Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why Do We Wear Jewelry?

Over the years of working in a fine jewelry department, I've learned that women have to justify why they might treat themselves to a piece of jewelry, even those who make a ton of dough.   Many women buy their own jewelry these days, but the reasons they buy haven't changed much since our mother's generation, when baubles were purchased by their husbands or lovers for mundane and mysterious reasons.

Our Mother's Generation.....

It’s Your Birthday!
It’s Our Anniversary!
Sex Other Than Missionary Position

Our Generation…..

It’s My Birthday!
It’s My Anniversary!
I’ve Had a Shitty Week (don't even think about having sex) and This Will Make Me Feel Better - NOTE:  Most Popular Reason.

Having assisted many women at my counter over the last 20 years, I learned a lot about why we adorn ourselves.  We started by wearing rocks around our necks and bones in our hair.  What did this say about us?  Let’s look at how jewelry has evolved over time:

Stone Ages:  8000-5000BC....Note Wilma's excellent example of rock jewelry.
Early Egyptian Age: 3000 - 500 BC...This should look familiar? I really hate to see myself coming and going every 5000 years....see 1990's bracelet below.
Middle Ages: 5th-15th Centuries.......Your crown is gorgeous - No your crown is the most beautiful - No your is - No yours is.
Renaissance: 15th-16th Centuries....Many layers of jewelry and clothes made it really difficult  to pee at those summer festivals.
Early Modern Ages:  1600-1800.....Hair Lockets - This was just a gross.  Was hair really all they had around?
Industrial Revolution:  1800-1900....Cameos were huge in popularity, but small enough to attach to your bazooms.
Art Deco:  1900-1945.....Now we're talking....beautiful in every way.
1940's:  Cocktail Rings......This was inspired by the Mommy Dearest collection...big enough to balance out those shoulder pads.
1950's......Bakelite Bangles -Always sounded like cookware to me but worth $$$ today!
1960's:  Elsa Peretti Bean Necklace.  My sister and I owned this piece.  I wish I knew where it was today.
1970's:  Lucite careful you'll knock your eye out with this Skeletor limited edition.
1980's:  Diamond Tennis Bracelets.  Everyone had to have one.  Do not fall for ads that offer 5 carats for $99.  You are buying frozen spit.
1990's and on...David Yurman.  Although he started his business in the early 80's, Mr. Yurman became uber popular in the 90's and beyond, establishing the trend of designer and lifestyle aspirational jewelry.  However, see early Egyptian era for original design inspiration.  Lesson:  It's OK to be a jewelry hoarder because what's old will be new again.

TAGS: , , ,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kim Kardashian’s Unassuming 20.5 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring

Surprisingly, there are very few close-up photos of Kim and her ring.  With all the images out there of the Kardashian’s you would think they would be plastered everywhere.  I guess there would be more photos if we hung rings off our asses. Photo by
Obviously Kim Kardashian needed a diamond that would balance out her badonkadonk, so that’s why her boyfriend, New Jersey Nets Kris Humphries, proposed to her with an emerald cut diamond engagement ring with a center stone weighing 16.5 carats and two side stones weighing 2 carats each, for a whopping 20.5 carat total weight.  According to People magazine, the diamonds are of the “highest quality," designed by celebrity jewelry designer, Lorraine Schwartz, and valued in the neighborhood of $2 million.  You might remember Lorraine Schwartz from my emeralds post.  She is responsible for Angelina Jolie’s gorgeous emerald earrings and ring. So Humphries, who pocketed $3.2 million for this past season for the Nets, totally ignored the two months salary rule for engagement rings. However, it was just reported that Humphries’ contract with the Nets runs out as soon as the NBA postseason is over, and he will become a free agent where he stands to be courted by other teams for big money. Alas, I wish I paid more attention in gym class.

This image is from People magazine, but I can’t be sure it’s really her ring.  Unless that arm and body are attached to her head, no one knows for sure…but it matches the description of her amazing diamond.  

