School Me: Why Are Montana Sapphires So Special?

We usually associate sapphires with a deep, clear blue. Surprisingly they can be found in a rainbow of hues, including pink, orange, green, yellow and even multi-color. 

These gems are mined everywhere from Australia to Colombia and Madagascar to Nepal. However, the state of Montana is home to more varieties of sapphire than any other location in the world. Strict guidelines for mining in the states means that Montana sapphires have much less of an impact on the Earth than stones from nearly anywhere else.

Mostly found in the western half of the state, these gorgeous gems are famous for their rich and unusual colors. Yogo sapphires (found specifically in the Yogo gulch area) are generally cornflower blue in color, while others from different regions of Montana trend towards interesting blue-greens, violet-grays and even bicolor or with color shifts (these are our favorites)!

Montana sapphires were originally found by mid-19th century gold prospectors who headed out west in search of a fortune. Initially they were so focused on the gold that they often threw aside the sapphires. 

In fact, the prospectors even complained about the gems plugging up their pans are they sifted in search of gold.  

Most of the sapphire mining done in Montana is very small scale compared to other locations, making it difficult to find consistent sizes and colors of rough from which to cut a stone. The great part about this for consumers? Choosing a Montana sapphire makes your stone that much more unique and rare. Who knew that some of the most exotic treasures in the world were right in our own backyard.

We love sourcing these gorgeous specimens for clients to use in projects-just ask!

 

 

Dream Locale: Jewelry Rooms at the Victoria & Albert Museum

While London is full of treasures, a small series of faintly-lit rooms in the Victoria & Albert Museum is home to the best collection around.

With more than 3,000 pieces of jewelry spanning 3,000 years of history, it's known as one of the best, most comprehensive displays of jewels in the world. 

This museum of art and design claims pieces by 140 designers, ranging from Ancient Greece to 2017. Jewels worn by some of history's best-dressed women catch your eye as you wander through. In fact, it can be difficult to know where to focus your gaze. 

See an amazing mix of diamond Cartier tiaras, golden sword handles, delicate designs by Fabergé and Lalique and contemporary pieces made from titanium, paper and acrylic. 

Perhaps the most stunning feature, despite its tough competition, is a large spiral of rings--all set with colored stones. The collection belonged to just one man, a friend of Charles Dickens. The mesmerizing swirl is arranged by the hardness of the stones: beginning in the center with diamonds.

While you can explore the collections online, we recommend that any jewelry lover add an actual visit to their bucket list.  

Currently Coveting: Diane Tate DallasKidd Wall Hangings

Recently we were lucky enough to meet super talented artist Diane Tate DallasKidd at an open studio event in Sausalito. Since then, it's been impossible to stop dreaming of her ethereal wall hangings.

Born and raised in San Francisco, DallasKid studied textile art in the Bay Area before furthering her education in Japan. While there, she studied under a fourth-generation dyer, and learned to use traditional techniques to create pieces for high end designers.

The textured pieces are inspired by both urban and rural landscapes, and have been displayed across the U.S. and Japan.

Often times the design process begins with a feeling, rather than a vision of the final product.

We can't help but be inspired by these delicate, multi-dimensional designs.

Love Story: Nick & Ilah Rose

One great thing about this industry is being able to contribute, even in a small way, to someone's love story. 

Recently we were lucky enough to work with customers Nick and Ilah Rose to create the perfect custom ring

The 18k yellow gold piece is set with white diamonds and a gorgeous Montana sapphire. These special gems usually come from the western side of what is known as "The Treasure State."

Nick & Ilah worked closely with Sarah to capture the right vibe: looking upwards to celestial bodies for inspiration. Elements of the sun, moon, stars and universe influenced this dreamy design.



For Sarah, work like this is special, " One of the most exciting aspects of making jewelry is embarking on a custom project." 

"I get the greatest satisfaction when I see a client's eyes light up upon revealing the finished product of their vision."

