NEW! 0% APR Financing for 12 Months

We are thrilled to offer our customers this teriffic financing option, 0% APR Financing for new purchases.  This option is available to qualified buyers by selecting Affirm Financing option at the payment stage of our checkout. If you find the perfect vintage engagement ring or sapphire ring you can get it as soon as tomorrow and have a full year to pay with no interest.

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NEW Saturday Showroom Hours 10am-4pm

We are thrilled to announce the opening of our  Jewelry Showroom to our customers shopping on Saturdays.  We will be open for walk-ins and appointments between 10am and 4pm every Saturday.  We appreciate setting up viewing appointments so that we can ensure you get our undivided attention but we love the surprise of customers just showing up as well.

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Weekday hours continue to be M-F 10-6. EraGem.com is always the best place to start exploring our selection as each item we have is fully described and pictured on the site.

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EraGem’s showroom is located a few blocks east of Whole Foods on NE 8th Street in Bellevue.  EraGem is on the north side of the street just past the 120th Street intersection.  The city of Bellevue has recently completed road construction so our building can only be accessed from westbound direction on NE 8th coming down the hill. Those coming in on 405 take the 13B Exit to Eastbound NE 8th St. Get into the left hand turn lane to take a left at the 120th intersection, make the first right onto Bel-Red. Proceed up the hill then turn right onto 124th.  Then Right on NE 8th and then you can turn right into our parking lot, it looks like this:

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Our entrance is on the downhill, west facing side of the building.

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We will be available for Jewelry Consignment intake on Saturday as well however customers interested in selling jewelry may be referred to other local businesses.

-EraGem Team

 

Financing and Layaway now Available

EraGem is thrilled to partner with Affirm to offer our customers a great financing option conveniently integrated into our check out.  Here is some information about the program Buy with Affirm.

Purchases from EraGem are also also qualify for paypal’s financing option Bill Me Later (PayPal Credit).  To apply for this program select Paypal at check out and follow their system to get set up.  Here is some information about Paypal Credit.

EraGem offers a convenient interest free layaway option as well.  We prefer 1/3 down and the balance be completed within 90 days.  When the balance has been paid in full, the item will ship via overnight delivery.  If a different arrangement will work better for you please contact us to discuss.  To purchases an item on layaway, select the layaway option at the payment stage of checkout and place an order. Then give us a call at 206-832-6850 to provide credit information for the deposit and call anytime you want to make additional payments.

Layaway and financing options are available for online orders that are shipping out of the area as well as in store purchases.  If you live in the Pacific Northwest be sure to visit our Bellevue showroom and see why EraGem was voted Best Seattle Engagement Rings for 2015 Best of Western WA.

 

Natural Tourmaline Rings for Engagement Rings?

If it weren’t for tradition and advertising our guess is that many more brides to be would prefer to have some color in their engagement ring. Tourmaline is a beautiful gemstone that comes in nearly every color of the rainbow and is also one of the traditional Birthstones of October.

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As stated above, natural tourmaline comes in nearly every desirable color and is generally available in its natural form, no treatments such as heating are normally necessary. It is sometimes heated or irradiated.

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Tourmaline is relatively durable and has a Mohs scale hardness of 7.0-7.5. In smaller sized stones, being fairly tough, it makes for a fine choice for an engagement ring that can be worn daily.

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The green color of the chrome tourmaline is captivating and often features deeper color and better clarity and durability than emerald.

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Pink colored tourmalines are also very desirable and beautiful. Tourmalines often have very good clarity even in larger sizes but are still affordable relative to the other precious gemstones that feature similar colors.

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Jewelry designers like working with tourmaline to add color to their classic designs like the above ring from Vera Wang and the Tiffany & Co Legacy Collection tourmaline ring pictured below.

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EraGem features a wide range of tourmaline engagement ring options. Our collection are primarily estate vintage pieces and as well as pre-owned modern and designer rings.  Please enjoy a few more pictures of natural tourmaline rings that customers of EraGem are currently enjoying .

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Natural Emerald Engagement Rings

Emerald is the traditional birthstone of May and is also a popular gemstone choice for an alternative engagement ring.  Emerald engagement rings and emerald rings in general are suitable for every day wearing but the stone is softer than a diamond so the wearer should be more conscious of activities where impact is likely to occur.

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Stunning natural 4.8 carat Emerald with diamond baguette accents in platinum View Here

 

Most emeralds have some degree of internal inclusions but typically when shopping for an emerald one should look for good transparency and a vibrant green color.  Inclusions will be present but should not be the first thing noticed about the stone.  Typically the more clear crystalline inclusions are visually preferred over dark or black spots, as is the case with diamonds as well.

