Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Faberge Eggs

At Chasing Treasure, we offer a fine collection of jewelry boxes and jewelry armoires for women, men, and children. We also sell a beautiful collection of musical trinket boxes in a variety of shapes like animals, shoes, hearts, and holiday shapes. One of our largest collections of trinket boxes come in the shapes resembling the famous Faberge eggs. Many people have heard of Faberge eggs, but few know the story behind them.

The real Faberge eggs were created between 1885 and 1917 and were originally created as Easter eggs. These first eggs were created by the House of Faberge in Russia and many of the larger ones were given to the royal families of Alexander III and Nicholas II. The first eggs were actually quite small and could be worn as jewelry, which the bigger ones, about 50 of them, are called the Imperial Faberge eggs.

The original Faberge eggs are designed with precious stones and metals, making them quite valuable. The eggs are luxurious and many have precious gems included in the enamel eggs. There were 65 eggs made and only 57 are still around today and there are 42 Imperial eggs still in existence.
When the Russian Revolution occurred, the eggs and the House of Faberge became a part of the Russian nationals. The family moved to Switzerland and the eggs were moved by Lenin’s order. A few years later, Stalin sold several of the eggs to raise money for the country. Interestingly, Armand Hammer bought the majority of the eggs.

Throughout history, the eggs have moved to a variety of different places and at one point, American millionaire, Malcolm Forbes showed a collection of the eggs in New York City. His collection was sold at auction for approximately $100 million.

There have been other Faberge pieces that have sold for extremely high amount of money. One of the eggs which actually contains a clock sold for approximately $13 million; this egg, called the Rothschild egg, holds three records as the most expensive Faberge and Russian piece of art ever sold along with the honor of being the most expensive clock ever sold, too.

Faberge eggs have a special place in our culture, even though there are so few of them and most people will only see them in museums or in photographs. The eggs have made appearances in movies and television shows. The Faberge name is now associated with fine jewelry, but the original eggs are some of the most expensive and treasured pieces of art today.

At Chasing Treasure, our Faberge eggs are not from the House of Faberge, but they are created in the same style as many of the eggs. Our Faberge egg trinket boxes have enamel work on pewter or brass. They then have Austrian Swarovski crystals and 24k gold details. The boxes are lined with velvet and each one has a ring roll so you can store your treasures or give one with a ring inside of it. Many of our eggs are presented on decorative legs or tripods.

They may not be the real thing from the House of Faberge, but they make lovely gifts.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Watches 101

When you are looking for a gift for a man or woman, watches are excellent choices. They come in a variety of different prices, styles, and designs. These are few of the different types of watches that are available for sale today:

Pocket Watches

The earliest style of watches were pocket watches and these were worn by both men and women. Most men attached their watches to their clothing with decorative watch fob and women usually used a decorative chain. Many men today still appreciate the look of a classic pocket watch and while there are not as many fob manufacturers today, the ones that are still making fobs, make very nice ones.

Wrist Watches: Analog

The other style of watch is the wristwatch. These come in a variety of different styles and prices. The traditional style of wristwatch is the analog, which is also what most pocket watches are, too. The typical analog watch face has three hands that move around the watch face. The fastest hand is the second hand, the next fastest shows the minutes, and the shortest hand keeps the hour. Interestingly, analog clocks and watches were at one time the only watch face available, and now, many people can no longer tell time on an analog clock.

Movement Options

When you shop for an analog watch, you will need to consider how you would like to keep it moving. Many watches move with a mechanical movement, where the user needs to wind the watch on a regular basis. Many of the today’s watches are battery-powered and need to have the battery replaced annually. Other watchmakers use automatic movement where the watch is powered by the users movement.

Digital Watches

If you want something that has a more modern feel, a digital watch might be the way to go. These are the watches that use a LCD display to show the time in numbers rather than on a clock face. Digital watches are usually much less expensive than analog watches because the digital watches to not require the same amount of work to create.

Sports Watches

One of the most popular types of digital watches today is the sports watch. These are used by endurance athletes to keep track of the time and the distance they have traveled. Sports watches will often keep track of heart rate and they often have stopwatch functions, too. Many of the top sportswear companies make sports watches.

Purpose of the Watch

When you are shopping for a watch as a gift, you will need to consider the purpose of the watch. Of course, the actual purpose is to tell time, but people wear watches for a few other reasons. Since most people today have mobile phones that tell time, watches are of little use for many people. So today, people wear watches for the fashion and status they present. Athletes use sports watches to keep track of their times. Men and women who like to scuba dive and spend time in the water, will also use their watches for time keeping because their mobile phones cannot do the job.

Visit Chasing Treasure to select a wooden watch box to house your gift today!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Queen’s Jewelry

In the history of jewelry, the kings and queens of England have owned some of the most amazing pieces of fine jewelry. Queen Elizabeth continues to keep priceless jewels in unforgettable settings in her personal collection.