Congratulations, Nick & Ilah!

Feature: The Coastal Table

Recently our fishbone collection was highlighted in the winter edition of The Coastal Table: a digital and print magazine that defines itself as "an anthology of seaside living."

The quarterly publication features yummy seasonal recipes, adventure inspiration and a "Meet the Maker" section in which artists from all over the world get to contribute a piece of their narrative. 

"When looking at the fishbone jewelry created by Sarah Swell, it's easy to imagine the pieces are from another time or place," the article begins...

...before launching into Sarah's own coastal inspiration. 

"The ocean has a strong influence on Swell (whose last name is actually Greenberg). She adopted her 'jewelry pen name,' as she calls it, because of its association with ocean waves. It also serves as a reminder of her Cape Cod roots."

Check out the full article in the Winter 2016 print or digital version and take a little behind-the-scenes peek at how we put together our fishbone earrings.

Gift Guide: Under $300

Though it seems impossible, December is upon us.

That means it's time for hot chocolate, twinkling lights and presents. If you're searching for a special gift that won't break the bank, look no further. We have some sparkly silver suggestions, all for less than $300. 

A delicate cuff is the perfect holiday accessory.

Mini Mountain Cuff Bracelet
from 135.00
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Rustic Cuff Bracelets
from 155.00
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And while shimmering diamonds are in style all year round, they seem particularly appropriate during this festive season. 

Serpent Ring
from 185.00
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Medium Stargazer Necklace
from 275.00
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Whether you prefer the movement of dangle earrings... 

Slim Rustic Column Earrings / dangle version
from 165.00
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Slim Fishbone Dangle Earrings
195.00
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...or glamorous studs, we have you covered.

Weathered Diamond Droplet Studs
from 270.00
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Flotsam & Jetsam Diamond Studs
from 285.00
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Happy holidays and happy shopping!

Feather Necklace
from 195.00
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Feather Diamond Hoop Earrings
from 285.00
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Gift Guide: Black & Gold

December means gift-giving season, and there's just something so festive about black and gold jewelry. 

We've assembled a complete guide to these bold, contrasting pieces.

 The pairing of the matte black and shimmering gold makes each individual part of these designs stand out, creating a real point of interest.

Weathered Diamond Bar Necklace
from 375.00
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Weathered Diamond Droplet Necklace
from 195.00
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The 'black' part is actually oxidized silver--this is achieved through controlled exposure to environmental factors that cause tarnish--and is the perfect partner for glimmering gold.

Gold & Oxi Slim Fishbone Bracelet
2,190.00
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Golden Tail Fishbone Necklace
655.00
Quantity:
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Whether you're looking for a match set...

Gold Tag Swag Earrings
425.00
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Gold Tag Charm Bracelet
460.00
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...or to mix and match

Weathered Stacking Cuffs
from 130.00
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Diamond Slice Ring
from 395.00
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or even for something unique, there are plenty of options.

Dream Locale: Iceland

Though it has become a popular destination for adventurous American travelers, Iceland is still considered to be off the beaten track. Relatively close to the East Coast and quite cheap to get to, it features a great city completely surrounded by unspoiled natural wonders. 

Reykjavik is a convenient (and totally adorable) base. 

Andsurprise, surprisethere's a jeweler we'd like to pop in on.

Award-winning designer Guðbjörg Kristín Ingvarsdóttir (we also tried to sound it out) is based in the capital. Her shop, Aurum, features delicate Icelandic nature-inspired creations.

Venturing outside the country's largest city (though it's only home to 118,000 people), you'll encounter waterfalls,

other-worldly coastlines,

and, for such a cold country, a surprising number of swimming pools.

Though we haven't actually been, our favorite spot might just be Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. In case you haven't noticed by now, Icelandic names are pretty much impossible to pronounce. As a result, visitors have started referring to this dreamy locale by it's less formal name: "Sweet-Ass Mossy Canyon." 

Though not a direct translation, it does seem pretty accurate.