Blue Sapphire: The Perfect Choice for a Love That is Steady and Sure

Capture the Essence! of September's Birthstone with this Gorgeous Vintage Filigree 4-Carat Blue Sapphire Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of September’s Birthstone with this Gorgeous Vintage Filigree 4-Carat Blue Sapphire Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

This blue sapphire engagement ring is one of our favorites, for good reason. It was fashioned in the 1950s and boasts exquisite shoulders pierced and molded into bow ribbons which are encrusted with tiny diamonds and finished with a milgrain edge. The sides are hand etched in gorgeous detail, and if that were not enough, crowning this ring is a magnificent 4.32-carat blue sapphire which radiates in a dark violet-blue hue.

We believe this is the ring to present to your September bride-to-be, most especially if her birthday happens to be this month. Those born in September have the privilege of calling blue sapphire their stone. Gemstone expert George Frederick Kunz called sapphire “the gem of the autumn,” praising it for its constancy and its representation of “calm and tried affection” {1}.

If yours is a love that is steady and sure, marked by steadfast faithfulness, blue sapphire is the perfect choice for your engagement ring. We would be more than happy to show you this beautiful symbol of truth, sincerity, and constancy in our showroom.


  1. Kunz, George Frederick. The Curious Lore of Precious Stones. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1913 (p. 324).

Anne Hathaway’s Custom-Designed Engagement Ring

Anne Hathaway poses at the Golden Globes, wearing her favorite Kwiat jewels including diamond cluster earrings, bracelets, and of course her beautiful engagement ring. Photo taken by Jenn Deering Davis, licensed under Creative Commons.

Anne Hathaway poses at the Golden Globes, She wears her favorite Kwiat jewels, including her beautiful custom-designed engagement ring. Photo taken by Jenn Deering Davis, licensed under Creative Commons.

The private symbolism that surely graces Anne Hathaway’s custom-designed engagement ring remains an intimate secret between husband and wife. Thankfully, there is still plenty to talk about in the public arena.

First, we know the diamonds in Ms. Hathaway’s ring were ethically sourced by the prestigious company, Kwiat. In business since 1907, Kwiat has distinguished itself as one of New York’s finest diamond suppliers. Kwiat has mastered the art of cutting diamonds and strives to make a perfect match between diamond and setting.

In Ms. Hathaway’s case, the perfect match setting was designed by her perfect match, actor/jewelry designer Adam Shulman. Having met his business partner, goldsmith Heidi Nahser Fink, on the set of Tim Burton’s Alice and Wonderland, Mr. Shulman stepped through the magical rabbit hole of jewelry design in 2011, when he Ms. Nahser Fink established James Banks Designs. The company is named after his grandfather, who designed romantic jewels for his wife long ago.

In keeping with their company’s namesake, Mr. Shulman and Ms. Nahser Fink collaborate to make handcrafted jewelry which alludes to bygone eras. Their antiques-inspired jewels are exactly what you’d expect to find in a Steampunk grandmother’s jewelry box. Lightbulb-shaped pendants filled with minuscule black diamonds and a ruby, anatomically correct butterfly pendants offered in various stages of development, and a most elegant jeweled key charm which profits their favored charity, World of Children.

With his keen eye for design, Mr. Shulman fashioned for his bride-to-be an exquisitely delicate platinum band paved in diamonds on which a gorgeous emerald-cut diamond rests majestically. People boasts the most detailed glimpse of Mr. Shulman’s brilliant creation. Their capture illuminates the fantasy-inspired lines of the band as it rises to meet its showstopping diamond.

Immerse Yourself in Hollywood Glamour at the MFA in Boston

Multi-use Necklace of Actress June Knight, late 1930s. Neil Lane Collection. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Multi-use Necklace of Actress June Knight, late 1930s. Neil Lane Collection. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Opening at the Museum of Fine Arts-Boston (MFA) September 9, 2014, Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen promises to dazzle with exquisite gowns and jewels worn by some of Hollywood’s most prominent Golden Age actresses.

