What’s it Worth? 18K vs. 14K Gold

What is the difference between 14 Karat and 18 Karat gold and does anyone care?

A karat measures the fineness or purity of gold. Pure gold is twenty-four karats, is very soft and easily loses its shape with pressure so it is alloyed with other metals such as silver, palladium or copper in order to make it suitable for use in jewelry. The less gold the alloy has the lower the karat number so eighteen karat contains a higher percentage of gold than does fourteen karat gold. But who cares and does this really matter to you?

Most people either don’t care about the difference or if they do care, they care because of the value associated with purer gold and that sometimes prevents them from embracing fourteen karat jewelry. Let’s be honest here, jewelry is meant to be worn and not to hoard for resale value so here is how we think about the battle between fourteen karat and eighteen karat.

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While it’s true that purer gold costs more, let’s also be grateful that brands have the good sense to use fourteen karat gold on of-the-moment pieces and eighteen karat gold on pieces that are intended for longevity. Yes, it always makes more sense to buy fine jewelry over costume jewelry because its higher quality and retains its value but not everything has to come with an investment-grade price tag!

So what’s the final verdict? Buy whatever your heart desires but if you’re on the fence and need that little nudge, then buy fourteen karat for trendier pieces, if your coloring makes you better suited to cool undertones or if you are planning to get a lot of wear out of the piece. At the end of the day, you wear your jewelry; it does not wear you so do whatever you please.

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Shop the Fashion Week Looks

With Paris Fashion Week coming to an end we’re looking back at our favorite styles from New York, London, Milan and Paris.

Shop the jewelry looks on Swoonery.

New York

 

img-set-3Eros Black Diamond Pendant by Elena VotsiSavas Earrings by KC SukamtoSpears Diamond Ring by Imogen Belfield


London
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Demi Helios Studs by HALLEH, Whitby Jet Cuff by Jacqueline Cullen, Coalescence Diamond Tri-Band by Gold Neilson

 

Milan

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The Dreamcatchers by BUC, Auspicious Charm Anklet by Buddha Mama, Petit Pois Ring in Citrine by Carol Kauffmann

 

Paris

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Rondade Triplee Earring by Anissa Kermiche, Stone Temple Lotus Pendant by Alice Cicolini, Jean-Michel’s Crown Wrap Ring by Carole Le Bris Perez

 

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Milan Fashion Week: The Italian Update

In lieu of Milan Fashion Week, we’re focusing on Italians and their signature talent of fine jewelry. From dazzling diamonds to colorful sapphires, you can’t go wrong by doing as the Romans do.

1884 Collection

Infusing Italian heritage with modern, stylistic designs, 1884 Collection incorporates ancient Roman coins into each of its pieces. Each coin dates back over 2,000 years, withstanding the test of time as it beckons its wearer to continue its story. Founded by sixth-generation Roman jeweler Alberto Petochi, 1884 Collection draws on the legendary work of the Petochi family, who first opened a jewelry shop in Rome in 1884. The Petochi family continues their traditions today.

BUC

Inspired by the art of jewelry, Cosima Bucarelli changed the course of her career to study goldsmithing from top artisans in Rome and Bangkok. After soaking up their knowledge, she embarked on a jewelry journey all her own. Called BUC, her collection possesses a mystical quality. She channels the dreamy surreal world of the cosmos into her pieces. Using precious metals, gems, pearls and enamels, her jewelry is handcrafted in the same workshops as her mentors. From chakras to protective evil eyes and other fascinating creations of the infinite, her jewelry is as transformative as it is enchanting.

Casato Roma

Federico Gauttieri, the founder and artistic director, states that the mission of Casato is to create jewelry to make a woman feel beautiful. Inspired by women’s sensuous quality, Casato combines sophisticated design and personalized style with elegance, glamour and seduction. The brand incorporates the dragonfly, a symbol of self-realization and positive change, into its collection as a recurring motif. Crafted in 18-karat gold with carefully selected diamonds and precious stones, Casato is avant-garde, elegant and supremely feminine.