Photo by Nick Saglimbeni

Why it Pays to Hook Up With Athletes…In Order of Size (diamond that is)…

Hilary Duff

Duff's 14 carat radiant cut diamond from hockey player Mike Comrie is worth an estimated $1 million. Great piece of ice.  

Photo Jeffrey Mayer/; Bobby Bank/

Khloe Kardashian

Lamar Odom gave the reality star a Vartan's Fine Jewelry 12.5-carat radiant-cut ring worth $850,000.  Do you think she’s jealous of her sister’s ring? 

 Photo Denise Truscello/

Carrie Underwood

Hockey player Mike Fisher gave Carrie this 12-carat diamond ring worth about $800,000 before proposing in December 2009.  Ice by Zamboni. 

Photo by Todd Williamson/

Keyshia Cole

The Cleveland Cavaliers' Daniele Gibson gave the singer a 9-carat round-cut Jason of Beverly Hills ring worth $800,000 during his New Year's proposal.  I'm not sure who this person even is, but in my book, she could just be famous for the ring (she is actually a singer).  

Photo Mark Sullivan/

Maria Sharapova

L.A. Laker Sasha Vujacic popped the question to the tennis star in October with an estimated 9-carat cushion-cut stone. The estimated cost: $250,000.  We could surmise that Keyshia’s 9 carat cushion cut diamond at $800,000 might be better quality than Sharapova’s 9 carat at $250,000. 

AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Karina Smirnoff 


The Dancing with the Stars  celebrity has an estimated 4.5 carat princess cut diamond, worth approximately $95,000 from fiancĂ©e, Detroit Tiger’s starting pitcher Brad Penny.  These stones are starting to get a little too small for my taste. 


Photo by Denise Truscello/ 

Kendra Wilkinson

Hank Baskett gave his June 2009 bride a Bernie Robbins Fine Jewelers 2.25-carat princess-cut ring worth about $50,000.  What’s up with that?  Hank, here are three things to keep in mind when you have the smallest ring on the list:

She was a Playboy Playmate.
She shook her booty on Dancing with the Stars.
She had your gigantic baby.

      You should be ashamed of yourself…you need to upgrade this ring immediately. 
Photo by Byron Purvis/AdMedia

TAGS: , ,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Farewell, Oprah – I’m Sorta Sad to See You Go

OK!  OK!  Enough already.  We’re all sad that Oprah is leaving.  What will the city of Chicago do once she’s gone?  I heard Chicago was only loaning her out from time to time because they claim to OWN her (ha).  Frankly, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Oprah over the last 10 years or so.  I vacillate between finding her very inspiring to being embarrassed I’m watching the show.  I appreciated the early years that brought insightful shows with compelling content we could relate to; however, at some point (about the time her wealth was approaching Vulcan warp uberness) some guests, usually celebrities, started to make me feel a little uncomfortable in the way they thanked her for just about everything in their lives.  Oprah’s last two weeks of shows had guests and clips of some pretty famous people saying goodbye.  They didn’t just say farewell, they licked her feet.  And the way Oprah sat in her chair, taking it all in, turning loaves into fishes, made me a little uncomfortable.  She is obviously the leader of a special group of people who, based on their wealth, live in another cosmos and share inside information on life we mere mortals will never know.

The recent show featuring relationship expert, Iyanla Vanzant, was a good example of the type of snarfing I’m talking about.  Apparently Oprah resurrected her from her self-imposed obscurity after Iyanla had the nerve to think about going in a different direction after Oprah got her started.  After mutual namastes, Iyanla started the episode with a tearful apology saying how sorry she was and how much she loved Oprah.  After much flagellation on Iyanla’s part (did you see those cat ‘o nine tail anywhere?), there appeared to be some sort of reconciliation between the women.  There was so much angst going on it could only be presented in a two-part episode.  I thought I saw Oprah sprinkle pixie dust on Iyanla as she told her, “You were already forgiven” – aka - “You had me at hello."  Iyanla Vanzant Apologizes to Oprah Video.   