The iconic retro styles of Mae West, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, and Marlene Dietrich continue to influence fashion today. The MFA aims, with this exhibition, to demonstrate the uniquely American take on style which was, as co-curator Michelle Finamore states,  ”an ideal expression of Hollywood’s distinctive brand of escapist fantasy.”

When you walk through the gallery doors, you’ll be taking a step back in time. You will see sumptuous gowns made of metallic lamé  woven with real gold and silver, silk satin, and chiffon, made by leading designers Travis Banton, Gilbert Adrian, and Edith Head. You’ll see a beautiful pair of silver leather platform shoes worn by Mae West, and several stunning photos of the stars taken by Edward Steichen.

And where would The Golden Age of Hollywood be without the stunning retro jewelry designs of Paul Flato, Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin, and Suzanne Belperron? Hollywood Glamour features several works by these and other top designers of that era.

The necklace featured here is a gorgeous platinum, engraved sapphire, and diamond multi-use necklaced designed by Trabert & Hoeffer, Inc.-Mauboussin in the late 1930s. This style of necklace was extremely popular onscreen in the 1930s and 1940s, particularly because of its versatility. In its full form, it was worn as a necklace as seen here, but it could also be separated to form a suite of bracelets, brooches, dress clips, and rings.

This particular necklace, on loan from Neil Lane’s collection, was worn by actress June Knight, who worked in film between 1930-1940. According to IMDB, though her roles in film were underwhelming, her presence on Broadway kept her front and center throughout the 1940s.

Viewers will also see up close an astonishing suite of jewels worn by Joan Crawford. With its highly polished yellow gold flourishes, aquamarine links, and diamond accents, this gorgeous piece was crafted by Verger Freres in around 1935. The necklace, brooch, and bracelet represent the moderne look with their repeating shapes and mechanical appearance.

This beautiful exhibition is on view at the MFA from September 9, 2014 until March 8, 2015, in the Loring Gallery. The exhibition is sponsored by generous donation from Neil Lane Jewelry, with additional support from the David and Roberta Logie Fund for Textile and Fashion Arts and the Loring Textile Gallery Exhibition Fund.

To learn more, we invite you to visit the MFA’s website.

June Carter Cash Willing to Die for a Diamond Earring

EGL Certified Diamond Stud Earrings 14k White Gold

There is not much in the way of information about June Carter Cash’s engagement or wedding rings, though Johnny Cash’s famous onstage proposal is worth discussing for a moment. They were performing on stage at the London Ice House in London, Ontario, Canada. The story goes that they were singing a duet, “Jackson,” and mid-lyric (“We got married in a fever…”), Johnny abruptly stopped singing.

Planting his eyes on June, while all other eyes rested upon him, he asked June to marry him. According to her own report, June was scared speechless. She says she just shook her head, not knowing how to respond. He grinned at her until she found her words. Her first words were, “Shut up,” and one can only guess this was a response to her family and backup singers who were laughing at her on and off stage.

Since Johnny refused to sing again until she responded, she finally said, “Yes.”

They were married just a few weeks later, probably too swiftly for a true engagement ring. I’m sure wedding rings were exchanged, but I have yet to find a source with such details. However, given the importance of one diamond earring which June wore nearly everywhere, she likely wore it on that day.

It is her son, John Carter Cash, who tells the story of this earring in his book Anchored In Love. On a night when their lives hung in the balance, June Carter Cash made a bold move to hide her diamond ring behind the leg of a piece of furniture in their Jamaica home, Cinnamon Hill. Three hoodlums descended upon their evening festivities, holding them at knife- and gunpoint, demanding jewelry and cash to the tune of $3 million.

These hoodlums walked away with $5,000 in cash and “all the jewelry, including some exceedingly valuable watches, rings, and gold necklaces” {p. 83}. Taking care to protect their identities and cut the phone lines, the thieves decided to spare the lives of those present and took off in the family’s English Rover.

