The Year of the Goat

Thursday, February 19 marks the start of the Chinese New Year. It coincides with the New Moon phase of the lunar calendar. The multi-day event will be celebrated by approximately one sixth of the world’s population. Red, the color of good fortune, is used for decorating and celebratory clothing. At night, paper lanterns are released into the moonless sky.

Tomorrow, on New Year’s Day, the Year of the Goat begins. It is said that those born under this zodiac are peaceful and helpful people, and their lucky colors are brown, red and purple.

Victorian silver watch pin with ram's head design, at Gray & Davis. 

Victorian silver watch pin with ram's head design, at Gray & Davis. 

Victorian 14k or 15k gold sealing ring with carnelian intaglio of a goat, at Gray & Davis. 

Victorian 14k or 15k gold sealing ring with carnelian intaglio of a goat, at Gray & Davis. 

To everyone celebrating, we wish you a healthy and happy New Year!

Gray & Davis Holiday Gift Guide: Jewelry Box Staples

Two blocks away from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, and right around the corner from all of the decorated shop windows on Fifth Avenue, 47th Street in December feels like it’s right in the middle of all the celebration.

If you find yourself in the neighborhood soaking in the holiday splendor, come visit our booth and take a peek at some antique treasures. We've picked out five kinds of pieces that no antique collector's jewelry box should be without.

The Statement Ring

Arts and Crafts Carnelian and Enamel Ring, available in our  online shop .

Arts and Crafts Carnelian and Enamel Ring, available in our online shop.

This ring shows its age in all the best ways. A large, table cut red carnelian, one of the oldest stones used in jewelry making, is surrounded by a halo of tri-colored enamel work. The enamel continues down the sides of the ring, as well. This Arts & Crafts era piece sits broad and low, catching the eye without weighing you down. A great old gem for a modern gal.

 

 

The Three Stone Ring

A classic style that never goes out of fashion, these two rings have very different looks with the same core design. This Victorian gypsy-set ring is a set horizontally; a simple line of diamonds in 18k yellow gold. This Edwardian ring has stones running vertically on the finger, with a delicate halo of rose cut diamonds in platinum and a thin band of 18k yellow gold.

Victorian Three Diamond Gypsy Ring, available in our  online shop .

Victorian Three Diamond Gypsy Ring, available in our online shop.

Edwardian Triple Diamond Ring in Platinum and 18K Gold, available in our  online shop .

Edwardian Triple Diamond Ring in Platinum and 18K Gold, available in our online shop.

The Paste Earrings

Small Georgian paste dangle earrings, at Gray & Davis

Small Georgian paste dangle earrings, at Gray & Davis

Antique jewelry with diamond simulants was crafted with the same care as pieces made with the actual gemstone. These charming dangle earrings are set with “paste” stones, glass made and faceted to sparkle almost as brilliantly as its diamond counterpart in candlelight. With a simple silver collet setting, these earrings are great for daily wear.

 

 

The Gold Chain

Victorian 14K Gold Long Chain, available in our  online shop .

Victorian 14K Gold Long Chain, available in our online shop.

One great long chain is the gateway to so many looks. With handmade, antique chains, the fine detail work makes these pieces suitable for wearing as is, or with a plethora of pendant options. This 14k chain has alternating flat and round links. At 68” inches long, it is perfect for doubling or even tripling up, and a large 14k gold swivel is just waiting for your favorite pendant.

 

 

The Hallmarked Ring

Learning when an antique piece was made takes study and practice. However, some jewels easily reveal the past through their hallmarks. Several countries used letters or symbols to denote when a piece was assayed. With a little bit of research, we learned that this pretty gold and diamond ring was made in 1882. It was assayed in Chester, and thus was most likely made in central England. The hallmarks even reveal the metal the piece was fashioned in; this ring is 15k gold.

Victorian 15K Gold and Five Diamond Ring. available in our  online shop .

Victorian 15K Gold and Five Diamond Ring. available in our online shop.

Check out all of our Gift Guides here!

November Birthdays: Charming citrine and tempting topaz

November birthdays are celebrated with topaz and citrine. The warm yellow-orange color palate is perfectly seasonal, and we find it well-compliments yellow gold settings.

Topaz has a tricky history. The range of color found in nature – from clear, to pale blues and pinks, to bright orange – meant that it was sometimes confused for other similarly colored gemstones. In fact, we now know that the gemstone mined on the Greek island of Topazius, for which Topaz is named, was actually chrysolite. 

Georgian yellow topaz and 14k gold link bracelet, at Gray & Davis.

Georgian yellow topaz and 14k gold link bracelet, at Gray & Davis.

Citrine and topaz were also confused for each other hundreds of years ago. Now, with modern gemology tools, it’s easy for us to determine which is which in our antique pieces. 

Victorian 14k gold and citrine ring with a carved intaglio, available in our  online shop .

Victorian 14k gold and citrine ring with a carved intaglio, available in our online shop.

Victorian 15k gold and mixed cut citrine ring, at Gray & Davis.

Victorian 15k gold and mixed cut citrine ring, at Gray & Davis.

Help us warmly celebrate our friends with November birthdays with this warm-hued gemstone! 

October Opals

Of all of the birthstones, the October Opal has the broadest range of color in a single gemstone. From the blazing orange of a fire opal, the dusky blue-green flash of a black opal, this silica mineraloid does not disappoint. We usually find them cut en cabochon, but finding a faceted opal is not unheard of.

The opal’s reputation has oscillated wildly across the ages. In Medieval times, the opal was believed to have protective qualities, that it possessed the powers of every gemstone whose color was visible in the opal. However, a Victorian novel depicted the stone as a villain’s talisman; public opinion and opal sales soured for decades after.

Now back in our good graces and in our jewelry, opals are an eye-catching way to add a play of color to your collection, and simple opal jewelry usually doesn’t break the bank. Today, most opals are mined in Australia, making it an ethical gemstone option, as well.

Antique and vintage opal and gold rings at Gray & Davis.

Antique and vintage opal and gold rings at Gray & Davis.

Help us say happy birthday to our October friends with opaline flash!

Aggrandizing Agate: Hardstones Demystified

People have been using hardstones in jewelry since forever, so lots of different names have developed for the same thing. The distinctions between different varieties of hardstones (the science name is chalcedony) are somewhat arbitrary, and are for the most part based purely on visual distinctions, not any actual difference of the mineral’s composition.

Victorian 15k gold and agate seal ring, at Gray & Davis

Victorian 15k gold and agate seal ring, at Gray & Davis

Early 20th c. 14k gold, blue chalcedony and diamond cluster ring, at G & D

Early 20th c. 14k gold, blue chalcedony and diamond cluster ring, at G & D

Victorian 18k gold and moss agate dangle earrings, at G & D

Victorian 18k gold and moss agate dangle earrings, at G & D

Victorian 10k gold, bloodstone and carnelian fob, at G & D

Victorian 10k gold, bloodstone and carnelian fob, at G & D

Victorian 10k gold, diamond and onyx ring, at G & D

Victorian 10k gold, diamond and onyx ring, at G & D

Arts and Crafts 14k gold and carnelian ring with enamel, at G & D

Arts and Crafts 14k gold and carnelian ring with enamel, at G & D

Because we are nerds, we made this flow-chart to help explain how the tangled terminology fits together:

The Victorian "Remember" seal ring, in 15k gold, also has a fun surprise, which we captured on video!