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 Bling Blog An Insiders Guide to Jewelry 
Tuesday, February 26 2019
Gaga over the Tiffany Diamond

Was it the most expensive jewel ever worn to the Academy Awards?  At a reported $30 million, it's likely that Lady Gaga’s Tiffany diamond necklace earns that title. (The previous record had been held by Gloria Stuart's $20 million Harry Winston blue diamond inspired by Titanic’s Heart of the Ocean.)

But that is actually not why this particular diamond necklace sent jewelry experts into a frenzy on Sunday night.  It's because the 128 carat fancy yellow Tiffany diamond has rarely been seen outside its vitrine on the main floor of the Tiffany store on Fifth Avenue.

The Tiffany Diamond

It began as a 287 carat hunk of rough stone discovered in the Kimberly mines of South Africa in 1877. It was acquired by Charles Lewis Tiffany a year later and he entrusted his famed gemologist George Frederic Kunz, for whom the the pink stone Kunzite is named. Kunz cut the stone into a 128 carat cushion to bring out its brilliance.

It was immediately recognized as a treasure and became something close to an American Crown jewel. It was exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and made a rare appearance in the windows of Tiffany in 1955 in the hands of a gold wire angel. Only a few years later it graced the neck of Audrey Hepburn (only the second woman to every wear it publicly) at the center of a Jean Schlumberger diamond ribbon necklace for some promotional shots for Breakfast at Tiffany's. (In 1995 the stone was set in another Schlumberger piece, Bird on a Rock, for a museum show in Paris.)


In 1972 Tiffany placed a possibly tongue in cheek ad in the New York Times offering it for $5 million (about $25 million today) to anyone who could come up with the money in a strict 24 hour period (any checks mailed after that date would be returned with thanks). In 2012 the diamond was set in its current diamond-necklace setting for Tiffany’s 175th anniversary.

When Lady Gaga emerged on the red carpet wearing this with that McQueen dress and black leather gloves, history was made.  "The Tiffany Diamond is an exceptional stone for many reasons, including its incredible size, its historic importance and the fact that it has remained at Tiffany & Company since its purchase in the 19th century," explains Daphne Lignon, head of the jewelry department at Christies.  "In recent years, we have seen yellow diamonds command extremely high prices at auction as the color’s rarity is becoming more coveted.  However, this stone is truly in a league of its own for its size and its long history with the renowned jewelry house.  It was exciting to see the piece reemerge for an evening of Hollywood glamour.”

And if you did not happen to get an invite to the awards themselves to see it in person, you can have a front row seat to the Tiffany Diamond when it returns to its home in a center vitrine at Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue store on March 2.

Posted by: AT 10:46 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, February 21 2019
Marvelous Morganite


Morganite is a gorgeous pale pink to peachy pink beryl, a cousin of emerald and aquamarine.  Unlike emerald, morganite is relatively inclusion-free which adds to its allure.  For many years morganite slipped out of prominence and had little or no promotion. morganiteThankfully that time has passed.  Its delicate shade has come back into style impacting fine jewelry as customers choose it as a larger center stone for their rings.

When and where?

In 1910, prospectors on Madagascar discovered a mesmerizing pink stone that, like many other new gemstones, found its way to George Kunz, Tiffany’s much celebrated gemstone expert and champion of little known gems.  Identified as a member of the beryl family, Kunz suggested the name Morganite at the December 5th, 1910 meeting of the New York Academy of Sciences where it was offically adopted.  Why would he suggest that name?

What’s in a name?

John Pierpont Morgan was the famed financier of the Gilded Age,  Tiffany’s top patron, and, most importantly, an ardent gemstone collector. Kunz had assembled two outstanding collections for Morgan — both given to American Museum of Natural History.  The Tiffany-Morgan Collection includes 2,176 very fine gemstone specimens and 2,442 fine pearls.  Morgan didn’t stop there.  He paid $100,000 to purchase the famous 12,300-specimen collection from Philadelphia industrialist Clarence S. Bement.  It filled two rail boxcars and shipped straight to the museum where it remains today.  Morgan’s passion for gemstones and contributions to the AMNH, earned him the distinction of having the stone named after him.  Morganite proved to be a very rare privilege.

Pala, California

Pala is a town near San Diego famous for its gem discoveries.  These include multiple colors of fine tourmaline, spodumene (later named Kunzite after you know who), garnets, and topaz.  In 1902 or 1903, pink beryl was discovered in a stone matrix that included tourmaline and other stones.  What’s interesting is that Kunz was very familiar with these discoveries, no doubt visited the area’s many mines, and wrote precisely and extensively about all the finds.  Yet in his descriptions, he mentions beryl only in passing and doesn’t specify its color.  From research, I suspect the beryl lacked the intense color Kunz saw when he received the Madagascar gems.  And in the world of gems, color can create the difference between ordinary and extraordinary.