Though the burglars were caught, only a small number of the jewels were recovered. One piece that did not need recovery, however, was the diamond earring, which John noticed the next day on his mother’s ear where it always lived. In response to her son’s inquiry, June responded, “I gave them quite a bit of my jewelry, son, but not this one” {p. 85}.

Of course, her son freaked out, chiding her for what he felt was a foolish act on her part. “Some things are worth my life, I guess,” she told him {p. 85}.

You might suspect that this diamond earring represented a special token of affection from her crooning husband, but that is not the case. Indeed, it was a parting gift from her mother, known colloquially as Mother Maybelle, who left the diamond to June in her will. June had the diamond made into a single earring, which she wore on stage and nearly everywhere else.

I can only imagine how much that piece of jewelry, worn so close to her ear, must have in some way represented more than her mother’s love. It must have been in some way talismanic, otherwise I don’t believe she would have risked her life for it.

Ahhh! The power of jewelry!

Desi Arnaz Proposed to Lucille Ball with a 40-Carat Aquamarine

Capture the Essence! of Lucille Ball with this 27-carat aquamarine ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Lucille Ball with this 27-carat aquamarine ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Imagine the luxury of wearing such a large and beautiful stone on that finger every day. This beautiful 27-carat aquamarine rests beautifully in a modern four-prong ring fashioned from 14k yellow gold. A total of 12 round brilliant diamonds flank the stone, six on either side, giving an architectural dazzle to the whole of the ring.

Can you feel the weight of it? Now, imagine that the aquamarine was another 25% larger.

This was the scrumptious luxury afforded the late Lucille Ball, to wear such a knock-out ring on a daily basis.

In 1947, a journalist wrote of a collection of jewelry which Lucille Ball carried with her when traveling {4}. According to reports from that time, these jewels were among her favorites, gifts from her husband Desi Arnaz. According to an AP news report from 1950, her gorgeous aquamarine ring was actually her engagement ring {5}.

To date, I have been unable to verify this claim with any primary sources. All secondary sources seem to trace back to this one AP article, which does not list its source for the information. There are some reasons to believe such a claim, one of them being that aquamarine was one of Lucy’s favorite colors.

Lucille Ball was clearly a woman of her own mind, not likely to hold to the traditions of men when making her choices. Several sources claim she actually chose the ring herself, and some facts surrounding her marriage to Desi Arnaz intimate that she may have actually purchased the ring for herself.

The authors of Planet Wedding describe a scene that begs the question of an engagement ring. In this account, Desi is said to have overheard Lucy giving an interview onset in 1940.  During this interview she proposed a list of all the reasons why she would never agree to marry Desi. In an outrage, Desi is said to have confronted Lucy with an announcement that not only would she marry him, but she would do so the next day.

Again, I have been unable to confirm this information with a primary source, but quotes from both Desi and Lucy intimate a shotgun style wedding on Saturday, November 30, 1940. So hasty were their plans that Desi forgot to purchase a wedding ring. He slipped a brass ring, purchased at a nearby department store, onto her finger as he made his vows against their “Christmas card” backdrop at the Byram River Beagle Club in Greenwich, Connecticut {1}. If the account in Planet Wedding is true, then it’s likely Lucille Ball did not actually receive a true engagement ring.

I have, to date, found no comment from Lucy on the aquamarine ring, though she does remark that her brass ring, though replaced by Desi with a platinum band, enjoyed a long life “among the diamonds and emeralds in my jewel case…” {2}.

Unfortunately, this beautiful aquamarine ring was among the $6000 worth of jewels stolen from the comedienne’s hotel room in Chicago in 1950. It is unclear whether her jewels were ever recovered.


