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Go Retro-Vintage with a 1950s Engagement Ring

Capture the Essence! of Retro-Vintage with this 1950s Engagement Ring in Platinum and Diamonds. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Retro-Vintage with this 1950s Engagement Ring in Platinum and Diamonds. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Retro meets vintage with 1950s engagement ring styles. The 1950s marked the beginning of Mid-Century Jewelry Design, with its turn toward the flashy and opulent. With style icons exuding the elegance of Grace Kelley’s and the freshness of Audrey Hepburn, the first decade of the mid-century marks the time when glamour reached its apex.

Even the normally conservative bridal industry threw open the curtains to let in a little flair. Diamonds dominated the scene, and a trend toward clustered arrangements afforded the most bling for your buck.

The round brilliant was beginning to outshine the transitional and Old Euro cuts of the previous decades, though a fair number of these romantic cuts remained in circulation. For the opulently wealthy diamonds surrounded diamonds, while those of lesser means chose the illusion setting, a style in which a demure diamond is surrounded by a series of architectural facets carved directly into the metal.

Yellow gold once again fell out of favor, as white gold and platinum resumed their position of dominance. When yellow gold was used, it was typically topped with platinum or white gold so as to maximize the reflection of the diamonds.

Although 1950s engagement ring bands remained fairly discreet, their shoulders grew in size to accommodate the extra bling factor. Halos of single-cut diamonds surrounded stunning central stones, and small bead-set Old Euro cut diamonds edged the tops of the shoulders. It was fairly rare to see a band without accent stones of some kind.

If your sweetheart is a glamour girl with the style and sophistication of Hollywood’s most celebrated movie stars, may we recommend a perusal of our vintage 1950s engagement rings?

We invite you to visit our vintage engagement rings page, or give us a call if you’d like to view them in person.

Charlize Theron Treats Herself to Delectable Designer 18k Gold and Pave Diamonds

Capture the Essence! of Cool Feminine Luxury with this Effy Rose Cut Diamond and Gold Designer Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Cool Feminine Luxury with this Effy Rose Cut Diamond and Gold Designer Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

There’s a bit of buzz out there today about Charlize Theron’s choice to wear her newest Anita Ko jewel on her left ring finger. It’s a beautiful and very feminine 18k gold ring featuring a pair of twin leaves paved in diamonds. The leaves arc together, nearly kissing. The ring retails in rose gold, through Net-A-Porter, London Jewelers, and Broken English, for $4,700, so you know if she’s chosen the yellow gold it will have cost at least a bit more.

Her choice to wear the ring on that finger has led to rumors that she and Sean Penn are about to tie the knot. However, this ring is not an engagement ring from her boyfriend. Though the couple appears to have discussed the possibility of marriage and adopting a sibling for Ms. Theron’s son, Jackson, their time has not yet come.

In fact, Ms. Theron reportedly purchased the ring for herself, adding it to her growing collection of Anita Ko designs. For the past several years we’ve seen Ms. Theron wear her favorite KoKo earrings, the pyramid studs in 18k gold, to both gala and casual events. She has also been seen wearing the designer’s fan-style diamond and gold earrings, with a diamond stud resting in the center of her ear lobe while an arc of diamonds rests just below the rim of her ear.

It’s no surprise that Ms. Theron adores her Anita Ko pieces, since the LA-based designer prides herself on offering fine jewelry designed with today’s woman in mind. Ms. Ko brings an edginess to feminine chic, and her aim to make pieces that are “cool and luxurious” {cited} has caught the attention, not only of Charlize Theron, but of several other cutting-edge celebrities, including Demi Moore, Kate Hudson, and Victoria Beckham.

Ms. Ko does not feel she has to compete with the big names in jewelry, rather she feels she must distinguish herself from them and the traditions surrounding them. “The established houses created in a time when many pieces were worn on special occasions and purchased by men. This is the opposite of how I design. I want women to connect to their luxurious side and treat themselves with a beautiful piece that makes them feel special,” Ms. Ko told Divia Harilela of Post Magazine.

