• Preston Singletary Exhibition at Museum of Glass


    White Raven by Preston Singletary White Raven by Preston Singletary, 2017. Blown, hot-sculpted, and sand-carved glass. Courtey of the artist. Photo courtesy of Russell Johnson.


    On view now at the Museum of Glass, Preston Singletary presents Raven and the Box of Daylight. Glassmaking, goldsmithing, and jewelry design go hand in hand. Sometimes it’s important to step out of the box and look at things from outside your usual box. This is why I’m writing about this exhibition.

    Though the exhibit does not feature jewelry, the story just happens to hail from the oral traditions of the Tlingit people. If you recall, I recently mentioned the Tlingit people in a post about the Klondike Gold Rush Museum.


    The Tlingit

    The Tlingit peoples are indigenous tribes native to Southeast Alaska and Western Canada. In Alaska, they continue to occupy the coastal rainforest on the southeast shores. They also continue to occupy the Yukon area of Canada. Historically, they also lived in the Alexander Archipelago.

    As mentioned in my previous article, a group of Tlingit tribes held control of the Yukon passes. This placed them at the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush.

    Among the Tlingit, art and spirituality go hand in hand, as do the daily activities of life. Therefore, even such everyday objects as spoons and bowls are decorated in the imagery of their rich oral tradition.

    Singletary draws upon this oral tradition to tell the story of Raven and the Box of Daylight in his latest exhibition at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma.


    Preston Singletary

    Preston Singletary, an indigenous artist from the Tlingit tribe, began working with glass in the early '80s. At some point along his path to mastery, Singletary discovered ways to blend his love for glass with his love for his culture.

    He began experimenting with Tlingit designs formed in glass. In his lifetime, his achievements have positioned him to inspire other indigenous artists to manifest their cultural language and philosophies in non-traditional materials.

    This evolution inspires all his work. His most recent is perhaps the most astounding immersive opportunity for museumgoers to experience the rich oral traditions of the Tlingit people.


    Raven and the Box of Daylight

    Perhaps one of the most important stories in the rich oral tradition of the Tlingit tribe, Raven and the Box of Daylight begins with an obsession.

    Raven Devises a Plan

    The Old Man at the Head of the Nass river tucked the sun, the moon, and the stars in three special boxes which he hid in a place of safety. Raven wants the light of the sun, the moon, and the stars for himself. Therefore, he devises a plan which he executes by first becoming a hemlock needle.

    Meanwhile, the Old Man's daughter ventures out to pick blackberries beneath the hemlock tree. Raven drops himself into her water cup. When she swallows the needle in a drink of water, Raven implants himself into her womb.

    Upon his birth as a boy, the Old Man devotes his affection to him, as he believes he is his grandson. He whines and complains until his grandfather gives in and gives him the box that holds the stars.

    The Stars and Moon Escape

    Transfixed by the light emanating from within, Raven opens the lid. The stars escape out the chimney and drift away into the heavens.

    Next, Raven begs for the box with the moon. He takes the moon out and plays with it like a ball. Eventually, it escapes from his hands and rolls out the door to follow the stars into the sky.

    Finally, Raven cries and begs until the Old Man gives him the box with the sun. Of course, the Old Man keeps careful watch over the boy with the sun. So though he wants to share his victory with his peers, Raven knows he cannot escape easily with it.

    The Sun Joins the Moon & Stars

    One night, after everyone else falls asleep, Raven transforms himself back into his bird form. He grasps the box in his beak and flies up through the chimney.

    Full of pride, he boasts to those he meets that he has acquired the light of the sun for himself. To prove it, he opens the box. Alas, the sun flees the box and joins the moon and stars in the sky.


    The Exhibition

    In sculptures made of glass, accompanied by audio and video elements, Preston Singletary provides an immersive, multisensory exhibition that brings this important Tlingit story to life.

    Set against the backdrop of shadows and projected images, the sculpted glass characters of Raven and the Box of Daylight appear to breathe with life. Projected through speakers, native Tlingit music overlays natural sounds of the Pacific Northwest coast.

    As visitors walk through the exhibit, they also hear recordings of native Tlingit storytellers narrating the story. (Click here to listen to samples of the audio tracks.)

    This immersive retelling of Raven's story is an important milestone in the continuation of the Tlingit oral traditions. Through the continued expression of art by indigenous peoples, their cultures live on, enriching the lives of all who participate.