Many of the pieces in the Queen’s collection have been given to her or to previous royals as gifts. Other pieces have been won in battles over the centuries. The Queen’s personal collection of jewels is different from the jewels that belong to the collection of the British Crown Jewels. Often, when the Queen travels out of the country, she wears pieces from her personal collection, especially since the Crown Jewels are not allowed to leave the country.

Iconic Diadems and Tiaras

One of the oldest pieces in her collection of jewels is the Diamond Diadem, which is also called the George IV State Diadem. This piece was created in 1820 and includes over 1,300 diamonds weighing just over 325 carats. It also has over 160 pearls on the base. The diadem is a crown consisting of roses, shamrocks, and thistles, which were designed to represent the three countries in the UK: England, Ireland, and Scotland. This diadem has been worn by several monarchs, including Queen Victoria and Elizabeth II. The crown has been featured on important documents, photographs, money, and postage stamps.

Another diadem that has been a part of the royal collection is the George III tiara. This tiara was designed in 1830 and it was originally designed to be worn by Queens Consorts, as a collar or necklace. This tiara was made by diamonds that were a part of George III’s collection.

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara is another iconic piece. This tiara has been in teh collection since 1893 when it was given to Queen Mary by the girls bearing the same name as the tiara. Mary then gave the tiara to Elizabeth at her wedding. This tiara has large pearls on diamond spikes and it is one of the Queen’s favorites.

Setting the Trend for Earrings

In 1947, Queen Elizabeth received a pair of earrings called the George VI Chandelier earrings. They have three drops with every cut of diamond available at the time. Interestingly, since Elizabeth was still a princess, she did not have her ears pierced and could not wear the jewels. Once she pierced her ears, ear piercing became popular all over the world.

The Billion Dollar Brooch

Not surprisingly, Queen Elizabeth is the owner of the most valuable brooch in the entire world. The Cullinan III and Cullinan IV, known playfully as Granny’s Chips,” were cut from the diamond called Cullinan. In 1905, this diamond was given to Edward VII and then the diamond was divided in two. The pear-shaped Cullinan III weighs in at 94.4 carats and the cushion-cut Cullinan IV is 63.6 carats. The diamonds were put into one brooch with the Cullinan IV at the top and the III hanging below it. At this time, the brooch is valued over $70 billion.

There are several other pieces in the Queen’s collection, from more diadems and tiaras to brooches, coronets, necklaces, and parures. It sure does pay to be the Queen!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Where to Find Unique Costume Jewelry

At ChasingTreasure.com, we sell the best jewelry boxes for your favorite treasures. When you are ready to add more treasure to your boxes, there are several places to turn for unique costume jewelry. Some of the best costume jewelry has already been sold, so when you want to avoid the shopping balls and chain stores, here are some great places to turn:

Etsy: If you have never shopped on Etsy, you are in for a great surprise. This online shopping site is a mecca for vintage clothing and accessories, especially jewelry. You can shop by vintage brand, color, style, and even by location. The prices are affordable and shipping is, too. It is easy to find favorite shops and you can even chat with the owners. Shopping for costume jewelry on Etsy is like shopping at a neighborhood bazaar.

Garage/Tag Sales: Shopping at garage sales or tag sales is a fun way to find costume jewelry, especially if you love to hunt for treasure. You might have to shop at several different garage sales to find one that offers jewelry for sale; you can increase your odds if you shop at neighborhood sales. Garage sales usually have the best prices, because people are trying to clean out their homes.

Estate Sales: These are often the best places to find costume jewelry, often because the homeowners are trying to sell everything inside of the home. The prices tend to be higher than at garage sales, because estate sales are often run by professionals who usually get a percentage of the amount sold.

Antique Stores/Malls: Antique stores often have the most amazing selection of costume jewelry, but you can expect to pay for it. Many antique stores have several vendors and you can usually tell if the prices will be low or high based on how the jewelry is displayed. Pieces that are inside of cases tend to be more expensive than the pieces that are not in cases. However, do not let the barrier of the case discourage you because many vendors will keep pieces inside of cases to prevent them from being stolen. It does not hurt to ask the prices and you can usually negotiate them lower. If you buy more than one piece from an antique vendor, the vendor will often lower the prices, too.

eBay: If you know exactly what you are looking for, eBay is the best place to shop for costume jewelry. There are always thousands of pieces for sale on the website. If you do not know what you are looking for, browsing can be practically overwhelming. If you do know what you are looking for, odds are that you will find it. Prices on eBay vary significantly, so it is best to do a little research before you buy. Just like on Etsy, there are vendors who own shops and you can always ask talk to them about certain pieces. You can also usually save on shipping if you buy more than one piece from a vendor.

Shopping for costume jewelry is just as fun as shopping for shoes. Whether you shop for earrings, necklaces, bracelets, or rings, you are bound to find more than what you need and it all looks great!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

What is Bubinga Wood, and Why is it Such a Popular Material for Jewelry Cases?

Bubinga wood is a popular material for luxury jewelry boxes due to its durability, immunity to the elements (especially moisture), and overall exotic look.  While it is found worldwide, the main Bubinga species are found in the equatorial region of Africa and South America, and is commercially known as African Rosewood.  It is in these swampy, tropical regions that this wood has adapted its desired traits:  high oil content, hardness & density, excellent strength-to-weight ratio, and high shock resistance.

