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Love & Luxury Unite with Van Cleef & Arpels

Capture the Romance! with this Vintage Van Cleef & Arpels Diamond and Ruby Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Romance! with this Vintage Van Cleef & Arpels Diamond and Ruby Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

The passion of red ruby surrounded by the purity of white diamonds constitutes the perfect blend of love and luxury. A pristine oval-cut red ruby stands front and center, a beautiful declaration of love’s ardent passions. Surrounding the red stone are eight round brilliant diamonds, a halo symbolizing pure devotion. Two large pear-cut diamonds are set en pointe in a north-south orientation, with two marquise-cut diamonds set vertically in an east-west position. Between them lie four smaller pear-cut diamonds. The effect is pure, exquisite luxury, a characteristic long associated with every Van Cleef & Arpels piece.

This natural pairing of Luxury and Love have long been united in the hallowed halls of one of the world’s most notable jewelry houses. Some of the most extravagant gestures of love have been signed VC/A*. Among them, a stunning diamond and ruby bracelet commissioned by the former King of England, Edward VIII, for his mistress, later his bride.

Set with four clusters of rubies surrounded by white diamonds, this token of affection was inscribed with the couple’s enduring motto: ‘Hold Tight’. Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, and Princess Grace of Monaco were also showered with jewels created by the iconic Parisian jewelers.

It should come as no surprise, then, that a love story forms the very foundation of the famed house. According to their website, the impressive jewelry dynasty was “inspired by the unique creative energy of love” {4}.

While the details of this legendary love story continue to elude the public eye, the broad strokes paint a story in which Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef enjoyed a “love story like no other, a great adventure beyond expectation” {4}.

Alfred Van Cleef made his start in jewelry at the bench of David et Grosgeat, where he learned to create and market beautiful jewelry. After his marriage to Estelle, Alfred joined forces with his bride’s father, Léon Salomon Arpels. Together they opened a small jewelry shop specializing in precious stones {3}.

After the senior Mr. Arpels passed away in 1906, his sons, Charles-Salomon, Julien, and Louis Arpels, threw their lot in with Alfred and Estelle, and the family opened a shop on the prestigious place de Vendome. The family dedicated their life to perform “the ultimate act of creativity” by combining exceptional stones in uncommon settings to transform precious metals and gemstones into phenomenal jewels {1}.

During World War II, the Van Cleef & Arpels families fled the hostile environs of Paris and settled in New York. Well established as principal players upon the international jewelry stage, Van Cleef & Arpels remained a family-owned and operated business until 1999, when it was purchased by a Swiss luxury group {3}.

*The company’s hallmark substitutes the / with a stylized imprint of their company’s flagship store.


  1. Macklowe Gallery. “Van Cleef & Arpels.” Accessed April 4, 2014.
  2. Primavera Gallery. “Van Cleef and Arpels.” Accessed April 4, 2014.
  3. Serafin, Amy. “Van Cleef & Arpels: The Family, The Jewels, The Legend,” France MagazineFall 2012.
  4. Van Cleef & Arpels. “Estelle & Alfred: The Founding Love Story.” Accessed April 4, 2014.
  5. Van Cleef & Arpels. “The Maison’s Enchanting Love Stories.” Accessed April 4, 2014.

Spotlight on Design: Jean Schlumberger Engagement Rings

'Bee Ring' by Jean Schlumberger. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's, 2011.

‘Bee Ring’ by Jean Schlumberger. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s, 2011.

According to Tiffany & Co., Jean Schlumberger (pronounced ‘zhahn shlumberjay’) was the most important jewelry designer of the 20th century. His designs continue to be employed by Tiffany & Co., and his engagement rings are among the most sumptuous on the market today.

The pictured ring features a stunning fancy vivid yellow diamond (11.13 carats) surrounded by a colony of bees fashioned out of yellow gold and white diamonds. From the top, the bees appear to be drinking the honey nectar of a yellow flower bud. This particular ring was purchased for $1.08 million at a Sotheby’s auction in 2011.