    To plan your visit to the Tacoma Museum of Glass, visit their website for details.

  • Lauren Pesce Engagement Ring Details

    Match engagement ring style with Lauren Pesce With this gorgeous rose gold pave diamond halo ring, you can match engagement ring style with Lauren Pesce. Click here for more details. Photo ©2018 EraGem Jewelry.


    Lauren Pesce and Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino announced their engagement on Instagram a few short months ago. Since then, Mike's proposal and their wedding are saved for posterity as part of the Jersey Shore: Family Vacation series which has already begun showing on MTV.

    Who is Lauren Pesce?

    The answer to this question begins, only for us, on the campus of Monmouth University in New Jersey. Lauren and Mike both attended Monmouth, dating throughout their years there.

    In fact, Lauren and Mike dated from then until 2009, when Mike accepted the part on MTV's reality TV show, Jersey Shore. Lauren relates that they stayed friends after they parted ways, and that proves out in their reconnection after the show ended in 2012.

    During their time apart, Lauren Pesce graduated from LIM College in New York City with a degree in fashion merchandising. Her passion for fashion inspired her to begin her blog, called The Style Bae (which stands for Style Before Anything Else).

    Lauren worked for Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's as a fashion buyer. Now, she runs The Style Bae and works as a real estate agent in Monmouth County.


    Lauren Pesce Engagement Ring Details

    Although Lauren and Mike already tied the knot on November 1st, it's never too late to talk about engagement ring details. And Lauren's is a beauty!

    A 3-carat cushion-cut diamond nestles within a diamond halo. The sparkling combination rests atop a rose gold band paved in even more white diamonds.

    Lauren told USMagazine, "He made my dreams come true with the ring. I’m a type-A, picky person. I know exactly what I like when I see it. I had high expectations for when this happened and he went above and beyond my expectations. He really impressed me with all of it."

    Rose gold and diamonds with a large central stone are indeed a dream come true. Let us help you make your dreams come true, as well. We have a lovely selection of rose gold halo rings that are very similar to the one Mike Sorrentino gave his sweetheart.

  • History + Characteritics of Blue Diamonds


    Blue diamonds, the rarest of rare A stunning example of blue diamonds, this stunning blue and white diamond wring is set in 18k white gold. Click here for more details. Photo ©2018 EraGem Jewelry.


    This gorgeous wide band 18k white gold ring features a jaw-dropping 1.6 carat natural blue diamond. Surrounded by stunning emerald-cut and round brilliant white diamonds, the blue diamond just pops on this ring. Talk about the rarest of the rare, a blue diamond is perhaps one of the rarest precious gemstones on earth.

    I wanted to write about blue diamonds after browsing the lots of Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction. The top-grossing lot in this sale, a gorgeous blue diamond ring also mounted in 18k white gold, especially caught my attention.

    A Rare and Important Blue Diamond

    Realizing an astonishing $13.8 million, the Ai Diamond in Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale was a rare and important Vivid Blue and white diamond ring. Weighing an astonishing 5 carats, The Ai Diamond radiates with VS2 clarity. The GIA released a special monograph for this diamond, stating that the Ai Diamond is “saturated with the color of wisdom, harmony, and truth…”

    Natural blue diamonds are rarer than rare. Only one diamond in every 10,000 white diamonds found are colored. And only a very small portion of those colored diamonds are blue. In fact, Nature published a study reporting that only 1 in about every 200,000 diamonds have any blue tint. {source} The deeper the blue, the rarer the stone. Hence, the extraordinary price realized for this magnificent jewel.

    Mysterious Boron

    Blue diamonds derive their color from trapped particles of boron in their carbon structure. Boron absorbs yellow light from the spectrum, allowing the color blue to radiate out from the stone.

    The boron found in blue diamonds has baffled scientists until recently. Boron is decidedly a crustal element, found primarily in the earth’s crust and rarely in the mantle. However, diamonds form deep within the earth’s depths, around 100 miles below the mantle. Furthermore, blue diamonds form even deeper down, as deep as 410 miles below the mantle.

    How Does the Boron Get Down There?

    The study published in Nature reports that the Earth's recycling habits drive boron down deep enough for a blue diamond to form. When two tectonic plates grind together, one pushes the other beneath it. The force at which this occurs drives crustal elements down into the mantle, sometimes as deep as the 400 miles required for forming blue diamonds.

