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What Are The Best Diamond & Gem Certification Agencies? – Jewelry 101

March 29, 2012
What Are The Best Diamond & Gem Certification Agencies? – Jewelry 101

When you’re looking to buy, sell or know more about a particular gem , a certification report is the best starting point. A certification can help you understand a gem’s cut, clarity, carat, clarity and other qualities — all important when determining how much a diamond or other precious gem is worth. Here’s a quick guide to the most trusted gem certification institutes and how they evaluate a diamond , colored diamond , ruby , sapphire or emerald. Two certified gems from the Diamond & Estate Trust collection: a diamond, left, and a sapphire. Gemological Institute of America (GIA) The GIA is the most well-known institute for grading and evaluating diamonds , colored stones and pearls. A nonprofit institute, GIA has been providing reports on the quality of diamonds, colored stones and pearls since 1931. It’s considered to have the highest standards of all the major gem certification agencies. What you’ll find in a GIA report The GIA objectively compares and evaluates diamonds using the 4 C’s : carat, color, clarity and cut. It developed the 4C system in the 1940s, and has been using it ever since. The GIA’s color grading scale for diamonds ranges from D to Z, with D, the closest to colorless, being the most coveted grade. The GIA determines how many blemishes and inclusions a diamond has on a scale of flawless (most desirable) to included (least desirable). The institute grades cut based on how a diamond reflects light, the dispersion of that light, and the how much a diamond sparkles when it’s moved. You’ll also find grading for polish, symmetry and fluorescence in a GIA report. The GIA grades colored gems including colored diamonds , rubies and sapphires based on weight, facet angles and proportions. It also determines the gem’s origin and whether the gem was heated, or artificially treated, to achieve its color. The GIA has a separate color grading system for colored diamonds that ranges from vivid (most valuable) to light (least valuable). A GIA report also includes a diamond’s shape, measurements, weight, depth percentage, table percentage, girdle thickness, culet size, and general comments about the gem that was evaluated. A certified pear shaped diamond, left, and a certified ruby, both from the Diamond & Estate Trust collection. American Gem Society (AGS) The AGS is a nonprofit trade organization founded in 1934. Its membership includes fine jewelers, jewelry designers and jewelry suppliers throughout the U.S. The AGS has been certifying and grading diamonds and other gems since 1996. What you’ll find in an AGS report The AGS uses the 4C criteria for determining the quality of a diamond or gem. But one aspect that makes the AGS different is that it uses a scale of 0 to 10 for its cut, color and clarity grades. For cut, 0 is ideal and 10 is poor; for color, 0 is equivalent to the GIA’s D colorless grade; and for clarity, 0 matches the GIA flawless/internally flawless grade (I/IF). A colorless diamond with the finest cut grade and no blemishes or inclusions would get the “000” AGS grade. AGS also provides information on shape, weight and measurements. It gives a more in-depth view than the GIA on pavilion and crown angles. Gueblin Gem Lab The Gueblin Gem Lab dates back to the early 19 th Century, and has been providing scientific evaluations of gems since the 1960s. Two of the lab’s first gem report clients were luxury jewelry auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s. What you’ll find in a Gueblin report For diamonds, Gueblin uses the 4C scale developed by the GIA. It also provides table and depth percentages, information on girdle and culet, and a commentary on a diamond’s fluorescence. Gueblin also identifies origin , species and treatments (if any) for colored gems such as rubies and sapphires . A certified Asscher cut diamond, left, and a certified Kashmir sapphire, both from Diamond & Estate Trust. European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) The EGL is a for-profit company that certifies diamonds and colored gems around the world. It is known for having less strict standards than the GIA when evaluating a diamond or gem. Like the GIA, the EGL grades diamonds , colored diamonds , rubies, sapphires and other colored stones. What you’ll find in an EGL report An EGL report grades a diamond on the 4Cs using the same scales developed by the GIA. It also provides an in-depth look at a gem’s proportions, including its depth, table, crown, pavilion, girdle and culet. International Gemological Institute (IGI) The IGI is the largest independent laboratory for grading and evaluating jewelry and gems, and has been in existence for about 30 years. It’s considered to have more lenient standards than the GIA. What you’ll find in an IGI report The IGI grades using the same 4C scales as the GIA. Like the AGS, the IGI also provides more in-depth information on a gem’s crown and pavilion angles than the GIA does. Looking to buy a certified diamond , ruby or sapphire ? Diamond & Estate Trust has a wide range of certified diamonds and colored gems that you can trust to be of the highest quality imaginable. We use our discerning eye to select only the most exquisite gems for our collection , which is one of the finest examples of luxury jewelry in Southern California. Read more from the original source: What Are The Best Diamond & Gem Certification Agencies? – Jewelry 101