  1. Arnaz, Desi. A Book. Cutchogue, NY: Buccaneer Books, Inc., 1994, p. 115.
  2. Ball, Lucille. Love, Lucy. NY: Berkley Books, 1997, p. 110.
  3. Choron, Sandra and Harry Choron. Planet Wedding: A Nuptial-pedia. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2010, p. 91.
  4. Karol, Michael. Lucy A to Z: The Lucille Ball Encyclopedia, 4th Edition. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse Star, 2008, p. 231. 
  5. “Lucille Ball Robbed of $6000 in Jewelry,” Spokane Daily Chronicle, June 2, 1950, p. 9.

Noble Purple Bridal Jewelry for the Royal-Inspired Bride

Long associated with royalty, purple is such a beautiful choice for an evening bride. Are you planning to say your vows at sunset or just after? May we recommend dripping yourself in these royal purple jewels?


3-Carat Lab-Created Purple Sapphire Engagement Ring Palladium


Begin at the beginning with this gorgeous conflict-free lab-created purple sapphire engagement ring. Crafted from solid palladium this gorgeous solitaire band is crowned with a 3.22-carat, royal purple, round fancy-cut lab-created sapphire set into a four-prong fishtail head. If you love purple, this is the ring for you!


Art Nouveau Amethyst & Seed Pearl Brooch



Made of 9k gold, this beautiful antique brooch was crafted during the revolutionary Art Nouveau movement. Its royal frame is paved with 40 cultured seed pearls. Six bezel-set round amethysts decorate the outer edges, while a 1.3-carat oval-cut natural amethyst rests regally in the center within an oval bezel-type setting with granulation details.


Antique Bezel-Set Amethyst Pendant


Complete the royal theme with this gorgeous drop pendant in solid 10k gold and natural amethysts. A combination of cushion-cut, pear-cut, and round-cut stones are bezel-set in an elegant design fit for royalty, indeed.

Beautiful Antique Brooches for the Royal-Inspired Bride

Brooches are growing more popular by the minute in bridal jewelry. If you’re a bride who looks to the royal courts of Europe for inspiration, we believe these stunning antique pins will turn your head. Choose one for your hair, pin one to your waistline sash, or wear one clipped into your hair. Whatever you choose, they will add a touch of elegance and nobility to your special day.

Antique Crown Brooch with Diamonds and PearlsVictorian Rhodolite Garnet Brooch 18k Gold Antique


This magnificent 1930s brooch is fashioned as a solid 18k yellow gold crown topped with platinum. Its open work design renders it light and easy to wear, and also lends it a delicate presence. Its simple design is embellished with 14 Old European cut diamonds and 5 pearls.




Here we offer a most exquisite Victorian Rhodolite garnet brooch. Eight faceted pear-cut garnets are prong set in a flower pattern  around a round cut central garnet. A single cultured seed pearl rests within an etched golden sunburst. The whole is surrounded by an intricate metal framework decorated with intricate filigree and granulation in solid 18k yellow gold. A drop pendant features a larger pear-cut garnet set within a pear-shaped metal frame decorated in granulated scrolls. This piece is absolutely stunning.

Antique Star Brooch with Diamonds Opals and Pearls


Our final offering is this delicate antique star brooch. Centering the piece is a beautiful Old European cut diamond set into a five-prong buttercup head. Surrounding the diamond are six cabochon-cut, prong-set natural crystal opals. Radiating out from this central open work piece is a star-shaped design in 14k yellow gold accented with 42 flush-set half seed pearls. This beautiful piece would look beautiful clipped into your hairpiece or onto the waistline of your dress.

Grace Kelly’s ‘Sweet Diamond’ Engagement Ring

MGM Head Shot Prior to Her Wedding in 1956. Photo is in the Public Domain.

MGM Head Shot Prior to Her Wedding in 1956. Photo is in the Public Domain.

Rumors have circulated since 1956 about Grace Kelly’s engagement ring(s) from Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Some speak of her diamond and ruby eternity band, while others speak of what has been hailed the second most-famous engagement ring in history, a stunning 10.47-carat emerald-cut diamond ring with a baguette diamond set horizontally onto each of its platinum shoulders.

