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Best Coffee Table Jewelry Books

Posted on August 24, 2017 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

Although no jewelry gift can quite compare to actual jewelry, these stunning coffee table books come close. Think of these tomes as the diamonds of the book world--they're gorgeous, beautifully crafted, and designed to last (both literally and figuratively--the incredible jewelry in these books depict will never be passé). 

Like a diamond, these books are an investment. However, each one educates as much as it looks pretty sitting in the center of your living room or on your nightstand. Any one of these books would make a perfect gift for a jewelry lover--or just a treat for you!

1. Vogue: The Jewellery, by Carol Woolton 

Best Coffee Table Jewelry Books | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry Blog

Carol Woolton is the jewelry editor of British Vogue and an expert on historic and antique jewelry. This beautiful collection highlights the most memorable jewelry moments in Vogue and features both costume and fine jewelry. Illustrating the variety of jewelry featured in the magazine over the years, 300 pieces are organized into five sections: Show-stoppers, Rock Chick, Minimalist, Exotic, and Classical.

2. The Impossible Collection of Jewelry, by Vivienne Becker

Best Coffee Table Jewelry Books | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry Blog

Jewelry historian Vivienne Becker captures the milestones of jewelry design from the last century in The Impossible Collection. From the Art Nouveau period to the pre-new millennium era, 100 pieces are showcased for their design and the fascinating stories behind them. Featured designers include Cartier, Van Cleef, David Webb, and Boivin.

3. Pearls, by Beatrix Chadour-Sampson

Best Coffee Table Jewelry Books | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry Blog

Spanning centuries and cultures, Pearls traces the history of pearls' role as symbols of status and glamour--and in some contexts, purity. The book begins with a discussion pearls in the Roman Empire and concludes with a feature on pearls (and the impact of their cultured counterparts) in the modern era.

4. Jewels of the Rennaissance, by Yvonne Hackenbrock

Best Coffee Table Jewelry Books | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry Blog

The European Renaissance is one of the most interesting periods for jewelry design. Written by Renaissance and world jewelry authority Yvonne Hackenbroch, Jewels of the Renaissance overflows with stunning images of some of the most creative pieces from this artistic period. Hackenbroch also weaves in the compelling stories behind the pieces--including tales about who wore the jewelry, who created it, and who commissioned it.

5. Emerald: Twenty-One Centuries of Jewelled Opulence and Power, by Joanna Hardy

Best Coffee Table Jewelry Books | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry Blog

Split into three parts, Emerald celebrates the green gemstone that's reported to be 20 times rarer than a diamond. The first section features emerald jewelry worn by celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Princess Diana, and Elizabeth Taylor. This section also illustrates how emeralds have been featured in art and advertising. The second section covers historic emerald pieces--some created millennia ago, others created by the likes of Cartier, Boucheron, Bulgari, and Harry Winston. The final section discusses the emerald trade and features specially commissioned photos from four continents. 

6. Bejewelled Treasures: The Al-Thani Collection, by Susan Stronge

Best Coffee Table Jewelry Books | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry Blog

This book features 100 of the most spectacular pieces of a single Victoria & Albert jewelry collection, the Al-Thani Collection. Enjoy gorgeous photos of pieces previously owned by the great maharajas, nizams, sultans, and emperors of India from the 17th to the 20th century. Bejewelled Treasures also examines how Indian jewelry influenced theAvantee-Garde pieces of European jewelry designers (including Cartier). 

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Which of these jewelry coffee table books is on your wishlist?

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Photos: Amazaon

Posted in books, celebrities, design, gems, gemstones, gifts

What Are the Different Types of Opals?

Posted on October 20, 2016 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

Opals consist of hydrated silica and occur in rock fissures. Due to their structure, opals are considered mineraloids rather than minerals. Opals are the national gemstone of Australia but are also found in Ethiopia and Virgin Valley, Nevada.

Opal Lore

Opals have been the subject of various lore. During the Middle Ages, opals were associated with great luck and believed to carry the properties of every gem whose color matched one of the many colors reflected in the opal. Opals were also believed to bestow the power of invisibility. By wrapping an opal in a bay leaf and holding it in your hand, you could avoid being seen—or so the story goes.

Love of opals and belief in their inherent goodness dramatically changed with the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s Anne of Geierstein in 1829. The book describes a character who dies shortly after her opal comes into contact with a drop of holy water and turns black. Shortly after the book's publication, opal sales dropped by 50% in Europe and remained low for the next 20 years.

The Different Types of Opals

Natural

What Are the Different Types of Opals? | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Blog

Black Opal

Black/Dark Opals are the rarest and most valuable opals. Found in the Lighting Ridge in New South Wales, black or dark opals have a naturally dark background, which allows their colors and rainbow tones to appear more vibrant. This natural layer of potch (colorless opal) on the back of the stone varies in darkness; the darker the potch, the more vibrant the colors in the stone. The more vibrant the stone, the greater its value. Most black/dark opals are cut into ovals or teardrops.

