Heirlooms Jewelry:    The Mews    36 Main Street    Next to the Red Lion Inn Courtyard    Stockbridge, MA    01262

Phone:  (413) 298-4436   •    E-mail:  info@heirloomsjewelry.com

 
 

Robin's Blog

 

May 9, 2017

Dear Readers:  

Hello from the beautiful Berkshires!  I hope you are beginning to think about our wonderful summer out here, and all the great music, art, theater, and weather we have to offer. 

At Heirlooms I am happy to tell you that we have some really neat new lines and pieces in the shop this spring, but I am very excited about the wonderful Roman glass collection that we have been featuring for eight years.  Every year this is always our best seller, and I am pleased to say we have a tremendous selection of this amazing and historic jewelry. 

Crafted 2000 years ago in what is now Israel, this glassware is magically colored in a delightful pastiche of pale blues and greens.  Shards of broken glass are legally excavated, then brought to the premier and original makers of Roman glass jewelry, who have been making these great pieces for over forty years now.  Nearly 100 full time employees of the Roman Glass Company are engaged in all aspects of the design, craftsmanship, and silversmithing of these awesome pieces, expertly done in .925 sterling silver.  Heirlooms is pleased to be the largest retailer of Roman glass jewelry in New England!  We have over 125 pieces in stock with some great new designs to add to our already well known collection.

Here on our website (Roman Glass Jewelry) you will find a nice selection of some of the standard and stock items that we currently feature.  But to really see these, come on out, come on up, come on in!  We are open every day throughout the spring and summer!

Fondly,

Robin

March 14, 2017

Hello dear readers! 

As I sit here on the snowiest day of the year, I am reminded that spring is not far behind and of course with that comes that fabulous diamond month—April!  Yes, you April babies do have the benefit of the world’s most precious and collectible jewel as your birthstone!

Heirlooms has been operating as an antique and estate jewelry store in the heart of Stockbridge for over four decades, and I am proud to say that in my eighteen years I have continued our tradition of finding and offering exquisite older diamond pieces.  True to our roots and philosophy, we look for affordability, elegance, classic design,  and fantastic workmanship, with a constant focus on Edwardian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Retro pieces.  Of course we have both yellow and white gold, platinum, and even some great silver pieces to complement the selection.   Our motto has always been to offer pieces that are well priced.  As we are not gemologists, we tend to have jewelry with stones that are half a carat and under, keeping prices in a realm that many folks find comfortable.  You’d be amazed at our selection in diamond that is under $500! 

We are always happy to shoot an email or two out to our customers with a few photos of these pieces.  Let us hear from you, it just takes a few minutes.  Also please always remember that even though the original wearers tended to be smaller women with smaller ring sizes, it is both easy and inexpensive to size most rings from these eras.  If you are looking for that great estate piece for that very lucky April hand of yours, or just want to see what we have available, we are open every day but Tuesdays in March and every day starting in April.  Come see us in Stockbridge!

Fondly,

Robin

February 9, 2017

Hello dear readers,

I hope you are well and enjoying the quiet and white beauty that winter brings.  At least here in the Berkshires, winter has paid us a visit this year as I look out on a huge blanket of freshly fallen snow at our home! 

But rest assured I have been very busy, and have pulled some really neat pieces out of my hat for our 2017 collection.  Today I am writing about the Art Nouveau period in the early 1900’s that spawned a great revival in all the design arts, especially jewelry design.  According to Wikipedia, Art Nouveau “is an international art movement and style based on organic forms. It was seen in art, graphic design, architecture and applied arts such as decoration, jewelry, ceramics and glass.  It peaked in popularity at the fin de siècle of the late 19th century (1890–1905), and continued until the First World War.”

One of the design features that I love the most about jewelry from this period is the use of animal and nature themes, especially dragonfly and butterfly.  I recently bought a lovely selection of these pieces that are a delightful combination of the new and the old.  While they are cast in Holland and are newly made, they are indeed cast from hundred year old molds that were the original molds for these pieces back in the day.  Finely crafted to exacting precision in wonderful sterling silver, these are timeless pieces and I am sure you would love them!

We always have a selection of genuine Art Nouveau jewelry as well, from rings to earrings, cool pendants and brooches in a variety of precious and semi-precious metals.  I am always inspired by historic design and vintage pieces.   I hope you will be, too!