It seems as though Oprah needed to haul out a few of the people who pissed her off or embarrassed her over the years.  Poor James Frey from A Million Little Pieces fame. Her continued badgering of the guy and his refusal to capitulate to the total ruination of his life turned this into an uncomfortable two-parter.  He had to remind Oprah that the death of his infant son was actually the worst moment of his life, not the hissy fit she threw because she chose HIS BOOK OF LIES to rocket to famedom. 

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett were guests on her farewell extravaganza.  How fitting.  Two more self-important celebrities that pontificated about how Oprah gave them lung and brain.  Smith, who recently was denied the privilege of resting in an 1100 square foot double decker trailer on the streets of New York, while filming the upcoming Men In Black III (for real, a third?), felt maybe no one would notice a vehicle spewing fumes and exhaust that was bigger than many apartments in NYC.  

However, it’s her knack for balancing schmaltz against devotion that is one of the reasons her show is such good TV.  By interviewing traumatized people in one episode, then ripping off her Snuggie and announcing it’s the Favorite Things show in the next, she offered us never ending variety.  But, come on now, admit it.  The Favorite Things show disturbs you a little – right?  If you are post-menopausal, you might remember the daytime show,  Queen For a Day!  which, like OFT’s, was just another hour long commercial presenting products to sobbing women.  I guess after she’s off the air I’ll just have to be satisfied remembering the hysterical images of all of the people in the audience (mostly women) losing their minds and experiencing their first orgasm….in Chicago of all places.  SNL Favorite Things Parody

Oprah--you are yin and yang, and I can’t believe I’m not a little more tolerant since I am totally a Libra and believe in balance.  Just as I reach ultimate annoyance level, you come up with a show like the Rwandan sisters who were reunited with the family they thought was lost forever, and I'm back on the Oprah train again .  The thing is--once in a while, whether I like to admit it or not, your shows actually make me stop what I’m doing, sit down and listen, unlike other shows I "non-watch" which is watching TV in my multi-tasking, distracted way.  Over the years you have challenged the way I think and for that, I will miss you.

TAGS: , ,

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Goodbye, Oprah! I Will Miss Your Jewelry...

As a nod to Oprah’s farewell week, let’s take a look at her jewelry and her style over the years.  I just spent the weekend viewing hundreds of images of her and girrrrrllllll…….she's got some bodacious jewels.  I’m not sure I’m in total sync with her clothing stylist because her looks have been hit or miss over the years, but one thing is for sure: as she acquired wealth, she definitely got better jewelry.  

Oprah’s Earrings


Starting with the 1970’s look.  Not fair because we all looked like dorks back then.  Funny how we thought we looked so good. Do you suppose she still wears these peace earrings every now and then?

By the 80’s, the hair was getting bigger as were the earrings.  These were the years we ruined our ear lobes.  We all talked about getting surgery on them but few of us did.  There are lots of little lobe  backs and discs you can use to camouflage any flaw you have.  Look closely at the image above.  Her earrings look eerily like Michael Jackson’s gloves.

In the 1990’s we still had big hair and big earrings and Toontown gave birth to the smoky eye.  However, in the image above you can see she has discovered yellow diamonds.  Oprah seems to favor drops, and although I don’t know for sure, they look like they could be detachable.  Her diamond necklace is gorgeous as well.   

1997-These must be an extra pair she keeps laying around.  They are small compared to what she owns today.

2004-Chandelier earrings were new on the scene and we sold lots of them.  Oprah looks good in hanging earrings.

2006-I used to see her wear her yellow diamonds a lot but I haven’t seen them in a while.  These could be about 10 carats per ear and could easily cost over $250,000 each.