Francesca Villa

Recognized as a talent early on, Villa developed collections for such heavy hitters as Bulgari and Tiffany. A desire to express her own aesthetic sensibility led her to found her own company in her native Italy. Through her love of travel, she gathers faces, images and flavors that infuse her work with soul. Her jewelry creations unite objects found on her travels with precious materials, bringing two different worlds together in an unexpected and glorious whole. A unique and unrepeatable process, Villa limits her editions to 24, so once they’re gone the experience won’t ever be available again.

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Silvia Furmanovich: Marquetry, Heritage Skills & Sustainability

Certain people see the world differently and are able to share a glimpse with us through their creations. Brazilian designer, Silvia Furmanovich, is one such person. On a recent trip to the north of Brazil to meet a tribe in the Amazon rainforest, Furmanovich met a gentleman who was raised in the forest and trained in marquetry—the art of inlaying colored wood to a structure to form designs and patterns, typically used in decorative furniture. She was mesmerized by refinement and mastery of the local peoples’ skill and designed patterns for them to make and that was what inspired Furmanovich’s Marquetry Collection.

All the wood that is used in these pieces are foraged from fallen bark and the vibrant hues are all naturally occurring colors in the red muirapiranga, yellow tatajuba, purple roxinho, and azul carvalho trees. This sustainable process means that nature places a limit on how many pieces can produce at any given time but there is a preciousness about the patience required for sustainable practices that somehow makes the marquetry pieces more meaningful to Furmanovich and to the collectors who wear them.

All the artisans who work on Furmanovich’s pieces were trained by the same master and the precision with which they hand-cut tiny slivers of wood and assemble them into veneer shapes reflect the love they have for this painstaking craft. The marquetry is then incorporated along with sumptuously colored gems, diamonds and set in 18 karat gold to form a collection that is unmistakably Furmanovich. It is vibrant, bold, earthy and sumptuous—much like the women who wear and collect her work.

Editor’s Picks

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Hint List Essentials for Fall ’16

Wondering what to put on your latest Hint List? We’ve put together our 5 favorite fall pieces to offer a little inspiration. image-1

The Inseparable Ring by ANFRAY & ANFRAY is made of two overlapping parts that swivel independently of each other for a tactile experience. Crafted from 18-karat brushed and polished yellow gold, this one is wrapped in floating golden beads that have the poise and individual style of Grace Kelly.

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Spectacular drops that pair the best of history and modern design, these 18-karat white gold and titanium Ravello Earrings by 1184 Collection set off two original bronze coins of the Roman emperors Settimo Severo (from the period of 201 to 210 A.D.) and Comodo (from the period of 191 to 192 A.D.).

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The lovely Stone Temple Lotus Pendant by Alice Cicolini highlights a hand-carved lotus of green amethyst that is suspended on a 9K gold chain with diamond details.

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The Queen Bee Honeycomb Earring by Bee Goddess makes a powerful statement. A single dynamic drop in 14-karat gold, this style represents bliss, abundance, health and wealth, unity, purity, renewal, productivity, joyful collaboration, structure, wisdom, inspiration, pleasure, selflessness, power of diligence, eloquence and efficiency. Accented with 1.28 carats of pavé diamond honeycomb and an enamel bee, it’s made to be worn on its own or paired with your favorite stud.

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The Planettery Ring by CASTRO is composed of 18-karat white gold, sapphire, diamonds and a South Sea pearl. This ring radiates a mesmerizing otherworldliness. Bring some intrigue as well as edgy beauty into your life.

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Swoonery Exclusive: NC Rocks

Now Available Exclusively on Swoonery

 

Based in Dubai, Mother and daughter team Nadine Hammoud and Cherine Altobaishi founded their company NC Rocks together. It was almost a foregone conclusion that Hammoud and Altobaishi would end up in the jewelry arts. The family story begins with a grandmother who enriched her life with adornment and passed down that love of beautiful things to her daughter and granddaughter.

What makes the NC Rocks aesthetic so distinctive and delightfully different is the melding of the two individual tastes and experiences of Hammoud and Altobaishi, with each piece telling a cohesive story.

In these Armoria earrings, lovely shades of enamel catch your eye in the drop-style earring crafted in 18-karat white gold. Drawing the design together is the enamel cross-shaped stud mirroring the colors below. Through their shape, they tell the story of protection and good fortune.

