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.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

PIECE OF THE WEEK: Vintage Emerald & Diamond Ring

Vintage Emerald & Diamond Cocktail Ring

I love appropriating cocktail rings, eternity bands and all sort of fantastic vintage rings for unique engagement rings.  And I think this incredible 1950's emerald & diamond cocktail ring would be a perfect pick.  The center stone is a 1 carat Columbian emerald with a wonderful vibrancy of color. And the design of the ring is delightfully architectural and brilliant with a multitude of accent diamonds.  I would give this non-conventional engagement ring a ten out of ten.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

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.

Beautiful Bloodstones

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.

The Greeks Called bloodstone HELIOTROPE which means "Turning Sun"

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.

Victorian Bloodstone Gold Ring

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’? --MIKO

Friday, March 22, 2013

PIECE OF THE WEEK: Fantastic Retro Eternity Band

Beautiful Retro Diamond and Ruby Eternity Band
Unusual and Beautiful with ruby, diamond, gold and platinum this Retro eternity band is the perfect ring for someone who just wants something special or the daring bride looking for a different kind of engagement or wedding band.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Today anyone in Seattle will tell you that on this beautiful first day of spring, it is WINDY!

Strolling down the street amongst the gusts made me think, 
'Thank goodness I didn't wear those chandelier earrings today!' 

So what makes a great windy day piece? 

stud earring c. 1910

I think this is a great day for a fabulous pair of stud earrings and a heavy cuff. What do you think? Tell us here or on our Facebook page.  

Vintage chalcedony cuff


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


During the 1950’s, the engagement ring became popularly defined as a diamond solitaire worth three months salary. And there is a reason the diamond solitaire became the mid century classic engagement ring—it is a beautiful ring style that has both enduring beauty and enduring strength.

1950's Diamond Engagement Ring

But for a while it seemed there was this notion that it was the only style of engagement ring.  But while this notion of the diamond solitaire as THE ENGAGEMENT RING seems traditional in capitol letters it is a tradition that extends only fifty or sixty years.  And so while a diamond solitaire ring is a stunning engagement ring it is not the only engagement ring.

In eras past, people chose rings for many different reasons.  Sapphires were extremely popular as a blue was considered the color of fidelity, which is why you will see it in many vintage engagement rings.  (The sapphire engagement ring is still extremely popular in England today.)  Moonstones were popular during the Victorian era as their shimmery white color connoted purity.  Birthstones were also popular for engagement rings as each stone was chosen as specific and unique to the couple.  Even animal jewelry was worn.  Queen Victoria and King Albert, famed for their love, exchanged snake rings as snakes symbolized eternal love in Victorian society. 

Victorian Sapphire & Diamond Ring
Antique Moonstone & Diamond Ring
Birthstone "Aquamarine" Engagement Ring

Victorian "Old Mine Cut" Diamond Snake Ring
And today we are lucky to live in an era in which we can again choose the ring that speaks to us.  Some people choose a diamond solitaire as their ring but they choose it because it is the ring they love, not because they were told they have to buy a diamond solitaire engagement ring.  People are also buying beautiful emeralds, aquamarines and diamonds in mountings that define convention-shaped in buckles and bows.

My Isadoras Engagement Ring -- The Ring That's Right For Me
And the great thing about choosing an antique engagement ring is you have a hundred years worth of fashion to choose from.  So you can choose the perfect Mid Century diamond solitaire for your engagement ring.  You can also choose an Edwardian sapphire cluster ring, Victorian snake ring or an Art Deco stair step ring.  Whatever speaks to you, you can choose. --MIKO

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bringing the Charm

We all have that piece- you know! That lucky necklace or ring, the one you can't travel without, or the one your grandma loved that is now yours.  

1910 Hermes charm

We retain certain icons that emerge timelessly; the shamrock, cross, a great variety of animals, the eye, hands and stars are prime examples of how we translate symbolism and luck through our precious objects.