    Once these crustal elements find their way into the mantle, the earth recycles and reuses them to create new materials that later shoot back up to the surface by way of volcanic or tectonic ruptures. Perhaps it would be better to call this upcycling - most certainly a blue diamond proves an upgrade from a bit of carbon and boron!

    Let us help you upgrade your jewelry case! Give us a call to add this gorgeous blue diamond ring to your collection.

  • The Chinese Wedding Feast

    Chinese wedding feast decorations. Chinese wedding feast decorations. Photo courtesy Flickr.


    The Chinese wedding feast is perhaps the most important aspect of the Chinese wedding day. Typically, the parents of the bride and groom hold separate feasts. The bride's family holds the feast ahead of the wedding. The groom's family hosts the feast that follows the ceremony.


    The Nuptial Chamber

    Prior to joining their guests at the wedding feast, a Chinese bride and groom retreat to their nuptial chamber. For these first few moments alone as husband and wife, the couple sits on their bed together.

    In some regions, it is customary for the couple to drink wine from goblets tied together by a red string. After a sufficient time has passed, the couple make their first entrance into the banquet hall.


    A Chinese Wedding Feast

    While the bride and groom enjoy their moments alone, their wedding guests file into the banqueting hall. On entering, they sign the wedding scroll (or guest book) and hand red envelopes filled with cash to wedding attendants.

    In front of the guest offering the envelope, the attendant opens it and counts the cash. They write the amount down so the couple will know how much to offer at the guest's future wedding. It is customary for the couple to offer a sum greater than what was given.

    Once everyone assembles and finds their seat, the wedding emcee announces the first entrance of the bride and groom. Typically, the groom offers a welcome speech which begins the service of a nine-course meal.

    While the guests eat, the bride and groom visit tables, greet their guests, and then retire to their rooms to change clothes. They return in new outfits after the third course, and again after the sixth course.

    Sometime just before dessert is served, the bride and groom offer a toast to their guests. The best man might also offer a toast at this time. Next the bride and groom visit each table. Each group of guests rises and drinks a toast to the couple. After visiting each table, the bride and groom leave the banquet hall once again.

    The couple changes their clothing once more, as the guests finish dessert. As soon as the dessert plates are cleared, the Chinese wedding feast ends. The bride and groom, as well as their close family members, assemble in the foyer outside the hall. One by one, the guests file out, shaking hands with the couple and their families. In addition, each guest has a photo taken with the couple, and the bride may hand out sweet treats.


    After the Feast

    One final ritual takes place on the evening of a Chinese wedding. At the end of the night, friends and family fill the bedroom. The youngest guests are encouraged to jump on the bed. Encouraged to make as much noise as possible, this bedlam discourages evil spirits from roosting in the room.

    Older friends play tricks on the couple, enjoying one final opportunity to keep the party going. The couple then shares another glass of wine. In some regions, the groom drinks of the 'flesh cup,' after which he holds the wine in his mouth. He then passes the wine from his mouth to his wife's, who swallows it for both of them.

    Staying as long as possible, the couple's friends tell ribald jokes, share stories, and enjoy ribbing the couple as much as possible. The couple finally cuts a lock of each others' hair, symbolizing the unity of their hearts. Eventually, their guests leave.

    The next morning, the bride awakens early to pay honor to her new family ancestors at the altar. Afterwards, she is introduced formally to her new family members. Each person offers her a small gift, and her husband's parents anoint her with a new title that places her in their family's ancestral hierarchy.

    Three days after a Chinese wedding, the bride and groom visit the bride's family home for dinner. From this visit onward, she is treated as a guest by her family.

  • The Key Features of Art Deco Engagement Rings

    Art Deco Engagement Rings Old Cut Diamond w/ Colored Accents Art Deco Engagement Rings never go out of style. This ring features an Old Euro Cut Diamond with Colored Accents. Click here for more details. Photo ©2018 EraGem Jewelry.


    Art Deco engagement rings continue capturing the eye of brides everywhere. From celebrities to models, from businesswomen to housewives, women from every walk of life are captivated by Art Deco style.

    This magnificent Art Deco engagement ring features an exquisite 1.68 carat old European cut central diamond. The diamond grades J in color and VVS2 in clarity. Its sparkle is breathtaking.