That is precisely what Ms. Theron has done–she has treated herself to an artfully designed, luxuriously feminine designer ring, and she has chosen to wear it boldly on the finger of her choice, despite the obvious clamor it would cause in the press.

We’re glad she’s done it, for it reminds us again of the sheer pleasure of wearing beautiful jewelry and the fact that today a woman is allowed to treat herself.

If you’re looking for a way to treat yourself to cool luxury, we have a number of beautiful designer rings in stock today.

We invite you to call and make an appointment. We’d love to see you walk out of our showroom ready to start some rumors of your own!

Tiffany’s Chooses White Gold, Diamonds, Green Tsavorite, and Blue Sapphires to Commemorate the Seahawks’ Super Bowl Victory

Seahawks Championship Super Bowl Ring 2014. Photo Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic.

Seahawks Championship Super Bowl Ring 2014. Photo Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

On June 19, 2014, a special presentation ceremony took place in downtown Seattle to commemorate the landmark victory attained by the Seahawks at Super Bowl XLVIII. As mentioned in a previous article, these rings are given not only to the playing team members, but also to all the folks behind the scenes that make the season possible, including managers, scouts, financial supporters, and more.

The rings are subsidized to the tune of $5,000 per ring by the NFL, with a limit of 150 distributed at the NFL’s expense. Teams can spend more than the allotted NFL budget and have more rings made, but the terms the NFL sets are firm. These rings are specially designed, typically by a high-end designer chosen by the winning team, with the input of the team’s owners, coaches, and other key leaders within the team’s organizational structure.

These rings are meant to capture the essence, not only of the game but of the team’s entire season–no small feat on the canvas of a jewel the size of a small rock. Speaking of rocks, the Seahawks wisely chose to commission Tiffany & Co., the decided leader in the artful display of all manner of rocks, to design their Championship Ring.

True to their collaborative nature, the Seahawks have painted a story on each ring that “represents a distinctive tribute to this team, our fans, the Pacific Northwest and the Seahawks victory in Super Bowl XLVIII,” said Peter McLoughlin, the team’s president {3}.

On the face of the ring, 64 round diamonds fill in the white gold outline of the team’s bird-head logo. A second outline of blue enamel further distinguishes the logo. A single fancy-cut, prong-set, green tsavorite serves as the bird’s eye.

Above the bird, a marquise-cut diamond is bezel-set in the form of stylized version of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and these two iconic symbols are surrounded by an ocean of 107 round diamonds. The ring’s border reads “WORLD CHAMPIONS,” and is further framed by two sets of six round brilliant diamonds on either side.

In profile, the ring’s head is rimmed by a single row of 40 blue sapphires, and from it hang two “12″ flags etched in blue enamel. The shanks of the ring tell the story of the season. Etched on the side boasting the player’s name is a long view of the south-facing aspect of Century Field. A “12″ flag flies in relief against Mt. Rainier in the distance, a solid tribute to the 12th “player” for the Seahawks, the team’s loyal fans.

The player’s number stands in relief upon the playing field, and just below, their final record of 16-3 is etched just above the 12 feathers engraved into the bottom portion of the band. These feathers are stylized to mimic the feathers featured on the team’s uniforms.

The opposite shank features a view of Seattle’s skyline in the background, with the Space Needle taking prominence. In relief one sees the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the words “Super Bowl XLVIII”, and the NFL Logo, etched against the background. The year 2013 is engraved into the band just above the stylized feathers.

The inside of each ring is etched with the following phrases: “LEAVE NO DOUBT”, “24/7″, “SEA 43-DEN 8″, and “WHAT’S NEXT?”

Tiffany & Co. expressed their pleasure in working with the team to design their special rings. “Having crafted the Vince Lombardi Trophy since its inception in 1969, we are proud to have now also crafted the first Seattle Seahawks Championship ring–both being the purest symbols of hard work and perseverance,” said Tiffany’s representative, Victoria Reynolds {3}.