Fondly,

Robin

January 12, 2017

Hello dear readers and Happy New Year to you all!  2016 was a really great year for us at Heirlooms, and we can’t thank you enough for helping us make it a real success.  I am back with some wonderful blogging ideas for 2017, and I thought I would start with one of my all time favorite things—pearls!  All kinds of pearls, too—from the finest cultured pearls to the terrific selection of fresh water pearls available from many eras. Pearls have been valued as gemstones, items of adornment, and statements of elegance for thousands of years. 

Of course I am partial to antique and estate pieces, where we always carry a wide selection, but did you know we carry many new designs in silver and multiple varieties of stranded necklaces and bracelets? Pearls can be graded on something called the Tahitian scale, up to the very highest quality, nearly flawless examples known as AAA pearls, down to what are called a grade D which are still very nice pearls, but with certain imperfections.  Pearls can be further separated into what are known as saltwater or freshwater pearls, both of which are cultured or grown but can vary by type of mollusk, water content, etc.  Very rarely a natural pearl occurs randomly in nature, but these are quite exceptional.  And pearls are not always round or white—they come in many shapes and forms including what are called baroque pearls that come in very asymmetrical and unusual shapes.  China and Asia are the largest producers of pearls.

We have a terrific selection of pieces for any occasion—wedding, prom, graduation, or just something to wear that is timeless and goes with any outfit and any color.  Pieces go for as little as $20 so don’t let price be a concern.  Please stop by to see our great collection!  We are open all year with a few days off on Tuesdays in winter and spring.  Hope to see you!

Fondly,

Robin

December 8, 2016

Hello dear readers!  So nice to be getting into the spirit of the holidays.  Our Stockbridge Chamber event this past weekend was a huge success with the largest attendance ever!  Many of you stopped by, scooping up the Christmas bargains and enjoying the ambience of the season.

For many people, the Christmas and Chanukah holidays are the major events in their “shopping calendar”.  At Heirlooms, we are having a very busy year which looks like our best year ever.  I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the amazing support and love of the store you embody!  I can’t tell you how often people come back over and over, to our little town of Stockbridge, MA, and into our shop.  I am very grateful for all of the support.  We must be doing something right, so thank you!

While I love a lot of different things, and we have many themes in the store, I am still totally committed to antique and estate jewelry!   This has been one of our main focuses ever since the shop was first opened in 1971 (I am the third owner!).  We still love those great old pieces, made in a style and with techniques that cannot be replaced today.  Recently we bought some really great jewelry in Florida and up here in Massachusetts at great prices—very affordable pieces in gold, platinum, silver, gold filled, etc.  Our main case is bulging with our largest inventory ever, and we are happy to say everything in the main case is 20% off until year end!  Delicate filigree bracelets, neat Art Nouveau lavaliers, cool retro rings, some really neat true antique pieces from the Victorian era, and on and on! Every woman’s favorite store in the Berkshires!

Stop by anytime, we are open every day this month.   All my best dear readers!

Fondly,

Robin

September 17, 2016

Hello Dear Readers!   What a busy summer it’s been and I have to say it was great seeing so many of you in our store in Stockbridge.   We have had many repeat visitors but it is really wonderful to meet all of you newcomers and welcome you to our store, Facebook page, or website.

Today I would like to talk about the exquisite Firefly jewelry from Guatemala that we have been featuring since last year.  Well, this year, it has really taken off and we are proud to say we are already one of the leading Firefly retailers in the country!  With over 100 pieces in stock, we have a tremendous selection of this elegant, colorful, and affordable jewelry that is sure to brighten your day as well as your look!

Firefly is expertly handcrafted from Swarovski crystal and Czech glass, set in easy-to-maintain, non-tarnishing antique silver.   The Guatemalan workshop where it is created and produced to the highest possible standards is a “fair trade” workshop where many of the workers have been lifted from poverty and become successful, contributing members of society.  And as you know, the Guatemalan culture is one that is characterized by the use of bright colors that are representative of the Spanish and Mayan origins of the people there.  This jewelry is really breathtaking!

I will be posting some photos of some of the new pieces we have and of course as always, sometimes we sell them very quickly and may not have them for very long.  Please check with us and we can update you on our current stock.  And always as usual, we are happy to offer discounts if you purchase a set (2 or more matching pieces)…and free shipping on orders over $200!  How does it get any better than that!

I’ll blog again soon and thank you dear readers for your loyalty and interest in my blog!

Fondly,

Robin 

June 29, 2016

Dear Readers:   Summer is in full swing here in the Berkshires and we have been getting busier each week.  Tanglewood and all of our wonderful cultural venues are up and running.  Be sure to stop in the shop in Stockbridge if you are out in beautiful Western Massachusetts!  We are open every day this summer.