Mssr. Schlumberger designed several ring styles using this bee motif, many of which would make lovely as engagement rings. In addition, he designed several engagement rings which have become Tiffany classics.

The most iconic are his flower bud designs. The first, called simply the Jean Schlumberger Engagement Ring, features a diamond-encrusted band in fluid formation which rises to meet a central stone of 1.5 carats. This ‘bud’ stone is wrapped in crisscrossing diamond-studded bands. The sparkling brilliance of white diamonds against platinum set in a natural floral form evokes heady romance and stately charm.

In another variation of flower bud ring, called the Buds ring, Mssr. Schlumberger incorporates tightly formed sepals rising up to meet a crowning diamond bud. The platinum band is encrusted with inlaid round diamonds. Another of Mssr. Schlumberger’s famous engagement rings, the Rope ring,  incorporates a large-carat round brilliant diamond ensconced within a web of twisted ropes of yellow gold.

Nothing says quality like a Tiffany engagement ring, and Jean Schlumberger raises the bar even further for those interested in the finest quality and most innovative designs of the 20th century.

A Midwestern Man Falls to the Floor When Wartski London Confirms that His Scrap Metal Purchase is a Genuine Faberge Imperial Easter Egg

Third Imperial Faberge Egg, ©Wartski. Photo used with permission.

Third Imperial Faberge Egg, ©Wartski. Photo used with permission.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

A Fancy Golden Egg

It has been a bit of a noose around his neck for ten years, albeit a beautiful one. He purchased the piece for approximately $14,000 at a Midwestern antique fair with hope that the gemstones could be sold and the gold melted down for perhaps $500 profit. However, his estimates of its value exceeded those of his prospective buyers. Call it a hunch (or stubbornness), but the man decided to hold onto it rather than selling the piece at a loss.

It is a fancy golden egg, made with exquisite detailing including a ridged shell and an ornate mounting. It is set with a large round diamond ‘pushpiece’, which opens the shell to reveal a wonderful prize. The egg rests upon its original pedestal, an ornately carved golden tripod featuring chased lion’s paw feet and a festoon of colored-gold garlands suspended from three cabochon blue sapphires surrounded by gold beads and crested by diamond-encrusted bows {cited: Wartski}.

A simple click of the diamond button, and the lid pops open to reveal a beautiful lady’s pocket-style watch with white enamel dial and openwork gold hands set with diamonds. An engraving on the watch, which reads ‘Vacheron Constantin’, offered the only clue as to its illustrious history.

Faberge Egg with Clock, ©Wartski. Photo used with permission.

Faberge Egg with Clock, ©Wartski. Photo used with permission.

An Identical Likeness

The scrap-metal dealer, desperate for some return on his investment, typed in Google the search phrase “egg Vacheron Constantin.” In a stroke of pure serendipity, The Telegraph had one year prior published an article declaring that a photo of one of the missing Imperial Faberge Eggs was recently discovered in an American auction catalog from the 1960s.

The photo demonstrated an identical likeness with the egg sitting upon this dealer’s countertop. He made a swift trip to London, carrying photos of the egg to the named expert, Kieran McCarthy, director of Wartski, a firm specializing in the works of Carl Faberge.

“I knew instantly that was it. I was flabbergasted–it was like being Indiana Jones and finding the Lost Ark,” Mr. McCarthy told The Telegraph.

‘Treasures Into Tractors’

On May 18, 1887, Emperor Alexander III made a payment of 2160 roubles to Faberge for this, the third installment in his exceptional Easter gifts to his wife, Tsarina Maria Feodorovna. In total, 50 such Imperial Eggs were made by Faberge for the beautiful empress.

In 1902, this particular egg was placed on display in the Von Dervis Mansion Exhibition in St. Petersburg. This was the last time this egg was seen in public. Fifteen years later, the Bolsheviks transferred the entire Imperial treasury, including all fifty of the remarkable eggs, to the Moscow Kremlin Armory. The presence of this particular egg is noted in the Kremlin archive as Art. 1548 {3}.