In the many images and videos floating about on the Web, the indelible mark of Tiffany’s impeccable quality is unparalleled in the structure and design of these rings. They truly are beautiful jewels, and the story they tell is a story well loved by everyone in the Pacific Northwest.

We applaud the hard work and dedication set forth by the best football team in the world and the best of the best in diamonds.


  1. Crabtree, Curtis. “Seahawks Get thier Super Bowl Rings,” NBC Sports, June 20, 2014.
  2. Eaton, Nick. “See the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVII Champs Ring,” Seattle PI, June 19, 2014.
  3. Seahawks News. “Seahawks Receive Super Bowl Rings,” posted June 19, 2014.

Shopping for a Vintage Engagement Ring? Look to the 1940s!

Capture the Essence! of 1940s Vintage with this 18k Gold and Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of 1940s Vintage with this 18k Gold and Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Once again, decadence returned to fashion in the 1940s. Glamour neared its peak, with the faces of Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, and Bette Davis leading the pack. The jewelry industry took a turn back toward yellow gold, and diamonds were en vogue for engagement rings.

As with nearly every decade, bridal jewelry erred on the conservative side, with modest and largely plain bands and classic diamond cuts. Platinum continued to hold a place on the wedding scene, though yellow gold most definitely dominated.

The round brilliant cut was making more of an impression, though the more traditional (at the time) transitional and Old Euro cuts continued to hold their own. Blue sapphires and rubies maintained a slight presence on the scene, though the diamond was definitely king of the 1940s.

Are you shopping for a lady that exudes class, sophistication, and a touch of decadent elegance?

Then look no further than EraGem’s 1940s vintage engagement rings. Give us a call today, so we can outfit you with a dreamy ring for your proposal!

Shopping for a Vintage Engagement Ring? Look to the 1930s!

Capture the Essence! of 1930s Vintage with this Diamond and Platinum Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of 1930s Vintage with this Diamond and Platinum Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Are you drawn to the sophisticated styles of such mavens of fashion as Ginger Rogers, Joan Crawford, or Norma Shearer?

Well, you’re in luck, because we have a number of beautiful vintage engagement rings that drip with 1930s glam.

As the decadence and extravagance of the 1920s gave way to the sensuality and sophistication of the 1930s, jewelry design turned toward more classic understated styles. Engagement rings from this period, while lending a nod to the architectural lines of Art Deco jewelry, became more streamlined, developing swiftly into what we now call the classic look. The gemstones of choice were white diamonds and blue sapphires.

Most brides-to-be wore a ring with a modest center stone, typically an Old Euro Cut diamond, an oval-cut or cushion-cut blue sapphire, or a transitional-cut diamond. Although solitaires were popular, a fair portion of 1930s engagement rings were decorated with a variety of accent stones,  typically single-cut, transitional-cut, or baguette diamonds.

On occasion, the Art Deco trend of using small triangular-cut or baguette blue sapphires carried over in a small number of early 1930s engagement rings. Platinum and white gold were the metals of choice, and often these simple simple tapering bands were embellished with filigree.

We would love to show you our selection of 1930s vintage engagement rings in person. Just drop us a line to schedule an appointment.

This Jeweled Waltham Ladies Wristwatch is a Relic of American History

Capture the Essence! of American Watchmaking with this 1920s Art Deco Waltham Watch. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of American Watchmaking with this 1920s Art Deco Waltham Watch. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

This gorgeous Art Deco Waltham ladies wristwatch has a gorgeous 18k white gold case which is bead set with 38 single-cut diamonds along the edges. Its interior, both above and below the face, is channel set with 12 Old European Cut diamonds, while 6 calibre-cut natural blue sapphires add a distinctive sophistication to the overall design.

The band is fashioned out of 18k white gold mesh, and the face is decorated in black Arabic numerals with blue steel hands. On the back an inscription reads “Mrs F.S. Dean Atlanta, GA”.

The Movement

The outside of this watch, with its clear declaration of original ownership, tells a distinctive story, one worth looking into at some point. However, it is the story that the inner movement has to tell that this writer is most interested in today.

