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Jewelry Quotes: Passages from Classic Literature about Gems & Jewels
08 / 29





Courtesy of Sotheby’s


Even those of us who write about jewelry on a regular basis sometimes lack the words to describe the beauty of the gems and jewels sitting right in front of us. When I find a quote or a passage so vividly written that I can actually visualize the piece, I save it. The only downside is that I usually end up wanting something I can’t have.


If you too love a good literary jewelry reference, read on, but at your own risk!




Pliny The Elder:

There is in them a softer fire than the ruby, there is the brilliant purple of the amethyst, and the sea green of the emerald – all shining together in incredible union. Some by their splendor rival the colors of the painters, others the flame of burning sulphur or of fire quickened by oil.




20,000 Leagues UnderThe Sea, Jules Verne:

“My worthy Ned,” I answered, “to the poet, a pearl is a tear of the sea; to the Orientals, it is a drop of dew solidified; to the ladies, it is a jewel of an oblong shape, of a brilliancy of mother-of-pearl substance, which they wear on their fingers, their necks, or their ears; for the chemist it is a mixture of phosphate and carbonate of lime, with a little gelatine…




My Antonia, Willa Cather:

I used to imagine that the nobles’ of whom Antonia was always talking probably looked very much like Christian Harling, wore caped overcoats like his, and just such a glittering diamond upon the little finger.


The Diamond As Big as the Ritz, And Other Stories, F. Scott FitZgerald:

“That’s nothing.” Percy had leaned forward and dropped his voice to a low whisper. “That’s nothing at all. My father has a diamond bigger than the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.”




The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde:

On one occasion he took up the study of jewels, and appeared at a costume ball as Anne de Joyeuse, Admiral of France, in a dress covered with five hundred and sixty pearls. This taste enthralled him for years, and, indeed, may be said never to have left him. He would often spend a whole day settling and resettling in their cases the various stones that he had collected, such as the olive-green chrysoberyl that turns red by lamplight, the cymophane with its wirelike line of silver, the pistachio-coloured peridot, rose-pink and wine-yellow topazes, carbuncles of fiery scarlet with tremulous, four-rayed stars, flame-red cinnamon-stones, orange and violet spinels, and amethysts with their alternate layers of ruby and sapphire. He loved the red gold of the sunstone, and the moonstone’s pearly whiteness, and the broken rainbow of the milky opal. He procured from Amsterdam three emeralds of extraordinary size and richness of colour, and had a turquoise de la vieille roche that was the envy of all the connoisseurs.


06 / 10




We just got back from a buying trip and picked-up a lot of great things which you will be seeing on our site this week and next. One item in particular has been on our must have list for a while: an antique star brooch set with old mine cut diamonds in silver over gold from the Victorian Period. 

Antique Diamond Star Brooch

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014



A Close-Up of Old Mine Cut Diamonds


© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014




The minute I saw this portrait of Empress Elisabeth (“Sisi”) of Austria (1837-1898) wearing diamond stars pinned into her hair, I was hooked.


Empress Elisabeth of Austria bry Franz Xaver Winterhalter


Attributed to Franz Xaver Winterhalter (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons


According to the Schloss Schönbrunn palace and the Sisi Museum, the Empress commissioned Rozet & Fischmeister and other court jewelers to have multiple stars made. Some were 8 points, some were 10 points, and some had a pearl at the center.


Empress Elisabeth was not the only royal to favor wearing diamond stars. Queen Alexandra of England (1844-1925) had a set. There are numerous pictures of her wearing her stars pinned across the bodice of her dress. Just like Sisi, she was also a royal fashion trend-setter. Everything she did and wore was copied by society’s elite. The collier de chien (multiple strands of pearls and diamonds in the form of a collar necklace) is still associated with Alexandra to this day.




Once worn only for special events (wedding e.g. bridal jewelry), you can now find more and more women with a bit of sparkle in their hair. It’s hard to pick up a copy of Vogue, ELLE, Lucky, etc. and not find a feature or story about something jeweled for one’s tresses.


Believe it or not jeweled hair pins can be worn with jeans and a Tee, think a single tiny diamond star pin. Or with a cocktail dress: try two Art Deco Diamond Barrettes just above the ear to pull back your waves (e.g. channeling Veronica Lake). It’s all in how you style it. The below is from backstage at Valentino…


Antique Diamond Star Brooch


Valentino Show Autumn/Winter 2011-12, courtesy of Vogue


For more ideas, take a look at our Pinterest Board: She Had Diamonds on the Crown of Her Head, peruse our website for diamond barrettes, or ask us if we can convert one of our vintage or antique brooches to a barrette.


11 / 02



Vintage Diamond and Platinum Ring

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013



Diamonds set in platinum of course! If you didn’t see this year’s release of the Great Gatsby (the 5th and latest film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel) you might want to, if only to drool over the 1920’s fashion and jewelry (collaboration between Miuccia Prada and Catherine Martin).


Our item of the week is a sparkling diamond and emerald platinum ring from the Jazz Age era. With just over 3 carats of diamonds, it is no doubt a ring that Daisy would have adored.



Art Deco Chic



1 – In the latest film version, afternoon tea looks like it might have been catered by Ladurée. Silver tiered stands are piled high with pink and green macarons and other pastel colored sweets topped with raspberries and sugared roses. Can’t make it to the nearest Ladurée? Purchase Thé Othello (with hints of cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, ginger), Thé Marie-Antoinette (subtle notes of rose petals, citrus and honey), or macarons (raspberry, rose petal, lemon, chocolate, etc.) by calling their New York store and having them ship you your order.


2Carine Gilson’s handcrafted lingerie with silk from Lyon and Chantilly lace looks like it came straight out of Daisy’s closet. This one in coral silk.


3 – The Rosebud Perfume Co. was in business in the 1920’s. Would Daisy have used this Minted Rose Balm to maintain her Cupid’s Bow lips?


4 – Established in 1849 in Paris, Moynat (similar to other luxury luggage companies at that time e.g. Louis Vuitton and Goyard) introduced its repeating initial M pattern designed by Henri Rapin in 1920.


5Chanel No. 5 was launched in the summer of 1921. While the Great Gatsby was published in 1925, it was written about the summer of 1922. The latest from Chanel would have definitely made Daisy’s Mush Have List.


6 – Late blooming peonies and summer gardenias would have probably been floating in a silver bowl near Daisy’s bedside.




This is a spectacular diamond and emerald ring with slightly over 3 carats of Old Mine Cut diamonds. The emerald at the center has a vivid green hue and is bezel set in platinum with millegrained edges. It’s displayed in a vintage sterling silver ring box by Maison Birks.


1920's Diamond and Emerald Ring


This Art Deco Diamond, Emerald and Platinum Ring, Bombé Sparkler is available in our Cocktail rings collection.


10 / 04




The largest known fancy vivid pink diamond, the “Pink Star” internally flawless and weighing in at 59.60 carats will be auctioned on November 13th in Geneva by Sotheby’s.




Courtesy of Sotheby’s



A pink diamond, less than half the size at 24.78 carats, sold at auction in 2010 at for a record setting price of $46.2 million. Clean out your Swiss bank accounts! The picture above doesn’t really do it justice. Take a look at the short video on Sotheby’s website. You get to see it on some lucky girl’s finger. Wow!