Valentine’s Day lore, plus more…

The luscious RUBY is our featured gemstone for February ~

…a few suggestions to help celebrate your loved ones this Valentine’s Day!

According to lore, Valentine’s Day originated from the ancient Roman fertility rite ‘Lupercalia’ which was celebrated on February 15th to honor the founders of Rome and, apparently, also to ‘purify’ the women of Rome.  To this end, priests of Lupercalia would pass through the streets, striking women with strips of freshly slain goat skin, called “februa”, meant to assure them fertility and easy childbirth.

Later, as Rome declined, the emperor Claudius the II decided that single men made better soldiers than men with families, and outlawed marriage for all young men (= those he deemed the best potential soldiers).

Valentine, a Christian priest of that time, realized the injustice of this decree, and defied the emperor by continuing to perform marriages in secret. He was imprisoned for this transgression and later died on February 14th, 270 A.D, but remains the eponymous symbol of enduring and romantic love.

Speaking of love (and sacrifice), has a lovely lady in your life had her ski season sacrificed for lack of snow? Here’s a way for you to bring skiing to her every day! See the featured pendant in my current collection of PRIVATE SALE items. This little lovely is handmade in 14K yellow & white gold, set with 19 single cut diamonds suspended from a 14KY gold link chain, for $640.  Also featured, a 5-diamond prong set ring set in rose gold; a 1930’s bezel set diamond line bracelet in white and rose gold;  and a platinum martini glass tie tack. Call for more details…

I fly to Tucson, AZ soon – to the largest gem show in the world! – held annually in early February. All the best specimens of every gemstone known to man will be on display. If there’s anything you’ve been pining for or something you’d like me to find for you – do let me know. That will be the place to find it…

I’ll be taking orders for gems through Sat, Feb 1st.

… and a Happy New Year

After a wonderful flurry of holiday activity it is with weary relief that we bid a fond adieu to 2009, and look ahead to the new year, 2010.

January has already practically slipped through our fingers and February, along with Valentine’s Day, is fast upon us. This coming month, we would like to highlight pieces with gems that celebrate the rich colors associated with the most romantic holiday – ruby red, hot pink rubellite, juicy mandarin garnet, Mexican fire opal, in addition to a sweet assortment of tiny gold hearts (for your sweetheart).

Throughout history, red has been the primary color choice for conveying love, with it’s association to passion, fire, lust, heat, and  romance. Like a perfect crystalline drop of blood, the ruby bead is like a visible heartbeat. Whether playing up it’s vitality against snowy white seed pearls, or accentuating it’s dramatic flair surrounded by brilliant orange, peach, and golden sapphires – the ruby remains the symbolic queen of love.

Check out our Valentine’s Day specials! Up to 25% off select holiday pieces for a limited time only. January 25th – February 14th


…speaking of wonderful moments

Recently I experienced one of the most incredible ‘firsts’ of my entire career. A new client, Mia, contacted me about making a custom engagement ring. After a few preliminary back and forth emails, we decided to set up an appointment to meet in the studio and discuss designs. Her boyfriend, Joel, came with her to the appointment; they worked together on the design, choosing a gorgeous ruby as the focal gem with a small brilliant white diamond accent, set into white gold. I had already warned them that I was leaving soon for Italy for a month, and would not be able to finish the ring until after I got back.  They had made plans to leave on their own vacation just a couple of days after my return.  We managed to get to the finished metal stage the day before they were to leave, with the only remaining step being the setting of the gems.

The plan was for Mia and Joel to come to my studio Monday evening after work to see the finished metal and have a final sizing.  When they arrived my 6 yr. old daughter and her best friend were playing in the studio, but thankfully they graciously indulged the kiddo’s intrusion. I was very excited to show them their all-but-the-last-step finished piece.  I took the ring out, gently laying the ruby and diamond on top of their settings, and carefully handed it to Joel for him to place on Mia’s hand.  As he took the ring I noticed his hands were trembling a bit.  He turned to Mia and slowly, quietly asked, “will you marry me?”  An incredible electricity seemed to charge the air in the room for a moment – she looked up, startled, thrilled, and said ‘Yes!’ She gingerly put the gems down and they hugged and kissed each other giddily.  The girls were so excited they were cheering; I looked at Joel – incredulous – and asked “is that the first time you asked?” and he said that yes, it was…

It was the most amazing thing, and I felt like the luckiest person in the world to have a job that lets me witness such incredibly powerful moments.

Life is good.


For thousands of years, the ruby has been considered one of the most valuable gemstones on Earth.  The birthstone for July, it is the gem most often associated with passion and fire.  Along with sapphire, it is from the corundrum family, and is one of the hardest gems known to man, second only to diamond.  The only thing that separates a ruby from a sapphire is trace elements within the crystals, but only red corundum is entitled to be called ruby, all other colors are considered sapphires.