The egg was transferred once again in 1922, to the care of Ivan Gavrilovich Chinariov, a representative of the Council of People’s Commissars. It was a prime candidate for meltdown in the Russian Revolution’s ‘Treasures into Tractors’ campaign {4}. Although much of the Imperial treasure was indeed lost, of the 50 Imperial Eggs seized by the Bolsheviks, all but 8 of them have been found intact. Of these eight, only three are expected to have survived the great meltdown.

On the Kitchen Counter

This egg represents not only the third Imperial Egg made for the Tsarina, but also the third of these lost treasures discovered in the past 100 years. In 2011, a photo of the egg was spotted by an American in a Parke-Bernet catalog dated March 1964.

Sold in the New York auction by vendor “Clarke” as a “Gold Watch in Egg-Form Case on Wrought Three-Tone Gold Stand, Set with Jewels” {1}, the jewel was never identified as a Faberge egg, and its whereabouts after the sale were unknown until it showed up on the kitchen counter of our Midwestern dealer.

Kieran McCarthy, a Wartski representative, took a jaunt to the Midwest and knocked on the door of the dealer’s humble home. The door opened, and he soon caught his first glimpse of the golden egg, somewhat dwarfed next to a large cupcake.

Real Blue-Collar America

“I examined it and said, ‘You have an Imperial Faberge Easter Egg.’ And he practically fainted. He literally fell to the floor in astonishment,” Mr. McCarthy reported.

The fortunate dealer is not of the world of important jewels and collectors. “He’s from…a world of diners and pick-up trucks, real blue-collar America, and he and his partner are still stunned by all this,” Mr. McCarthy told reporters.

The actual sale price was withheld to protect all parties involved, but Wartski calls the finder “an art historical lottery winner, receiving multiple millions of dollars per centimetre of egg” {4}.

An Exclusive Exhibition

The egg’s new owner, a private collector, has graciously agreed to allow an exclusive exhibition of the found egg at Wartski London, who plan to display the marvelous egg in the days leading up to Easter. To view “the ultimate Easter Treasure,” one can stand in line at the Wartski showroom on Grafton Street, London, from 9:30am-5:00pm between April 14th and April 17th of this year.

For details, we invite you to visit Wartski online.


  1. Nikkhah, Roya. “Is This L20 Million Nest-Egg On Your Mantelpiece?” The Telegraph, August 13, 2011.
  2. Singh, Anita. “The L20m Faberge Egg That Was Almost Sold for Scrap,” The Telegraph, March 18, 2014.
  3. Wartski. “The Lost Third Imperial Easter Egg by Carl Faberge.” Accessed March 21, 2014.
  4. Wartski Press Release. “Lost Treasure Found After Almost 100 Years.” Acquired March 21, 2014 from Wartski.

Three-Stone Engagement Rings

Look Right Here! at this Antique 1930s Three-Stone Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Look Right Here! at this Antique 1930s Three-Stone Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

This exquisite three-stone antique engagement ring was fashioned in the 1930s out of solid platinum. Intricate geometric engravings adorn the sides and shoulders, while the gallery features an exquisite scrolled openwork design. Three large Old Euro cut diamonds rest snugly beside each other in an ornate mounting, surrounded by artfully placed transitional-cut diamonds.

This antique ring is a remarkable example of the three-stone style. Also known as a trilogy ring, this arrangement of three diamonds is commonly thought to represent a couple’s past, present, and future. A deeper significance may be attributable to the style. As one source claims, a trilogy engagement ring declares: You are my past, my present, and my future {cited}.

The traditional arrangement sets three diamonds side by side, sometimes with the central diamond being slightly larger than its neighboring stones. However, many antique rings of this variety feature a combination of gemstones, most often a ruby, sapphire, and diamond, all of equal size. All of these scintillating beauties included an ornate settings with filigree flourishes, openwork designs, and intricate engravings along the band.

In recent years, three-stone engagement rings have enjoyed modest popularity, with a select number of celebrities choosing the vintage style. These unique rings seem to appeal most to women who appreciate a healthy relationship with history, women who aren’t afraid to bring their own interpretation to classic vintage style.