Most sources claim that the Prince initially proposed with the eternity ring, only to realize his error in American etiquette after visiting Hollywood for the first time. Others give the Prince a little more credit and claim he gave Ms. Kelly the eternity band as a ring of promise while the more elaborate diamond ring was fashioned in the workshops at Cartier.

As reported in Life Magazine on January 16, 1956, Ms. Kelly wore the diamond and ruby ring on her first visit home after her engagement. In that issue, a photograph shows Ms. Kelly seated next to Prince Rainier between her parents on their couch. She holds her left hand extended toward her mother. We cannot see the ring, but the caption reads, “In the Kellys’ living room Grace’s mother examines daughter’s diamond and ruby engagement ring as Prince and father Kelly proudly look on.”

When she returned to the set at MGM for filming of High Society, Ms. Kelly asked the director if she could wear her real engagement ring in lieu of costume jewelry for the appropriate scenes in the movie.

While Cartier on their website claim that on set Ms. Kelly wore the magnificent diamond and platinum engagement ring, James Spada, who wrote a biography on Grace Kelly called Grace: The Secret Lives of a Princess, claims that the ring she dazzled her coworkers with was “an enormous, spectacularly beautiful ring: intertwined diamonds and rubies (to represent Monaco’s official colors) set with Grimaldi family heirloom jewels” {p. 170-71}.

Unfortunately, Mr. Spada fails to credit his source for that piece of information. I suppose it’s possible she wore both while she was off screen, but on screen she clearly wears only one ring, and it is definitely not an eternity band. The rest of the story he tells about that moment in history is so charming, one hopes the only detail he got wrong is the description of the ring.

He writes that after she asked, her director quipped that he must of course examine the ring in order to ensure “it was good enough” {p. 170}. She dutifully obliged him the next day, and as her co-workers gasped and gaped, she demurely responded, “It is sweet, isn’t it?” {p. 171}. This understated response, Mr. Spada relates, elicited no small amount of teasing from her awestruck co-workers.

Certainly, gorgeous diamonds are sweet and then some!

Hilton Heiress Nicky Hilton Sports a Large Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring

Capture the Essence! of Nicky Hilton Glamour with this 2.77-Carat Old European Cut Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Nicky Hilton Glamour with this 2.77-Carat Old European Cut Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Nicky Hilton is keeping her dazzling diamond engagement ring under wraps. Paparazzi have managed to capture only three views of the ring so far. In one series of photos, Ms. Hilton wears the diamond nestled against her palm. E!Online has published a second close-up photo of Ms. Hilton on her cell phone, sporting what appears to be a cathedral-style, prong-set diamond solitaire on a platinum or yellow gold band. The ring is turned slightly inward toward her palm, so further details are impossible to discern.

In another of E!Online’s photos, we glimpse the only head-on view of her ring. Ms. Hilton stands on the banks of a river casting a fishing line in her beautiful designer clothes. On her left ring finger all we see is a flash of brilliant white light. The one thing we can surmise from this shot is that that diamond is a doozy.

Ms. Hilton received the ring from her long-term boyfriend, banking heir James Rothschild, on August 12. Rumor has it that shortly after surprising her parents with a visit to ask for her hand in marriage, the young heir took Ms. Hilton to Italy to celebrate their third anniversary together. According to online sources, Mr. Rothschild proposed on a boat ride in the middle of Lake Como.

The Origins of One of the Rarest Gemstones on Earth, Alexandrite

Capture the Essence! of Exclusivity with this AGTA-Certified Alexandrite Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Exclusivity with this AGTA-Certified Alexandrite Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Alexandrite is among the rarest of gemstones found in the earth. Its hardness, beauty, and rarity make it a particularly becoming choice for engagement rings. Its history is short, but gloriously rich. There are only a few known sources for gem-quality specimens, which makes its presence in contemporary jewelry fairly uncommon.

