The Artist: Russian-born jeweler Alex Soldier’s one-of-a-kind designs—which he constructs with the aid of a high-powered microscope in his Times Square studio—range from sleek geometric forms to nature-inspired creations, and all share refined technical detailing and hand-craftsmanship. Formerly a computer engineer, he quickly climbed the ranks at a jewelry plant in Russia’s Ural region, becoming head designer at age 25. After moving to New York, he founded his own brand in 1996.
Technique: Each design begins with a hand-carved wax model that consists of a few components that Soldier creates in his studio.
His team of artists—none of whom had prior formal jewelry training—work alongside him to finish the final product, helping to craft the intricate metal bases that ultimately hold colorful gemstones like peridot, emerald, and aquamarine. “My designs require one to step outside the boundaries of traditional craftsmanship, so any previous jewelry training is a disadvantage,” says Soldier, noting that formulaic techniques have no place in his studio. “I train from scratch so that my team may have an expanded vision instead of set design structure in their mind.” Soldier typically applies texture to the jewelry’s metal in stages, using stainless-steel tools that he invented. He layers textures until the desired surface is achieved. For example, the 18-karat gold face of a curious snail peeking out from its brown shell (gold and platinum bejeweled with diamonds, sapphires, garnets, and citrines) is finely stippled to mimic the mollusk’s natural gleam ($25,000). Each piece can take anywhere from two weeks to four months to complete.
Jewelry: Soldier’s diverse repertoire, inventive use of textured metals, and meticulous gem placement reflect his creative and technical depths. Whether crafting a sunflower ring (in 18-karat yellow, rose, and white gold) with delicately drooping yellow-diamond petals and green-tsavorite leaves ($19,500) or a luminous 18-karat gold ring topped with an arching rainbow of delicate diamonds, amethysts, citrines, sapphires, aquamarines, tsavorites, and garnets ($19,500), Soldier’s jewelry is, as he describes, “a constantly evolving combination of shape, color, and texture” made to be unforgettable and undefinable. “The beauty of my jewelry lies in the way it blurs the line between fine ornament and miniature sculpture.” Where to Get It: Clients can contact Soldier directly to schedule an appointment, and his collections are available at select Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue stores, as well as Neiman Marcus online
H.I.M Empress Eugenie of The French Corsage
There is nothing more exciting in the jewellery world than a jewel with royal provenance, especially when said jewel has not been seen at auction for over 125 years.
Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, was the leader of European fashion and assembled a large collection of jewels. From the beginning of her reign in 1853, Empress Eugenie did much to enhance the reputation of the French haute joaillerie, which at the time supplied the whole of Europe. She favored the famous Parisian firm Bapst, being the court jewellers for over 200 years at the time, for its very subtle designs in the form of foliage from which hung aiguillettes or pampilles.
In just a few decades, Paraiba tourmalines have taken on an almost mystical quality. First discovered in the 1980s by Heitor Dimas Barbosa, who spent years digging in the hills of the Brazilian state of Paraiba on little more than a hunch that he was going to find something special, these incandescent stones have quickly become among the rarest and most sought-after gems in the world.
Almost every shade of tourmaline can be found in Brazil, but none has the vivid glow that distinguishes the Paraiba tourmaline, also known as cuprian elbaite. A product of the trace element copper, colours range from startling turquoise to majestic blue-green, but it is the neon-bright glow that appears to light up the stone from within that makes Paraiba tourmalines incomparable to any other gem.
To put their rarity into perspective, there is only one Paraiba tourmaline mined for every 10,000 diamonds, and a good quality Paraiba from Brazil weighing over three carats is virtually unheard of. So rare are authentic Brazilian Paraiba tourmalines that it is not unusual for them to achieve five figures per carat.
In a surprising twist in the Paraiba tale, in 2003, a new wave of luminous green-blue tourmalines entered the market, mined by hand in the copper-rich mountains of Mozambique and Nigeria. Paraiba-like in every way, with only minute chemical differences to those unearthed in Brazil, they are often found weighing five carats or more and have caused an ongoing debate as to what can and can’t by definition be called a “Paraiba” tourmaline. Some insist that only tourmalines from the Brazilian state of Paraiba are, indeed, Paraibas, while others are more inclusive.
Whichever side of the fence you sit, if you consider why this unique gemstone has turned up in two very different parts of the world, things get very interesting. If you look at the outline of the continent of South America and compare it to the coast of Africa, the shape of each indicates that, once upon time, the two are likely to have been conjoined. Which means, at one point, the copper-rich mountains of Brazil were probably a whole lot closer – and quite possibly right next door – to the copper-rich mountains of Mozambique and Nigeria than they are today. Fact or fiction? Nobody knows for sure, which simply adds to the allure of this incredible, one-of-a-kind gemstone.