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Mad Men Jewelry- Van Cleef & Arpels Pearl Earrings

March 29, 2012
Mad Men Jewelry- Van Cleef & Arpels Pearl Earrings

Ever since its debut episode way back in July 2007, AMC’s Mad Men has been giving viewers a vivid, high-drama glimpse into 1960s culture , sexuality and style. From Season 1 Episode 1 all the way through Sunday’s Season 5 premier, we’ve been enthralled with all things Mad Men . In honor of the new season, here’s a quick overview of the gorgeous jewelry the women of Mad Men have worn over the last five seasons. Source: AMC Joan Harris, Sterling Cooper’s confident, feisty office manager, is the epitome of 1960s mod chic. Every time Christina Hendricks walks onto the screen, we’re blown away by her jewelry: gem-studded brooches , intricate diamond and pearl earrings , and her signature gold pen necklace all reflect Joan’s undeniable confidence. Source: AMC And with the brooch coming back into vogue at Red Carpet events and beyond, Joan Harris’ style has never been more modern. Source: AMC And then there’s Betty Francis (Draper), Don Draper’s ex-wife and mother of three whose style still reflects her former calling as a model. Actress January Jones always looks vogue and sophisticated in her strand of pearls and oversized diamond stud earrings . Source: AMC Don Draper’s secretary, Peggy Olson, played by Elisabeth Moss, doesn’t take as many jewelry chances as Betty or Joan, but her classic feminine style is still worth mentioning. Like the other Mad Men women, Peggy looks current and chic in pearls and intricate drop earrings . Source: AMC Just take it from Joan Harris, Betty Francis, or Peggy Olson — nothing says 1960s quite like a pair of sophisticated, ultra-feminine pearl earrings. Let Diamond & Estate Trust help you capture this Mad Men signature jewelry look just in time for Season 5. These romantic South Sea pearl earrings from renowned designer Van Cleef & Arpels are as stunning today as they were decades ago. In these earrings from our collection , diamonds of various cuts form delicate petals around show-stopping South Sea Pearls , gems highly coveted for their magnificent size and soft luster. With two large, exquisitely matched pearls on each earring, this pair makes a quintessential vintage style statement. Still in their original box, these Van Cleef & Arpels earrings boast a timeless design aesthetic that accents the beauty of these exceptional pearls and diamonds. When you wear these vintage pearl earrings, you will embody the feminine flair of Joan Harris, Betty Francis, and Peggy Olson. And with Mad Men Season 5 just getting heated up, 1960s jewelry will continue to make a chic comeback among A-List celebrities and other fashion icons. For those of you who can’t wait until Sunday for your next Mad Men fix, here’s a sneak peak of what’s in store for the rest of Season 5! Diamond & Estate Trust is Southern California’s premier vintage jewelry buyer and seller. With an exquisite collection of estate pieces including brooches , necklaces , bracelets , watches and rings , Diamond & Estate Trust can help you find your inner vintage vogue. And for the client looking for a truly unique piece, our experts can create a custom piece using one of our exemplary loose diamonds or gems . Go here to see the original: Mad Men Jewelry- Van Cleef & Arpels Pearl Earrings

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Marilyn Monroe – Jewelry Icon