Genuine Emerald Engagement Rings
A magnificent vintage emerald  nearly 2.5 carats and flanked by diamond baguettes View Here

 

Natural emeralds are almost universally treated to enhance their clarity with oil or resin.  These treatments are mostly permanent for the wearer by can sometimes be disrupted in the goldsmithing or cleaning process if the stone has to take any type of significant heat. Ultrasonic cleaning is not recommend for emerald jewelry, gentle detergent in warm water with a soft toothbrush to remove dried on lotion or gunk should be sufficient to keeping the stone looking good.

Art Deco Emerald Engagement Ring
Stunning antique emerald ring is from the 1920’s and ready for another long lifetime.

 

As seen in the ring above, emeralds can stand the test of time and should be considered as a great alternative engagement ring.  Emeralds also make a great anniversary present, it is the traditional stone for celebrating a 20 year anniversary.

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Celebrate an engagement, May birthday, or 20 year anniversary with Genuine Emeralds. View Here

Vote for EraGem’s Best Wedding Rings!

EraGem has been nominated in the “Best Wedding Rings” category of the Best of Western Washington 2015.  We would love your vote and are offering a great giveaway on EraGem’s Facebook page to celebrate.

Enter for a chance to win this beautiful Montana sapphire ring

Montana Sapphire Facebook Giveaway

First go and leave us a vote for “Best Wedding Rings” HERE

Then leave a comment on EraGem’s facebook post announcing the giveaway to let us know that you voted.

When voting concludes we will randomly select a winner from the comment entries. We hope many of you enter and leave the comment to let us j ow you voted on our facebook!

Paulette Goddard’s Diamond Fringe Necklace

Paulette Goddard (left) sits with Louise Rainer on set for the film 'Dramatic School' (1938). Ms. Goddard appears to be wearing her diamond fringe necklace in the shoot. Photo in public domain.
Paulette Goddard (left) sits with Louise Rainer on set for the film ‘Dramatic School’ (1938). Ms. Goddard appears to be wearing her diamond fringe necklace in the shoot. Photo in public domain.

 

Paulette Goddard owned one of the most delectable diamond fringe necklaces of all time. Most certainly, it was the most notable in her vast collection of jewelry. Ms. Goddard, once married to Charlie Chaplin, became one of the most celebrated jewelry collectors of the 1930s and 1940s.

She is most famous for carting around her favorite pieces in a jewelry box which she carried to all of her movie sets. She showed them off to the production crew in between takes. Like many actresses in those days, she wore most of her own jewels in the movies in which she starred.

This particular necklace was fashioned by the prestigious firm of Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin. It is set in platinum with myriad white diamonds in all shapes and sizes. It has rounds, pendaloques, marquise, and emerald-cut diamonds, and separates into two pieces, allowing the wearer to don a portion of it as a bracelet.

The bracelet piece is comprise of a central marquise-cut diamond centered between a set of five graduated round brilliants on one side and six on the other. The bracelet terminates on either side with three fluted flourishes paved in white diamonds, four of them iced in round brilliants and two of them in baguettes.

Overall, the piece is blindingly beautiful. One source reports that it is comprised of 46 emerald-cut diamonds and 60 other diamonds amounting to 29 carats in accent stones {cited}.

The same website reports that after her death on April 23, 1990, Paulette Goddard bequeathed nearly all of her assets, including her jewelry, to New York University. The estimated value of her estate at the time of her death was $20 million.

Her jewelry and art collections were sold through Sotheby’s in New York, and the estimate for Ms. Goddard’s diamond fringe necklace was set at over $175,000. I’m sure it brought in far more than that, though I have not been able to secure the final bidding price for the piece, as yet.

Ms. Goddard claims that she never once purchased a piece of her extensive jewelry collection for herself. Every gem was given to her by a friend or lover. Her list of paramours includes the aforementioned Charlie Chaplin, as well as Burgess Meredith and Erich Remarque (the famed writer of All Quiet on the Western Front, who also had a longstanding love affair with Marlene Dietrich).

In addition to her endowment to New York University, Ms. Goddard made many contributions to the university while she was still living. The New York Times, reported in 1990  that after Erich Remarque passed away in 1970, she gave his personal library, all his manuscripts, and his diaries to the institution.

For the last twelve years of her life, Ms. Goddard awarded 300 theater and film students $3 million dollars in scholarships to attend the university’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Her vast collection of fine art was counted as part of her $20 million estate, though she had already sold $2.9 million of Impressionist art in 1979. To her dying day, Paulette Goddard was dedicated to theater and film, and to the arts.

~Angela Magnotti Andrews

 

Cleopatra’s Pearl Earrings

Ruud Kahle Mabe Pearl and Pink Tourmaline Earrings

 

Cleopatra’s pearl earrings are credited as the first mention of pearl jewelry in the pages of history {1}. Many a woman has grown bored with power and has resorted to flirtatious bantering with the men in her company.