What Are the Different Types of Opals? | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Blog

White Opal

White Opals or “milk opals” are light with a white body tone (as opposed to the black/dark body tone of the black/dark opals). Mined in southern Australia in the opal fields of Coober, Pedy, Mintabie, and Andamooka, white opals are the most common opals and therefore the least valuable--but they can still be quite pretty.

Crystal Opals can be light or dark and are partially transparent. Partial transparency may enhance the color (and value) of a stone. An opal with transparency may be referred to as a “white crystal opal” or “black crystal opal” depending on its body tone.

What Are the Different Types of Opals? | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Blog

Boulder Opal

Boulder Opals form in ironstone cavities in Queensland. They’re typically cut with some solid brown ironstone remaining on the back; the ironstone backing functions like the dark potch on black/dark opals, allowing the colors in the opal to stand out vibrantly. Found in Quilpie and Winton, boulder opals vary greatly in size and may be found as small as a pea or as large as a car. These are the second most valuable opals and are distinct for their thin, colorful veins. Boulder opals tend to have a flat or undulating surface and are almost always cut in a freedom shape, which maximizes the size the of the stone.

Matrix Opals occur as a network of veins between crevices in the host rock (usually claystone or ironstone). An andamooka matrix opal is a kind of matrix opal that has been enhanced by soaking in a sugar solution and boiled in acid, a process that deposits carbon in the stone’s pores, creating a darker background. A natural oulder opal matrix is a matrix opal in its natural state; it consists of brown ironstone with small deposits of opal.

What Are the Different Types of Opals? | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Blog

Polished Yowan Nut Opal

Yowan Nuts are found in Yowan in Queensland. These ironstone concretions resemble nuts, which can be cracked open to reveal a valuable opal in the center.

Synthetic/Manmade

Synthetic Opals are made in a lab with opaline silica, whose structure is similar to that of natural opal. Gilson Opals are the most well-known lab-created opals. Synthetic opals generally show brighter colors, are larger, and have a more ordered array of colors. Numerous subgrains in synthetic opals produce a delicate snakeskin pattern.

Imitation Opals are made with colored tinsel set in clear plastic or epoxy. They’re generally not convincing to the untrained eye.

What Are the Different Types of Opals? | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Blog

Doublet Opal

Doublets and Triplets are partially man-made stones that imitate black opals. Doublets and triplets consist of a slice of opal attached to a dark backing. In addition to being attached to a dark backing, triplets have a clear quartz or glass capping to magnify and protect the stone while giving it a rounded appearance.

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Photos: James St. John via Flickr, Pixabay, Biro Opal, Wikimedia Commons

Posted in gem facts, gem lore, gemology, gems, informative, opal

November Birthstones: Topaz and Citrine

Posted on November 12, 2015 by Mary Hood | 1 Comment

From ancient days to the present, both topaz and citrine have been credited with long lists of healing properties. Not to mention, their glowing colors serve as a perfect accent to any fall color palette!

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Posted in citrine, gems, informational, jewelry, November birthstone, topaz

7 Ideas for Treasure Hunting and Mining Adventures

Posted on July 02, 2015 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

Looking to try your hand at metal and gem mining? While gems and precious metals are mined across the world, the U.S. alone offers a plethora of gorgeous stones. See our destination picks for some of the most sought-after treasures. 

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Posted in diamonds, fun, gems, gold, jewelry, mining, travel

Why Do Diamonds Come in Different Colors?

Posted on June 04, 2015 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

yellow diamondColored diamonds can occur naturally, but they can also be the result of lab irradiation (i.e. cooking the stones). If you’re in the market for a colored diamond, it’s important to know the difference between the two since the source of the stone’s color may affect its value.

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Posted in black diamonds, colored diamonds, diamonds, gemological institute of america, gems, gemstones, gia, informative

Trend Watch: Engagement Rings with Colored Stones

Posted on May 14, 2015 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

We’re living in an exciting era for jewelry. There are endless options for engagement rings, allowing you to express your distinct taste while declaring your love. The diamond solitaire will always be a classic, but nontraditional designs, including colorful stones and unique settings, are on the rise.

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Posted in engagement rings, fashion, gems, jewelry, style, unique engagement rings, untraditional engagement rings, wedding rings

The Ideal Length-to-Width Ratio for Pear Cut Stones

Posted on April 09, 2015 by Mary Hood | 1 Comment

Pears are one of the trickiest cuts to shop for because it can prove challenging to find one with the right length-to-width ratio.

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Posted in Diamonds, fancy cut, fancy cut ratio, gemological institute of america, gems, gemstones, informative, jewelry, length to width ratio, pear cut, pear shaped diamond