February 6, 2012
Marilyn Monroe – Jewelry Icon

When it comes to exquisite luxury jewelry, no woman shines more brilliantly than Marilyn Monroe. Decades after romancing the world with “ Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” and shaking up the jewelry scene, Marilyn Monroe continues to be the most emulated woman on the planet. By the early 1950s, Marilyn Monroe had already captivated the public with her signature blonde hair, white dress and seductive persona. But it was 1953’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” that marked Marilyn Monroe’s ascension into jewelry stardom and made her a coveted spokeswoman for many of the era’s most in vogue designers. In the famous scene where she sings, “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” Marilyn takes the precious gem to new heights: With thick diamond bangles layered over long pink gloves, a statement necklace with oversized diamonds and large diamond earrings, Marilyn is a vision of lavish jewelry. And it is only fitting that Norma Jean wore the most stunning piece from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” to the movie’s premier: The Moon of Baroda, a breathtaking 24.04 carat pear-shaped yellow diamond once worn by Marie Antoinette. That necklace is the ultimate statement of Marilyn’s icon status. When Marilyn wore diamonds, the world took notice.  So it’s no surprise that from that point on, Marilyn became the ultimate spokeswoman for diamond jewelry . Although her personal collection included mostly costume jewelry, she was able to develop her signature lavish style with the help of luxury jewelry giants such as Da Beers, who always ensured Marilyn was donning exquisite diamonds during public events. Stunning earrings, sleek necklaces and brilliant flashes of light followed her every footstep and featured prominently in her other landmark film, “Some Like It Hot.” The icon wore so many diamonds throughout her career that she received an award from the Jewelry Academy accompanied with the following note: “To Marilyn Monroe, the best friend a diamond ever had.” One notable piece in Marilyn Monroe’s personal jewelry collection is a platinum and diamond eternity band featuring 35 baguette diamonds around the band, given to her by Joe DiMaggio after their wedding in 1954. Recognizing Marilyn’s love for pearls, DiMaggio also presented his bride with a 16-inch strand of pearls featuring 44 exquisite Mikimoto pearls. The Golden Globe nominated film “My Week With Marilyn” is the latest testament to Marilyn Monroe’s timeless style. In the movie, Oscar Nominee Michelle Williams emulates Marilyn’s flair for decadent jewelry to a T. And the fabulous Vogue photos of Michelle dressed as Marilyn are just as stunning. From the famous earrings with strands of dangling diamonds to the feminine diamond bracelets, Williams captured the essence of the style for which Marilyn Monroe is still remembered – and emulated –today. From the stunning Moon of Baroda to the heavy, bold-impact diamond necklaces, Marilyn Monroe’s love affair with diamonds is one for the ages. Diamond & Estate Trust’s collection of loose diamonds , including colored diamonds, and exquisite vintage earrings and necklaces will help you capture the best of Marilyn Monroe’s style. Go here to read the rest: Marilyn Monroe – Jewelry Icon

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Clippers and Blake Griffin Explode All Over the Thunder

January 31, 2012
Clippers and Blake Griffin Explode All Over the Thunder

Brent Barry of NBA TV called it their signature win of the season, even more than their overtime win over the Miami Heat. The Clippers indeed put on a spectacular performance in their 112-100 thrashing over the Oklahoma City Thunder, owners of the best record in the NBA. more › Go here to see the original: Clippers and Blake Griffin Explode All Over the Thunder

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Gold Diamond Choker — Holiday Jewelry From Diamond & Estate Trust

December 9, 2011
Gold Diamond Choker — Holiday Jewelry From Diamond & Estate Trust

The time is upon us to find the perfect piece of holiday jewelry. Whether you are looking for Christmas jewelry, Hanukkah jewelry, or just winter jewelry that will make you stand out during the holiday season, this gorgeous gold diamond choker has an elegant appeal that will transform any cocktail dress into a winning fashion statement. With 8 carats of diamonds and yellow gold, this choker’s  woven design is modern chic, and evokes the styling of premier fashion houses like Gucci (see below — Gucci’s signature bamboo style and a shot from Gucci’s recent Milan Runway show). With its impeccable craftsmanship, it is comfortable to wear while making a lasting impact. A gold and diamond choker is a highly coveted piece, as illustrated by a recent Christie’s auction, which sold a similar style gold and diamond choker by Van Cleef & Arpels, left. Let Diamond & Estate Trust help you find your signature piece. Whether you are  located in Beverly Hills, Encino, Hollywood or Pasadena, our offices in Downtown or Los Angeles are only a short jaunt away. View original post here: Gold Diamond Choker — Holiday Jewelry From Diamond & Estate Trust

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LAist Interview: Author Mark Z. Danielewski on ‘The Fifty Year Sword,’ the Written Word, and One of the Scariest Moments of His Life

October 30, 2011
LAist Interview: Author Mark Z. Danielewski on ‘The Fifty Year Sword,’ the Written Word, and One of the Scariest Moments of His Life

Novelist Mark Z. Danielewski is frighteningly good at what he does. His books have imparted an international cult following for their courageous and mind-bending subjects, experimental typography, and innovative approaches to story-telling. more › Follow this link: LAist Interview: Author Mark Z. Danielewski on ‘The Fifty Year Sword,’ the Written Word, and One of the Scariest Moments of His Life

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Regret & Redemption For Former Mr. Jelly Belly