Back to Madagascar

Most unfortunately, Madagascar’s original morganite reserve was tapped out within 10 years.  And though morganite is mined there and in other countries —Brazil, Mozambique, Namibia, the U.S., Russia, and more — the truly fine color of Madagascar’s first reserve has so far eluded the most determined prospectors and mining companies.  Is it out there waiting for us somewhere?  Only time will tell.  Meanwhile to see one in person, your best bet would be to visit Morgan Hall of Mineralogy at the American Museum of Natural History.

Color Talk

Today most morganites range from a very pale pink or to a peachy pink color and it is so pale much of it is heat-treated to enhance the color. In the realm of a pale stone, a bigger stone typically has better color.  Consider the Caribbean water.  Where it meets the beach it lacks that lush tropical blue. Yet as the water deepens, the gorgeous color emerges.  What’s the moral of this story?  In my opinion a bigger morganite is always better.  

Did Kunz “discover” Morganite?

Though the famed gemologist did not actually take morganite from the earth, you could argue that he discovered it in much the same way Hollywood stars are “discovered” — someone identifies and develops their potential.  Kunz identified pink beryl — and many other lesser known gems — as a valuable stone of great beauty and set about to make it a star in Tiffany’s creations.  This guaranteed it a coveted status with Tiffany’s wealthy patrons and a memorable name.

“The Rose of Maine”

In the fall of 1989, one of the largest morganite specimens was discovered in Buckfield, Maine.  It measured approximately 12” by 9” and weighed in at a hefty 50lbs.  That’s about 115,000 carats.  On discovery, it appeared dark orange but on exposure to sunlight it turned pink. Sadly,  the two brothers who found it could not agree on its future and one of them split it.  Since then a number faceted beauties have emerged from “The Rose of Maine.”  They are highly coveted and hard to find.

To heat or not to heat?

A great deal of morganite for sale has been heat-treated.  Straight from the mine, most morganite is either a very pale pink or a pale peach with yellow tones.  Some women like the natural peach color but many prefer the pink.  Heating removes the yellow tones to produce a pinker stone and it intensifies the pale pink into a more vibrant pink though still pale. 


Powered by Morganite

It is said we can summon Morganite’s power by looking to our hearts.   That wearing or possessing morganite promotes heart health by reducing stress and stimulating calm.  It is also said to nurture our emotional “heart” — our ability to give and receive love — by helping to release hurt feelings, resentments and fears,  and that it energizes our positive inclinations, bringing wisdom and purpose.

(I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s not just women who should wear morganite.  We also need to create morganite jewelry for men.)

Is that enough power for you?   There’s more.  Its been said that its color “energy” relates to caring, commitment, and calm.  Couldn’t we all use a little more of that?   That may or may not be true for me, as I’ve been known to care too much and to over commit myself.   On the other hand I really do need calm in my life.   I think a large oval or cushion morganite set in rose gold would look gorgeous on my finger even if it doesn't help with those things.  So even if you don't believe in the power of gemstones, we can all agree Morganite is an absolutley beautiful stone.

Posted by: AT 11:42 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 12 2019


4 big fashion statements from the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards

Are you still drooling over the stunning 2019 GRAMMY jewelry trends from music’s biggest night? We sure are!

The 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards aired on Sunday, February 10th. Graciously hosted by Alicia Keys, the show celebrated the year’s top tracks and echoed an empowering theme overall. It even paid tribute to Dolly Parton and Diana Ross— two of music’s most recognizable superpowers. The fashion was on point. And of course, the GRAMMY jewelry trends were too.

This year’s red carpet ran rampant with plunging necklines. Yet, most of the typical statement necklaces we expect were nowhere to be found. Instead, we noticed more diamond cluster rings and chunky diamond drop earrings. The dresses were ruffled and uniquely textured while the shoes were sharp, too.

Here are the hottest 2019 GRAMMY jewelry trends—

Seeing Sequins

The stars were studded in sequins at this year’s GRAMMY Awards. From J-Lo’s brilliantly bejeweled collar to Gaga’s shimmering red carpet gown, the sparkle was undeniable. You can easily replicate this top 2019 GRAMMY jewelry trend with diamond and gemstone clustered rings and pendants.

Rosy Red and Pink Tones

Red seemed to be the night’s biggest and brightest color. From Dolly Parton’s red carpet ruffles to Casey Musgraves’ red-hot attire, red was beautiful and bold. We suggest ruby and pink sapphire accents to pull off this 2019 GRAMMY jewelry trend.

Dripped in Diamonds

When you’re invited to the GRAMMYs, it’s perfectly reasonable to pile on carats upon carats of diamonds. I mean, why not? Both Bebe Rexha and Dua Lipa sported chunky statement necklaces with — you guessed it— LOTS of diamonds. Keep this trend alive by designing jewelry with uniquely shaped diamonds in various sizes.

Pearls in All-New Ways

Pearls aren’t new to the red carpet. In fact, they’re basically expected year after year. But this time, pearls were shown in new ways. A$AP Rocky wore multiple pearl rings and a pearl station necklace while Cardi B had pearls from head to toe. Follow this 2019 GRAMMY jewelry trend by creating a few not-so-normal pearl pieces.

What were your favorite 2019 GRAMMY jewelry trends? Let us know in the comments below!

Posted by: Ashley Biser AT 12:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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