Fishing...maybe. When I was young I was fascinated by tropical fish—especially Siamese Fighting Fish. They are fierce and yet so beautiful with their flowing fins and tail. Inspired by Steve Waters Black Jade and Opal sculpture with its flowing lines I began searching for what I could sculpt as an addition to his beautiful work. The opal reminded me of water and led me toward carving what I hope will create an unique marriage of Steve's' art and a Siamese Fighting fish. It's too early for me to tell if this wax carving will become a successful blend of our two visions. If not, I can always say you should have seen the one that got away!
Valentine’s Day left me thinking about engagement and wedding rings. This is a custom that has continued over time, but heck what caused us to declare our commitment with a ring in the first place? After all mankind has been sporting rings since its early antiquity.
It seems the engagement ring was introduced by the Romans. Knowing the love this culture had for jewelry, I buy into that. Back then, the groom would give his bride two engagement bands: one of iron and one made of gold. It appears that ancient Romans wore their unembellished iron bands while at home, but when traveling in public the elite wore gold bands. The band was placed on what we call the ring finger on the left hand. It was believed at the time the ring finger contained a vein that connected directly to the heart. The Iron band was first introduced as a symbol of strength and placed in a circular form representing eternity and became known as a symbol of the martial contract, it was “Ironclad”.
Our modern day wedding rings are given as a symbol of love and commitment. I’m willing to bet the Roman iron wedding ring indicated ownership more than commitment. Glad we evolved from that. As time and artistry evolved, wedding and engagement rings became more elaborate for the elite of Rome. Just as the Romans evolved in their engagement symbols, we too have begun to move away from the time honored all white diamond engagement ring to a ring more reflective of the bride and groom. Many in their twenties are choosing color to represent their commitment. Whether Princess Diana cleared the way for this new thinking or the popularity of color gemstones among the young started this movement it is here to stay.
The Romans may have sported wedding bands to show their “ownership” today’s couples have abandoned the notion of “ownership” to one of committed support and love. This symbol of their commitment is on display in their independent choice of color for their engagement ring. The look is a timeless symbol as love it’s self.
Aquamarine, named for the Latin phrase "water of the sea", is a blue to blue-green beryl. A close cousin to Emerald and Morganite, Aquamarine is the second most popular gem beryl. Its identity is defined by its color. The deeply saturated blue gem is the most desirable color of Aquamarine.
I personally love the variety of color, like the sea, that can be found with Aquamarine gemstones. I recently acquired a deep blue 8mm round gem at the Tucson Gem Show this year and I am please it will become the centerpiece of an engagement ring. The trend towards colored gemstones is stronger this year with younger buyers often choosing Aquamarine for their engagement ring—breaking the "diamond only" rule. Aqua's durability makes it ever-lasting, something to consider when shopping for a ring that comes with lifetime promise. Whether you are in the market for an engagement ring or a stone that will recall the romance of the sea, this gemstone is for you. I created the 18kt yellow gold cocktail ring seen above using a fine Aquamarine I located in New York City.
Now that the crystal ball has dropped and the New Year has arrived, I was curious about the predictions for gold in 2018. We are living in such a chaotic time, that predicting the future, let alone the gold market, almost seems impossible. I ran across an article that caught my attention and I thought I’d pass along what the World Gold Council believe is ahead for 2018 the gold market.
Chief Market Strategist John Reade for the World Gold Council had the following to say:
"The Financial Market Drivers in 2018
According to Reade, “monetary policy – and policymakers – will continue to be significant drivers of gold demand”. He explains that the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) is expected to “hike rates further next year and start to allow its balance sheet to contract”.
Over the next 12 months, Reade predicts a possible slowdown in the European Central Bank’s (ECB) monetary policy action. Additionally, the Bank of Japan may dial back its quantitative easing, and China could continue its efforts to rebalance economic growth and possibly de-leverage some sectors of the economy.
There are two other factors as potentially important for gold: first, the ongoing strength – or otherwise – of already expensive US equities. Second, the trajectory of the US dollar.
Physical Market Drivers in 2018
Reade explains that income growth is probably the most significant market driver for gold. This rests on the fact that, over the long run, it has been the most important driver of gold demand. Reade says that the WGC is optimistic for its outlook. Additionally, “China, the world’s largest gold market, has avoided the hard landing that many were predicting 18 months ago and is expected to grow at a fair clip in 2018, with the consensus forecast at around 6.4%”.
India is expected to be one of the fastest-growing countries in the world in 2018, expanding at an even faster rate than it did between 2012-2014.
Germany’s economy is expected to maintain its momentum and unemployment is anticipated to continue falling. Finally, the US jewelry market, the third-largest in the world, could benefit from continuing economic growth and high consumer confidence."
So there you have it, gold certainly looks strong and a sound investment for the coming year.
The calendar tells me it’s fall; until now, the weather in New York was not in agreement. I love the change in season.
It always brings about a feeling of change and new adventures, and there is, of course, all of the amazing things people love enjoying these days: sweaters and pumpkin everything that goes with chilly weather, changing leaves, apple picking and of course the start of the holiday season. I’m all about it.
When I think of fall colors, for me it’s a lot of oranges, browns, dark reds and burgundies that remind me each year of growing up in a northern suburb of Chicago.Many of these colors are included in the palette of colors Pantone predicted would be hot this season. I think some are slightly richer than last year and include some zesty hues that I think perfectly encapsulate summer’s hesitation to leave each year.
A pantone color not immediately associated with fall is a soft, feminine pink that is reminiscent of ballet slippers. How unexpected is that? The tone is soft, and just like mother nature's pink that compliments fall colorings, this pink compliments all skin tones.
I have taken my cue from nature and incorporated a beautiful peachy pink Morganite stone in a pair of earrings. My Morganite Crane earrings pictured here are the perfect example of this soft color that’s not only perfect this season, but all seasons and all skin colorings!