October 30, 2011

COVINA, Calif. — He’s the Willie Wonka of this small suburban town east of Los Angeles, the rotund man in the T-shirt and shorts who joyfully takes just about anybody who walks through the door on a tour of his tiny candy factory. But David Klein was once much more. The confectioner, who these days makes a comfortable living selling various chewy, crunchy concoctions with funny names like Candy Barf and Zombie Heart (the latter squirts strawberry-flavored “blood” when you bite into it), was once at the center of a sweet-tooth revolution. He was Mr. Jelly Belly. In 1976 Klein launched the gourmet jelly bean craze when he improbably envisioned that people would be willing to pay 10 or 20 times more for jelly beans if they simply tasted better, came in scores of natural flavors and had a clever name. Then, with only $800 in hand, he somehow talked a small, family-run candy company in the San Francisco Bay area into going into business with him. The result was the Jelly Belly, a precociously flavorful little gob of sugar, syrup and corn starch that quickly became the favored treat of millions, including President Ronald Reagan. And Klein, a one-time nut distributor who had begun selling his creation in just one candy store, was the gourmet bean’s mascot. Decked out in a Jelly Belly-bejeweled top hat and a matching white cowboy suit, he was everywhere in the late 1970s. He was photographed for People magazine sitting in a bathtub filled with Jelly Bellys, some stuck to his hairy chest, others lodged between his toes. He dropped by TV programs like “The Mike Douglas Show” to trade quips with the host and cajole the celebrity guests into sampling his new flavors. Then, for reasons Klein still has trouble coming to terms with, he and his partner sold their interest in the Jelly Belly name in 1980 for $4.8 million. He collected his half of the money in monthly installments over 20 years, and he faded into obscurity. “I went from hero to zero in about 60 seconds,” the usually upbeat candy maker says morosely when the subject is raised. “I was Mr. Jelly Belly for four years. And then …,” his voice trail off. While Jelly Bellys were being passed around the table at Reagan administration Cabinet meetings and carried into outer space by astronauts in the 1980s, Klein was trying in vain to come up with another big thing. He brought out a version of sugar-free salt water taffy. He tried to hit it big with sour licorice until more well-heeled competitors squeezed him out. He pioneered gross-out candy with a chocolate bar shaped to look like – well – you get the idea. It never caught on. Through it all, he moped about his and his late partner’s decision to sell their 50-50 interest in Jelly Belly to the Herman Goelitz Candy Company, which renamed itself the Jelly Belly Candy Company. “It caused a lot of pain in the family,” says his son, Bert Klein, who produced the documentary “Candyman: The David Klein Story.” So much so that his son, a veteran Hollywood film animator, says that as a child he stopped telling people his father had ever been Mr. Jelly Belly. It was too painful and most people didn’t believe him anyway. Now, with another holiday candy season upon us, Klein is back and hoping, at age 65, to regain the mojo that once made him the talk of the candy world. His company, Can You Imagine That!, is working with Leaf Brands in developing a new treat called Farts. (Yes, you read that right.) Leaf, which created Milk Duds, plans to have Farts in stores by Christmas, and when it does Klein predicts they will make people forget all about Nerds, a similar looking but crunchier candy. Then there is Dave’s Signature Beyond Gourmet jelly beans. They will mark Klein’s return to the candy bean business with such exotic flavors as ginger, jalapeno and bacon. He’s predicting they will also make people wonder what they ever saw in Jelly Belly, a company with which his relations have grown increasingly acrimonious over the years. Klein has long maintained that Jelly Belly’s chairman, Herman G. Rowland Sr., bullied him into selling out at a rock-bottom price so he could have the Jelly Belly empire all to himself. It’s an allegation Rowland emphatically denies. “I loved Dave,” Rowland said recently from his office in Fairfield, before quickly adding he wanted to make sure his listener had heard him correctly: He had said “loved,” not “love.” Still, Rowland chuckles often when he recalls the heady, early days of Jelly Belly and the promotional schemes Klein would come up with. He acknowledges it was Klein’s idea to call the candy Jelly Belly, a name Rowland didn’t think much of at the time. He thought even less of the portly Klein’s decision to be photographed naked in a bathtub full of jelly beans. “When I saw that thing, I went, `Oh my God, this is the end of Jelly Belly. No one will ever want to eat one,’” he recalls with a laugh. “Well, I was wrong.” He only pressed to buy Klein out, he says, after learning he had given his late partner half of his Jelly Belly distribution business and his partner in turn had trademarked the product’s name. He realized then, Rowland said, that if he didn’t buy Jelly Belly the name could be taken to any other candy maker. Meanwhile, Jelly Belly had become so popular that the small company Rowland’s great-grandfather had founded in 1869 was struggling to keep up with production while spending money to expand so it could make more Jelly Bellys, which it sold only through Klein. “Now maybe he doesn’t know these things or maybe he doesn’t remember them,” Rowland said. “But I protected his a– completely.” Klein, for his part, says he does understand. But then he thinks again of those days when he’d put on his Mr. Jelly Belly costume and go on television. And he becomes wistful and wishes he’d never relinquished the name. If he hadn’t he figures he’d still be Mr. Jelly Belly. “Col. Sanders created a product and when he sold it he was still Col. Sanders,” Klein says earnestly. “His picture was still on the buckets and everything.” Originally posted here: Regret & Redemption For Former Mr. Jelly Belly

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