Quote from “The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America”

“The unwinding brings freedom, more than the world has ever granted, and to more kinds of people than ever before—freedom to go away, freedom to return, freedom to change your story, get your facts, get hired, get fired, get high, marry, divorce, go broke, begin again, start a business, have it both ways, take it to the limit, walk away from the ruins, succeed beyond your dreams and boast about it, fail abjectly and try again.”

-George Packer

The Sugarloaf

 

 

The sugarloaf manages to be both humble and bombastic, understated but magnificent, paying true homage to nature’s vivid palate. 

In light of two friends’ recent engagement, which came with a gorgeous sugarloaf ruby ring, I’m inspired to post about this special cut.

The sugarloaf, named for the form in which sugar was sold before the advent of the sugar cube, is a variation of the more common cabochon-cut. This cut was made to highlight a gemstone’s magnificent color. It does not try to disguise the natural inclusions within the stone but acts as a window into their unique beauty. (See the above picture, courtesy of 1stdibs.com, for a stunning example of a ruby.) A rough gemstone is cut into an elipse shape with a diamond-edged saw and then ground-down with diamond grit and polished to a high shine. 

The sugarloaf manages to be both humble and bombastic, understated but magnificent, paying true homage to the incredible vividness of nature’s palate. The cut is used heavily, though not exclusively, to fashion sapphires, rubies and emeralds in fine jewelry. Polished in smooth domes, words like “juicy” and “sumptuous” come to mind when I see these candy-like gems.  I always have the urge to pop them in my mouth!

See a comparison of  the cabochon and sugarloaf cuts in these two spectacular JAR, Paris rings. Though very similar, you will see that though emerald dome is high, the ruby has a slightly more squared effect and comes to a soft point at its peak.

Photo courtesy of JAR.
Photo courtesy of JAR.
Photo courtesy of JAR.
Photo courtesy of JAR.
Photo courtesy of Farone.
Photo courtesy of Farone.

 

Photo courtesy of 1stdibs.com
Photo courtesy of 1stdibs.com

 

Photo courtesy of Fred, Paris.
Photo courtesy of Fred, Paris.

 

Photo courtesy of Kara Ross.
Photo courtesy of Kara Ross.

 

 

Wallace Chan’s Cicadas

Wallace Chan is a master who derives inspiration from the natural world. In light of my recent jade post, the featured image above is a breathtaking example of how lovely the gemstone is. Cicadas make an intricate and symbolic subject. See my cicada vase post! Please enjoy this variety of Chan’s cicada brooches.

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All photos courtesy of Wallace Chan.

Jadeite Jade

My appreciation for jadeite jade has bloomed in the last year. As my palate refines, I find their rich color and glassy appearance more and more desirable. When I think about the fact that this gemstone is pulled from the ground this way, velvety and rich green, my pulse picks up! Not to be confused with mass-produced, highly-treated jade, top quality jadeite can fetch $20,000 per carat, more than some high quality ruby and sapphires.

A culturally significant stone that has been cherished for thousands of years, jadeite jade offers the wearer a luminescent pop of color with an understated elegance. Jadeite has magical and spiritual properties according to some in Chinese culture and has even been ground and taken medicinally. It is durable, vibrant and comes in a variety of colors. Aside from jadeite, another silicate, nephrite, is also classified as jade and is often mottled green and white and often used for hard stone carving. Jade has also been used to make ax-heads, knives and other weapons because of its ability to be finely carved.

Jadeite Jade Bangle
jadeite jade bangle
Jadeite Jade ring
jadeite jade ring
Hutton Jadeite
Barbara Hutton Cartier jadeite necklace with ruby clasp
Photo courtesy of Mason-Kay
Photo courtesy of Mason-Kay
Jadeite Jade Buttons
jadeite jade buttons

Hand-made, antique Chinese jadeite buttons of high-quality green jadeite. Probable origin: Burma (the Union of Myanmar today). Photo courtesy of Gregory Phillips. (above)

Jadeite jade rough
jadeite jade rough

Malachite

The banded mineral called Malachite has enjoyed a resurgence.  Used as a pigment in paint from antiquity until the 1800’s, the vibrant colors  of this semi-precious gemstone exhibit many shades, from bright and light  to blackish-green.  The irregular bands of color form  mesmerizing amorphous shapes. Its attractive qualities are not limited to jewelry but  work beautifully in interior design and fashion as well.

This first bracelet blows my mind. Boucheron…crazy gorgeous.

18 KARAT GOLD, MALACHITE, PURPURINE AND IVORY BRACELET, BOUCHERON, PARISPhoto courtesy of Sotheby's.
18 KARAT GOLD, MALACHITE, PURPURINE AND IVORY BRACELET, BOUCHERON, PARISPhoto courtesy of Sotheby’s.
Photo courtesy of AZALEA
Photo courtesy of AZALEA
Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of Kendra Scott
Michael Kors
Michael Kors
Courtesy of www.sueathome.com
Courtesy of www.sueathome.com

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Photo courtesy of Cleo Walker
Photo courtesy of Cleo Walker

The Bezel Setting

I was working with an engagement client the other day and as we discussed bezel-set diamonds, I was inspired to post on the subject.

The bezel setting is a protective rim or border of metal that encases the entirety of the gemstone. There is usually a groove in which the outer edge of the gemstone is seated and then a lip of metal that is then pushed down, or burnished, carefully over top of that edge, holding the gemstone in place. This was the first method of gemstone setting. Bezels can be thick or thin, smooth or textured, with a modern or ancient design. Either way, it is a beautiful and exceptionally safe way to wear your favorite jewel (even soft or brittle ones like emerald and opal).  I hope you enjoy this selection of gorgeous bezel-set pieces!

Diagram of bezel setting.
Diagram of bezel setting.

 

Continue reading The Bezel Setting