Located in the historic Pike Place Market, Isadora’s has specialized in exquisite antique jewelry for 38 years. Our discriminating collection includes pieces from the early 1800’s through the 1950’s, without a reproduction to be found. Our precious pieces are sent to North American Gem Lab for independent appraisals. We invite you to call our toll free number for applicable discounts. On many of our pieces, we are able to offer between 10-25% off of appraisal value.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Beauty of Imperfection

My brother is an enormous J.M. Barrie fan and has read all his books, plays, short stories and other random writings.And I’m not sure which story it was but I remember him telling me once of a moment in one of Barrie’s writings that clarified things for him. Barrie said, and I am paraphrasing as this conversation happened long ago, Barrie said, ‘in each person a flaw resided and that is where the story came from.’

This conversation codified something for me. I have always found perfection boring. I understand the drive for perfection but actual perfection leaves me a little cold. It is the flaws that make stories interesting. It is the flaws that make people interesting. It is the flaws that make life interesting. And I feel that way about gemstones to.
Isadora’s sells ideals stones; stones that fulfill all the promise of the four c’s. And don’t get me wrong, a D Flawless diamond is a thing of beauty but it never seduces me the way a stone with its own quirks, flaws and ultimately beauty does. A stone with its own idiosyncrasies puts butterflies in my stomach and when one of those stones arrive in our store I find myself inexplicably drawn to it.

The stone, which I hold as, the standard for beautiful stones was in Isadora’s three years ago and my co-worker sold it to someone who wasn’t me (I forgave her but just barely).
I still dream about that emerald. It was a hazy green. Not the deep green considered most valuable but almost the color of spearmint and it had this magical inner glow. It was heavily included, each internal flaw seeming to tell the story of this stone’s birth.

And when it came time to pick my own engagement ring (with my fiancĂ©’s assistance of course) I looked for a ring with, for a lack of a better word humanity.

There are two diamonds in my engagement ring. Both look hand cut. One is an Old European cut diamond and the other, sitting right next to it, is an Old Mine cut diamond. Two stones that are not the same but still make sense together. And I have to admit the Old Mine cut diamond is my favorite of the two.

An Old Mine cut is similar to a cushion cut. They are both rounded squares but mine is just a hair crooked. And that is why I fell in love with it. It wants to be a square but it just can’t quite achieve it.

I get my stones. I understand them. They speak to me. Everyday I look at them and they make me happy because I see a story in their imperfections. I see the man who cut the stone before a computer was invented. He was cutting blind, discovering within the stone its future. I imagine the women who wore it before me. My setting is 40’s but the stones looks older and I imagine this stone being passed down from woman to woman, each valuing and loving it. And I think about wearing it myself until I am ready to pass it on to a future daughter or niece in all its beautiful imperfection.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Egyptomania is the expression best to describe my fascination with Egyptian art and culture as its influenced artists over thousands of years.

In 1922 the unearthing of King Tut was made and with this a new appreciation for Egyptian art and design was discovered. With an emphasis on the discovery of King Tut in the Art Deco period we saw a surplus of strong examples of how artists used Egyptian decorative motifs to their own advantage and applied them within the popular jewelry of the time. Emerging styles included scarabs along with Etruscan Revival techniques so popular during the Victorian era. As well as pendants of King Tut in his coffin.

The motifs were not always used in their most pure form and were stylized in the artists own interpretation. Some so clearly enamel scenes using Egyptian using figures you may see on the wall of a temple or a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Yet some so diluted that the motifs were barely recognizable as Egyptian, none the less producing wonderful pieces.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bloodstone: March’s Other Birthstone

As a young girl I remember my great grandmother collecting jasper stones. Beautiful and sleek she would run her finger against the surface of the stone. I do not have a jasper collection today but I do have one lovely 1920’s bloodstone ring that I too like to run my finger along, remembering shared moments with my grandmother and enjoying a shared appreciation of nature’s beauty.
The bloodstone is green jasper that is flecked with bright red spots. The Greeks called it Heliotrope, which means, “Sun” and “Turning”. I have heard several different reasons for this name. One states that if you dipped the stone in water it would turn the sun red. Another more simply attributes the name to a shared color with the sun mirrored in the ocean at sunset.

Mythic in many cultures, Medieval Christians believed the stone to have originated when Christ’s blood dripped from his wrists, staining some jasper at the foot of the cross. Also called the martyrs stone it was often used to carve crucifixes and martyrs. Other cultures used the bloodstone as an amulet against the evil eye and others as a symbol of justice.
Regardless of meaning or myth, I can’t help loving my bloodstone ring, imbuing it with my own personal meaning of shared moments with my grandmother. And I find myself turning my head every time I see a particularly beautiful bloodstone ring cross my path. Maybe a Victorian bloodstone pinky ring next I think. Maybe I’ll start a jasper collection of my own. Only this collection will reside on my fingers not in my hand.

After all, who doesn’t want a collection of rings that protect against ‘the evil eye’?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Aquamarine: March Birthstone

I have always loved aquamarines but I remember becoming entirely fascinated with them one August day in the dark corners of New York’s Museum of Natural History. I was standing in the gem section (of course) and there was a large conical shaped uncut aquamarine stone with a blue so sublime and inviting it was difficult, almost impossible to break free.

The word ‘aquamarine’, I have since learned, comes from the Latin “aqua marina” meaning ‘water of the sea’. And having looked at this stone it is obvious why. There is a magic to the blue of the stone. It is so evocative you can almost smell the surf and feel the water.

Legend has it aquamarines were originally discovered in the sea chests of mermaids.
Besides March’s birthstone, Aquamarines are a part of the beryl family, which also includes Emeralds. Unlike Emeralds however, Aquamarines are often relatively inclusion free. They are a 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale.

I recently discovered symbolically as well as aesthetically, Aquamarines are primo engagement rings. According to legend an Aquamarine promises a happy marriage and is said to bring the women who wears it joy and wealth.
So whether you wear it for a birthstone, engagement stone or just because Aquamarines are fantastic gems to be treasured all the year around.