ANTIQUE OR VINTAGE
What is antique jewelry? If you look up the definition, anything antique should be more than 100 years old. Vintage jewelry is supposed to be less than 100 years old but more than 20 years. It depends on how technical you want to get but as for me, antique gemstone jewelry is more of a concept. Quite frankly, a lot of jewelry today that is being promoted as antique jewelry is a copy and wasn’t really made 100 years ago. We are simply copying the style of that era. I think it’s true what they say the Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. There are thousands of websites offering vintage and antique jewelry. As I meander through the sites, clicking on something that catches my eye, I think to myself it’s really all the same. Whether 20 years old or a hundred or maybe even 1000 (like Egyptian Cartouche necklaces), to me it is all antique gemstone jewelry.
When I was 15, my grandmother died and I inherited some of her beautiful antique jewelry. My favorite was a classic opal gemstone ring. The jewelry was gifted to me by my father, who said I am sure she would want you have this. Grandma Hannah was my favorite relative, so much so that I named my daughter after her. When I wore the ring, I could still feel her wrinkled out body hugging me and her long silver hair draped on my shoulders.
The dazzling opal with its spectrum of color was in a 14k gold lace type design, almost like the gold was woven. It was surrounded by tiny little diamonds. I wore it for many years and one day, the stone was gone. Just like that, my heart was broken. I have searched high and low for a piece maybe not exactly the same, but something similar. Recently, I found a ring that reminded me of Hannah and her ring. Etsy has a stunning Australian Opal ring and it is offered in 14k, 18k, rose gold or platinum. The cabochon style cut stone is placed in a traditional prong setting. Now what makes this really antique is the fact that cabochon stones were the only type cut available before faceting was invented!!!
My favorite jewelry is Sorrelli. Even though I consider it antique gemstone jewelry… they call it Artisan. Here we go again with semantics. The meaning of an artisan is a worker in a skilled trade who makes things by hand. Truth be told Jewelers make things by hand too, it’s just a different way of saying it in my opinion. They are both trades and both skilled. Call it what you will. My love affair with Sorrelli started at a secret auction. Bid on a pair of earrings and won. I was hooked. They were a cushion style cut, encircled with a classic vintage border. The color was champagne and the trim was dark silver. Even though I only spent $10 on those earrings, they cost me a lot more in the long run. I haven’t counted my pieces, but they take up a good deal of real estate in my armoire! But well worth the money, and they run some great sales, especially on your birthday. But even more importantly, I feel beautiful when I wear them and get so many compliments.
This is a tough one because all gemstones have their own beautiful qualities. I think for this one, I’m going to have to agree with Marilyn Monroe and say “Diamonds are a girls best friend!” It’s not that I have a huge collection of diamonds, but mostly because my wedding ring is my favorite piece of jewelry. I had never been married and just turned 53. My mother just died of cancer and there was an empty hole in my life. Then I met my husband. We got along splendidly and in 5 months, I closed up my apartment in moved in with him. I FINALLY find the love of my life, but he wasn’t ready to commit.
About a year into our relationship, I stopped in at Zales and was smitten with the Past, Present, Future collection. I tried on the ring an announced to Betty that I was getting married, but it was going to take a little time to convince my boyfriend. After all, he confessed to me that he loved me more than both of his ex-wives. When I went home, I gave him the business card and said no rush, but when you’re ready, call Betty!!! True Story. It took 3 more years, but I got my ring. And it actually was a surprise, on my 56th birthday. It is the only piece of jewelry I own that I never take off, except for cleaning and getting my 6m checkup under warranty. It symbolizes our love; when we met, our present together and our future dreams.
GEMSTONE CUT AND SHAPE
Sometimes people get confused about shape and cut, which are 2 entirely different things. Let me explain. Gem cutting can be traced back to 3,000 BC. Now that’s Antique!!! Most gemstones are found in mines in their natural form. They are then cut in a way to display their natural brilliance. Lapidarys grind, cut and polish the original gemstones.
They are then shaped (or trimmed so to speak) to enhance the stone’s natural form. Round is the most popular, followed by oval, pear and marquis. Kay Jewelers has a great custom program, where you pick your own gem and setting. They also offer a diamond education program which gives guidance on how to pick the perfect shape and style that matches your personality.
DISPLAYING YOUR GEMSTONES
I wear my gemstones daily and proudly. My wedding ring constantly reminds me of the love of my life. When I get dressed each day, I open my armoire and decide which pieces go best with my ensemble. Silver and gold can be interchanged or worn separately. Sometimes, I wear all silver settings and other days I am in a gold mood. If I want to put a little pep in my step, I go for bling. For Valentines Day this year, my love presented me with the Infinity Diamond Necklace and Earrings Set from Zales. I am presently wearing them. I love both my good jewelry and my costume jewelry. And then there’s holiday jewelry, with pumpkins, candy canes and jingle bells. Whatever the choice of the day is, I know that it always makes me feel beautiful !!!