This was oh so true for Cleopatra, one of the most powerful women in Egyptian history. She is said to have won the heart of Marc Antony, and he hers. Though their tale is tragic in its ending, it is lively in its beginnings.

Their courtship began with a series of pranks. These pranks began with the two in cahoots together. They would roam the streets of Alexandria in disguise, he as a slave and she as a maid {2}. They would eavesdrop outside windows, and sometimes even fall into a brawl in the street, probably over the pretty maiden.

In subsequent days, they played pranks on each other. On a fishing trip, Marc Antony rigged his lines with an abundance of fish. Having caught on to his antics, Cleopatra arranged for a counter-prank. On their next trip, Marc Antony pulled out of the waters a smoked fish hooked on his line {3}.

Upping the ante, the two arranged a little bet. Marc Antony organized an outrageous banquet the likes of which had never been seen before. He bet her that his cost more than any banquet she could throw in return {4}.

She countered his wager, betting that she could throw a feast which would cost her 60,000 pounds of gold. She began the feast in a humble fashion. Near the end, Marc Antony was sure he had won the bet. However, Cleopatra had one last surprise up her sleeve.

“I will now consume on my own the equivalent of 60,000 pounds of gold,” she said placidly.

Upon making this statement she received at hand, from the tray of her slave, a golden goblet filled with vinegar. Holding it in one hand, she lifted her other hand to her ear and removed one of her pearl earrings, easily worth 30,000 pounds of gold.

These earrings were rumored to be among the most delectable, most expensive pearls of their kind. Each earring was fashioned of one large pear-shaped pearl, and the pair was given to Cleopatra by the kings of the East {5}.

She dropped the pearl earring into the goblet, savoring the look of astonishment on Marc Antony’s face as she waited for the vinegar to dissolve the pearl.

Then, she swallowed the contents of the cup, prepared to drop her other pearl into a second cup. It is noted that at this point, the judge of the wager declared Cleopatra the winner, thus sparing the second earring from its demise {6}.

History dictates that the single famed pearl earring was later sliced in two in Rome and made into earrings for a statue of Venus in the Pantheon {7}.

Notes

  1. Rosenthal, Leonard. The Kingdom of the Pearl, London: Nisbet & Co. Ltd., 1919, p. 85.
  2. Jones, Prudence J. Cleopatra: The Last Pharaoh, Haus Publishing, 2006, p. 72.
  3. Ibid., p. 72.
  4. Ibid., p. 73.
  5. Rosenthal, p. 85.
  6. Jones, p. 73.
  7. Ibid.

The Cloud Pearl

Vintage Twin Pearl and Diamond Cocktail Ring

 

A Cloud Pearl is a pearl grown from a drop of water within a cloud. These auspicious pearls are spoken of in the Garuda Purana. This holy book of the Hindus is understood to be the Vedic authority on Indian gemology.

It is written in the Garuda Purana that all gemstones were birthed from the body parts of Vala. Once known as Asura, Vala strove for power and overthrew the universal ruler Indra. He held his throne by force and fear, terrorizing his subjects and even Indra.

After a time, the demigods in his service appealed to him to play a role as an animal sacrifice during a ritual. He allowed them to strap him down, and upon seeing him in such a state his subjects found their opportunity to strip him of his power.

They murdered him in cold blood, cutting him into pieces. Though he had taken the throne by force, he had surrendered his body in a holy setting. Therefore, as the pieces of his body rose to the heavens, they transformed into seeds.

These seeds hovered in the heavens, amid the stars, until they grew heavy. Dropping down one by one, they were planted in various places within the earth. In time, they sprouted and grew into all the beautiful gemstones of the earth.

It is Vala’s teeth that are said to have been the seeds for pearls. Each one dropped into the varied hues of ocean waves, falling into some of the oysters that lay beneath the surface of the waters. Some of these were swallowed by fish, conch shells, and oysters. These gave rise to pearls of the sea that are so celebrated in the month of June.

However, it is the cloud pearl which is revered above all pearls. These are said to grow to the size of a hen’s egg. They are perfectly round and heavy, bright as noonday and enjoyed only by the gods.

They are said to have been born from a water drop within a cloud. The Garuda Purana explains that these pearls rarely reach the earth, reserved for the pleasure of the gods. If one does fall to earth, then blessed above all men will be the one who finds it.

That pearl will be the pearl of great price, offering protection and provision not only for the one who stewards it, but for those within a thousand leagues of his/her birthplace. A person in possession of a cloud pearl would become the sovereign of the whole earth, protecting nearly the entire world from evil.

According to the sacred text, only a person who has achieved transformation for an exceedingly good deed done in a previous incarnation could possibly hope to find a cloud pearl.