Madonna and Nicole Kidman, two such women, have both owned three-stone engagement rings. Madonna was among the first celebrities to wear the style, a Neil Neil Lane original she received at the onset of the millennium from ex-husband Guy Ritchie. With five carats of diamonds, her Edwardian style ring featured three large stones claw-set in relief against an intricate milgrain and diamond band encrusted with tiny white diamonds.

Six years later, Keith Urban chose a Cartier three-stone engagement ring for his lady love, Nicole Kidman. Her diamonds are larger and slightly chunkier, set fairly close together. She wears her engagement ring with a diamond and platinum eternity band, also rumored to have been crafted by Cartier. A stunning combination, indeed!

If you’re a woman in love with vintage elegance who exudes her own unique style, this authentic antique trilogy ring may be the perfect ring for you. Make an appointment to try it on, and bring your sweetheart along!

Asscher Cut Diamonds: The Royal Cut for Engagement Rings

Look Right Here! at this celebrity-worthy 7-Carat GIA-Certified Asscher Cut Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo  ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Look Right Here! at this celebrity-worthy 7-Carat GIA-Certified Asscher Cut Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

This magnificent diamond engagement ring, fashioned from solid platinum, is paved along shoulders and shank with 35 channel-set baguette diamonds. In profile, the gallery, shoulders, and shank are also channel set with 150 round brilliant diamonds. Mounted atop this sparkling jewel is a celebrity-worthy 7.66-carat, GIA-certified, Asscher Cut Diamond.

Worn by some of Hollywood’s most revered stars, including Jessica Alba (5-carat), Kate Hudson (5-carat), and Zooey Deschanel (3-carat), the Asscher Cut, and its modernized counterpart the Royal Asscher Cut, is one of the most prestigious diamond cuts available in the engagement ring industry today {1}.  Originally designed in 1902 by Joseph Asscher, one of the founding fathers of Royal Asscher Diamonds, the Asscher Cut was a modification to the Emerald Cut, a design which maintains its royal status even today.

Perhaps the most famous Asscher Cut diamond was worn by Hollywood’s glamour queen, Elizabeth Taylor. Known as the Burton-Taylor Diamond, this 33.19-carat Asscher-cut, D-color diamond was one of the actor’s most cherished, and therefore most iconic jewels in her collection. This diamond made headlines when it sold for more than $8.8 million at auction at Christie’s New York in 2011 {2}.

The original Asscher Cut featured a nearly octagonal shape with 58 facets which were larger and wider-set than for Emerald Cut diamonds {3}. The patent protected “a square diamond with a three-step crown, a seven-step pavilion, and dramatic corners” {5}. These modifications to the traditional Emerald Cut allowed for increased retention of the rough, while at the same time exhibiting greater scintillation without being too showy {3}.

Within the next 15 years, modifications were made to the Asscher Cut. In this second rendition, the upper girdle step facets were limited to between two and three, and the lower girdle step facets were limited to between three and four {5}. With greater brilliance and angularity, this modified Asscher Cut became wildly popular during the Art Deco period {5}. The prestigious company maintained a leading presence in the diamond industry well into the 1940s.

World War II nearly destroyed the Asscher legacy when Nazi soldiers routed the Netherlands, seizing all the merchandise held by the I.J. Asscher Diamond Company and sentencing the entire Asscher family and their 700 polishers to the dread concentration camps. In 1946, ten family members and 15 polishers returned to their ravaged homeland. Among them were Joseph and Louis. These two brave men returned to the wreckage and rebuilt, from scratch, their entire company, vowing to restore it to its former glory {6}.

By 1980, it was as if the war had never happened. Queen Juliana of Holland recognized their excellence and ingenuity when she awarded them a royal title for leading the diamond industry for nearly 100 years. Under the forward-thinking guidance of Louis’s sons, Edward and Joop Asscher, the Royal Asscher Diamond Company continues to be recognized for its prestigious contributions to the diamond industry.