Today I want to write a little bit about sterling silver jewelry, and the great value it represents in the market.  All of you know that gold is quite expensive these past few years, and this week’s cost of $1321 per Troy ounce is a figure that causes many people to say “ouch”!  But did you know that silver is a tremendous bargain and has not tracked higher with the cost of gold?  Today’s price of $18.36 per ounce is 72 times less expensive than gold.  No wonder sterling silver jewelry is a terrific bargain right now!

Our summer inventory comprises great silver pieces from all over the world, from here in America of course, but would you believe Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico, Italy, Holland and many other places have some awesome designers who are creating beautiful, affordable jewelry in sterling silver for as little as $20?   What’s even better, these designers are using a huge range of semi-precious colored stones such as amethyst, topaz, green quartz, and opal, as well as amber from the Baltic, our signature Roman Glass from Israel, Mexican Mata Ortiz pottery, and more!   You don’t have to spend a fortune to find some amazing pieces at our shop.

Never before have we had so many interesting and unusual pieces from all over the world that are truly affordable.  I’ve always said that Heirlooms is every woman’s favorite store in the Berkshires, come in soon and you will be a believer, too! 

Happy summer!

Fondly,

 Robin

March 24, 2016

Hello dear readers from the beautiful town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts!  We are very busy getting out new merchandise and looking forward to seeing you all this year.

Coming up of course is April, and my thoughts as always turn to diamond, which is April’s birthstone.  You April babies out there are very lucky indeed!  For the past couple of years we have seen a gradual decline in the price of many diamonds, as well as a leveling off of gold and precious metals prices.  What this means for you as a consumer is that really great jewelry can be had for better pricing than a few years back.  It is a wonderful time to look for quality diamond jewelry, both estate and new. 

I have some unique pieces to show you, with classic designs featuring a  variety of diamonds of different sizes and qualities.  Many items are under $500…..you would be amazed at what you can get in that price range! Our selection of Edwardian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Retro, and Modern styles is exceptional, and of course of the fine quality that we have been known for, going on 17 years now.  In particular, we have some great rings in white and yellow gold as well as platinum.  These are complemented by a number of really sweet Art Nouveau lavaliers in both white and yellow gold at very affordable prices. Finally, I would be remiss not to mention a few pairs of nice diamond studs and some beautiful vintage drop earrings that are just waiting for that special buyer!

Hope to see you soon in Stockbridge and Happy Spring!

Fondly,

Robin

February 23, 2016

Hello dear readers! Nice to be back in touch with you as we are nearly saying goodbye to what has been a very easy winter here. Let me thank all of you who have been in the shop this winter, you’ve made our “off season” busier than ever. Great weather doesn’t hurt!

I do have some exciting news to share in my blog this month. We have joined the Berkshire Wedding Collective, which is an organization of wedding oriented businesses such as Heirlooms. We are pleased to be in the company of a very distinguished group of facilities such as the Mount, Blantyre, Wheatleigh and Gedney Farm, as well as some really fine photographers, caterers, floral arrangers, and the whole gamut of wedding related services. The wedding business is absolutely booming here as the Berkshires are becoming a real destination wedding location. We are partnered with Tara Consolati who coordinates the Collective and manages her terrific website www.berkshireweddingcollective.com. Check it out and see what I am talking about!

For the Collective, we are also partnering up with old friend Heather Naventi of Masterpiece Jewelry Studio over the hill in New Lebanon, NY. We are going to be able to feature some awesome engagement and wedding rings in fabulous antique settings going back to the 1700’s and 1800’s, with diamonds of ¾ of a carat and up...as well as a complete array of wedding jewelry for that very special day—pearls, cameos, bracelets, gorgeous necklaces, bridesmaids pieces, etc.   This is a wonderful opportunity for us to really spread our wings, yet still keep our focus on what “Heirlooms” has always meant—outstanding quality, connection to history and the past, and classic styling.

We are also just back from the New York Now show at the Javits Center, and let me tell you we have some really interesting pieces coming in this spring. I can’t wait to show you all the great new Roman Glass, amber, and silver jewelry we bought! We’ve also bought a great estate with dozens of neat pieces from right here in Lenox, as well as the entire back catalogue of Liberty Workshop, also from right here in the Berkshires. Shopping local is the word! But more on those later, thanks dear readers, see you in Stockbridge!

Fondly,

Robin

December 24, 2015

Hello dear readers! We have been enjoying an unseasonably warm spell but that has meant lots of you coming to Stockbridge and visiting us in the store. We’ve been quite busy this year. Before I get any further, let me send to all of you a hearty thank you for all of your patronage and support. This year we introduced Firefly from Guatemala with great fanfare and found many immediate converts! We also expanded our highly successful Roman Glass collection, and really put the store into the best shape it’s ever been.   It’s been a great year all around.

