Treasures for body and mind

31 December, 2011

The Seventh Day of Christmas

On the Seventh Day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me,
Seven swans a'swimming,
Six geese a'laying,
Five gold rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtledoves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.
Babe Paley's Verdura swan brooch

Marcus Berkner


1st Dibs

Soak Republic

Alex Monroe

Solange Azagury-Partridge

30 December, 2011

Sixth Day of Christmas

On the sixth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me,
Six geese a laying,
five golden rings,
four calling birds,
three French hens,
two turtledoves,
and a partridge in a pear tree!

These look like eggs but they are actually sterling casts of oak pods, what I grew up calling "galls," that Marcus Berkmer opened from the front and cleaned out, adding Baltic amber cabochons.  These and other pretty silver things can be found at MarcusBerknerJewelry on Etsy.

29 December, 2011

The Fifth Day of Christmas

On the fifth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me,
Five gold rings!
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtledoves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Diamond brooches, 1st Dibs

Red hot chicky ring by Soak Republic 
Love Birds Ring by Alex Monroe
Opal Fruits Cuff by Solange Azagury-Partridge

28 December, 2011

The Fourth Day of Christmas

On the fourth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtledoves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Diamond and 18 kt white gold brooches, 1st Dibs,

Red hot chicky ring, Soak Republic
Love Bird Ring, Alex Monroe
Opal Fruit Cuff, Solange Azagury-Partridge

27 December, 2011

The Third Day of Christmas

On the third day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me,
Three French hens,
Two turtledoves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.
Red hot chicky ring, part of the Safari collection by Soak Republic,
Love Bird Ring by Alex Monroe

Opal Fruit Cuff by Solange Azagury-Partridge

26 December, 2011

The Second Day of Christmas

On the second day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me,
Two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree...
Actually, they are Reed Alex Monroe

Opal Fruit Cuff by Solange Azagury-Partridge

25 December, 2011

1st Day of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas,
my truelove gave to me,
a partridge in a pear tree- a Solange Azagury-Partridge...

Her Opal Fruit Cuff is 18 kt blackened white gold with an opal center stone surrounded by rows of pave "rainbow" diamonds.  Sheer, over the top, trippy gorgeousness- a much better true love gift than a ground dwelling bird in an unseasonal fruit tree.   

To all of you, may your Christmas season be full of true love and the hope that Christ's birth gave to the world!  Merry Christmas!


21 December, 2011


 Andrew Geoghegan's Satellite Line is perfect for illuminating the darkest day of the year. 

Peridot, fire opal, diamonds, and white, yellow, and rose gold.

20 December, 2011

Christmas Roses

Today's offering is an oldy but a goody- the Van Cleef and Arpel's Rose et Noel design.  It's a beautiful jewel for the season.  In the story of the Christmas Rose, a little shepherdess cries because she has nothing to bring to the newborn Christ, not even a lamb or a drumbeat.  A pitying angel transforms her tears into white roses that she joyfully and reverently presents to the baby Jesus.  The Christmas Rose is traditionally planted by the door to welcome Jesus into the home.   
Speaking of God-stuff, Christmas is like getting married or having a baby.  It's never a good time; they never match our expectations but come together and are miraculous anyway; wedding days and birthing days really are only important because they begin grand adventures.  So I light our Advent candles at dinner and join the real season- the season of joyful waiting.

16 December, 2011

It's not a secret here that what I really want for Christmas is kittens.  (This is a jewelry blog- auctions, bathrooms, and kittens [oh my!] notwithstanding.  Work with me here...)  I'm getting lovely bling, but kittens would be the best.  I'm not expectant; I'm not even looking.

Those of us whose spouses developed allergies after marriage must console ourselves with Bittersweet NY's kitty ring, sold by
Unlike a lot of cat jewelry, this ring does not attempt a realistic cat- something that usually fails.  Even Da Vinci's cats were not quite right.  

These tiny rings come in pink and yellow gold and are ideal for when the kitty craving hits before you can find a friend's cat willing to be snuggled or to condescend to purr. 

15 December, 2011

The Liz Taylor Memorial Bathroom

This evening I will sit hunched over the computer, vulture-like, bidding on my choices from the ET on-line auction.  However, looking at the prices that are already listed, I'm thinking we may take the money I would spend on bling and remodel the bathroom.

We could call it the Liz Taylor Memorial Bathroom; if I hadn't budgeted the for the auction we would not have realized it was available.  Thanks Liz!  Thanks Christies!

14 December, 2011

Eye Candy

Get your hands on a paper copy of this year's Sundance Christmas Jewelry Catalogue!  Unfortunately, their website barely touches on the delicous subject matter in the paper catalogue.  The photos of the jewelry and candy are festive, fun, and mouthwatering.  I can't decide what to look at on each page- the modern jewelry with the funky vibe or the old fashioned lollipops and jellies!  Tres yummy! 


13 December, 2011

Irene Neuwirth

Ms. Neuwirth makes her jewelry of brightly colored hardstones and diamonds with an attention to detail that elevates it to fine jewelry.  Edges are milgrained; stones are set higher in their bezel settings so that they cannot flip when being worn.  These are jewels that make the wearer shine and sparkle- perfect for day, perfect for night.

Labradorite, diamonds, and gold necklace at Barneys New York

Boulder opal and gold ring, Barneys New York

I hadn't noticed until now that these are both phenomenal gemstones.  That's a fancy way of saying that their crystalline structure causes them to interact with light in unusual ways.  Both labradorite and opal are made of repeated, microscopic layers that reflect and refract light rays.  What the layers are made of and how they lie on top of one another determine the depth and clarity of the colors you see. 

