After hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage in 1912, the Titanic sank to the bottom of the sea, killing around 1,550 passengers.
Since then, various diving expeditions have visited the sunken ship – seven of which were able to salvage artifacts such as fine jewelry, currency, china, playing cards, part of the hull and even perfume bottles, according to NPR.
The largest collection of these items will be auctioned off in April and the results will be announced on April 15, the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking. However, all of the items must be sold together as a collection. The 5,500 items have an estimated combined worth of $189 million.
Although it may have been nice to pick up a historical piece of vintage jewelry from the Titanic, there are still plenty of other vintage and estate items from the time period for sale. Vintage necklaces, cocktail rings and bracelets would be a fine addition to any collection, especially since vintage jewelry is slated to be a big trend in 2012.
It's always refreshing to see innovation in the world of fine jewelry, but sometimes these creative fashions end up being so strange that you'd probably never wear them.
That may be the case with artist Kerry Howley, a Middlesex University student who has made her mark in the art and jewelry world by making necklaces out of human hair.
According to MSNBC's The Look, Howley came up with the idea for the necklaces when she thought about the importance people put on their hair until it's cut. Once the hairs leave your head, you probably don't view them the same way.
“I wanted to see if I could make discarded hair attractive again,” she wrote on Arts Thread. She calls her strange collection: “Attraction/Aversion.” Despite the oddness, she was recently awarded the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture’s Arthur Silver Award, and her work has been exhibited at the Business Design Center in London.
Reportedly, each necklace takes about 60 hours to create, using broken saw blades to separate and weave the hair into patterns and designs. Despite their gross factor, they look kind of pretty!
If you're not into this trend, you may want to think about purchasing vintage or estate necklaces instead of wearing someone else's discarded locks.
Over the holidays, singer John Legend popped the question with a diamond engagement ring to his girlfriend, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Chrissy Teigen.
The couple started dating back in 2007, according to SD Entertainer. Teigen is known for her work as a swimsuit model and has appeared on the show Deal or No Deal for the past two years.
Legend gave her the diamond engagement ring while vacationing over the holidays in the Maldives. They also visited Teigen's family in Thailand on Christmas Eve. As if that excitement weren't enough, Legend also celebrated his birthday on December 29 and is planning to ring in the new year with a performance at the Pearl Concert Theater at the Palm's Casino Resort on New Year's Eve.
Many stars have been proposing over the holiday season, and it's not over yet! If you think your guy may propose by Valentine's Day, you might want to start looking at rings together. Vintage engagement rings are classic choices that will still be stylish for years to come.
Matthew McConaughey, the actor notorious for his charm and surfer-guy looks in films like Fool's Gold, Tropic Thunder and Failure to Launch, gave his longtime girlfriend, Brazilian model Camila Alves, a diamond engagement ring for Christmas.
McConaughey proposed on Christmas day and announced the engagement with a tweet from his Twitter account, according to The Sacramento Bee. He posted a photo of the couple kissing in front of the tree, along with a note saying that he proposed and wishing his followers a merry Christmas.
Many men find that the holiday season is the perfect time to pop the question, which means that with New Years and Valentine's Day around the corner, you may want to start thinking about what kind of engagement ring you'd like on your finger.
Vintage engagement rings are hugely in-demand right now, especially Art Deco-inspired designs. Whether you want a solitaire diamond engagement ring, a colorful stone or a bejeweled band, you can find plenty of vintage jewelry items to account for your tastes.
If you were lucky enough to find a piece of fine jewelry or two under the Christmas tree this year, you're not alone. According to JCK magazine, the fine jewelry industry had a solid holiday sale season.
Sales were up for many jewelers this season, as consumers are reportedly more comfortable with spending again. Although jewelry sales aren't completely back to normal yet, recent numbers have suggested that the economical situation is getting better.
Bridal jewelry, charm bracelets and estate jewelry were all big sellers this holiday season. One jeweler told the news source that custom designs were less frequent, meaning that many customers have realized the benefits of buying vintage jewelry or antique-inspired baubles.
As always, diamonds, engagement rings and fine watches were big sellers. Most sales were focused on the "bread and butter" of the fine jewelry world, including necklaces, stud earrings and bracelets, as opposed to more opulent items.
If you didn't get exactly what you wanted for the holidays, you might want to consider buying yourself a little something with those gift cards or cash bonuses. Vintage jewelry items are the perfect splurge.