    Crafted of platinum, this antique ring features 14 single cut diamonds and 14 lab created blue sapphires set in amazing floral filigree. This ring epitomizes the key features of Art Deco engagement rings.


    The Art Deco Period

    Art Deco describes the design aesthetic of the period between 1920 and 1935. This design style emphasizes the marriage between art and modern industry.

    It represents a departure from natural lines and organic muses, such as flowers, fairies, and fauna. Instead, designers drew inspiration from modern inventions and archeological discoveries.

    Such inventions included the steamship, airplanes, steam engines, and automobiles. Archaeological discoveries included ancient Egyptian relics, as well as Central American and African tribal art motifs. In particular, these archaeological discoveries introduced an infatuation with geometric shapes for both gemstones and filigree designs.

    In addition, Art Deco artists found inspiration in Oriental artwork, as well as in Cubism and Fauvism. These artistic approaches further encouraged the use of geometric lines and designs.


    Art Deco Engagement Rings

    Drawing upon these same influences, jewelry designers fashioned numerous Art Deco engagement rings in keeping with these aesthetic principles. In the medium of metals and gemstones, a few key characteristics stand out for engagement rings made during this period.

    Platinum and white gold, platinum in particular, proved itself superior to yellow gold for Art Deco jewelry. For one thing, it is stronger than yellow gold. The intricacies of filigree and other delicate metalwork held up better in platinum. Platinum withstood the impact of daily wear better than yellow gold with these delicate designs.

    In addition, a new supply of platinum, discovered in South Africa in 1924, allowed jewelers to continue feeding the demand for platinum jewelry. For centuries, royals around the world preferred the contrast of white metals and diamonds to the warmer yellow gold.

    Of course, yellow gold found favor in some royal courts. However, by Edwardian times, platinum was the metal of choice. It remained so for many more years following.

    Today, platinum continues to shine as the metal of choice for many brides. This is not surprising, as not only does platinum retain its beauty and shine day after day, but it is lightweight and extremely durable.

    Perhaps you are in the market for an Art Deco engagement ring. If so, we offer a few pointers for ensuring that your engagement ring is an authentic antique from the 1920s or 1930s.


    Tips for Choosing Art Deco Engagement Rings

    1. True Art Deco engagement rings are fashioned from platinum or white gold.
    2. In its natural state, white gold from the 1920s appears grayish, as opposed to yellowish in tone.
    3. Art Deco settings include intricate filigree and other designs etched directly into the metal.
    4. Designs will be geometric with symmetry and clean lines.
    5. Central stones are primarily diamonds cut in Old Euro, cushion, Asscher, or transitional cuts.
    6. Many designs include smaller colored gemstones, primarily blue sapphires, rubies, and emeralds.
    7. These smaller gemstones may be synthetic without detracting from the value. This is the only period in which synthetic accent stones are fairly equal in value to their natural counterparts.
    8. Accent stones are cut in specialized geometric shapes, particularly calibre-cut, baguette, trapeze, half moon, and triangular.
    9. Jewelers often set accent stones in channels so they would essentially sit right next to each other, creating a seamless, mosaic design aesthetic.
    10. In this fashion, gemstones created the outlines and contrast for beautiful and intricate geometric designs.
    11. Certain semi-precious stones grew in popularity during the Art Deco period, including black onyx, coral, lapis lazuli, turquoise, and jade.
    12. Art Deco motifs included Egyptian symbols, lotus blossoms, Mughal carvings, Chinese dragons, Parisian arabesques, and more.

    If you desire more help in choosing an Art Deco engagement ring, we welcome you to visit our Bellevue showroom. Just give us a call to make an appointment.

  • China's Triple Parade Exhibition

    Triple Parade 2018

    Opening this month, China's Triple Parade exhibition features 12 Society of North American Goldsmith members. Open October 19, 2018, through January, 6, 2018, Triple Parade emerges as one of the leading contemporary applied art and design exhibitions.


    Triple Parade

    The exhibition takes place at the HOW Art Museum in Shanghai, China. The show aims to continue an ongoing international cultural exchange between China and the rest of the world.

    This year's theme, "Three Times: Dialogue Across the Past, the Present, the Future," places contemporary jewelry art at the forefront of a conversation about art in time and space in relationship to past, present, and future. Though several mediums are represented, jewelry holds a high position in the exhibit.