Perhaps their most celebrated contribution came in 2001. According to GIA, after attending the association’s International Gemological Symposium in 1999, Edward was inspired by the continued popularity of the Asscher Cut in the United States bridal industry. Using the latest technology, he endeavored to modernize his grandfather’s nearly 100-year-old design, bringing it firmly into the 20th century.

His new cut, the Royal Asscher Cut, was perfected and patented in 2001. Edward’s modified design features 74 facets, adding two additional rows of eight facets to the bottom of the stones. This narrowing of the rows increases the flash of light without compromising the classic elegance of his grandfather’s original design {3}.

Truly, Asscher Cut and Royal Asscher Cut diamonds are among the most spectacular diamonds available today. Please contact us to discover for yourself the allure, the nobility, the magnificence of this gorgeous Asscher Cut engagement ring.


  1. Celebrity Bride Guide. “Asscher Cut Engagement Rings.” Accessed March 13, 2014.
  2. DeMarco, Anthony. “The World’s Largest Diamond and Other Record-Breaking Jewelry Moments,” Forbes, August 12, 2012.
  3. GIA. “The Asscher Cut: A Cut of Royalty and Reinvention,” GIA 4Cs Blog, August 21, 2012.
  4. Ritani. “Famous Asscher Cut Engagement Rings,” Ritani Blog, June 3, 2013.
  5. Roskin, Gary. “The Rise of the House of Asscher,” JCK Magazine, September 2001.
  6. Royal Asscher. “History: 1946 World War II.” Accessed March 13, 2014.

The Iconic Tiffany Setting

Look Right Here! at this Tiffany & Co. Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Look Right Here! at this Tiffany & Co. Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

From antiquity, engagement rings featured diamonds set bezel style. These diamonds were set nearly flush with the band of a ring, surrounded and snugly fitted up to their girdles in in a cradle of precious metal. While this setting offered maximum protection, it proved prohibitive to maximum shine.

That all changed the year Tiffany & Co. introduced a new setting style, one that would allow the brilliant fire of a diamond to dance around a room in unfettered wonder. The year was 1886, and never before had a jeweler dared leave nature’s perfect gift so exposed, so vulnerable. And never before had a diamond dazzled so beautifully on the finger of a woman in love.

This magnificent and altogether brand new setting, called the Tiffany Setting, swiftly became the most popular setting for engagement rings on the market. The company has changed not one thing in its design, and after 128 years Tiffany’s six-prong setting has become iconic.

The regal elegance and classic lines of a Tiffany solitaire engagement ring appeal to brides of every flavor, whether modern, vintage, or eclectic. The uncomplicated style complements a woman’s every mood, as well as her every wardrobe choice, from ultra-casual to black-tie formal. It can exude both royal elegance and chic sophistication, as well as a fresh, clean aesthetic.

Simply put–the Tiffany Setting is an excellent choice for a wide range of tastes, styles, and personalities.

Spotlight on Design: Valina Jewelry

Look Right Here! at this Valina Sapphire & Diamond Halo Engagement Ring. Photo  ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Look Right Here! at this Valina Sapphire & Diamond Halo Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

A gorgeous 1.87-carat, oval cut natural blue sapphire graces the center of this lovely designer engagement ring. A diamond-studded shank reaches up to join the floating halo of round-cut diamonds which frames the beautiful central gemstone. The elegant Euro shank ensures maximum comfort, and a discretely placed “Kiss Diamond” on the outer rim of the ring identifies it as a Valina design.

With every ring they create, Valina Bridal endeavors to capture the essence of forever love. To this end, they embed a diamond on the band of their engagement rings and wedding bands. When the two are joined on the wedding day, the diamonds line up in symbolic union.

Valina rings are made with a keen attention to detail. Chosen with eternity in mind, each stone is cut to maximize brilliance and sparkle. Once the central stone is chosen and cut to perfection, Valina endeavors to showcase such perfection in a setting marked by dazzling beauty, tasteful elegance, and immaculate detail.

The unmatched craftsmanship and exquisite beauty of this contemporary design is sure to dazzle your sweetheart.

As usual, such a fine specimen must be seen in person to appreciate its full impact. Make an appointment to view this beautiful Valina Sapphire & Diamond Halo Engagement Ring in person at our Seattle-area showroom.