2011 - It’s really hard to estimate the carat weight of these earrings but they are huge.  Could be 5-10 carats each.   If you check out Blue Nile, you can find radiant cut diamonds at approximately 6.0 tcw, G, VS-1, and are selling for around $233,000 each, making the approximate value of Oprah’s earrings close to a half million dollars.

I was really surprised not to find any definitive information on the size and value of Oprah's earrings, or of the diamond house that sold them to her.  I found very general estimates of “10 carats," but they did not indicate whether or not that was total weight for one earring, or the total weight for both. In my opinion, the bottom of one earring (one pear stone) could be as much as 10 carats.  And, of course, Oprah would only have the best quality diamonds available. On eBay right now in the loose diamond category, a 7.89 carat, pear shaped, D-IF, GIA certified loose diamond (D-IF is the top quality you can buy) is selling for $1,922,004.  If you want to sacrifice a little clarity, you can find a 12.15 carat, pear shaped, D-VVS2, GIA certified loose diamond for $1,321,876.  This gives you some idea of how much just one stone can cost.  The thing is, you must find four equally matched stones to create these earrings, and that is not easy to do.  So as you can imagine, Oprah has a very special pair of earrings.

Oprah’s Watches

Considering how much she spends on her diamonds, I’m surprised by her watches.  You don’t see her wear one in many photos, but she is very faithful to Philip Stein.  Oprah gave them away on her Favorite Things shows in 2003, 2005 and 2010.

In 2010, Philip Stein commemorated her 25 years on TV with a special edition diamond and non-diamond version.  The two and the five are highlighted to recognize 25 years on the Oprah Show.  We carry Philip Stein in my store and I remember when these watches came in right before the holidays.  We only got one diamond and one non-diamond version as they were limited editions.  No sooner had we put them in the case when someone came in for the diamond watch.  She was a true Oprah devotee, and although her head didn’t exactly spin 360° around, and she looked like Susan Boyle, pre-makeover, she was damn happy to get this watch.

TAGS: , , , ,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels, Geneva, 17 May 2011 Update

I left you hanging the other day after my emerald post. Two of the pieces I featured were to be auctioned Tuesday, May 17th in Geneva at the Sotheby's "Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels" event. The emerald and diamond tiara offered for the first time in over 30 years and an emerald and diamond ring. Read on to see if these amazing jewels hit their mark at the auction:

Sotheby’s May 17, 2011 Auction: 
“The Most Important Diamond and Emerald Tiara”
Estimated sale:  $5,000,000-$10,000,000

SOLD:  $12,736,927

Remember my TPW rule before you place your bid.
The most valuable emerald and diamond tiara to appear at an auction in more than 30 years will be auctioned by Sotheby's May 17 at its Magnificent and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva.  This highly important and rare tiara is composed of 11 Colombian emerald pear-shaped drops which total more than 500 carats.  The piece is estimated to sell for $5 million to $10 million.  The tiara was commissioned circa 1900, and was formerly in the collection of Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck.   

Sotheby’s May 17, 2011 Auction:
“12 Carat 16th Century Colombian Emerald Ring"

Estimated sale:   $500,000-$800,000
SOLD:  $625,981

Remember do not wear this while doing the dishes.

The thing I wonder about is who are the people who buy this jewelry and where do they wear it?  All I know is -  if I see someone heading my way with that tiara on when I'm in the paper towel aisle -  I know how much she paid for it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why Do People Misbehave In A Store?

Flickr Image courtesy of Scurzuzu
I’ve been in the business for a long time and have seen just about everything one would see in a public place.   I saw an old man fall down a moving escalator and injure himself so badly it looked like we were filming a slasher movie in the store that day.  I saw a mother yelling at her child so harshly as they left the store I followed her into the parking lot and placed a secret Batcall to 911 after I saw her license plate number.  I saw a child throw up on the floor in my store and rather than take the child home, her mother continued to shop without missing a beat (not even a mouth rinse).   And it’s more common than you know to find used sanitary napkins and tampons strewn about on the ladies room floor…like the menstrual reclamation center in the typical stall is sooooo far away and hard to reach.