Alexandrite was initially discovered in the 1830s, in the emerald mines of the Ural Mountains of Russia. The bright green stone was at first mistaken for emerald, until the sun went down. In the light of candles, its greenish hue vanished and a bright purplish-red took its place.

This was no emerald. Not only did it exhibit this extraordinary dichroism, but this new stone also proved to be far harder than emerald, registering an 8.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.

A Brand New Gemstone

Its discovery is most commonly attributed to the Finnish mineralogist Nils Gustaf Nordenskjold (1792-1866). Others attribute its discovery to the man who ended up naming the stone, Count Lev Alekseevich Perovskii (1792-1856). Count Perovskii was an important nobleman and politician in Russia. He was also an avid mineralogist.

In truth, it is unlikely that either of these men drew the first sample out of the ground. However, they were among the first to put it under the microscope and are therefore credited with its ‘discovery’ as a brand new gemstone.

In one version of events, the Count, perhaps perplexed by some of its non-emerald characteristics, is said to have sent a sample to Herra Nordenskjold for further study. The Finnish mineralogist at first mistook it for emerald, but its hardness caused him to investigate further. Looking long into the evening, the stone’s surprising change from green to red confirmed his suspicions: He was holding an exciting new gemstone in the chrysoberyl family. Having experienced this exciting revelation, he decided to give it a name.

Herra Nordenskjold went with diaphanite, based on its color-changing characteristic. This scientific name may have accompanied some documentation of the stone, but in the end it wouldn’t stick. In a move motivated by politics, the Count stepped in and made a grand gesture. On April 17, 1834, he declared publicly that the new stone would be named after Russia’s future Tsar, Alexander Nikolaevich, who on that very day entered his majority (16th birthday).

The name stuck, and to this day alexandrites are linked inextricably with Tsarist Russia’s infamous history.

Exclusive Access

For the next 150 years, Russia enjoyed exclusive access to this new gemstone. Its rarity prevented it from saturating the market. However, those in noble and royal positions in Europe and America were privileged to purchase alexandrite jewels made by some of the world’s most prestigious jewelers, most prominently Russia’s court jeweler Carl Faberge and Tiffany & Co., whose access came through famed gem expert George Frederick Kunz.

Russia’s alexandrite remains the most desirable on the market, though most of it is housed in museums or prestigious collections. These Russian stones are characterized by strong saturation in shades of green to bluish-green in daylight and red to purplish-red in artificial or candle light. The color change in these stones is dramatic, and stones of this origin are valued around $100,000 per carat, more if the piece has historical value.

Although the Russian mines were depleted by the late 1890s, no new sources of alexandrite were discovered until 1987. Though this new Brazilian discovery could not compete with the history of Tsarist Russia, the grade of stones coming out of South America’s mines were in fact superior in color saturation. In a side by side comparison, historicity not withstanding, the value of Brazilian alexandrite would exceed that of Russian samples.

These beautiful Brazilian stones were characterized by a deep red purple in artificial light and rich verdant greens by day. Production from the Brazilian mines was high in the 1980s, but stores have dwindled significantly. More recent deposits are now sourced in Africa, the United States, Burma, and Sri Lanka.

However, for gem-quality specimens, it is to Sri Lanka that dealers primarily turn. Sri Lankan specimens run a bit larger than those found in Russia and Brazil, whose stones rarely exceed one carat. Sri Lankan color saturation is different, as well, with the greens tending toward the yellow end of the spectrum and the reds appearing brownish. While they can’t be compared to those originating in Russia or Brazil, these richly colored alexandrites from Sri Lanka make absolutely gorgeous jewels.

It cannot be overemphasized that faceted alexandrites of greater than two carats are extremely rare. The Russian and Brazilian mines have been depleted, and gemstone-quality alexandrites of a decent size are hard to find even in the Sri Lankan mines.

If you’re looking for a way to express your love in a unique way, we invite you to experience the wonder of the rare and beautiful alexandrite. Make an appointment today to see this beautiful ring for yourself.