Rainy Day Jewels: An Inside Look at a Private Collection



Heh, heh, heh…in all honesty, this is not a private collection on a level of, say, these jewels coming to Bonhams next month or those belonging to a certain tobacco heiress now on view at Rough Point, her mansion in Newport, R.I.

They are, however, a lot of fun to play with when you’re at the family beach house and it’s raining out. Standard procedure in this situation is to dig out Scrabble and Yahtzee and whip up a batch of Dark and Stormys while you wait it out as per New England adage: You don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes.

Rifling through the hundreds of baubles one of my relatives brought along with her for the summer is how we recently rode out a gloomy, misty afternoon. She is requesting anonymity, lest my sharing some of her acquisitions be viewed as vulgar or you know, end up inspiring some kind of Menendez-style “robbery.” (I jest, I jest…)

Anyway, as a jewelry writer, this is great fun for me, not only because said relative has great taste, but also because she’s a seasoned shopper with a host of secret sources of up her sleeve, many unearthed at the Tucson Gem Show and dogged Ruby Lane searches.

She also shops with an eye for unique stones, from cat’s eye chrysoberyl to heliodor (also known as golden beryl).

I asked her to pull out the pieces she’s been wearing the most this summer, whether it was a polar fleece kind of day or one that has you hanging laundry out to dry in your nightgown, sitting down to pasta al fresco on the deck, or grabbing sundowners at a local hotel’s parlor.

“I prefer colored gemstones, I’m seduced by the colors—in order, my favorites are blue, red, green, yellow, orange, and pink,” she says. “I pack jewelry that complements the clothing I wear and vice versa. I am often packing for stays that last several weeks, so I like to have options.”

Below, a few favorites from our rainy day photo shoot and most importantly, where she picked them up (oh, and a few were the unexpected result of a routine watch-battery repair—just saying).

Andesine sunstone sapphire rings
Ring finger: Small sunstone ring in white gold from Nutmeg Estates at the Tucson Gem Show (top), small orange sapphire ring in white gold from eBay. Middle finger: Andesine ring in yellow gold from an estate jeweler at Tucson Gem Show (top), large Oregon sunstone ring from Oregon-based seller at the Tucson Gem Show.
Emerald cut blue green tourmaline ring
Blue-green tourmaline in yellow gold, Glastonbury Jewelers (estate case)
Blue sapphire heliodor bypass ring
Bypass ring with blue sapphire and heliodor in white gold, Curtis J. Lewis
Hammered green gold earrings ring bracelet
Earrings, ring, and bracelet in 18k hammered green gold, Curtis J. Lewis
Heliodor ring with baguettes
Heliodor and diamond baguette ring in 18k yellow gold, Treasures New and Old via eBay
Sapphire and diamond earrings
Sapphire and diamond earrings in 14k white gold with omega backs, Treasures New and Old via eBay
Art Deco sapphire and diamond ring
Art Deco dinner ring with diamonds and sapphires in platinum, Malloves Jewelers (estate case)

 Top: Cat’s eye chrysoberyl and diamond ring in platinum, Roy Rover Antiques

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All That Glitters writer