History + Characteristics of Princess Cut Diamonds

Get the Look! with this F/VS1 Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Look Right Here! at this F/VS1 Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

This stunning estate Princess Cut diamond engagement ring is crafted of solid 14k white gold. The central stone is an EGL-certified 1.26-carat Princess Cut diamond which grades F in color and VS1 in clarity. Flanked by a single Princess Cut diamond on either side, the central stone rests in a floating halo of Round Brilliant diamonds atop a diamond-encrusted gallery and shoulders. And, oh, how it sparkles!

A Princess Cut diamond is one of the most scintillating, fiery diamond cuts available on the market today. The cut features a series of unique chevron-shaped pavilion facets paired with table facets cut similar to a round brilliant, for a total of either 57 or 76 facets.

Its unique pyramid shape and extra facets create greater light dispersion than in any other square-shaped diamond, which in turn conceals subtle inclusions, allowing cutters to preserve a greater portion of the diamond rough. This cut is one of the only mixed brilliant cuts which allows for up to 80% retention of the rough.

Considered a mixed cut, the Princess Cut made its debut in 1979. The Princess Cut traces its origins back to the Barion Cut, patented in 1971 by its creator Basil Watermeyer, a South African diamond cutter who named the cut after himself and his wife, Marion. The ‘Barion Cut’ features 81 facets which present a characteristic cross pattern through the table and crescent-shaped facets on the pavilion. It is said to have a 4-fold mirror-image symmetry {1}.

In the same year that Mr. Watermeyer patented the Barion Cut, Apard Nagy patented his version of the square cut diamond, the ‘Profile Cut’. The Profile Cut appeared flatter than today’s Princess Cuts, and was fashioned with 58 facets. Mr. Nagy is reported to have designed the cut in 1961. The popularity of this cut increased with its distribution in Israel by Israel Itzkowitz in the 1970s. {6}.

In 1979, Ambar Diamonds began distributing the ‘Quadrillion’. The Quadrillion was similar to the Barion Cut, only with 49 facets. Ambar Diamonds trademarked the Quadrillion in 1980. Now that these patents are beginning to expire, new ones are cropping up. The most recent patent, dated February 12, 2013, was awarded to Robert Forster and Vinubhai G. Dhanani, who invented a design for a Princess Cut featuring 129 facets {4}.

From the top, a Princess Cut diamond appears square, sometimes slightly rectangular. Most designs sport the sharp French corners, though some feature rounded corners. From the side, a Princess Cut diamond resembles an inverted pyramid. A four-prong setting typically holds the diamond at each corner, and the four sides appear beveled. Because the Princess Cut is patented, if the ratio is larger than 1.05, it will be designated as a Square Modified Brilliant (its generic name) on grading certificates {2}.

The overall appearance of a Princess Cut diamond is clean and modern. Tiffany’s describes Princess Cut Diamonds as “both elegant and dramatic,” making them the perfect choice for today’s chic modern bride.


  1. All About Gemstones. “Diamonds: Patented Signature Diamond Cuts.” Accessed March 7, 2014.
  2. “Diamond Cuts,”Gesner Estate Jewelry Blog, June 12, 2013.
  3. Tiffany & Co. “Princess Cut.” Accessed March 7, 2014.
  4. United States Patent and Trademark Office. “United States Design Patent, Forster et. al., Patent No. US D675,954S.” Date of Patent: Feb. 12, 2013.
  5. Wikipedia. “Diamond Cut: Mixed Cuts.” Accessed March 7, 2014.
  6. Wikipedia. “Princess Cut.” Accessed March 7, 2014.

Is This Stunning Vintage Cartier Ring One and the Same As Mary-Kate Olsen’s Engagement Ring?

Vintage Cartier Ring. Copyright 2014 Sotheby's.

Vintage Cartier Ring. Copyright 2014 Sotheby’s.

Sotheby’s Important Jewels sales occur several times a year, drawing from among the world’s most elite collectors. The most recent of these high-end sales took place on February 6, 2014, in New York City. Leading the sale was an exquisite pair of platinum and diamond pendant ear-clips by David Webb, which sold for $118,750.