Why do some people feel it’s OK to behave this way in an upscale store?  Is it a socio-economic thing?  Are people in some way mad at the store (yes, this happens)?  Do people just not care and think someone else will pick up their goo?  Do you think they do this in their own home?  While I’ve never been able to definitively answer these questions, these occurrences are always fodder for conversation among the associates in the store, and although we would never speak about this openly, you better believe we are talking about behind closed doors.  When you deal with the public, you are always analyzing people's behavior to get a better understanding of what drives them to do the things they do.

Here’s my theory…I know there are some undeveloped humans who are so stressed out, so frustrated in their own lives, that they carry a lot of anger around with them….sort of like an extra ass.  So if at the end of their long work day, this angry individual must come into the store and deal with a “sales person” (ugh!) who they feel is at the bottom of their personal food chain, they will snap at the first thing that sets them off….because they can.  They won’t do it to their boss or their doctor or their attorney, but they will do it to us, and for a brief moment, they feel better.  We, however, recognize these people as they approach our counter and we send out messages to each other when we see them coming, much like a primal form of semiosis or Choctaw code talking.  Unfortunately, because I am the manager, these people are usually coming to see me.  My approach is to immediately put them on notice that they are behaving badly and should be ashamed of themselves (in so many words).  My favorite is “there is no such thing as a jewelry emergency” and calm the hell down.  Is this really the worst thing in your life right now?  My job is to take care of whatever they need and once they realize I will do this, they calm down.  No more exploding heads.  Sometimes they are even a little disappointed I’m not going to argue with them. 

Here’s something else I know.  I was told (more than once) by one of my superiors that people who work in retail are only one step up from the fast food industry.  Apparently people start at McDonalds and go directly to Neiman’s.  She didn’t pull this statement out of her hat but rather was given this information by industry analysts who follow employment trends.  However, I don’t really agree with this.  Over the years, I’ve worked with all types of people.  Some with advanced degrees, some without any degree at all, and I’ve come to believe that people who have the kind of skill required to work with all types of people, from kind to difficult, possess the type of education you don’t find in school.  You are born with it.

TAGS: , , , ,

Sunday, May 15, 2011


When I first started in the jewelry business, we carried emeralds – or something that was supposed to look like an emerald but really looked more like square boogers.  Many were off color – almost grey-green, and most were very small set in the typical ring, earring and necklace mountings.  Wearing boogers is not cool. As you will read below, color is the main thing that makes an emerald valuable. 

Emeralds have been prized for thousands of years for their lush green hues and rare beauty. Throughout the ancient world, emeralds symbolized eternal hope, rebirth and the arrival of spring - and some cultures believed the gem rewarded its owners with love, intelligence, eloquence and great wealth. Colombia continues to be at the top of the list of the countries in which fine emeralds are found.  Colombian emeralds differ from emeralds found in other deposits because they have an especially fine, clear emerald green hue.  This beautiful color is so valued in the international emerald trade that even obvious inclusions are regarded as acceptable.   


Emeralds rate 7.5-8 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale but they can be fragile due to the inclusions which are found naturally in the stones.  It's actually OK to see those little marks and lines throughout your stone.  Emeralds require more special care than most stones (that alone should tell you something....anything that requires more care than your hair requires further thought).  They should never be submerged in hot water or placed near heat sources so wearing them can give you a good reason not to have to cook.  Never put your emerald in an ultra-sonic machine to clean it as the intense vibrations of the machine can pulverize a stone and break it apart.  This actually happened to one of my colleagues. They wound up straining the emerald dust through paper towels while schvitzing in the back room and had to order the customer a new ring...believe me, you only learn that lesson once in your life.  Be sure take off your emerald jewelry before you do dishes (another reason to wear them – you don’t have to do housework either) as cleaning products can remove the oils used to protect and seal a stone after it’s been cut.  You can use a very soft toothbrush along with water to clean a stone then wipe it dry with a soft cloth.  Every 2-5 years emeralds should be re-oiled by a professional.  Be sure the jeweler you use is familiar with handling these special stones. 