    "Jewellery is not just a form, [it] also explores the complex and dynamic relationships between people, people and objects, people and society, and people and the world as a whole." {source}

    I have certainly seen the truth of these words in my exploration of the noble and magnificent jewels that come up at auction, as well as in the spotlights on contemporary and past designers. I also see it in the passing of an estate jewel from one owner to another. Every time a gem changes hands, it adds a new chapter to the story it tells.


    Contemplating Value

    Triple Parade further explores the connection between time and space by expounding on the concept of value. A contemporary jewel possesses several levels of value. First of all, it carries an inherent material value in the cost of materials and labor used to create it. It also has an economic value - how much it costs and how much value it retains over time.

    At the same time, a jewel holds sentimental value, perhaps as an heirloom or a special gift. Some jewels also have humanitarian value. These days women in third world countries find value in exporting their handiwork. These jewels, made by hand using tribal and native techniques, support their families during hard times.

    Also, designers and high-jewelry firms release special collections from time to time which focus attention on specific humanitarian causes. These focused collections often serve as vehicles for raising funds for these causes, as well.

    Finally, certain jewels eventually acquire historical significance. Such jewels include those owned by royal families, those crafted with such distinction that serious collectors covet them, and those owned by celebrities.

    Triple Parade hopes to bring this conversation about national, international, contemporary, and historical value to the forefront. The exhibition enables this conversation by collaborating with a global selection of artists.

    Though their works are primarily contemporary, some of these artists draw on the past for inspiration. Others use materials that possess no value on their own, but transformed into wearable art they can now attain sentimental, humanitarian, and even historical value over time.


    The Exhibition

    Visitors to the HOW Art Museum will experience Triple Parade in four sections. To begin with, Intimate Encounter, featuring the works of artists selected through an international public invitation.

    After that, visitors move on to Like Attracts Like, a selection of works chosen by international galleries. Then, Arty Game includes artwork by contemporary visual artists.

    Finally, Viva la Different includes works selected by curators from ten countries and regions. It is in this section that our country is represented by the 12 SNAG artists.

    For more information about the exhibition, please visit their website.

  • Lea Michele Engagement Ring Details


    Match Lea Michele with this stunning radiant cut diamond engagement ring by Tiffany & Co Match Lea Michele with this stunning radiant cut diamond engagement ring by Tiffany & Co. Click here for more details. Photo ©2018 EraGem Jewelry.


    Lea Michele received a gorgeous engagement ring from Zandy Reich, president of the clothing company AYR. Reich worked closely with Leor Yerushalmi at The Jewelers Inc. in Las Vegas.


    Lea Michele Engagement Ring Details

    Like the spontaneous, vibrant Glee actress, her engagement ring is bold, contemporary, and beautiful. It begins with the perfect stone, a 4-carat elongated radiant cut diamond.

    Mounted on a platinum band, the central stone is framed in a halo of accent diamonds. The shoulder of the ring are paved in diamonds. Lea Michele wears this stunning ring so elegantly, it's as though she was born for it.


    The Jewelers Inc.

    Otherwise known as The Jewelers of Las Vegas, this family of jewelers has been in business since the 1970s. Founded by husband and wife, Mordechai and Vicki Yerushalmi, the jewelry firm stays in step with their customers by treating every visitor like family.

    Today, their children, daughter Natalie and sons Leor, Elad, and Benny hold to the same commitment. Working side by side with their parents, they adhere to the same strict standards that drew the attention of Hollywood in the 1990s.

    It began with the film crew on the movie Casino. Not only did the crew ask Mordechai to provide several pieces of jewelry for the film, they also gave him a speaking role in the film. He played a jewelry store owner whose store was robbed.

    Later, The Jewelers Inc. also supplied jewels for other movies, including Analyze This and Rush Hour 2. The Jewelers Inc. currently services their customers in nine locations throughout Las Vegas.


    Who is Zandy Reich?

    Most of us are asking this same question. A private person by nature, Zandy Reich remains somewhat mysterious, apart from his relationship with Lea Michele.

    One thing for sure, the man is a visionary. As head of AYR (All Year Round), he has led the millennial clothing brand into the sphere of the elite. Offered at Nordstrom, eBay, and on their own site, AYR appeals to everyday millennials.