 

Today I just want to tell you that we do have some changes coming up as well regarding our website www.heirloomsjewelry.com and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HeirloomsJewelry/. Our website has drawn a very good amount of traffic, and we know many of you like to shop with us during the offseason. It’s been working well. What we’ve found, though, is that we usually end up shipping things that we don’t have posted on the site! We have a lot more in the store than we have time or space to put on the website. We have decided to make our site more general and not so much a “live” site. The Roman Glass section will still contain many pieces that we keep in stock along with pricing. However, for other parts of the site, the photos will be more general and not necessarily reflective of what we have at any given moment. Please contact us by phone, email, or message and we will be very pleased to send photos of some of the pieces we do have on hand.

November 7, 2015

Hello again dear readers!

I have finally caught my breath after a very busy October. As usual, the Berkshires were filled with glorious fall colors and many visitors from all over the world. We met Australians, Canadians, British, French, Brazilian, German, Dutch, and many other foreign visitors, and of course tons of Americans from nearly every state. Everyone loves the Berkshires!

But as it is autumn, my thoughts turn to amber, with its warm and tawny hues that always remind me of this time of year. Amber is fossilized pine resin, formed 40-60 million years ago in the dense forests near the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. Rich in color variation, amber usually has inclusions of either natural substances such as leaf or animal parts, or little areas where air pockets and other distortions occur. This gives amber its “texture” and depth, making every piece different. Most amber is quite affordable, but as the pieces get larger, the cost goes up quite a bit. It is getting more difficult to find those really great “statement” pieces in amber, but we do have some in the store along with a huge variety of earrings, pendants, brooches, bracelets, musical instruments, and even some really cute little amber “trees”! Prices are $20 and up—you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a really great piece or pair of earrings in amber.

Amber is almost always set in sterling silver, much of it made in Southern Poland in Cracow which has long been known as a silvermaking center of Europe. Our suppliers speak the language and source the very finest pieces from dozens of studios and designers, and we are known here in the Northeast as one of the largest, best known retailers of Baltic amber.

Stop by the shop in Stockbridge soon to see our great fall collection!

Fondly,

Robin

October 9, 2015

Dear Friends:

So busy these days, but don’t fret, here is a new blog and of course this month is October so “opal” is my theme! Opal, or “oh pal” as it is sometimes called, is a soft, amorphous stone often associated with Australia where much of it is mined. Coming in an almost infinite variety of colors, opal has been used in jewelry making for a very long time. Shakespeare mentions it but it really came into its own for fine jewelry when Australia was settled and vast mines were discovered there in the 1800’s.

Typically associated with blues, aquas, and whites, opals run the gamut from fairly common to quite rare, including the famous “black” opals which have a unique, somewhat darker hue, though they are not black at all! Opals are notoriously soft, finicky to work with, and delicate. This is due to the water content within the mineral itself, but it requires opals to always be cut in a cabochon or round shape. They can’t be faceted as other stones are. We always advise our customers to treat your opal jewelry with care.

At Heirlooms, we have always treasured both antique and estate opal jewelry which is found in white or yellow gold. We have some great earrings, a beautiful pendant, and a number of very interesting rings in the shop, which we recently bought from some estates here in Massachusetts and in Florida. Very lovely, please come check them out!

For those on a budget, please also remember that we have a terrific collection of what is called “manmade” opal, which is set in sterling silver. This is actually bits of real opal put together in a composite that is both beautiful and extremely hard. Opal stud earrings can be had for as little as $24 in the store, with a huge variety of earrings, pendants, rings, and bracelets all set in sparkling sterling silver and all very affordable.

Come to the store dear readers, and please visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HeirloomsJewelry.

All my best!

Robin

July 10, 2015

Dear Readers: 

Now that the long winter has passed and our busy summer in the Berkshires is here, I want to say hi to everyone and welcome back to many of you who have come into the shop already! 

 

Today I am inspired to talk a little about the great Art Deco period in jewelry design, dating from about the years 1920 until the Second World War.  Art Deco first appeared in France and it was a major reaction to the prevailing organic, flowery, highly ornamented styles that predated it—Art Nouveau and Victorian.   Art Deco design in general, but jewelry in particular, is described variously as geometrical, clean lined and using diamond and colored gemstones.  Art Deco jewelry designers often employed finely filigreed settings, and combined modern, machine-age technology in settings that were noted for the use of platinum, white gold, and occasionally sterling silver.  