1960s emerald ring

Personally, I won't travel without my charm necklace; it is a bunch of lucky things- A 1920s St. Christopher pendant, my baby rings, Austrian madonna charms, an eye, a miro-mosaic with a star of David hidden in it, and a fish. 

Deco horseshoe necklace

The greatest thing about a good luck charm is it can be whatever you want it to be! If you visit Isadoras, be sure to ask us what the store's lucky charm is and we will show you!

Victorian good luck claw brooch

So, in celebration of St. Patricks day here is some luck to call your own! 

Edwardian star ring

xoxo -Gemma

Thursday, March 14, 2013

PIECE OF THE DAY: Aquamarine & Diamond Engagement Ring

Vintage Aquamarine Diamond Engagement Ring
I love colored stone engagement rings and this vintage ring is particularly beautiful with its aquamarine center stone accented by two exquisite Old European cut diamonds. --Miko

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Cross in Jewelry

With the headlines filled with news of the new pope, we thought we would share images of some of our very favorite jeweled crosses . . .

Rose Cut Garnet Cross

Wallace Simpson With Her Famous Jeweled Cross Bracelet

Art Deco Diamond Filigree Cross
Antique French Filigree Cross

For more beautiful antique CROSSES

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Aquamarine: March's 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 marinameaning 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.
And aquamarines are wonderful engagement rings, both aesthetically and symbolically.  According to legend an aquamarine promises a happy marriage and is said to bring the women who wears it joy and wealth.  So wear aquamarines, whether they are a birthstone, engagement stone or a just because stone.  --MIKO
For more beautiful AQUAMARINES

Thursday, March 7, 2013

PIECE OF THE WEEK: Vintage Diamond Engagement Ring

Old European Cut Diamond Ring
If you are looking for a classic engagement ring, this 1940s ring has all the right stuff.  Set in 18KT yellow gold, the center 1.17 carat Old European cut diamond is set in platinum.  Its center stone has a sparkle that can only come from a vintage cut diamond.  LINK TO RING

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

THE TRADITIONAL RING: A Brief History of the Ring and it’s Meaning

The ring goes back to ancient Egypt or of if legend holds true, our oldest ancestors, cavemen. It is said a caveman would wrap a string around the finger of the woman he desired for his mate. Perhaps it is a legend less romantic than a man on one knee but it is perhaps not untrue.
Victorian 14KT Gold Band
The ancient Egyptians, Romans and Chinese all considered the ring a symbol of eternity, although each culture gave this symbolism its own nuance. The Egyptians saw the circle as something without end. And therefore love and life as symbolized by the ring had no end. The Romans saw eternity in a ring and also the circle of life. And the Chinese thought of the ring as an endless cycle of unbroken continuity.
And while retaining these initial meanings the ring evolved to encompass more as it came to be a part of the marriage ceremony. It became a manifestation of a promise: It became a covenant, a vow, a commitment to a common destiny, a physical symbol of affection freely given. common destiny, a physical symbol of affection freely given.
Antique Sapphire & Diamond Ring

The look of the engagement ring has had many permutations over the centuries: To the caveman it was a piece of string, to the Romans a band of iron. During the Medieval era gemstones were introduced. The wealthy chose symbolic tokens to layer with the rings essential meaning. A man might give a ruby ring to symbolize love or a sapphire ring to symbolize the heavens. And in 1477 Maximilian of Austria gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy on the announcement of their engagement. This is the first recorded history of a diamond ring used as an engagement ring although certainly not the last.
It is said for a time the Puritans tried to vanquish the engagement ring in their quest for a more austere world but they were unsuccessful. I think couples, not all couples, but most, need a symbol something to announce to the world that they have made a public commitment to each other and that they have chosen the most beautiful thing they can to symbolize it. 

Mid 20th Century Diamond Ring
And while the 50’s reached the height of engagement ring conformity, today more and more couples are looking back at history and forward at their future, they are picking rings that speak to them specifically rather than a ring that fulfills some prescribed notion of the perfect engagement ring.  Because for each couple, it is their decision what expresses their lasting commitment, whether it be a diamond, sapphire or engraved band.