These pearls are flawless, bright shining like the stars, with brilliant flashes of sunlight arcing through them. They are the most beautiful pearls imaginable.

Though the cloud pearls are nearly impossible to find, the Hindus believe that other beautiful pearls bring good fortune, as well (though not as much fortune as the cloud pearl). These are said to be found in many places.

Some of the most common places one might find a pearl would include cacao-nuts, bamboo shoots, serpents, the mouth of sea-fish, a conch shell, or an oyster. These varying birthplaces render the pearls different sizes, shapes, and colors, and they afford different blessings upon the owner of these pearls.

Of course, the ones most precious to those born in June are those borne of the oysters of the sea. Those nacreous beauties which shimmer in blinding white, shimmering pink, and even glistening blues.

~Angela Magnotti Andrews

Krishna’s Pearls

Krishna with the gopis. A scene from the Bhâgavata-Purâna-Manuskript. It is possible that the tree in the background might represent one of Krishna's pearl trees.
Krishna with the gopis. A scene from the Bhâgavata-Purâna-Manuskript. It is possible that the tree in the background might represent one of Krishna’s pearl trees.

 

Krishna’s Pearls is a legend of virtue, a fable of sorts, I suppose. It is a story passed down by a number of India’s greatest poets. Here, I offer my rendition of the famed story of June’s birthstone.

The cow-herd girls (gopis) were legendary in the times when Krishna walked the earth. He was the sole object of their affections, and they devoted their every thought to him.

But sometimes, he tested them by approaching them in disguise. He called this a pastime, and enjoyed immensely the opportunity to involve himself in his devotees’ lives.

One day, he disguised themselves and paid them a visit. Noticing their beauty and their bliss as they strung pearls for decorating their cows for an upcoming festival, he drew near to them as they worked.

Desiring to engage them, he attempted to gain their attention with subtleties. When this did not work, he boldly approached them with a request.

“May I acquire from you a few of your pearls for my two most favorite cows, Hamsi and Harini?” he asked the one named Radha. “In doing so, you will secure for yourself a reputation for generosity among the fairest of the fair.”

Radha chose to pretend she heard nothing more than the wind. Her friends followed suit, continuing to string the shimmering pearls onto silken cords in their laps.

Struck by their disrespect, Krishna (still disguised as Hari) scolded the maidens, “Has your beauty dimmed your wits? Please, I beg of you for your sake, listen to my humble request.”

Instead of listening, the maidens began to laugh, Radha laughing the loudest of all. To Krishna, the sound was as delightful as the waves lapping the shores. He stood transfixed by the scene before him.

Finally, Lalita blurted out a response: “These pearls are intended for the cows of the queens and kings of this land. Should we really stoop so low as to offer even a few of them to your humble cows, Shri Hari? Perhaps we should go all the way and give you the whole lot of them!?”

“Oh, my dear maiden,” Krishna responded in glee, “I am so honored by your response, though I must reply that I only require enough to decorate just the horns of my two favorite cows. That is all I ask. Just four short strings of your fine and lovely pearls.”

Lalita made a brazen show of inspecting all of her pearls. “Shri Hari! I am at a loss as to what to do. I see not one single pearl worthy of your cows.”

At this point, Krishna (remaining in disguise) lost his wits and told her to forget the whole matter. He stomped off to his mother and begged her for a number of her finest pearls.

“I’ll show those silly girls,” he said. “I will plant these in the ground and see them sprout and blossom for me in pearls of my very own, of the finest quality.”

And after some cajoling, his devoted mother loaned him her pearls. He planted them in the ground, making a big show of preparing the soil and hedging the field in with thorns, which blossomed in violet flowers which offered a pleasing fragrance to all who were near.

The gopis caught wind of the fragrance and of the success Hari was having with his pearls. By now, they understood that Hari was Krishna, and that he was up to divine business. Seeing themselves as no less than he, they set about gathering pearls from their neighbors to plant in their own field.

While Krishna’s plants bloomed in pearls, theirs sprouted in thistle flowers and thorns. Disappointed in their results and pressured by their neighbors, who had invested in their efforts with their own pearl stores, the gopis were forced to ply their trade in exchange for pearls at the marketplace.

There they were refused and rejected. They returned dejected, and Krishna despaired of their sorrow. No longer were the happy maidens stringing pearls. Instead they were lying in state upon their beds, crying their eyes out.

Krishna approached the maidens and offered them each a box full of his finest pearls to ease their sorrows. In gratitude, they humbled themselves and were restored to their previous bliss.

“Ahh! Krishna’s pearls are the most beautiful in the land,” Radha remarked. “And isn’t he such a clever one?”

They laughed at their misfortune, enjoying the favor of their beloved once more.

~Angela Magnotti Andrews