 

At Heirlooms, I have always focused heavily on finding the best of these pieces at affordable prices and in the finest condition.  Rings and bracelets in particular are my specialty.  Currently I have a large variety of beautiful rings in diamond, sapphire, and emerald, as well as a great sterling silver bracelet that is very affordably priced. I’ll be looking out for more of these, too!

I’ll post some of these on my Facebook page.  Come in and see our great inventory of Art Deco pieces or check our website.  Happy summer to all!

 

Fondly,

 

Robin

 

April 30, 2015

Hello all and welcome back to my blog.  Spring is definitely here and people are emerging from the great winter of 2014-2015.  Get out and enjoy the mild weather that spring always brings!  Today I am going to talk about emerald, May’s birthstone, which almost anyone knows about, and green quartz, which is quite the opposite.  

 

Emerald is of course one of the classic stones used in fine jewelry design for centuries.  Its use in decorating earlobes, wrists, and fingers of elegant women dates back at least to Egyptian times!  Emerald is a beryl, considered one of the finest gemstones when colors are deep and verdant green, and inclusions are few.  Colombia in South America and Zambia in Africa are the two largest producers of emerald, but it can be found in other locations as well.   The very well known emerald cut in rectangular form is the classic shape of these pieces, though many cuts are used in a variety of settings.  Emerald looks great in both yellow and white gold or platinum settings.  Color is the number one determinant of the quality of an emerald, with clarity or lack of inclusions a close second.  I’ll be posting some of our great emerald pieces on Facebook this month.  I hope you’ll have a look.

 

Did you know that green quartz exhibits many of the desirable qualities of emerald at a small fraction of the cost?  Far more common that emerald, green quartz is a little known stone that mimics the deep green colors of emerald and can be cut in a variety of different ways, often in large carat stones as well.  It’s also very clear typically and because of its affordability is set in sterling silver.  It’s a beautiful stone that is sure to please any green lover!

 

At Heirlooms we have a wide variety of both fine emerald pieces as well as a large selection of green quartz in beautifully crafted Indonesian, hand-made sterling silver.  Check out the shop and our website for some of these great pieces!

 

Warmly,

 

Robin

 

March 25, 2015

Dear Readers:  Well, here we are approaching spring and we are truly excited not only about better weather, but seeing all of our friends and customers back in the shop in Stockbridge.  Everyone wants to get out of the house this year!  

 

Today I want to tell you about Swarovski crystals. You might ask, why this subject?   For the simple reason that so much of our highest quality fashion jewelry is now being made from the amazing collection of colored, cut crystals from this world-famous company based in Austria.  Swarovski goes back to the 1800’s and is a major supplier of cut crystals to many jewelry makers around the world.  Sure, Swarovski is known for its own line of jewelry, glass figurines, home décor, fashion accessories, commemorative pieces, and the like, but did you know that Firefly, Mariana, Liz Palacios and other makers of the great fashion jewelry that we have in the shop, make their pieces exclusively from the tremendous variety of Swarovski crystals that are available?  I mentioned Firefly in my last blog, and now that it’s in, the store seems just lit up with a riotous and vivid color display, seemingly of every hue.  We also have our usual great selections of Euro wire earrings and posts using these fantastic designs in every color of the rainbow.

 

Come see us soon, you’ll be delighted at what you see in the shop!

 

Fondly,

 

Robin

 

March 3, 2015

 

Dear All:  So nice to be back in touch with you.  I know we are all hoping that spring will be happening soon.  I know I am!  But dear readers, we are indeed open on our Thursday-Monday winter schedule where you are always welcome to just come and say hello.  We are getting ready for another busy year and are very excited to be offering the much beloved Firefly line of Guatemalan jewelry made from Swarovski crystal. 

 

If you know Firefly already, these pieces will be in soon and I know you will be thrilled to be able to get these at Heirlooms.  Firefly often sells out quickly but we’ve made a large purchase and will have 50 to 100 pieces in stock, a great selection.  This stunning jewelry is designed by a fantastic Guatemalan designer named Juan Carlos Chavajay Vasquez, in conjunction with Edward Rudnicki, the owner of Firefly.   These beautiful pieces feature great explosions of color in a style that might be called mosaic.  Using Swarovski crystals, the world’s finest, and Swarovski elements in many precision cuts, these designs are simply amazing. Settings, backs, wires, etc., are very high quality sterling silver, gold filled, antique brass and surgical steel.  You will be blown away by the outstanding quality, incredible beauty, and easy affordability of these pieces.  I am posting a few pictures just to whet your appetite!