If you've been paying attention to the worlds of fashion and entertainment, you may have noticed the recent fad that's been sweeping the runways and red carpets by storm: 1920s-inspired flapper dresses.
With films like The Great Gatsby in the works, television shows like Boardwalk Empire and so many fashion designers experimenting with the look, it's no wonder everyone else is starting to pick up on it.
JCK magazine predicts that as a result of these vintage fashion choices, vintage jewelry will become a huge trend – especially from the Art Deco era.
Designs that incorporate floral motifs, edgy geometrics and black and white accessories are sure to go well with the dresses, as would pearl jewelry.
If you think you'll be wearing a lot of retro-inspired looks in the upcoming year, you might want to start picking out a few vintage or estate jewelry items to complete your ensembles. Cocktail rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets can make or break an outfit, so be sure that yours match the era!
If you're thinking about what might be appropriate for a diamond engagement ring, you might want to take a cue from celebrities who have recently showed theirs off on the red carpet. Pave diamond bands, solitaire diamonds and colored gemstones have been showing up everywhere. Here's what you should know about each trend.
These make a big statement when you have them placed all around the band. They offer a modern flair to vintage engagement rings and add a ton of sparkle. The best part? They're only a fraction of the price of a center diamond.
A solitaire diamond on a solid band is as classic as it gets, which is why the style remains popular. The center diamond draws a ton of attention, and there are diamonds to fit every budget.
You may have noticed that sapphires have been popping up in engagement rings everywhere, but other colorful gems work too. Emeralds, rubies, citrine or amethysts would all look dazzling in any setting.
No matter which trend you go with, you can find a vintage engagement ring to fit your needs. It will be classic, timeless yet totally on trend.
It's not exactly a big surprise, but Britney Spears and longtime boyfriend Jason Trawick are finally engaged to wed. He gave her a stunning diamond engagement ring designed by Neil Lane to mark the occasion.
According to MTV, Spears' ring features a four-carat diamond in a tiara-like setting, with no less than 90 small diamonds set around the band. Spears showed off the ring on a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate Trawick's birthday.
Trawick reportedly wanted a crown-style setting because he considers Spears his princess. Instead of giving her an over-the-top engagement ring like some celebrities get, he wanted to keep it sophisticated and meaningful, which may suggest a lasting relationship.
Although Spears' carat weight is small compared to other celebrity rings, the style, wear-ability and sparkle of the ring are enough to make up for it.
If you're looking for vintage engagement rings, you might want to consider a delicate estate ring rather than flashy modern designs that might overwhelm your hand. It's better to have a ring that speaks to you rather than a ring that speaks for you!
Christie's auction of Elizabeth Taylor's famous fine jewelry collection brought in a record-breaking $116 million in bids, with all 80 pieces sold.
According to Professional Jeweller, the auction was packed with bidders while the phones were ringing off the hook from people around the world looking to get in on the action. All in all, six world records for jewelry at auction were broken, including one for pearl jewelry, one for price per carat of a D colored diamond and a record for the highest price received for Indian jewelry.
Each bauble in the collection was priced before the auction, but only two of those pieces were sold for a price that was within the estimated range. One of the most astonishing sales was that of the La Peregrina necklace, a 16th century pearl piece designed for Taylor by Cartier. Estimated to sell for around $3 million, the closing bid actually came to $11.8 million.
The auction was truly exciting for all involved, but you shouldn't feel bad for missing out. You can still buy your own vintage or estate jewelry without having to worry about being outbid – and at much better prices!
Gold has fallen to its lowest price since October – $1,600 per ounce. Although this may seem like good news just in time for the holidays, those looking to buy gold fine jewelry for their loved ones won't experience lower prices yet.
According to SmartMoney magazine, it takes four to six months before a change in gold prices affects consumers in the fine jewelry industry. This is because the retail price of baubles takes into account more than just the cost of the base elements.
The price of necklaces, cocktail rings, bracelets and more depends on the labor that it took to make the piece, the cost of craftsmanship, the brand name and the design. The new fine jewelry in most department stores is still marked up in price since the rise of gold prices, so shoppers won't be getting a bargain.
That's why you should look into vintage, antique or estate jewelry this Christmas. You won't have to worry about department store prices or managing your way through the holiday crowds.