The movement is the heart of a mechanical clock or watch. It houses all the moving parts that keep accurate time. The movement in this watch has 17 jewel bearings adjusted to 5 positions (or pairs), and those jewels are likely set in yellow gold.

According to Waltham’s records, this movement probably has a gold center wheel and an entirely gold train. Its balance wheel is likely made with gold balance screws and two pairs of gold mean-time screws. Its balance staff features the finest of pivots made in the early 1900s, and likely has two oil grooves {cited}.

Waltham Watch Movements

The movement in this wristwatch is stamped with the name of its maker, Waltham, and a serial number, 23158481. It is this serial number that grants us access to details about this watch that demonstrate its clear distinction among antique wristwatches. Here’s what we know about Waltham watch movements in general:

  1. All genuine Waltham movements are stamped with a serial number and the company’s name (which varies according to the year the watch was made).
  2. Waltham went through a number of mergers and transitions in its 100+ years as a company, so the name engraved on the movement provides evidence as to the year in which it was made.
  3. These serial numbers correspond to a detailed record which has been transferred from written ledgers kept by the company into a digital database.
  4. When the serial number is known, it is possible to determine a two-year period in which the watch was made.
  5. Waltham watches made between 1850 and 1957 represent the top of the line in American watches.

This Waltham Watch Movement

Since we have the serial number for this Waltham watch movement, we can be sure of the following:

  1. It was made between 1919 and 1920.
  2. Between 1907 and 1923, the official name for the maker of this watch was Waltham Watch Co., based in Waltham, Massachusetts.
  3. Waltham Watch Co. never made cases, though they did manufacture the faces and hands for their watches.
  4. Waltham Watch Co. sold their watch movements and parts to dealers and repairmen wholesale, so this watch movement was sold, likely to Mr. F.S. Dean of Atlanta, GA, by a third-party dealer, who likely sold the case and movement together.
  5. This watch represents a significant historical milestone in American watchmaking.

American Watchmaking

Watches were a hot commodity in America during the early 1900s, and wristwatches were just coming into high fashion for ladies, replacing the dainty pendant watches of the late 1800s. Waltham Watch Co., as it was called in 1920, had established itself as the leader in pocket watches, and for nearly 70 years the railroad industry in America and England used Waltham watches exclusively. Wristwatches were a new field, one that in the end would prove to be too different from pocket watches for Waltham to sustain their manufacture.

A Relic of American History

However, at the dawn of the 20th century, the Waltham Watch Co. stood above the rest as a pioneer in this industry. They were the first in the world to use machines to manufacture the complete mechanism for clocks and watches, and they were the first in the industry to use what is called the interchangeable system.

Prior to this time, this system of mass-producing every aspect of a complex mechanism using machines was used primarily in the arms industries of the American government. The purpose of this system was to allow for easy repair and replacement of damaged parts without having to retool the entire mechanism. It was a risky endeavor, since if only one part is off in a mechanical watch, the whole thing is a bust.

Prior to 1850, no one had attempted to use machines to mass-produce such intricate mechanisms, and the pioneers at Waltham would revolutionize not only the watch industry, but also the automotive and other technical industries of that time.

Given Waltham Watch Co.’s supreme popularity and distinguished reputation, it is highly unlikely that this watch movement sat on the shelf for more than 6 months after the time of its manufacture. That it was likely purchased brand new for a high-society lady in Georgia at the dawn of the 1920s demonstrates that this watch is not only a beautiful accessory, but a relic of American history.

‘Gold & The Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia’ Opens July 19, 2014 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

Winged Isis pectoral (538-519 BC). Harvard University--Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Used with permission.

Winged Isis pectoral (538-519 BC). Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Used with permission.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

This golden pectoral ornament has to be one of the most spectacular pieces in the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) Boston’s upcoming exhibition Gold & The Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia. Found in 1916, near the Nubian pyramids in present-day Sudan, in the tomb of Amaninatakelebte, in a cemetery at Nuri, this exquisitely carved golden jewel features the winged goddess Isis kneeling with her arms outstretched.