 

We welcome Firefly and look forward to seeing you in the store very soon!

 

Fondly,

 

Robin

 

February 12, 2015

Hello again dear readers!  Wow, we have had a real winter this year, but I have it on good word that spring will be here shortly!  Meanwhile, we have been shopping at the New York Now/Gift Show, as well as stocking up for another busy year.  We are very pleased to announce that Heirlooms will be the only regional retailer that will carry the exciting Firefly line from Guatemala, featuring brightly colored Swarovski crystal jewelry.  Watch for it around April.  But since this is February, here are a few tidbits about amethyst, the February birthstone. 

 

Known since ancient Greek and Anglo/Saxon times as a gemstone, amethyst is a member of the quartz family and considered a semi-precious stone.  The most desirable pieces feature the deep, rich purples amethyst is known for.  Russian amethyst is considered amongst the world’s best, but it is mined in many areas around the world.  Amethyst is not costly, and carat weight is not as meaningful in determining value as is color.  Amethyst can often be found in large, emerald cut stones in either gold or silver settings.  

 

We have some outstanding amethyst pieces, both antique/estate and new….a very wide variety.  Check out our site or come in the shop and see what’s new.  We will continue our Thursday-Monday winter schedule with the exception of President’s Week—we’ll be open all seven days.

 

Hope to see you around Stockbridge and in Heirlooms soon!

 

Fondly,

 

Robin

 

January 20, 2015

 

Hello again all, and I hope you had a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year!  The winter brings a more relaxed pace, giving us a little time to review both the past year and what we are planning for 2015.  Let me thank all of you for contributing to our most successful year in our 16-year history! 

 

As I look at the calendar, I know it’s January and that’s garnet month.  I love garnets—great colors with wide variation, suitable for both silver and gold settings, and always very affordable.  Deep reds and orange/reds are the most favored colors.  We have some beautiful pieces in garnet on our website www.heirloomsjewelry.com and in the store in Stockbridge, including some in the Madagascar garnet that is highly prized.  Some of the Indonesian jewelry from Bali that has come in lately is in garnet as well—this is beautiful hand made silver jewelry done in very traditional methods dating back for many years.  Garnet can also be found in larger carat sizes at very reasonable prices.  It’s a terrific substitute for ruby at a fraction of the cost. 

 

Just a quick update on the Mata Ortiz to you shard jewelry I talked about previously.  We just added a whole new section on our website featuring these fantastic pieces in .950 silver made by Agustin Torres Beltran, a  master silversmith from Taxco, Mexico.  We posted 55 pieces sorted by rings, bracelets, earrings, pendants, and even cufflinks.  Check it out!

 

We are open all winter, though closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  We do also go to shows in the winter and will be absent on Monday February 2.  Hope to see you all again soon!

 

Fondly,

 

Robin

 

 

December 15, 2014

Greetings to all, and it’s nice to be back to writing again!   This year has seen a significant decline in the price of gold and silver which is good news for our customers.  Lower prices keep pieces reasonable and allow many more people to purchase and wear beautiful jewelry.  This month I want to talk briefly about sterling silver from Bali in Indonesia.  Some folks may know Bali as an exotic Asian destination filled with temples and spirits, but you may not know that some of the world’s best hand made and individually crafted sterling silver jewelry comes from there. There are families in Bali who still make gorgeous pieces by hand, with tools and techniques that in many ways are what they have been using for centuries.  

 

At Heirlooms we have made a large commitment to Balinese silver jewelry this year.  Featuring affordable and colorful semi-precious stones such as topaz, amethyst, garnet, and quartz, we have a fantastic selection of pieces ranging from light and delicate earrings under $30 to some really exciting pendants and bracelets that are priced under $200.  Your Christmas can be very merry! 

 

We’re open every day this month.  Don’t forget to check the Facebook page and website  to see what’s new.  Hope to see you all in the shop, and wishing you the very best for the holidays!

 

Fondly,

 

Robin

 

November 24, 2014

Hello again dear readers, and I hope you have had as wonderful an autumn as we had here in the Berkshires!  Simply awesome colors in the leaves this year inspired me to write about topaz, the November birthstone and one that comes in a wide variety of colors that evoke the yellows, browns, and oranges of fall.  Not only that, but this semiprecious stone can be heat treated, irradiated, or coated to create the marvelous deep London blue topaz, and the purple/green of the more recent and very popular mystic topaz.  It also comes colorless or nearly colorless and is sometimes used as a diamond substitute in less expensive jewelry.

