Archive for the 'Jewelry' Category

Treasures of the Sea: Amazing South Sea Pearls

December 21st, 2012 | posted by Bill Rau

South Sea Pearl Earrings

Baroque South Sea pearls are the perfect blend of classical elegance and modern flair. These dynamic jewels command considerable attention on the market..

Deep in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, between the northern coast of Australia and the southern coast of China in an area commonly referred to as the “South Seas,” one of nature’s most outstanding treasures is being created.

It takes a minimum of two years for the large Pinctada maxima oyster to create a single South Sea pearl. Each begins its life as a tiny bead of mother-of-pearl carefully implanted into the mollusk. It is these implants that serve as the pearl’s nucleus, accepting layer upon layer of the oyster’s unmistakably vibrant nacre (the shimmering mother-of-pearl substance of which pearls are made), ultimately giving birth to the most desirable pearls in the world. These dazzling gems of the ocean are renowned not only for their tremendous size, but their breathtaking luster; characteristics that set the South Sea pearl above all others.

Measuring between 9mm and 18mm, South Sea pearls owe their great size and brilliance to several factors. The favorably temperate waters of the South Seas speed the mollusk’s metabolism and increase the amount of nacre it is able to produce. The thick layering of this particular nacre is famed for its peerless glow, which appears to radiate from within the jewel, adding to the pearls rarity and desirability. The grand size of the Pinctada maxima itself, measuring upwards of a foot in diameter, allows the gem to develop unhindered in a spacious environment. Also, the waters of the South Seas are incredibly clean and rich in plankton, the oyster’s primary food. Truly, the more content the oyster, the more impeccable the pearls!

South Sea pearls come in a rainbow of colors. This opulent necklace showcases pearls of the highly sought-after gold hue.

This Golden South Sea Pearl Necklace boasts 31 magnificent jewels of the highly coveted gold hue. Ranging in size from 12mm-15mm, each of these brilliant pearls is exceptional in it’s own right, but combine them in one necklace, and you have reached a level of brilliance that took many years to achieve. When you consider that a single pearl of this size can take nearly a decade to form, combined with the fact that one must search thousands upon thousands of mollusks to maybe find a beautifully round, symmetrical gem, the true rarity of these precious treasures of the sea takes your breath away.

Click here to view and learn more about M.S. Rau Antiques’ selection of South Sea pearls


Tickled Pink

October 4th, 2012 | posted by Susan Lapene
Natural Pink Tourmaline and Diamond Ring

M.S. Rau's Natural Pink Tourmaline and Diamond Ring

Jewelry is serious business. The very best jewelry, like we have here at M.S. Rau, is endorsed by qualified gemologists and has been certified in labs. Gems are inspected and rated for physical characteristics and the source is noted – whether South Sea pearls or Golconda diamonds. There is so much sophisticated science involved in that it’s easy to forget just how much fun jewelry can be.

We have a new piece in the gallery that is pure fun. It’s a natural pink tourmaline and diamond ring with a simply magnificent hue. Depending on the light, the stunning tourmaline varies between a honeyed rose to a slight lavender. Pink is among the rarest hues in which to find this colorful gem, and at 15.29 carats, it is truly impressive. I have never seen a tourmaline in the unique Asscher cut, which makes this ring even more spectacular.  The white gold setting and two sparkling baguette diamonds perfectly frame the joyful pink gem. This ring shines!

And since we are serious about jewelry at M.S. Rau, I will let you know that tourmaline is rated as a natural pink transparent with very good clarity and the diamonds are near colorless with a VS1 and VS2 clarity.

This pink tourmaline and diamond ring would be the life of the party of any jewelry collection. Click here to see more of M.S. Rau’s beautiful jewelry.

Wearable Art at M.S. Rau Antiques

September 21st, 2012 | posted by Deborah Choate

A 17th century painting of a "cabinet of curiosities" by Frans II Francken

The origin of the institutions we now call museums lies in the motley 18th century collections known as “cabinets of curiosities.” Assembled by the wealthy, who could afford to travel the world on the Grand Tour and amass souvenirs along the way, these cabinets (which were actually rooms and not furniture) contained everything from exotic animal specimens to automata to fine art. Meant to demonstrate the worldliness of the owner, the cabinets were part side-show spectacle and part educational dioramas.

Micromosaic Necklace, ca 1870. Image from V & A.

One of the most desired destinations of the Grand Tour in the late 18th century was Rome, where the medley of ancient cultures produced artifacts, jewelry and objets d’art were perfect for the educated collector’s “cabinet of curiosities.” Especially desirable were the mosaic jewelry pieces which demonstrated both exacting skill and historical importance.  Mosaic jewelry was made in two distinct styles: micromosaic and pietra dura, differentiated by both geography and technique.

The Romans perfected the micromosaic technique, and their workshops grew to the height of popularity through the entire 19th century. Only highly skilled craftsman could work with the tiny tiles – called tesserae – to manufacture the intricate and beautiful jewelry. Tesserae were formed from metal, marble, stone or glass, and dexterously positioned using cement and precious metals. Each piece could take many months to create, given the level of both complexity and artistry.