Sapphire and Diamond Halo Ring in 18k White Gold $6,000 atElegantly refined, this gemstone and diamond ring showcases a vibrant round blue sapphire accented with a halo of sparkling round diamonds framed in 18k white gold. Click Photo Below To View More Details
Rubies out of Africa fill the void left by Burmese rubies with their flashes of rich red
With prized Burmese ruby mines virtually depleted, gem hunters have turned to Africa in their quest to find the perfect red gem.
Gemfields, a mining company dedicated to conquering the colored gemstone market, has added a larger number and more consistent quality of rubies to the supply chain, from its Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique. This new source is having a considerable impact on the global ruby market. Last December, Gemfields reported that its auction of Mozambique rubies raised $43.3 million – the highest in its history.
Gemfields is the world’s leading supplier of responsibly sourced coloured gemstones. We specialize in high-quality emeralds and amethysts from Zambia and more recently rubies from Mozambique.
“Our approach has set new benchmarks for environmental, social and safety practices – a fact of which we are very proud. Our direct involvement in each step of the process is unique, and allows us to provide discerning customers the assurance they require of the responsible journey their gemstones have taken from mine, to market.”
Ian Harebottle, Gemfields CEO
Ever since gemstones were discovered they have been highly prized — used as adornments and symbols of wealth and power.
Unearthing this precious material is a delicate business and although there have been significant advancements in the methods used; the final stages are still done by hand. It is very difficult to gauge the volume and the quality of a deposit before you mine, and the terrain is often inhospitable and remote, so in order to mine gemstones efficiently you first have to understand the land. This process takes time and experience. At Gemfields we have a team of experts who understand this very unique geology.
This knowledge, combined with cutting-edge technology and the use of the most innovative techniques, means that we are able to greatly reduce the impact of our activities on the environment. We have introduced the world’s first underground shaft mine, which vastly reduces the amount of earth removed per carat of emerald and the amount energy required to do so. We have eliminated the use of harmful chemicals in the mining process, and by educating our employees we have been able to reduce our emissions and waste.
What is Tanzanite?
Tanzanite is a trade name that was first used by Tiffany and Company for gem-quality specimens of the mineral zoisite with a blue color. Tiffany could have sold the material under the mineralogical name of “blue zoisite,” but they thought the name “tanzanite” would stimulate customer interest and be easier to market.
The name “tanzanite” was given because the world’s only known tanzanite deposit of commercial importance is in northern Tanzania. The name reflects the gem’s limited geographic origin. The mines are all located in an area of about eight square miles in the Merelani Hills, near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro and the city of Arusha.
One day during the 1960s, a Masai shepherd in the Mereani Hills near Mount Kilimanjaro, in the east African state of Tanzania, found some blue crystals sparkling on the ground. He picked them up. And so begins the journey of tanzanite, the stone that has been hailed as the “gemstone of the 20th century”.
Tanzanite formed millions of years ago when metamorphic schists, gneisses and quartzites formed flat-topped inselbergs on the plains below Kilimanjaro, and the crystals began to grow. Eventually, some made their way to the surface, where the Masai herdsmen found them.
Tanzanite is a blue variety of the gemstone zoisite and has a value of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, so care should be taken when wearing it. Don’t let it come into contact with acids or soap, and don’t wear it playing sports as it can chip. However, its blue beauty is breathtaking and it’s a perfect jewel for eveningwear.
The name “tanzanite”, and much of its later branding, can be credited to Tiffany & Co. Shortly after its discovery, the gem, which was then called “blue zoisite”, was introduced to the New York jeweller. They immediately recognised the uniqueness of this blue stone, but in terms of marketing felt “zoisite” simply was not pleasing the ear. They gave it the name tanzanite, branding it as a uniquely African gem.
In 2012, Tiffany celebrated its 175th anniversary with the launch of the Legacy collection, which celebrates the gemstones it has introduced to the world. Tanzanite features prominently, with one necklace featuring a supersized tanzanite of more than 175 carats.
Since then, tanzanite has made its way into the creations of just about every major jeweller. This summer, Chaumet has harnessed the beauty of tanzanite to evoke the deepest blue depths of the sea in its Lumieres d’Eau high jewellery collection, while Theo Fennell sourced an extremely rare heart-shaped 12.47 carat tanzanite for his one-of-a-kind Tanzanite Heart necklace. Its unusual ‘Meru’ blue hue – much lighter than usual – is named after the volcano in Tanzania from which the tanzanite was mined.