 

Known since ancient times as a desirable stone for jewelry, topaz is considered versatile, workable, affordable, and of course beautiful!  Large multi-carat stones are available and quite reasonable in price, particularly when set into silver.  Found in a number of places around the world, topaz can also be set in gold.  At Heirlooms we have a large selection of topaz in both metals and at many price levels.  Check out our Birthstone jewelry section where we have a whole section devoted to November birthstone jewelry…or better yet, come into the shop as we are open every day until though the end of the year! 

 

Fondly,

 

Robin

 

August 13, 2014

Hello all and welcome back to my blog! We have been extremely busy this summer.   Today’s topic is Taxco silver from Mexico.  Known since the 1920’s when American William Spratling settled in Taxco and established his workshop there, this lovely town in the mountains of Guerrero state is widely known as one of the prime silver jewelry making places in the world.  Pieces from Taxco are highly prized for their craftsmanship, durability, and beauty and are often set with stones such as malachite, onyx, and fire opal, or pottery from Mexico. 

 

Collectors avidly seek pieces from the 1940’s and 1950’s, yet a whole modern set of craftspeople are making fantastic jewelry pieces there.  Artists such as Agustin Torres Beltran are creating magnificent bracelets, earrings, and pendants by coupling beautiful shards of Paquime inspired pottery with some of the best silverwork available anywhere.  We are now very pleased to feature Mata Ortiz To You jewelry created by Agustin.  No two pieces are the same but each is striking and totally unique, and pricing is moderate from $125 to $375.  The pictures below are just some recent samples of these beautiful creations.  Come in the shop in Stockbridge (we’re open all year) or email us for some photos of what we have available now from Mata Ortiz!

 

Fondly,

Robin


 

 

May 17, 2014

Hi again all:  Spring is finally here and people are coming around to the beautiful Berkshires to take in all that this great part of the country has to offer.  At Heirlooms we have some terrific new pieces for spring that are sure to please you! 

My blog this month is about something I love very much!   It’s pearl, one of June’s birthstones, and we have a large selection of both high quality, hand-knotted pearl necklaces as well as bracelets, pins, earrings, and pendants—some in gold and some in silver.  Most pearls are what are called “cultured” or “freshwater” pearls.  These pearls are of very good quality and result from the implantation by professional pearl growers of a bead or other substance into the body of an oyster or mussel.  These are grown commercially throughout Asia, with China being one of the largest growers in the world.  Natural pearls that occur in the wild are both rare and expensive, while cultured pearls are both affordable and beautiful.

Pearls come in a variety of shapes besides the typical round, and colors run from bright white through beiges, pinks, and blacks.  The clasp on a pearl necklace is a clue to the quality of the pearls as well.   If there is a fine gold clasp, or one accented with diamonds, the odds are that the pearls are of very high quality.  Every woman deserves fine pearl jewelry!  Stop by the shop in Stockbridge, browse our website, or check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HeirloomsJewelry.

 

Fondly,

Robin

 

 

April 12, 2014

Hi everyone and I hope you made it through the long winter and have emerged into spring ready as we are for a great year!  We have been preparing for another busy summer and fall in Stockbridge, with a large selection of new inventory.  Over the winter we have purchased some fantastic new pieces in amber so I want to take a minute and tell you a little bit about it!

Amber is fossilized pine resin that’s essentially between 40 and 60 million years old.  The world’s best amber comes from submerged ancient forests along the Baltic Sea.  The resin undergoes various chemical changes depending on its exposure to sea water, soil, air, etc. and results in a large variety of colors from the familiar browns to yellows, deep “cherry”, and greens.  Set in fine sterling silver by world quality Polish craftsman and exported around the world, these pieces come in an amazing variety of styles, settings, and prices. 

Women with darker complexions and hair often look great in the browns and reds, while others who are fairer do well with the lighter yellows and greens.  We have a tremendous selection both on our website and in the shop in Stockbridge.  Come see us soon!

Fondly,

Robin

 

March 9, 2014

Hi Friends and Customers:  I hope you all have made it through the “Winter of 2014” as we all will remember it around here!  Despite the weather, we’ve had a good season with Roman Glass jewelry so I thought I would take a minute and tell you a little bit about this very unusual, yet beautiful remnant of the past.

2000 years ago when the Romans ruled large swaths of Europe and the Middle East, they developed advanced techniques for heating silicon derived from sand and creating very functional and sturdy glass that was shaped into everyday objects such, as plates, vases, urns, and drinking glasses.  A good amount of this was made, and in modern day  Israel where much of the manufacturing occurred, a supply can be found in archeological digs, waste areas, and in known places where the glass was made. 

