker their jewelry simply to make ends meet after a separation or divorce. There is never, ever any shame in that. Why cry over a diamond when it can't cry over you? That being said, many sell their pieces simply to fund a well deserved vacation. Some stash them in the back of a drawer in hopes they will someday forget, but for whatever reason they can't bear to sell it (or perhaps they plan to someday pass it on to a child). Others decide to take the jewelry and make something fabulous out of it (lemons=lemonade). Removing a diamond and dropping in a favorite gemstone is a wonderful option for just about any style of diamond engagement ring: especially Art Deco and Halo! Depending on the size of the center diamond, you may opt for purchasing a matched stone and making a pair of earring! Or- one of the most popular and classic re-designs remains bezeling the diamond and making a solitaire necklace.
We have a wonderful jeweler: Chelsea Lea. She's a second generation metalsmith and trained jeweler. You can find many of her own designs in our cases, and she's keen on custom design and work. Not sure of exactly what you're looking for? Come in and ask to look at one of our many catalogues from wholesalers- you can pick your favorite design and we will special order it for your stone.
One thing you should keep in mind when budgeting a re-design: we purchase gold/platinum for weight. That means, you can pull the stones out and sell the metal to us to offset the cost. That's certainly one of our favorite ways for "Using what you have to get what you want!"
Below you'll find some of my favorite ideas for custom/semi custom reinventions of the jewelry from past relationships/marriages. Who knows? Maybe you'll find exactly what you ARE looking for this time ;)
We had so much fun seeing old friends and new during this holiday shopping season, and we do hope you found something to help your holiday sparkle a little brighter!
CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of our spectacular Christmas Jewelry Giveaway- we drew five names at random from the cards/emails and have reached out to the winners. If you don't see your name, don't despair! We tend to give away beautiful jewelry seasonally and depending on how many people enter, sometimes you have a REALLY good chance!
And with that, we wish you a very Merry Christmas (and a Happy New Year!!!)- we hope that it is sparkling, shiny, bright, glittering, gleaming, and above all: filled with your favorite things!
Forget chocolate, this is the kind of stuff I'd like to find in my stocking!
We want to reward the last minute shoppers out there (we're right there with you!) by throwing a last minute End of Year Christmas/Holiday Giveaway!
To Enter, please stop by the store and fill out a card. We would love for you to pick something up from us, but no purchase is necessary.
5 Winners will be selected on Christmas Eve before close of business. They will be notified by email and/or phone, and their names will be announced on this website and on our social media feeds.
Open to US Residents 18yrs and older. Winners will be notified by email or phone, and agree to have their names published on various media (website/social/email). While prizes do have value, they are non-transferrable. Must be claimed before midnight 12/31/15. Limit one entry per person. If you cannot make it to the store, you may enter by emailing Sara directly.
FIVE INCREDIBLE PIECES OF JEWELRY
*Warm 14k yellow gold beaded necklace with crystals
*Glittering Sterling Silver Eternity Knot "Party" Earrings with pave' crystals (perfect for New Years!)
*Gleaming deep green/black cultured pearl earrings with Sterling posts and backs
*Classic and Ladylike, a vintage Vermeil Bracelet with bright Amethyst and textured leaf details
*The Wilmington Bracelet in Sterling Silver: simply charming!
Getting Married? Read on to see our article in the upcoming Perfect Wedding Planner and how to save big on the very important little gifts you need to give the bridal party.
Tricks & Tips:
1. Try to avoid the mall. Not that I have anything against the mall, I just know that a number traditional retailers can (and will) markup jewelry and gifts 300% or more (not to mention add on hidden fees like warranties, “free” sizings, etc.). Of course you can get great deals on occasion, but it takes a lot of patience and persistent monitoring of sales counters.
2. Check out small, independent jewelers and gift shops that specialize in consignment or local talent. Many jewelers enjoy working out their designs in sterling before casting them in platinum or gold and you can pick up unique designs known as “samples” during trunk shows. For consignment, you may have a hard time picking up 5 of the same item, but keep in mind: someone already paid full price, so you don’t have to (prices usually run 30-80% below retail).
3. Pawn shops. These are one of my favorite places to shop and you can almost always find items at or even below wholesale prices.