Curators of the sale set out to present a sampling of the evolution of 20th century jewelry, which included offerings from the 1920s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, with an emphasis on signed pieces from renowned European and American jewelers. Among these precious offerings, Sotheby’s sold the pictured vintage diamond and sapphire ring, estimating a sales price of $40,000-60,000.

Crafted as a stylized flower made entirely of 18k gold, this gorgeous jewel was made in 1953 by Cartier. At the center rests a 4-carat Old Euro Cut diamond surrounded by 16 calibre-cut sapphires. The petals are etched in gold and set with approximately 1.50 carats of single-cut diamonds. This is just the kind of piece one would expect to see on the finger of the Duchess of Windsor in the 1950s.

Today, a similar ring graces Mary-Kate Olsen’s left ring finger. Several reporters speculate that this is the very ring that Ms. Olsen wears to symbolize her commitment to marry her lover, Olivier Sarkozy. The timing certainly works out. Sotheby’s sold this Cartier beauty on February 6, 2014, for $81,500, and Ms. Olsen was seen wearing her bold engagement ring for the first time on March 3, 2014, during Fashion Week in New York.

However, Sotheby’s is not about to confirm or deny such a fantastic story. Therefore, it is extreme speculation to pair these two important jewelry events together.

How cool would that be, though? To have Mary-Kate Olsen sporting a bonafide vintage engagement ring from 1950s Cartier purchased as an estate piece?

Spotlight on Design: Jabel Jewelry

Vintage Solitaire Engagement Ring by Jabel Jewelry. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Vintage Solitaire Engagement Ring by Jabel Jewelry. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Wrought during the 1940s by Jabel Ring Company, one of New Jersey’s finest establishments, this beautiful vintage engagement ring features a .59-carat Old European cut diamond, set in a white gold head, mounted on a solid 14k yellow gold shank . This beautiful ring, bearing only light wear after 70 years, demonstrates the rigor and precision Jabel applies to every piece of jewelry they create.

Founded in 1916 by J.J. Abelson, Jabel Jewelry swiftly rose to the top, luxuriating among other such notables as Henry Blank, Meyer and Gross, and Krementz {3}. Mr. Abelson established his reputation with the unique die-striking process still in use today, as well as by promoting a standard of excellence that remains a hallmark of the company’s continued success.

At Jabel, it all begins with PRESSURE! Just as pressure plays a key role in the formation of precious metals and gemstones beneath the earth’s surface, so Jabel understands that pressure plays an important role in preparing the perfect settings for these precious gifts of nature.

Artisans begin with bar of alloyed metals created in Jabel’s factory. Extreme pressure is then applied to the bar as it passes through a series of heavy metal rollers. The result is a “metal ribbon that is non-porous, solid, homogenous and uniformly strong” {2}.

This solid metal ribbon is then placed between two die plates mounted on a press. These presses apply extreme forces to cut, squeeze, and hammer the metal into various desired shapes. These presses can exert as much as 50 tons of striking force.

Each individual component, sometimes as many as 50 per ring, is created with a series of repeated pressurized blows which “[compress] the molecules and [force] the metal into every crevice of the die” {1}. This allows for precise detailing of every aspect of a finished ring, ensuring high-quality jewelry with increased density and durability.

Once each piece has been formed, skilled artisans assemble the rings by hand. The timelessness of Jabel’s designs and process are evident in the fact that this ring, created in the 1940s, remains as enduring in both beauty and function as it was on the day it was made.

The exquisite quality of Jabel workmanship is best seen in person. We invite you to make an appointment to view this ring in our Seattle-area showroom.


  1. Antique Jewelry University. “Die Struck.” Accessed March 5, 2014.
  2. Fillie, Melissa. “Roll and Strike! Die Struck Jewelry,” Jabel Die Struck Jewelry Blog, August 16, 2013.
  3. Helmreich, William B. The Enduring Community: The Jews of Newark and MetroWest. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1999, p. 78.