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Armoria Earrings

 

You can see the influence of artists such as Picasso and Kandinsky in NC Rocks’ work, but there are also components of the fantastic Art Deco period, glamorous fashion of the 30-50’s and that edgy vibe of the 70’s.

This Elysium ring just pops with blues and black colored enamels. Set in 18-karat white gold and framed with diamonds, its geometry pays homage to the luxuriant Art Deco period.

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NC Rocks works with 18-karat gold, precious gemstones, diamonds and enamels that pop with color. Though the pieces are born from an eclectic inspiration, they are at heart minimalist expressions of a powerful statement.

n32277Byzantia Necklace

With this necklace the mother and daughter dynamic duo have created something spectacular. Sterling silver dipped in white rhodium provides the framework for a pattern of flat and cabochon enamel that culminates in the center of the neck for a regal Byzantine finish. It’s stunning, while also classic, destined to be a perennial favorite.

Every creation of NC Rocks jewelry contains a statement, which then becomes your statement to make—as your unique story unravels.

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NY Fashion Week: What to Wear

Fashion week bound into town with all the pomp and circumstance we expect from the show. As summer comes to a close, people are waving goodbye to the summer heat and preparing for the brisk temperature change of fall. Though parting from summer might be sweet sorrow, fall offers its own delights. When do you get to see the breathtaking changing of the leaves. It’s mother nature at her best.

The fun part of the change of season is that it allows you the excuse to turn over your wardrobe and an excuse to refresh your closet. Metallics have come out to play and mixing and matching provides a glam look you can dress up or go weekend chill with. 90’s grunge and distressed denim has raised its head moving into to fall, but in an elevated and sophisticated mode. It’s high-class street wear—and it’s an opportunity to juxtapose fancy accessories with a dressed down style. This season turn up your inner fire by dressing in animal prints. The great thing about animal prints are their versatility and ability to transform a regular outfit into something memorable and chic. All it takes is throwing on an animal print jacket, pair of pants or a shirt.

1. Mixed Metallics

Metallic Mixing

Sabine Getty – Wiggly Cuff, Elena Votsi – Eros Earrings, Diane Kordas – Atomic Pop Art Ring

 

2. Back to School Basics

Back to School Basics

MATEO New York – Lady Mother of Pearl Choker, Shay – Orbit Ring, Anissa Kermiche – Tatouage Ear Cuff 

3. Animalistic

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Completed Works – Fractured Column Choker, Ileana Makri – Eyelash Ear Cuff, Foundrae – Strength Cigar Band

 

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Designer Spotlight: HALLEH

A Texas native, Halleh Amiralai started out as a jewelry enthusiast. When she decided to take her hobby to the next level. she traveled to India to learn her craft. In India, accessorizing goes back many centuries. Women began decorating themselves to enhance their beauty and also to express their personality and style with their choices.

Amiralai immersed herself in this rich history, especially goldsmithing, learning centuries old techniques from the top masters. Upon her return she opened her eponymous brand. Influenced by the Byantine era, Amiralai’s pieces highlight the beauty of gold and are enriched with beautiful gems.

Amiralai only chooses the highest quality materials, working with 18-karat gold and distinctive gems such as diamonds, sapphires, lapis, Persian turquoise and emeralds.

Halleh’s designs are not only sophisticated and elegant but have an aura of exotic spice. Though subtle they are irresistible pieces that transform any outfit into a triumph.

Editor’s Picks

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Virgo Glows in Light of Blue Sapphire

Virgo falls under the symbol of the beautiful Maiden and its birthstone is the luminescent blue sapphire. One of the only four precious gemstone family, sapphire, which comes from the Greek word “sappheiros”, actually means precious stone.

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20K Hamsa Drop Earrings – Buddha Mama

In all its hues, sapphire is considered a stone of wisdom, royalty and prophecy. These earrings by Buddha Mama definitely have a modern spiritual aura along with their distinctive beauty.

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Teal Ring – Neha Dani

With Virgos, waters run deep. They are wise, articulate and witty people. Extremely meticulous, no detail, however small, escapes their watchful eye. That’s why they’ll appreciate the extraordinary craftsmanship and magnificence of Neha Dani’s Teal Ring and its blooming organic shape, incorporating vivid blue sapphires.