Phenomenal gems are one of God's great giggles.  "Take a look at these," God seems to say, "Aren't these just COOL?"  But I think He likes them all, and gets kick out of us making beautiful things- our creativity is a pale reflection of His.   

Pink tourmaline and gold necklace, 32 inches, Ylang23

12 December, 2011

What I Saw At the Christie's Exhibit

There was plenty of food for thought among the glorious gems.

Liz Taylor's jewelry boxes are on display.  She kept and labeled them (with a label machine and white label tape) with the names of the people who gave them to her, the date, and the circumstance. What do you think? Was this the action of a collector who knew later collectors would value the jewels' provenance or were they trophies?  Would you do such a thing?  Do you tell your children the stories of your jewelry?  "This was your great grandmother's ring.  This one was your great-aunt's.  Your father bought this for me in Saudi." 
An exhibit of jewelry boxes, with the worst photos of Mike Todd giving Liz Taylor a diamond necklace.  She looked frumpy!  
I watched my daughter (so much her father- she quickly looked, saw her favorites from the catalogues, then found a bench and read a book), and knew I would not leave my jewelry to anyone except my girls. Why didn't Taylor leave her best jewels to her children?  Did they talk about it beforehand or did they feel betrayed?  Did they tell her they did not want the insurance/body guards her collection necessitated?   Did Liz Taylor leave her children their favorites?   The costume jewelry brooch she bought for her mother as a child, with the loving note from her mother when she gave it back years later, is for sale.  That would be an heirloom in our house, costume or no.  I felt sorry for the brooch- to be so loved and now to be sold from the family.
Ms. Taylor and her children at Buckingham Palace the day she became Dame Taylor- she's wearing the Van Cleef earrings she designed for the day.  They are up for auction too.
The crowd was huge.  The lines were like Disney World.  There were prospective buyers discretely escorted by Christie's employees quietly describing pieces.  They were circumspect and did not stand out among the throngs of gawkers.  The gawkers (including us) ranged from those who were movie and Liz Taylor fans to those who were jewelery fanatics.  Considering tickets to get in were not cheap, the ones who were neither confused me.  I enjoyed a woman who said the jewels were convincing her to get hers out and wear them again; she collected for years but was out of practice wearing them. Her advice for potential collectors- go to estate sales.  She and I had totally opposite tastes.  I also liked the lady in sweatpants who loved jewelry, knew all about Liz Taylor, and was thrilled to see the best of the best.

I got educated regarding color.  Now I understand what color good emeralds are supposed to be and how heavenly sapphires are.  I'd never seen that perfect, Crayola blue in person before- and had I been able to take something home, it would have been a toss up between the ruby ring (more about that below) and this sapphire necklace and its perfect, perfect blue.  That blue is the color of eternity. 
The display cases were glass, so you could see the backs of the jewelry!  That was great!  I'm a huge fan of scoping out the finish of jewelry, so to see the back of the JAR balls was fantastic- they are complete spheres except for an small hole on the back, sort of like the hole in a sea urchin skeleton.  The hole was ringed in white diamonds, the same size as the sapphires that covered the ball.  Lovely finishing.  First time I saw JAR in person too- and there were other, patinaed JAR earrings too.  The rose petals looked like rose petals; that do they look like on?

The ruby ring Richard Burton gave Liz Taylor for Christmas, "the perfect ruby ring," glows with the truest meaning of red.  It is so powerfully red that you don't notice that the diamonds surrounding it are about a carat (or more) each.  When Dracula said, "The blood is life," he described this ruby.  It should be alive.  Photos fail miserably to capture its presence.

Was delighted to see a Bob Dylan poster he'd inscribed in purple ink for "Liz" and a poster from Michael Jackson proclaiming "Liz" was the love of his life.  He bought her some thrilling (har har har) pieces including a sapphire ring that could summon angels.  I also thought it was cool that her luggage (piles of it) was scuffed and obviously well-used.  Here was a woman who did not throw something away if it still worked.  
It was a wonderful chance to see the best of the best.  I've overused the world "amazing" so I'll use  "awesome" in its original meaning.  It messed with my sense of normality.  Before the Peregrina Pearl at the end of the exhibit, there was a(nother) display of diamond jewels.  In the case was a "little" yellow gold bow of pave diamonds, about two inches across.  My first thought was, "Awww, what a cute little bow."  Come again?  If I owned it, it would be the pride of my collection!  Time to savor one more flash of clear diamond light, one more emerald and sapphire blaze, and return to reality- where a one carat diamond ring is a reasonably large ring.
For those who cannot go, click here and watch what Christies has to say about the auction.  You can see some of the colors in the gems...

11 December, 2011

Public Service Announcement

Liz Taylor specified that she wanted her jewels broken up so that others could enjoy them.  I assumed that she meant her famous jewels and was saddened that the Mike Todd ruby set and her eye popping emeralds will be split up and sold separately.  But now, having wandered through Christie's first ever, exclusively on-line ONLY auction, I understand.  Her collection is freakin' huge.  It's breadth and depth span time, jewelry houses, styles, continents, and cultures, making it mind boggling in its complexity.  Hundreds of people are needed to really appreciate her collection's contents.

The email address is  Get yourself a cup of coffee, tell the family to leave you a little space, and wander through the collection of the one of the greatest collectors the world has ever seen.  So far, the prices are reasonable, but that may change as time gets closer to closing.  Bidding begins to close on the 15th and finishes on the 17th. 
The auction encompasses clothing, accessories, shoes, costume jewelry, art, and glassware.  Riddle me this, Batman.  How can a piece of costume jewelry, no matter who made it or how big and flashy, be called "Important?"  I know what that means in the jewelry trade, but not so much for gilt and glass. 
More tomorrow about what I saw at the exhibit in NYC...but for now, a piece from the on-line auction,  a Ghandi ring, signed Fennel.