Thursday, October 18, 2012

October Birthstone is Opal

For those celebrating a birthday in October, opal is the traditional birthstone.  Opals are one of the most beautiful gemstones and can express every color in the visible spectrum.

Custom Boulder Opal pendant at Fourtane

Opal is formed when silica rich water passes through the earth and settles inside cracks and voids within the earths crust. As the water evaporates, silica deposits are left behind. This process repeats itself over a long period of time and eventually and opal is formed. The play of fiery color seen in opal is attributed to light refraction and is due entirely to the uniform size and shape of the silica spheres. Gem quality opal deposits are sourced in Australia. 

Opal and enamel ring circa 1900 at Fourtane 

Throughout history opal has had a reputation as the luckiest and unluckiest gemstone. Ancient Romans carried opals as good luck charms of talisman as it was believed that the colorful stone, like a rainbow, brought its owner good fortune. Sir Walter Scott's novel "Anne of Geierstein" used an opal to reflect the changing fate of its heroine. This gave the opal an unfortunate reputation and crippled the European opal market for decades.

Antique Opal, enamel and diamond earrings circa 1875 at Fourtane

The alluring play of color in fine opals has intrigued for centuries. Fire, water, vivid light and striking contrast are all present in this beguiling gem.

Art Deco Platinum, Opal and Diamond Ring circa 1930 at Fourtane

"October's child is born for woe,
And life's vicissitudes must know,
But lay an opal on her breast
And hope will lull those woes to rest"

Victorian Opal and Rose Cut Diamond Bracelet at Fourtane

Monday, October 1, 2012

Trends We Love: Victorian Jewelry

Victorian Diamond Earrings at Fourtane circa 1860

The era of Victorian jewelry spans between 1840-1901 and is named after the beloved British ruler Queen Victoria. It was her influence, much like that of Princess Diana in recent years that spawned a wide range of styles in jewelry and fashion.

Victorian Yellow Gold and Enamel Cuff at Fourtane
Jewelry from this period is divided into three distinct periods: Romantic, Grand and Aesthetic, which reflects the themes and motifs deeply rooted in the past.

Allison Williams wearing Etruscan Revival earrings at the Emmy Awards
Dramatic Antique Earrings at Fourtane

Today these pieces are unique, one-of-a-kind treasures that emote romance, personal sentiment and can easily entwine into modern dress. Victorian jewelry is a welcome and refreshing trend on the red carpet

Kat Dennings wearing Victorian Garnet Jewels at the Emmys
Yellow Gold and Garnet Antique Drop Earrings at Fourtane

Victorian Yellow Gold, Garnet and Rose Cut Diamond Bangle Bracelet at Fourtane

The demand for fine Victorian jewelry has skyrocketed and it is a challenge to source quality examples. The search for and discovery of antique jewelry is part of its enduring appeal and allure.

Yellow Gold, Enamel, Ruby and Rose Cut Diamond Poison Ring circa 1850 at Fourtane