She holds in her right hand an ankh, and in her left hand she grasps what appears to be the hieroglyph for a sail. The ankh represents ‘life’, and the sail represents ‘the breath of life’. Upon her head she wears a throne-shaped crown, the symbol for her hieroglyphic name. The goddess Isis appears to have debuted as a Nubian goddess, who was also worshiped in Egypt and the Hellenestic lands. She was revered most as the goddess of motherhood and fertility, known to heal and confer wisdom to her devotees.

This relic from Ancient Nubia is a superb example of the nearly 100 Nubian jewels the will be on display in Gold & The Gods, which opens July 19, 2014. Every one of these artifacts was discovered by archaeologists in expeditions led by a joint partnership between the MFA and Harvard University from 1905-1942.

This expedition extended from the banks of the Nile to the Mediterranean coast and to Sudan, and a majority of the hundreds of artifacts brought back from these important digs are housed in the museum’s Egyptian and Nubian collections. This particular exhibition of Nubian artifacts will feature a number of foreign imports (acquired by Nubian royals through trade routes established between the peoples of central Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Red Sea), as well as a number of truly unique Nubian pieces fashioned with advanced techniques in goldwork, beadwork, and enameling.

According to the show’s co-curator, Denise Doxey, who curates the Ancient Egyptian, Nubian, and Near Eastern Art at the MFA, the “highly sophisticated and dynamic” Nubian culture produced Nubian artists who designed and manufactured “spectacular jewelry [which] demonstrates [their] technical skill and aesthetic sensitivity.”

Since this particular body of artifacts spans 2,000 years of Nubian civilization (1700 BC to AD 300), visitors will have the opportunity to witness the evolution of the many highly skilled techniques used by Nubian artisans. Many of these techniques, including granulation, repousse, and champlevé enameling, continue to be used by modern jewelry artisans. However, given the crude tools used in ancient Nubia and their primitive methods of controlling temperatures with fire, the results they achieved are absolutely astonishing.

Museum curators, Denise Doxey and Yvonne Markowitz (the MFA’s Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry), believe that visitors will “discover the wonders” of this ancient culture which is only now beginning to take its place on the timeline of ancient history. They also hope that visiting jewelry artists will be inspired to incorporate Nubian motifs and techniques into their own pieces.

If you’re planning to be in Boston later this summer, you will not want to miss this amazing exhibition. We invite you to visit the MFA’s website for more information.

Pearls: The Quintessential Wedding Gemstone

Antique Pearl & Diamond Three Stone Ring

Pearls are not only the birthstone of those born in June, but they rival the diamond for the title of Quintessential Wedding Gemstone. It’s true that diamonds have taken center stage for the past century, but the pearl appears to hold the record for being the gemstone longest associated with bridal tradition.

There are a number of legends recorded in ancient Hindu texts detailing what may be the very earliest use of pearls in weddings. In the Rig Veda, dating back to around 1000 BC, Krishna, a divine incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, dives into the ocean. He arises from the depths with the first pearl ever seen and presents it to his beloved daughter on her wedding day. In another legend, this same Krishna is said to have received a grand pearl as a reward for defeating the great monster called Pankagna. Krishna is said to have adorned his bride with the pearl on their wedding day.

Because of their close resemblance to and association with the moon, pearls have assumed the same symbolism credited to that lunar celestial body–that of purity and love. The Ancient Greeks believed that the beautiful gifts of the sea would bestow upon a bride pure marital bliss. Other cultures believed they would ensure love, happiness, and harmony. Not only are pearls credited with bringing strength to the bonds between husband and wife, but they have also long been believed to confer wealth and status, both implied and actual.

This particular association between the pearls and wealth has continued throughout the ages. By the time our modern-day customs were being birthed in the halls of the European royal courts, pearls were everywhere, never more so than in France in the House of Burgundy, where royal weddings were inundated with pearls. The brides wore them, of course, but so also did their wedding attendants and wedding guests. Even male well-wishers wore the white beauties.