Joanne Teichman, managing director of fine jewelry e-tailer Ylang 23, has seen an increase in demand recently for tanzanite jewelry. “There is so much interest in tanzanite right now. One of our clients took a collection of five amazing tanzanite stones they had bought in Tanzania to one of our designers, Todd Reed, who designed a bespoke necklace for her.”
Mining in Tanzania operates primarily on a small scale, and approximately 90 per cent of the merchants are members of the International Colored Gemstone Association. This means that most tanzanite dealers have the reputation of working through legitimate channels to bring us these gems.
Tanzania continues to be the only place this stone has been discovered. Its exclusivity, combined with rich blue hues like a midnight sky that range from ultramarine to light purple, make tanzanite jewelry highly desired.
Hong Kong native Wallace Chan began his career carving precious stones. Showing an innate gift for this craft he developed what he later called the “Wallace Cut” an adaptation of the medieval intaglio and cameo carving techniques that creates a realistic and three dimensional carving inside a crystal with multiple reflections. From this detailed and finely calibrated work, the move into jewelry was a natural progression. But this is where comparisons with traditional techniques and styles end as there is nothing conventional or expected about Chan’s work. His jewels looks like nothing else and had me wondering what on earth I was looking at: what are these gossamer fine layers of smokey crystal, where are these extraordinary colors coming from and how can one stone appear to hover inside another? Just how has he managed in hard stone and cold metal to capture the frailty of a butterfly’s wings or the wispiness of a celestial cloud? How can he create such extravagant, almost baroque jewels that are always original and breath-taking? With a Confucian-style long beard and black tunic, Chan embodies the spirit of Asian philosophies and religions in his work and aims to delight the eye as well as touch the soul with his interpretations of nature. Chan tells me that he uses real butterflies to recreate their exact anatomy and in one brooch, he even encased the wings between layers of carved rock crystal and mother of pearl allowing the powdery natural color of the insect’s wings to glow through the transparent stone. His ability to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary is the mark of a true artist jeweler. As well having a genius talent for carving and the most painstaking craftsmanship, he has also put in time mastering materials such as ultra-light titanium to create these jewels that are as delightful as Nature itself. Wallace unites invisibly the metal ‘skeleton’ of his works with the gemstone ‘flesh’ by inventing new setting techniques. Not satisfied with conventional claws or collets to hold stones he has developed what he calls the “the diamond claw setting method” and the “inner mortise and tenon setting method”. The first one does away with metal claws and actually uses diamonds and gems as the setting which sounds as baffling as the result is sublime. The second method adopts the Ming-style architecture mode of joining materials by cutting stones to form a mortise and tenon joint, which believe me, is as complex as it sounds. All you need to know is that it looks out of this world and allows for seamless flows of form and a richness of color uninterrupted by metal. Wallace Chan’s jewels have captured the imagination of jewelry collectors and experts around the world.
Alexandra Mor creates one of kind creations, and pours all of her passions and desires into the beauty of the creations. If you happen to ever own one, you will be in a league of privileged and passionate jewelry enthusiast.
An Exquisite jewelry creation by New York demi-couture jeweler Alexandra Mor, “An Ode to Enchanted Light”. This one-of-a-kind ring was commissioned by a private collector as part of Alexandra’s made-to-order service. This aquamarine stands along with some of the finest jewelry creations featuring aquamarine as the main center piece gem. Alexandra Mor creates one of kind creations, and pours all of her passions and desires into the beauty of the creations. If you happen to ever own one, you will be in a league of privileged and passionate jewelry enthusiast.
Try as we might, we can’t take our eyes off that quite spectacular 27.24ct Asscher cut aquamarine.
Alexandra Mor‘s creation, “An Ode to Enchanted Light”. The stepped Asscher cut is most commonly reserved for diamonds, but it works spectacularly here, the light refracting like a mirror off of the 58 facets to reveal the inner depths of that sparkling aquamarine. Inspired by the Pablo Neruda poem of the same name, which features the memorable line, “The world is a glass overflowing with water”, Mor has captured the piercing blue-green of the sea in Chile, Neruda’s home country, in her choice of gemstone, which is held in place by a swirling gold and diamond setting, designed in Mor’s signature style. What a Magnificent creation.
Haute joaillerie designer Alexandra Mor designs one-of-a-kind jewelry collections.
- Item Type:
- Fine or Fashion:
- Gem Color:
- Main Stone:
- Rings Type:
- Bridal Sets
- Setting Type:
- Prong Setting
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- Metals Type:
- White Gold
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- Can be made in 14K,18K White Gold,Rose Gold,Yellow Gold upon request
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- 10 business days
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- 100% Natural Emerald ,No filling,Untreatment
- Support Retest on the Stones and Metal