All posts in Fine Jewelry News

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

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

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

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes

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

Noble Purple Bridal Jewelry for the Royal-Inspired Bride

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

 

3-Carat Lab-Created Purple Sapphire Engagement Ring Palladium

 

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

 

Art Nouveau Amethyst & Seed Pearl Brooch

 

 

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

 

Antique Bezel-Set Amethyst Pendant

 

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

Beautiful Antique Brooches for the Royal-Inspired Bride

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

Antique Star Brooch with Diamonds Opals and Pearls

 

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

To Complement Elaborate Necklaces Brides Are Choosing Chandelier Earrings with Some Color

Bridal jewelry trends are edging toward the elaborate, and this includes earrings. Not only are brides opting for showy dangle-style earrings, but more and more they’re opting for a touch of color, as well. Here we offer a few sophisticated choices for today’s bride, each with their own splash of color:

Natural Briolet Aquamarine & Diamond Chandelier Earrings

 

These striking estate chandelier earrings are crafted of solid platinum and feature a pair of briolette-cut natural aquamarine gemstones accented by genuine natural diamonds and bezel-set aquamarines. These earrings hang 3 inches and will add a touch of color and elegance to your bridal jewelry ensemble.

 

 

Natural Pink Sapphire & Diamond Dangle Earrings

 

These luscious dangle earrings feature a split drop and bow motif set with sparkling white diamonds. Dangling from each bow is a solitary briolette-cut pink sapphire which is further accented with white diamonds. These royal earrings are crafted of solid 18k white gold and will add a touch of pink, and a touch of class, to your special day.

Judy Mayfield Pearl & Blue Sapphire Drop Earrings 18k White Gold

 

 

 

If pearls are your wedding day choice, these Judy Mayfield pearl and sapphire earrings are the perfect accessory. These designer drop earrings are fashioned from solid 18k white gold and feature rope motifs surrounding a pair of bezel-set blue sapphires. Dropping from a line of diamonds and pearls are a pair of exquisite drop-shaped cultured pearls. These earrings exude contemporary elegance.

 

Go Retro with a 1960s Gemstone Engagement Ring

Retro Vintage Old European Cut Diamond and Ruby Ring

In the 1960s, color was king, and big and bold were in. One could submit that 60s-era jewelry represented the best of both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods. Strong architectural lines remained, but to these geometric lines were added sweeping curves and artful flourishes, lending an organic flair not seen in the early 1950s. It was a time of free love among the masses, so the wedding industry had to turn almost entirely toward America’s landed gentry for its cues.

The likes of the Vanderbilts, Kennedys, and Astors set the standard for designer engagement rings, buying their important ladies the best of Cartier, Tiffany, and Van Cleef and Arpels. Stylized floral themes emerged, even in wedding jewelry, and brooches, bracelets, and necklaces became larger and more ostentatious. One could argue that the wedding industry boomed under the heavy influence of these art-conscious trend setters.

If not for the insatiable and exotic appetites of these world travelers, these historic jewelry legends might have become stuffy and repressed in their designs. Instead, those who had all that money could buy wanted the unusual, the unreal, the unexpected. This leant a decided flair, even to engagement rings. Thus, we have the stunning, larger-than-life step-cut aquamarines flanked by diamonds in platinum, as well as sweeping swirls in platinum and yellow gold ornamented with blue sapphires, rubies, and diamonds.

With the onset of this new wave of art jewelry, stone size became only slightly less important (unless you were Elizabeth Taylor). A number of styles features modest blue  sapphires, interspersed with diamonds of equal size, which were displayed right alongside solitaires boasting large diamonds. Rubies were also popular, and sometimes designers used all three precious stones together. It was a time of showy beauty, and every one of these pieces evokes the nostalgia of a unique era.

If your sweetheart loves the high-style of Jacki Onassis Kennedy or Gloria Vanderbilt, may we suggest you surprise her with a 1960s retro-vintage engagement ring? We have a number of beautiful options in stock and would relish the opportunity to place a bit of history right into your hands. Just give us a call.

The History + Characteristics of the Cushion Cut

GIA 1.5 Carat Cushion-Cut Diamond Halo Engagement Ring

Capture the Essence! of 2014 Engagement Ring Trends with this Halo Engagement Ring featuring a GIA 1.5-Carat Cushion-Cut Diamond.

 

This stunning halo engagement ring is crafted of solid platinum. The central stone is a spectacular GIA-certified, 1.56-carat, cushion-cut diamond. Surrounding this dazzling center stone is a halo carved in platinum and paved in 20 round brilliant diamonds. The gallery, shoulder, and sides, edged in beautiful millgrain, are accented with another 74 round brilliant diamonds. This ring is sure to dazzle from every angle, particularly since two of this year’s most popular trends kiss in perfect platinum–the halo and the cushion cut.

Throughout the 1800s and into the early 1900s, before round brilliant diamonds took center stage, the Antique Cushion (Old Mine/Pillow) cut was the most popular style of diamond. During the mid-1900s, many of these antique diamonds were re-cut to meet market demand for round brilliants. It wasn’t until recently, when nostalgia and romance began to turn our heads back toward the royal diamonds of the 1800s that cushion cuts began to return to fashion.

Today the cushion cut enjoys the highest popularity among all the fancy cuts. Offering the romance of a candlelit room, this shape captures the light and throws it around with artful beauty, sometimes emanating more fire than even a round brilliant. Even in harsh direct light, the cushion shape captures the light and refracts it with romantic warmth.