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Storm Mono Earring – RUNA

Sapphire is known to have qualities of  divine favor, an electrifying earring by Runa representing the power of the universe…

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Scorpion Necklace – Gaelle Khouri

…or experience the delightful sting of a statement necklace piece by Gaelle Khouri.

MAMOLRGBS-MAHHSBlue Sapphire Medium Lock Pendant Bracelet – Marla Aaron

Since blue is calming and heightens clarity, Virgo’s sapphire helps wearers tune into their intuition. Virgos are very nurturing and tenderhearted so they hit the human heartstrings with a bullseye. They bring beauty to the world like Marla Aaron’s pendant bracelet, the epitome of modern elegance.

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Cascade d’Eden Earrings – NC Rocks

Other qualities blue Sapphire are associated with are structure, accomplishing goals and bringing ideas to life. Exemplifying elegant structure, these NC Rocks multi-colored earrings are a treat of architectural design.

Virgo is lucky to bask in the light of the blue sapphire’s intuitive, meditative and creative properties.

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The Trend in Engagement Rings

Cushion and princess cut white diamonds are the traditional choice brides usually make for engagement rings. And, there’s nothing wrong going with tradition. But we’ve noticed more and more brides going for pieces that are as unique as they are.

For the modern classic, this Susie Saltzman Kent ring is a real stunner and adds just a little hint of individualism by putting a modern spin on a solitaire setting‬. This Jennifer Dawes Design Cushion-Cut Diamond Engagement ring is for the socially-conscious bride because Dawes uses fair trade gold and sustainably sourced diamonds adding an old-world romance to each ring. ‪

It’s becoming increasingly popular to stray off the beaten path when choosing a stone that announces you’re officially taken off the market. Non-diamond engagement rings are now getting their time in the spotlight. There is no need stick to the engagement ring category anymore. We decide what goes on our finger so who says you can’t let your personality shine?

Dynamic and fun, color abounds in contemporary engagement rings. Choose from such beauties as sapphires, emeralds, and even a colored diamond like yellow, pink or even black. The vivid green emerald in this KC Sukamto Rica Ring and the Jane Taylor Rosebud Vintage Inspired Solitaire featuring a purple sapphire will enhance your finger and show off your forward fashion style. Or consider the modernist architectural marvel by Markin holding a mysterious black diamond. ‪

A rare morganite wouldn’t even be a remote possibility for an engagement stone… until now. It’s become a popular choice featured in engagement rings. Light pink in color, it was named after J.P. Morgan, a gem enthusiast. Another favorite is the moonstone. Many people are picking this gem to light up their engagement rings. And since you’re free to communicate whatever you desire, a treasure from Buddha Mama possesses lots of personality and pizzazz.

Getting back to white diamonds, if you have your heart set on one, but want to go in a less conventional direction, then pear shaped diamonds are a great way to go. No longer the stuffy cut of your grandma’s era, they stand out and make a statement: think the Taylor-Burton diamond, the most famous one of all (a link to it here might be good). There are lots of remarkable designs, such as this beauty by Jade Jagger with gold filigree.

Previously put in the old fashioned group like the pear shaped is the rose cut diamond, dating back to the early 1500’s. Like the name, it looks like rose petals—and this cut is hot again. Lori Mclean ‪nails a modern rendition that reflects glamour and refinement, while Suneera ‪presents an edgier style of chic sophistication.

As you can see, the trend allows the modern bride to break out of the conventional to find an engagement ring that’s both memorable and represents her in one of the most momentous occasions of her life.

EDITOR’S PICKS

RAINBOW SAPPHIRE AND OLD MINE CUT DIAMOND RING

Rainbow Sapphire by Lori McLean

 

Rica Ring

Rica Ring by KC Sukamto

BOHEMIA KITE RING

Bohemia Kite Ring by Jade Jagger

 

ROSEBUD VINTAGE INSPIRED SOLITAIRE

Rosebud Vintage Inspired by Jane Taylor

 

Cable-Stayed Bridge Ring

Cable-Stayed Bridge Ring by Markin

MOONSTONE ENAMEL RING

Moonstone Enamel Ring by Buddha Mama

 

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