The iconic cameo is made by engraving an image into an object, most commonly the conch shell. Conch shells carve very well, but their color fades over time. It nearly always features a raised image, usually a woman in white, against a coral orange background, better known as a relief image. The intaglio image is cut into the background of the shell. These are very rare and takes a master skills man to produce. There are few cameo makers because it is one of the hardest challenges for any gemstone carver.
Besides carving into a shell, the agate stone is also popular for carving cameos. Agate is micro-crystalline quartz. It is popular because of its durability, compared to the conch shell. Ancient Greek and Roman jewelers carved cameos out of agate, while the Italians were known for their shell cameos. The oldest agate cameo found dates back to around 200 B.C. Although agate gemstones come in a variety of colors, blue is the most popular. Carving the white into the different layers allows for interesting shadows to enhance features of the image.
See our selection of cameos by clicking here
Check out this video for more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63CFHOmi81E
- Ester Edry
Caring for Your Precious Jewelry
Caring for Your Precious Jewelry
You bought a new piece! Hooray! Hooray!
For the first few weeks, you are showing off your new shiny bauble to everyone who crosses your path. Sadly, after a while, it becomes dull and boring, almost as if it was lifeless…
Don’t despair! We are here to help you protect & maintain the beauty of your jewelry in 2 easy steps.
We know you really love it, but try not to wear your pieces (gold or sterling silver) during activities that include: chlorine, salt, sunscreen, sweat, direct sunlight for long period of time, bug spray, lotion, oils, dirt and pebbles (like gardening).
And that's why:
- Salt water, chlorine and other bleaching chemical strip off the polish of metal and gemstones, making them look flat and lifeless. So avoid cleaning chemicals and swimming with your jewelry.
- Sunscreen, lotion, oils, bug spray & other sprays get into the crevices of chains & prongs, and create a film on your jewelry, making it dull and dingy.
- Dirt and small rocks are abrasive, scratching both metals and gemstone, making your pieces look scratched up, dirty and abused. Scratched gemstone could lead to breakage.
- Direct sun for long period of times can ‘bleach’ gemstones and cause them to color change. We often see it in untreated natural stones, and especially with color enhanced stones (like type C jades or colored quartz). This will make certain stones look faded
Organic material like pearls, shells, coral, ivory, wood and bone are very sensitive material and will be ‘eaten up’ by all the above.
The hard part…
- Storing: Don’t toss your pieces in one big pile, prevent scratching and tarnishing by storing each piece in a dry jewelry box, pouch, or zip-top bag. For those who live in a high humidity climate, we recommend storing sterling silver in a zip-top bag with a small anti-tarnish strip to avoid oxidation of the metal.
- Cleaning: Wore your nice pearls to a fancy party? wipe them clean before storing them for a long period of time. You are always wearing your hard gemstone: occasionally clean them with an unused toothbrush, warm water, and dish detergent soap. Gently get under the stone, in cavities and all over.
- Polishing: For your gold and silver, buff out tiny surface scratches and restore luster by using recommended polishing cloths.
- Visit our jewelers: for loved pieces, make sure to come for a yearly check up with our jewelers, we will check the stone setting, clasps, weak links, stone cracks and more. If all is good and well, we’ll professionally clean your pieces for a brilliant shine. If the piece was bought from us, we’ll do it for free!!!
We hope this will help you enjoy your jewelry for years to come. We know weird and unusual things can happen, so be mindful about your precious pieces and always keep them in a safe place and insured.
Please see suggestions of cleaning and maintaining individual pieces on their product page.
- Ester Edry
J Is for Jade
Jade – A precious stone of great beauty – An ancient Chinese saying – we’ll pledge!
We love jade, both stones, Jadeite and Nephrite. Our collection of carving and jewelry of nephrite jade mainly comes from British Colombia. The Jade company we work with, just like us, a family-owned, multigenerational company. They find, mine, and create with their nephrite jade amazing pieces of jewelry and carved figurines.
While Nixon was in office, the doors to china opened up and many ancient Chinese treasures made their way to the Western World. Memorized the exotic mystery of orient, our buyer at the time didn’t skip many buying opportunities. Our collection of carved jade is all antique Jadeite & recent carving of Nephrite.
Through our collection, you’ll notice we specify the Type of Jade. Due to its desirability, Jadeite is often being sent to the ‘beauty parlor’ for some enhancements. We clarify on each piece the grading and if we know the origin of the stone.
So, here we go;
Type A: Natural, untreated jade, might have a beeswax coating for shine.
Type B: Bleached and polymer impregnate jade. Jade will get a lighter more transparent look with no visible inclusions.
Type C: Bleached, polymer impregnate, and dyed. Gorgeous colors at the fraction of the price. Many time we see a highly desirable apple or imperial green colors that are highly transparent or nice uniformed purple colors.
Most of the nephrite jade is type A.
Because Jade is super strong stone, caring for it is quite easy, and it is ultimate everyday piece.
Type A jade can go into the ultrasonic cleaner, being steamed, or just rinsed with soap and water. However, Type B & C are less durable and should be cleaned with soap and water only. If the piece has many small carving, indentations, and donuts, we recommend using a tooth brush to get in the small cavities. Remember, jade is stronger than gold and silver, make sure to bring your loved pieces to our jewelers for check up on prongs, bezel, wrapping, and knotting.
Jade comes in many different colors, shades, and grades, it’s fun to diversify your collection with different colors & origins, like forest green from Canada, light purple from Guatemala, Maori black Jade, ultimate Hetian white jade, mid green Siberian Jade and much much more.
Would an old symbol be the next trend in jade jewelry? A carved jade Pokémon? We are on it! Sign up for our e-mail list to get the hottest new designs straight to your inbox or facebook page.
- Ester Edry
B is for Baltic Amber
Amber is a fossilized tree resin that definitely earned its spot among world’s rarest gems.
Tens of thousands of years ago, humanity fell in love with little pieces of ‘solidified sunshine’ that washed ashore the Baltic sea. Different civilization praised amber for its rare beauty and healing properties; to the extreme of building a whole room covered in amber (and rebuilt in 2003).
I like to think of amber as small windows to the past, where wind, rain & forest elements are suspended in time. A masterpiece by mother-nature set in silver & gold by master jewelers, makes our collection at David’s, of Baltic Amber jewelry a unique one. Our collection started in 1960’s with antiquity pieces and peaked by the early 1990’s when Russian artist sold their creations of amber jewelry in the USA. Currently, we are working with numerous artist from around the Baltic Sea to get colorful and playful pieces of jewelry made with world’s best amber.
A few of my favorite things about amber are:
- Amber was burnt onboard ships and boats as offerings to the goddess of the sea.
- Amber beads are worn by babies in order to help with teething pain (there are no scientific data to back it up but little ones sure look cute with tiny amber necklaces).
- Ground Baltic amber is added to teas in order to overcome diseases. (again no scientific data – but we’ve heard some stories…).
- NO – amber is not melted into bottles and sold as perfumes -Copal might be used along with a huge list of natural and synthetic substance.
- NO NO NO – Ambergris has absolutely nothing to do with amber!
Since amber is very soft and not a crystallized material, cleaning should be done with extra care. Wash the pieces with mild soap and warm water, and restore amber shine by polishing off old bee wax with plain toothpaste and dry washcloth. Better yet – bring your pieces to us for a professional cleaning and restoration.
For amber colors check out our slide show “Baltic Amber Colors”
Here are some of my favorite links and must watch videos about amber:
- “The Amber Time Machine” a BBC documentary by David Attenborough. – could be purchased on iTunes or found on various documentary websites.
- A short YouTube about the amber room:
- Ester Edry