    Using high-tech materials, the company manufactures their clothing in the U.S., primarily in New York and Los Angeles. Their sales promise "More is less," and they make superhero capes for everyday exploits.

    Lea Michele and Zandy have been friends for a long time. We wish them good health and a happy marriage!

  • Richard Mille at Sotheby's Important Watches Auction


    The Falcon by Richard Mille The Falcon by Richard Mille. Photo courtesy Sotheby's.


    On November 13th, Sotheby's Geneva presents their Important Watches auction, including this gorgeous Richard Mille watch. With an emphasis on the best of vintage and modern horology, the esteemed auction house offers 251 important watches from the industry's most renowned manufacturers.

    The Falcon

    I am most enamored with Lot 228, the RM57-02 Falcon pictured above. This gorgeous watch is crafted of white gold, diamonds, and near-black sapphires. Poised for attack, the diamond falcon embodies speed, strength, and competition.

    This magnificent bird of prey provides cover and protection for the interior skeletonized tourbillon movement. This exquisite Richard Mille mechanism counteracts the effects of gravity, thereby improving accuracy. In addition to the tourbillon, this watch features an innovative balance wheel mechanism.

    The balance wheel adjusts at the micro level with the help of miniature weight attached to the balance wheel. These micro-adjustments, a unique property of Richard Mille watches, protect the watch from impact, ensuring accuracy even when exposed to vigorous activity and sports-level impact.

    In total, the Falcon features 532 diamonds and near-black sapphires, weighing a total of 9.34 carats. Made in 2017, the Falcon represents the modernity and innovative spirit of the esteemed horloger.


    Richard Mille History

    Mille began studying watchmaking in the mid-1970s. For two decades, he worked for industry leaders before launching his own brand in 1999.

    After two years of research and experimentation, the watchmaker launched its first timepiece, a racing car for the wrist. His was a unique vision, inspired by the high-tech materials and manufacture of race cars and airplanes.

    Though he adheres to many of the traditions of Swiss watchmaking, Richard Mille is most certainly a pioneer. In particular, he chooses to work exclusively with high-tech materials which require time-intensive processing and labor to make such precise timepieces from them.


    High-Tech Materials

    Richard Mille not only drew inspiration from the racing and airplane industries, he aimed to use many of the same materials they use. First of all, they make their cases and some of their movement parts out of Grade 5 titanium.

    Titanium is a brand favorite, granting the strength of steel with the lightness required for his active clientele. It also provides protection from exposure to extremes, including temperature.

    Richard Mille also favors NPTP carbon, a composite material first used in yachts, and later in Formula 1 race car chassis and airplanes. NPTP not only provides incredible durability, but also a unique appearance.

    Composed of multiple layers of filaments divided from carbon particles. These filaments are layered parallel to each other and then modified by a special machine. The result is a gorgeous wood-like appearance, with mirror-like reflection and shading. NPTP is most often used in watch cases, since its appearance is so mesmerizing.

    Another amazing innovation for horology is the use of carbon nanotubes. Richard Mille injects a unique polymer with carbon nanotubes. This injection protects the movement and other sensitive components from shock damage.

    This cutting-edge approach to durability gives Richard Mille a unique place in luxury watchmaking. Not surprisingly, the brand has firmly captured the attention of sports enthusiasts, including several famous athletes.

    The durability of a Richard Mille watch, combined with the beauty and intricate craftsmanship is second to none. Without doubt, there is simply no other watchmaker doing what Richard Mille does with the same flair and dedication.

    For information on how to bid on this beautiful watch, please visit Sotheby's website.

  • Chinese Wedding Ceremony Customs

    A Chinese wedding begins as the bride exits the seddan chair outside her groom's home. A Chinese wedding begins as the bride exits the seddan chair outside her groom's home. Photo courtesy Flickr.


    Prior to a Chinese wedding ceremony, the bride and groom engage in several customs. These include the capping ceremonies, the groom's journey to obtain the bride, and the bride's journey to the groom's home. Chinese wedding ceremonies are relatively simple compared to these elaborate pre-wedding preparations.


    The Bride's Arrival

    The Chinese wedding ceremony really begins when the bride and groom nearly arrive at the groom's home. As the procession comes into view, family members and friends set off firecrackers to scare off evil spirits.

    Someone lays a red mat on the ground in front of the bride's sedan chair. This protects her feet from touching the bare earth on her special day.