Victorian Micromosaic & Gold Necklace at M.S. Rau Antiques.

M.S. Rau Antiques owns one of these stunning examples, a 19th century micromosaic necklace created in the Etruscan Revival style, crafted of 18K gold and painted glass tesserae. Designed en esclavage – which refers to the swag chain and the multiple hanging pendants — the striking Egyptian motif is highlighted by rich, gold beading. Those in New Orleans will instantly recognize the fleur de lis accenting the pendants, suggesting a European’s take on ancient Egyptian style. A similar necklace is found at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, attesting to the importance of this piece.

Influenced by the burgeoning field of archaeology, this micromosaic necklace is a wearable work of art. After donning the piece, one could hang it as if a painting, perhaps in her own “cabinet of curiosities.”

Click here for more images of the necklace and to see more of M.S. Rau Antiques exciting jewelry collection.

Gems of the Gems

September 14th, 2012 | posted by Ludovic Rousset

I would like to invite you to experience a selection of rare, unusual, and stunningly beautiful gemstones. The stones set in these fine jewelry pieces are set apart for being not only exceptionally rare, but also exhibiting the color and presence that are the finest examples of their kind. Less well-known and yet far more unique than traditional gems, these jewels are worthy of any discerning collector. 

Paraiba Tourmaline and Diamond Ring

Paraiba Tourmaline and Diamond Ring

Showcasing a jaw-dropping neon blue hue unseen in any other gem, this Paraiba Tourmaline is the most precious of tourmalines. This 3.15 carat stone glows with the extraordinatry vividness of the bright summer sky. Only having recently reached the market within the last few decades, they are close to being mined to depletion. The aura of this rare precious stone is fresh, spirited, and dazzles with vivacity.

Natural Almandite-Spessartite Garnet & Diamond Ring

Natural Almandite-Spessartite Garnet & Diamond Ring

Warm, rich red garnets have guided and protected mankind for thousands of years. The luminous stone is traditionally worn as a talisman, as it was believed to light up the night and protect the wearer from misfortune. Tradition tells us that Noah used a garnet lantern to help him steer the ark through the darkened night. The 11 carat stone at the center of this ring is a unique hybrid of two types of garnet, Almandite and Spesserite. Almandite gives the stone its deep wine-colored hue while the Spesserite brightens the stone with flashes of fiery golden orange. A timeless gemstone, a classic setting and an exquisite color with a tale to tell; this ring is a standout in any collection.

Edwardian Amethyst & Diamond Pendant and Brooch

Edwardian Amethyst & Diamond Pendant and Brooch

Inspiring and enthralling people for centuries, the regal color of amethyst is shown at its best in this stunning work of Edwardian aesthetics. The amethyst is extravagence in violet. The rarest fine color stones have been prized throughout the ages: Moses described it as a symbol of the Spirit of God, and the Russian Empress, Catherine the Great, send thousands of miners into the Ural mountains to look for it. Whether worn as a pendant or a brooch, this piece dazzles. A deep and vibrant violet seven carat amethyst featured at its center, the color and clarity are hightened by the frame of sparkling diamonds that surround it.

Natural Alexandrite and Diamond Ring

Natural Alexandrite and Diamond Ring

Natural Alexandrite and Diamond Ring

Natural Alexandrite and Diamond Ring

Mysterious alexandrite is famed for its sensational color change. This unique optical characteristic makes it one of the most rare and valuable gemstones of all. “Emerald by day, ruby by night, ” this extremely fine example of alexandrite will appear vivid green in daylight and warm purplish red under incandescent or candlelight. Seldom found in stones weighing over one carat, the 7.27 carat gemstone as the center of this ring is truly a tremendous find.

Whether you are looking for the “wow” factor from a rare gem, or a striking, one-of-a-kind color these pieces have something for everyone. This collection of gem has inspired for millennia. Now let them inspire you.

The Natural Beauty of Emeralds

August 8th, 2012 | posted by Phillip Youngberg
9.28 Carat "No-Oil" Emerald Ring

9.28 Carat "No-Oil" Emerald Ring

We just got back from the Aspen Antiques show, which was a huge success. Our staff really enjoyed much cooler weather than we have in New Orleans in July.  On a morning walk, I ran into a bear!

I love the city of Aspen, and the beautiful green of the mountains reminds me of M.S. Rau’s wonderful collection of emeralds. Emeralds are the most difficult stone to get right, so when we acquire a spectacular example, I get really excited. Most –nearly 99% of emeralds — are oiled to enhance the color and to hide the inclusions. When you are able to obtain an emerald that is untreated it is extremely rare. 

This 9.28-carat emerald is full of life, un-oiled and very clean. When emeralds are cut they usually have 30% of the weight at the bottom which makes the color better.  However, when you have superb saturation of color you do not need this extra depth.  As a result our emerald looks more like a 4-carat emerald than a 9.28-carat emerald.

This verdant stone would bring life to any wearer. Click here to learn more about M.S. Rau’s oustanding collection of emerald jewelry.

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