As I said before, color is the most important aspect when considering emeralds. Generally speaking the darker the color the more valuable the emerald. However, just because an emerald is dark green does not make it valuable. A fine emerald will have a dark blue green color while at the same time be translucent and brilliant.  Fine inclusions do not diminish its value. On the contrary, even with inclusions, an emerald in a deep, lively green still has a much higher value than an almost flawless emerald whose color is paler. There are many dark opaque stones that are very cheap (unfortunately, this is what you see most often in department stores). Obtaining good color in emeralds at an affordable price was the reason my store stopped carrying a large assortment of these stones and why I never purchased one of my own. Even with my store discount, a really good emerald was still so expensive, that along with the fragility of the stone, I was concerned I wouldn't be comfortable wearing it all the time, therefore, it wouldn't pass my “Times Per Wear” test.  TPW is my theory for buying something expensive and it’s a good rule to employ.  If you are not putting your new thing on while in the car in the parking lot, wearing those new shoes right out of the store, or wearing your new thing so much your friends are saying...."uh...don't you have anything else to put on," you must rethink your purchase.  You have to feel wanton lust for it, immediately rip off those tags, put it on and then proceed to wear it until you are bored with it.  People who have new things in their closets with tags that have not yet been test driven saving it “for something good” are totally breaking the TPW rule.


We've established that emeralds tend to have numerous inclusions.  Unlike diamonds, where a 10x loupe is used to determine quality, emeralds are graded by eye. If an emerald has no visible inclusions to the eye it is considered flawless. Stones that lack inclusions are extremely rare and therefore almost all emeralds are treated, or "oiled", to enhance the apparent clarity.  Pure green emeralds with no inclusions are one of the most expensive stones you can buy.  Although my normal everyday assortment of emeralds was not of top quality, I did have access to a few wonderful vendors who carried top notch beautiful stones. You might not think customers would buy an expensive emerald from a large retailer, but we did sell a magnificent emerald ring to one of our best customers by bringing stones in for her to review and then having her selection set by my jeweler.  We sold the four carat emerald cut emerald with trillion cut diamonds on either side for approximately $25,000.  This client trusted us so much she didn’t mind paying the premium that can come with buying retail.  This is why my phone number was on speed dial with many of my clients - they trusted me. 


The cut is usually the most boring part of the four C's and many people don't understand how important it really is.  The faceting, shape, width and depth of the emerald make up the cut. The ideal cut emerald will be symmetrical and have uniform facets that provide for maximum color and brilliance. Round emeralds are least common because you must waste more material to cut a round but you can find them, along with oval cuts, used as cabochon stones (rounded and smooth rather than faceted) as a center or accent stone.  A rectangular step cut known as the "emerald" cut is generally thought to produce the best end result for emeralds and, in my opinion, along with a square cut, is really the only cut for an emerald stone. 


Although size really does matter, the actual carat weight of an emerald is not as important as the color or clarity when determining the value of a stone. An eight carat significantly included emerald of dark color without translucency would not be as valuable as a four-carat stone of impeccable color, translucency, and a few inclusions. Thus, the color, clarity, and cut should be taken into consideration before carat weight. I've decided, after looking at the following images of amazing emeralds, that if I can't wear it on my head or pin it to my boobs, I'll probably never own one. 



Angelina Jolie's 115 carat Lorraine Schwartz Colombian emerald earrings and 65 carat emerald ring worn to the 2009 Oscar’s.  Not sure if Jolie owns these gems or borrowed them.  Lorraine Schwartz, who makes some of the most amazing pieces out there, does not pay celebrities to wear her jewelry as some jewelers do as a way to advertise. The earrings alone are valued at $2.5 million. 