Because of these properties, it can be difficult to use in construction.  Its hardness easily wears down cutting blades, requiring specialized edges, and the oil content that makes it resistant to moisture (and therefore rotting) poses challenges for gluing and staining.  These Bubinga characteristics make it an excellent material for furniture, and the effort needed to turn this durable wood into an heirloom that can last for a century is what makes it a luxury.

The beauty of this wood is apparent:  its colors range from pink to deep red, with violet and brown streaks throughout.  Its grain pattern is also unique among hardwoods in that it fluctuates from straight to interlocking, and can also contain other grain patterns like quilted, pommel, and waterfall.  Certain cutting techniques can bring out the grain's swirling and veining to enhance the natural appearance.

Bubinga wood has many other uses such as flooring, tool handles, and decorative veneers.  But most notably, it is used in guitars and drums because of its superb musical qualities.

So as you think about purchasing a new jewelry box, you should seriously consider a Bubinga wood design.  Its ruggedness and unique ring patterns provide a beautiful and functional piece that can last a lifetime.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Diamonds: How Did a Tiny Stone Become So Valuable?

Of all of the gemstones all over the world, none have had a history comparable to that of the diamond.

Ancient Sanskrit and Buddhist texts refer to the precious stone, especially to the strength and brilliance. The texts refer to the fact that the diamond was a useful tool for metal working, but the texts do not mention cutting or wearing the stones. For centuries, diamonds continued to be used around the world as a tool.

Most of the diamonds today come from African mines, but prior to the early 1700’s, most diamonds came from India. When Indian diamond traders reached China, the Chinese commented on how the diamonds were worn to protect the wearer from evil spirits, but the Chinese used the strong stone to cut their precious stone – jade. Eventually, as the Indian diamond traders depleted the cache of stones in their country, people began looking for diamonds elsewhere around the world, and mines were discovered in Brazil and South Africa in the 1700s and 1800s, respectively.

Even though diamonds were used all over the world, they were regularly used for engraving and in some cases for ornamentation. The first true diamond cutters were in the 14th century in Germany and today, there are only a few places where diamonds are cut for the purpose of wearing them as ornamentation. The first record of anyone giving a diamond as an engagement ring was in the late 15th century when the Archduke of Austria, Maximilian I, gave a ring to Mary of Burgundy, but this did not create the furor that came later when DeBeers created the marketing campaign that changed the wedding industry forever.

DeBeers is the company that has been responsible for bringing diamonds to the left hand of women all over the world for nearly 100 years. This company first began working in diamond mines to help remove water when a diamond over 80 carats was discovered on the company’s property. The founder of the company, Cecil Rhodes, then invested the profits from this monstrous diamond to buy more land for mining. Eventually, the company dominated the diamond mining landscape and today DeBeers is involved in not only mining for ornamental diamonds, but for industrial diamonds in mines all over the world in places like South Africa, Canada, Namibia, and even in deep sea mines.

The company is one of the wealthiest companies in the world and it has been involved in many controversial business practices. However, the company staked its place in the hearts of millions when a marketing copywriter developed the phrase, “A Diamond is Forever.” This phrase turned an industrial stone into a stone that symbolizes commitment, trust, and love. Since then, DeBeers has also been able to keep the popularity and price of diamonds high with other marketing campaigns like the eternity ring with a circle of diamonds, the past-present-and-future ring with three diamonds, and the right-hand-ring for women who do not want to marry.

It is amazing to think of a world without diamonds, or at least without diamonds on left hand ring fingers. Thank you DeBeers, for making our world a prettier place to be. When you get your diamond jewelry, the best place to store it is in a jewelry box from ChasingTreasure.com.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Back to School Gifts - Travel Jewelry Case

With the approach of the school year, many daughters will begin their education all over again as college freshman, many of them will leave home for the first time, bound for college.

A unique and personal, as well as practical, going-away gift is a jewelry case.  There are three equally important considerations in determining which type and style to give.

The first is transportability.  The jewelry box should be large enough to handle rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, and small enough to fit easily into travel luggage.  Finally, it should be unobtrusive in a small dorm room.

The second important selection aspect is durability.  Sturdy hinges and clasps are critical.  While wood connotes the most luxurious jewelry boxes, in this instance, you should consider plastic covered by a sturdy leather or faux leather that is scratch and water-resistant.

The final aspect is security.  This means a robust lock combined with the durable structure.  Almost all travel cases have a lock, as do most non-travel cases.  If you choose a case not specifically designed for travel, though, be sure that all drawers and opening tops lock.

Styles can vary, with the central feature being whether it has a handle.  These are typical of travel cases where constant movement is expected (overnight/weekend stays), and can be practical in extended stays as well, especially if the case is to be stored in a drawer or under a dorm-room bed and needs to be routinely moved.

When you purchase a jewelry box as a going-away-to-college gift, don’t forget a nameplate with a personalized message, to help her stay close to you while she’s away!