Unlike most diamond cuts, the cushion has several variations that affect appearance in terms of fire, brilliance, and size. Depending on the proportions chosen by the cutter, a cushion cut can vary greatly in dimension and shape. In its original form (circa 1800s), the cut was square with rounded corners. However, modern cushions can be any shape between a rectangle and a square, with an open culet and rounded corners. Even with a modern cushion cut, you can be sure that your diamond is truly unique.

 

If your beloved tends toward the romance of days gone by, we highly recommend considering a cushion cut diamond engagement ring. That being said, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of doing your homework when it comes to buying a diamond. Learn all you can about the 4Cs, as well as about the different shapes and cuts. Particularly if you’re interested in a fancy cut, like the cushion, it is extremely important to seek a reputable jeweler who can show you a number of different facet patterns, sizes, and styles.

 

Wedding Jewelry Trends Take a Turn Toward the Beautifully Decorated East Indian Brides and Their Lavalier Necklaces

Fancy Link 5-Carat Diamond Necklace

A quick search on Google for ‘wedding jewelry trends’ fills the screen with luxurious images of beautifully decorated East Indian brides. Rich colors in hues of rust, brick, aubergine, olive green, and baby blue blend together, evoking every young girl’s Persian princess fantasies.

Long dangling earrings are nearly lost in elaborate headdresses sparkling with colorful gemstones and beads. Elaborate veils add an element of mystique, taking the exquisite beauty to a whole new level. Though each bride brings her own individual taste to bear on her overall look, there are several commonalities to them all.

Every surface shimmers with jewels and metallic fabric, and kohl and henna reign. Their dresses are rarely white; rather they involve rich silks in lavender, cream, champagne, olivine, rich reds, and many other vibrant colors. Their jewels are always elaborate and include jeweled hand chains, fancy anklets and toe rings, golden armbands, gorgeous bindi jewelry upon their foreheads, any number of stackable golden bracelets, chandelier style earrings, and gorgeous lavalier necklaces.

It is these elaborate necklaces that have caught our attention today. Even if you’re not going with the more traditional East Indian costume for your wedding, you can wear these beautiful necklaces. Many of the images popping up on Google show the more traditional white bridal gowns paired with these more delicious ornaments, demonstrating the power of the alluring east to influence contemporary bridal trends.

Here we offer a selection of our most delectable lavalier necklaces, sure to add a touch of sensuality and royalty to your bridal jewelry:

 

Antique Bezel Set Amethyst Pendant

 

This exquisite antique necklace features bezel-set natural amethysts in solid 10k gold. This necklace will add a touch of romantic royalty to your wedding jewelry, with its cushion-cut center stone, its pear-shaped drop stone, and the smaller halo of round and pear-shaped accent stones.

 

 

Retro Vintage Lavalier Pearl & Ruby Necklace

 

This stunning vintage necklace is a captivating choice for the bride who wishes to emulate the East India bride. Set with seed pearls and natural cushion cut rubies in a crossing draped pattern, this necklace is crafted of 14k yellow gold and will lay beautifully along the neckline of a champagne or lavender dress.

Floral Lavalier Diamond Necklace

 

 

 

Here we have a beautiful sterling silver and white diamond lavalier necklace in a floral motif. Over 400 round brilliant diamonds are bezel set into floral shapes for the chain and bead set into floral draping sections. The diamonds are set in sterling silver set over 18k gold. It’s patina and age make it perfect for a candlelit evening ceremony, and it would look lovely paired with a white wedding dress.

 

 

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.

Wedding Jewelry Trends Incorporate Beautiful Brooches

3.5 Carat Diamond Brooch in Platinum

Thanks to First Lady, Michelle Obama, as well as the ever-popular British Royals, Queen Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton, the brooch has come to stay. A beautiful brooch can add a certain flair, while at the same time establishing a classic elegance to any ensemble. This truth has finally asserted itself into wedding jewelry trends, and we can’t be more thrilled.

Brides are using brooches to upstyle their shoes, their hair, their bustles, their veils, and more. They’re even replacing the flowers in their bouquets with the most exquisite arrangements of vintage brooches. We have seen gorgeous pins embellishing invitations, pinned to the groom in lieu of a boutonniere, and even affixed to the fondant on the edge of wedding cakes.

Many of these beauties are handed down or borrowed from family members, and these are the ones we would expect a bride to wear on her bustle, or in her hair, or filling out her bouquet. Still others are sourced from vintage shops, thrift stores, or flea markets, and it makes sense to use these rhinestone brooches to add a flourish to your invitations, to the cake, or to your table decorations.

Perhaps, though, you would like to embellish your dress with a finer piece of authentic antique jewelry. That’s where we can help!

Here we offer a sampling of some of our most beautiful brooches featuring authentic gemstones and diamonds. These you might want to wear on your veil, or pin it to your groom’s lapel, or you may want your bouquet’s centerpiece to become a family heirloom to pass on to your daughter or granddaughter one day.

Here we offer several of our most beautiful brooches which will add more than a touch of sophisticated elegance to your wedding day: 

 

Antique Art Deco Diamond Brooch

 

This gorgeous antique Art Deco bar pin brooch would make a perfect accent for your hair or headpiece. It is crafted of solid ornate platinum filigree with a total of 2-2/3 carats of genuine Old European cut diamonds.

Art Deco Created Sapphire Filigree Brooch

 

 

 

 

This stunning petite Art Deco filigree brooch is crafted of 14k white gold, featuring three lozenge cut created blue sapphires in bezel settings. Finished with ornate milgrain edging, this beautiful brooch would be the perfect “something blue” for your wedding day.

 

Natural Opal and Diamond Brooch

 

 

This Victorian-style brooch features a magnificent opal with stunning round and baguette diamond accents. This gorgeous piece is a statement piece, sure to add the elegance and sophistication of royalty to your wedding ensemble.

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!