    To enter the home, the bride must step over a lit stove placed at the threshold. Again, the fire ensures that any evil spirits trying to cling to the bride will remain outside the home.

    Finally, the bride is greeted by attendants who perform the final protection rituals, including placing a heap of rice in a sieve near her, shining light upon her with a mirror, and laying out special talismans for prosperity.

    After all the rituals are observed, the groom finally approaches to lift the heavy red veils to reveal his bride's face.


    Chinese Wedding Ceremony

    At this point, the bride and groom proceed to the family altar. Before the altar, they pay respect to Heaven and Earth, their ancestors, and the Kitchen God.

    They might say a special prayer, or recite a special verse of poetry to each other as a vow. Next, they bow to each other. This may end the Chinese wedding ceremony, or they may finalize it by drinking from the same wine goblet and eating sugar molded into the shape of a rooster.

    The most important part of the evening follows the ceremony.


    The Tea Ceremony

    Before the wedding feast begins, the groom's family members sit around the table for the Tea Ceremony. The bride brews Tsao Chun, a special tea for the occasion. She pours tea for every member of her groom's family, beginning with the eldest member.

    Before pouring the tea for her groom's parents, she places two lotus seeds and two red dates in the bottom of their coups.

    To show their approval for the bride, each family member drinks the tea. At the end of the ceremony, they offer the bride and groom a red envelope filled with money and/or jewelry.

    From here, the couple visits the marriage chamber and watches with pleasure as small children jump on the bed and eat the treats left by the good fortune woman. Finally, it's time for the wedding feast.

  • History + Characteristics of Palladium

    1930's Art Deco Old Euro Cut Diamond Engagement Ring Palladium 1930's Art Deco Palladium Engagement Ring. Click here for more details. Photo ©2018 EraGem Jewelry.


    Palladium is a noble metal in the same family as platinum. Though it was discovered in 1802, by the chemist William Hyde Wollaston, he did not take credit for the discovery until several years later.


    Palladium History

    In July 1802, Wollaston made note of his discovery in his journal. The following month, he named the metal after the asteroid Pallas which was discovered in March that year.

    Wollaston's discovery began with crude platinum unearthed in South America. Upon arriving at his lab, Wollaston dissolved the ore in aqua regia, following which he neutralized the solution with sodium hydroxide.

    He continued the process of separating the different metals within the ore. Finally, he added mercuric cyanide to form palladium cyanide. When heated, pure palladium separates completely.

    Surprisingly, Wollaston introduced this new metal in a strange way. He made arrangements with a London mineral dealer to offer a quantity of the metal for sale. To advertise the metal, Wollaston circulated anonymous handbills describing the metals unique properties.

    This unprecedented approach brought suspicion from other prominent chemists. One, Richard Chenevix, proclaimed the metal to be an alloy of platinum and mercury.

    Once again choosing to remain anonymous, Wollaston offered a reward of 20 guineas to anyone who could produce synthetic palladium. No one came forward to claim the reward.

    Finally, in 1805, Wollaston spoke about the process of isolating the noble metal, as well as illuminating its unique properties. He saved his big reveal for the end of his presentation, surprising everyone with the news that he was the anonymous discoverer of the metal.


    Palladium Sources and Uses

    Generally this noble metal forms in the same zones as nickel, copper, silver, gold, and platinum. Considered a byproduct of these metals, it's actually rarer even than its cousin platinum.

    The most abundant source throughout history has been Russia. However, it is also found in Montana (USA), Ontario (Canada), South Africa, South America, and Australia. Today, Canada and South Africa provide most of the commercial-grade palladium.

    Obviously, its used as an alloy for making fine jewelry. However, its primary commercial application is the manufacture of catalytic converters. In fact, as palladium grows scarcer, recycling will emerge as a primary source for all uses.

    As the price of gold and platinum rise, and as the availability of platinum declines, palladium has experienced a revival in Chinese jewelry in particular. A lustrous white metal, it holds up beautifully under the rigors of daily wear.

    In recent years, palladium received its status as a precious metal. In 2009, the industry agreed upon a new hallmark for it. Stamped with the number 950, the hallmark bears the head of Pallas Athena to distinguish it from platinum.

    We would love to show you our selection of palladium jewelry. Please give us a call to schedule an appointment with a member of our team.

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