Of course only Angelina Jolie would wear the most amazing oval cut emeralds that completely debunk the information I provided on the cuts of stones but I'm using her jewelry anyway.

Sotheby’s May 17, 2011 Auction:
“12 Carat 16th Century Colombian Emerald Ring"

Estimated sale:   $500,000-$800,000

Remember do not wear this while doing the dishes.

Offered at the May 17, 2011 Sotheby’s auction is a 16th century Colombian emerald which exhibits the most vivid green, exemplified in this superb emerald and diamond ring, set with an octagonal step-cut Colombian emerald weighing 12.03 carats, estimated to sell for $500,000-800,000. “Natural emeralds from Colombia of this size and quality represent a great rarity” and this gemstone has been described by the SSEF laboratory as “a very exceptional treasure."

Sotheby’s May 17, 2011 Auction: 
“The Most Important Diamond and Emerald Tiara”

Estimated sale:  $5,000,000-$10,000,000

Remember my TPW rule before you place your bid.

The most valuable emerald and diamond tiara to appear at an auction in more than 30 years will be auctioned by Sotheby's May 17 at its Magnificent and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva.  This highly important and rare tiara is composed of 11 Colombian emerald pear-shaped drops which total more than 500 carats.  The piece is estimated to sell for $5 million to $10 million.  The tiara was commissioned circa 1900, and was formerly in the collection of Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck.   

Christies April 2011 Auction: 
The Catherine the Great Emerald and Diamond Brooch

Estimated sale: $1,000,000-1,500,000

SOLD - Realized Price at Auction - $1,650,500.

Is it wrong to wear an emerald as large as your kneecap when going food shopping?

The center of this brooch is a hexagonal-cut Colombian emerald of 60-70 carats, secured within an openwork two-tiered rose-cut diamonds border, surrounded by a row of old mine-cut diamonds, mounted in silver-topped gold, from the mid 18th century.  The brooch stem may be detached and the brooch may be worn as a pendant with an additional pendant hoop.  

An important imperial jewel, the Catherine the Great Emerald and Diamond Brooch evokes the bygone days of Russian majesty. It is a testament to an empire and a glittering memento which adorned princesses, grand duchesses and empresses alike, and is now being offered at auction for the first time in 40 years. With such a history, the possession of a jewel of this quality and rarity would certainly be the center of any modern collection.  

It was acquired for Catherine II of Russia after she ascended to the throne in 1762 and it became known as one of the most outstanding jewels in her vast collection.  To historians she is Catherine the Great.  To Russian nobles and commoners of her time she was the "beloved mother" of her people.  With not a single drop of Russian blood in her veins, for her contemporaries and for successive generations, she was to become the very embodiment of Russia, ruling a mighty empire for thirty-four years.  "Russia above all" was her credo.  Christie's Features Archive, 30 March 2010.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Do You Make Faces When You Try On Earrings?

Konstantino Pearl Dangle Earrings
I showed a woman a pair of beautiful Konstantino earrings the other day ($555.00 on the Neiman Marcus website).  She was over 50 and probably was attractive in her earlier years but since she was a smoker (I could smell it) she had those little lines all around her mouth that one gets from years of pursing your lips as you  inhale cigarette smoke.  I guess you think you’re sexy and mysterious when you first start to smoke, however, by the time you’re 50, if you are still a smoker, those cigs have not been kind….and God forbid you tan as well – you just wind up looking like Keith Richards.

So she does this thing that about 80% of my female clients do when they try on earrings.   She puts them on, looks at herself in the mirror, then purses her lips to form some kind of sexy pout as she checked herself out.  Along with the pout, she also musses and poofs the hair  Now, I think she thought she was looking all fabulous and everything but I just heard the Rolling Stones in the background.   Just sayin’.....don’t smoke if you plan on wearing earrings later in life.