Today fantastic jewelry designs in bright sterling silver are made by a number of artisans and companies, using the reclaimed and recycled pieces of ancient glass in an amazing array of styles and shapes.  Blues, greens, and multi-hued colors abound in these designs. We feature the very best at Heirlooms and you will find many of these great pieces at affordable prices both in our store in Stockbridge and here on our website. Come visit us soon!

~Robin

 

February 16, 2014

What is the history and composition of white gold?   How is it different from traditional yellow gold?  These are questions that are often asked of me by customers.  White gold is generally presumed to have come into use in the early 1900’s as it was created as an alternative to platinum which had been popular since the late 1800’s.  Most white gold is also plated with rhodium which gives it the bright “whitish” color that it is known for. 

White gold can be of many varieties, all of which are alloys of yellow gold mixed with other metals either for color, hardness, durability, or type of setting.  Common elements of the alloys are silver, copper, manganese, nickel, zinc, platinum, and palladium.  Each of these can be blended with yellow gold to create slightly different final looks.  White gold is measured by karat weight just like yellow gold—10kt, 14kt, and 18kt being the most common.   It is no more costly than yellow gold, simply a matter of taste.

In the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s, white gold reached a prominence that still imparts a look of beauty and luxury to many of the pieces that come from that era and which can be found in our shop.  We feature a very large selection of white gold rings, pendants, pins, and bracelets from the early 1900’s up to modern times.  Check out our website, visit us on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/HeirloomsJewelry, or come into the shop which is open year round! 

~Robin

 

February 2, 2014

What are the differences between antique, estate, and vintage jewelry?  I get asked this question often and while there are no cut and dry answers, there are some basic differences that exist. 

Technically, to be considered truly antique, an item must be 100 years old or more.  That means pieces from the Art Nouveau and Edwardian eras could be considered true antiques.  Any Victorian piece would also qualify as Queen Victoria died in 1901.  However, many people call jewelry from before World War 2 “antique”, and yet others distinguish antique jewelry by being made of finer materials (gold, diamond, sapphire, etc.) from this prewar period.  But to be 100% safe, a piece should be from 1914 or earlier to be a bona fide antique.  These pieces are getting harder to find, and many have been “melted” in the gold rush of the past five years.  Antique jewelry is a tremendously fascinating hobby and is truly worth collecting.  Besides the fact that the fabulous styling of the past has never been duplicated, surviving pieces are usually made with the very finest materials and workmanship that have stood the test of time.

Vintage jewelry is normally defined as representing a bygone era of some sort, and again age can vary quite a lot.  Quality can run the gamut from costume to fine jewelry, but examples of these pieces would be things like Retro and Old Mexican Silver. Within this category would be found many interesting pieces in all price ranges—Monet pins and earrings from the 50’s and 60’s, Georg Jensen silver from Denmark, or Art Deco style filigree rings in platinum or white gold as examples.

Estate jewelry basically means anything that is pre-owned.  It can be antique, vintage, or modern.  It does not imply that it is purchased from an estate or at an estate sale.  Rather it is secondhand.  Estate jewelry of any sort can be highly collectible, and even better, is usually priced at a discount to new jewelry.  You get the same intrinsic value of carat, stone quality, precious metal content, etc., but at lower prices than new pieces.

Thanks for checking out my blog!

~Robin

 

January 19, 2014

Today’s blog is about gold, how it is weighed and what “karat” means.  Gold is measured in a system called the “Troy” ounce scale.  A Troy ounce is a little different from what most people know as a standard ounce of weight.  While there are about 28 grams in a standard ounce, it takes about 31 grams to make up a Troy ounce.  Sometimes gold is also quoted in something called “pennyweights” which is a very old measuring system, but that is usually figured for the purpose of bulk buying or selling, not for marking of individual items per se. 

“Karat” is a measurement from 1 to 24 that denotes the purity of gold.  If something is 14 karat gold it is 14/24ths pure or about 58% gold.  If it is 18 karat gold it is 18/24ths pure or 75% gold.  The remaining metals are different alloys that add strength and bulk to the piece. Occasionally gold is marked by percentage but almost always it is marked either 9k, 10k, 14k, 18k, or 22k.  In America the standards are 14k and 18k.  Sometimes gold is not marked, and it is easily tested by most jewelers.

Some pieces are also called “gold filled” which is basically a plating of gold that is not expensive but is gold on the surface. Many older and Victorian pieces are gold filled and gold plating is used to this day over base metals or silver in jewelry.

~Robin

 

 

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                                           Site last updated: June 2017