4. Online retailers like Etsy, Ross-Simons, Amazon, or eBay. Etsy.com is a huge collection of independent merchants specializing in vintage or handmade items. I’m always surprised at how well the items are priced, and the merchants are usually very happy to accommodate special requests or provide discounts when ordering multiples. Ross-Simons is a big online jeweler and the clearance section can be a boon for discontinued designs. Amazon and eBay are both great for finding even more discontinued designs and products in large quantities called “lots”- many jewelers use these sites as clearing houses to move older inventory at cost or even below.
Ideas for Bridesmaid and Mother of the Bride/Groom Gifts
1. Pearl stud earrings in your bridal colors. With the huge advancements in growing cultured pearls, we can now purchase nicely sized (8-10mm) pearls for about $30 to $50. You can get them in just about any color from white to pink, lavender, blue, green, or even black. Bonus points for the bridesmaids that have metal sensitivity: sterling shouldn’t contain nickel. If you want to spend a little more, you can get a matching necklace with a sterling clasp for around $100- $150.
2. Simple Sterling Silver bands plain, finished, and/or set with semiprecious gemstones. These are so much fun worn alone or stacked. You can up the romance factor by finding bands that are similarly designed to yours, or create something just for them. Ask for a sand blasted finish for a beach wedding, or hammered for a rustic event. You can individualize each by adding their birthstone or keep them uniform with your wedding colors. Simple bands start around $20 depending on the retailer, and you can get them finished with the stones for less than $100 if you shop smart.
3. Vintage Gold Bands: I personally collect vintage wedding bands and these make a really interesting and thought provoking gift. A simple thin 10k or 14k band should only cost about $75-$195 at a consignment or pawn shop (insider tip: look for consignment shops that also purchase scrap gold as vintage wedding bands come in by the handful). If you’re worried about ring size, turn it into a pendant by stringing it along a piece of ribbon to match your colors or on a simple 16-18” sterling chain (you can find these for about $30 at local consignment shops).
4. Other “fine jewelry” options you can find for under $100 each include simple Gemstone Earrings or Pendants in sterling or 10k gold, Silver Cuff or Bangle Bracelets, and Spoon Rings (I love these because they’re almost always adjustable, and you can save even more if you pick up some sterling flatware at antique stores or flea markets). Shop sales counters and make friends with the bench jeweler at your local shop- they are almost always willing to accommodate your needs (so long as it’s reasonable).
For the Guys:
1. Vintage Watches. Nothing says old school class like looking at a sleek watch instead of your cellphone when someone asks for the time. Omega, Bulova, American Waltham, Elgin, Hamilton, and Longines are all big names known for their long term quality and precision time keeping and each company dates back to the 1800’s. Visit or call consignment stores and pawn shops to let them know that’s what you’re looking for (and make sure you tell them you want them in working condition). Keep the original leather strap for an heirloom look, or update them with something new. Pocket watches are a fun option too- and you can find older models for under $100.
2. Vintage Barware. Okay, this isn’t jewelry- but it’s a personal favorite. You can find complete sets starting around $30 at local antique dealers. A mid century decanter and rocks glasses makes an impressive gift for groomsmen and fathers of the bride alike, not only because it says to your future father in law: “I think you are cool enough to drink from something James Bond would,” but it also implies “I think you are enough of an adult that you can be trusted with actual glass,” to your groomsmen.
3. Sterling Cuff Links. Depending where you shop, you can find these for less than $50 a pair. Get them engraved with their initials, or keep them plain: after all- simplicity is always in style. Tie tacks/bars have fallen out of style in recent years, but you can still find these pretty easily with a quick search. Remember that the weight of sterling/gold directly correlates with the price, so think thin and save tons.
4. Sterling I.D. Tags. This is a fun option for any guy who tends to wake up on occasion without knowing exactly how he got there. Have them stamped or engraved with their name, address, and phone number. These are guaranteed to get a laugh. You can find these online or ask your jeweler to order them- but shop around because prices can and will vary.
In closing, weddings usually require months of meticulous and expensive planning. If fortune is on your side, your lives together will be long and prosperous, and the friends and family who stand next to you on your big day will stand next to you through the years to come. Put some thought into your gifts, and remember you needn’t spend a fortune. Enjoy the celebration of friends, family, and love. Mazel Tov!
Sara K. Graves lives in the Cape Fear Region, and has been a jewelry obsessive since 1977. She's has worked with PGAJ since 2005 and is Founder and Creative Director of TidePool Marketing. Most days, you can find her researching, writing, designing advertisements or getting distracted by sparkly things.