The trend continued into the British Royal Courts, where almost every queen and princess wore pearls on her wedding day. Even Queen Elizabeth II wore pearls on her special day, as did Jackie Kennedy. Our current First Lady also wore a stunning pair of drop earrings featuring exquisite pearl drops.

So, if you’re choosing pearls for your wedding day, you are making a decidedly royal choice.


An Ice Road Allows Canadian Diamond Mines to Release Ethically-Sourced Diamonds into the Market


Capture the Essence! of Ethically Sourced Diamond Mines in Northwest Territories, Canada, with this Ikuma Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Ethically Sourced Diamond Mines in Northwest Territories, Canada, with this Ikuma Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Canada’s safest highway is a road constructed completely of ice in the subarctic Northwest Territories. Open for only 8 to 10 weeks out of the year, the road is newly constructed every winter, beginning shortly after Christmas. The road spans between Tibbitt and Contwoyto and services the Diavik Diamond Mines, as well as several others, allowing trucks to haul diesel, personal supplies, and important construction materials to the mines in order to maintain mining operations for the remainder of the year.

Once the road closes in early April, the only way to reach the mines is by airplane, an unsuitable option for hauling fuel and heavy materials. While the road is open, strict policies maintain the safety of the road. Given the road’s length, the slippery nature of ice, and the thousands of trucks that travel the stretch throughout its brief season, the speed limit is set at 25 kph, and violations may result in banishment from the road for the remainder of the season.

It takes between 14 and 18 hours to drive the full length, demonstrating the depth of commitment required to bring ethically sourced diamonds to today’s market. Without this feat of human genius, the beautiful, conflict-free diamonds found deep beneath Lac de Gras would remain hidden, and we would not be able to offer you this splendid Ikuma Diamond solitaire engagement ring.

Unique Engagement Rings for the Vintage Bride

One of the most compelling reasons to choose an antique or vintage engagement ring is that they are often truly one-of-a-kind. Made between 50 and 100 years ago, many of these lovely rings are handcrafted, and even those that feature die stamped bands are often mounted with hand-cut stones. To add to their appeal, antique and vintage rings often come with a reasonable price tag and a host of unique gemstones to choose from. Here we present a selection of exclusive antique and vintage rings that would serve as beautiful alternatives to a diamond engagement ring:

Antique Natural Amethyst and Seed Pearl RingThis gorgeous antique ring is a bold choice for today’s vintage bride. This may be best chosen for a European bride who will wear her wedding band on her right hand, as its bolder profile may inhibit the addition of a second ring. Featuring a stunning 14-carat, oval-cut natural amethyst, this ring is crafted of solid 14k white, green, yellow, and rose gold. With intricate floral designs and filigree decorating the entirety of the band, and tiny cultured seed pearls framing the upper and lower rims of the stone’s surround, the overall effect is one-of-a-kind vintage romance.


Vintage Filigree Ametrine Ring 18k White GoldHere we have an incredible work of vintage art in solid 18k white gold with intricate filigree. Centering a magnificent 6.5-carat, emerald-cut ametrine, this showstopping ring pulses with dazzling color, tapering from brilliant purple to brownish-yellow. According to legend, ametrine is a gift fit for a queen. The first European specimen was reportedly brought to Spain by a conquistador who received it from a Bolivian princess as a bridal dowry. He wisely gave it to his Queen upon returning to his homeland.


Vintage Opal Cocktail Ring with Black Enamel AccentsHere we offer a spectacular opal ring set princess style with nine round cabochon opals in a tiered fashion. The ring is accented with black enamel on the head and shoulders, while the lower gallery features beautiful openwork in solid 14k yellow gold. Opals were also a royal favorite, worn frequently by Queen Victoria. Representing hope, faithfulness, loyalty, and happiness, opal offers a special treasure to today’s vintage bride. As opals are sensitive to heat and other elements, it is advisable to take extra care when cleaning them and also to remove them while gardening or doing housework.