Sapphires are an excellent choice for an alternative engagement ring because their hardness and durability, meaning the stone—like our love—will last a lifetime 🙂 Of course, that’s no excuse to be reckless with the most important piece of jewelry in your life!
This is a guest blog post written by Matilda Moore – Digital Content Creator for Ray Griffiths Fine Jewlery.
Memorial Day 2023 will mark ten years since my husband proposed to me on the dock of Lake Henry, PA!
Ten years of wearing my amazing (looks brand new) 18k yellow gold claw set blue sapphire ring with pave diamond surround. Ray sourced the perfect sapphire from Sri Lanka and set the stone in his signature crownwork® collet allowing its beauty to shine through and the pave diamond surround gives it that sense of tradition. To say I love it would be an understatement.
Click here to see my ring hot off the jewelry bench.
I’ve always been drawn to blue sapphires as I am a bit of a royalist. Blue Sapphires are a favorite gemstone of the British Royal Family. It has been used to represent love and holds much sentiment many in the royal family. Sapphires have adorned many royal crowns, gowns, jewelry and robes for as long as I can remember.
Click here to learn more about Sapphires – the Stone of Royalty.
Sapphires have been known to symbolize wisdom, nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness–a meaningful combination for an engagement ring. It’s this type of romantic connotation that has persevered into modern times. The blue color of sapphires symbolizes loyalty, trust, and sincerity. Today, sapphire engagement rings are as popular as ever and make a timeless choice when making an engagement. This ring style is also available in different stones, here are examples of the ring with a gorgeous claw set yellow sapphire, juicy Cambodian zircon in a bezel setting and claw set green tourmaline.
Jewelry is Rays love language– Click here to set up a consultation with Ray and discuss your own love story!
Birthstones are the stones that are associated with each month, jewelry featuring these stones is the fabulous way to commemorate or celebrate your big moments (or a loved ones)
This September birthstone a showstopper of a gemstone – radiant, captivating, and adored by all. I recently made a stunning ring for myself for my birthday we all deserve some self-love.
With a rich history dating back to ancient civilizations, Sapphire has seen it all – from kings and queens flaunting it as a symbol of power and wisdom to commoners seeking its magical properties. It’s like the wise old sage who’s been around for ages, but with a dazzling makeover.
This gem is a dazzling delight in shades of blue that range from the serene ocean blue to a velvety midnight hue. Sapphire is so precious that even the engagement ring of British royalty holds a stunning Sapphire at its center, making all other gemstones green with envy. Sapphires come in a variety of colors including yellow, orange, pink, green and white. In addition to being the September birthstone, sapphire is also the gem commemorating the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.
Now, let’s talk about the magical powers of this beauty. Legend has it that it can protect you from envy, harm, and evil thoughts. People say it can even bring harmony to relationships – a real gemstone cupid, if you will.
Sapphire is versatile, too. It’s not all about rings; it dazzles in earrings, pendants, and bracelets too. Sapphire loves to accessorize, darling! Wear it to a fancy gala, a casual dinner party, or even to the supermarket – it’s always ready to shine, no matter the occasion. I always say that jewelry is meant to be worn!
Be warned, though: Sapphire is a bit of a diva when it comes to cleaning. It demands gentle treatment, like a spa day with some lukewarm soapy water and a soft brush. But hey, we all deserve some pampering, right?
It’s the perfect companion for September-born folks who love to turn heads, spread positive vibes, and carry a bit of magic wherever they go. With Sapphire by your side, you’ll be ready to take on the world with style, charm, and a whole lot of sparkle!
Let’s go shopping – click here to view my collection sprinkled with Sapphires in a variety of colors!
August is one of only three months of the year that has three birthstones! They are peridot, spinel, and sardonyx. For those lucky souls born in August (like me!), their birthstone is one of my personal favorites the vibrant and enchanting Peridot. Also known as the “Evening Emerald” due to its captivating green hue. Peridot is also the most common birthstone associated with August, and is often gifted for the 16th wedding anniversary.
Peridot is the yellowish green to greenish yellow gem variety of the mineral olivine. Throughout history, peridot has often been confused with other gems such as topaz and emerald. Some historians even speculate that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection may have been comprised of peridot.
The peridot birthstone has also been used for centuries as a protective talisman, shielding the owner from evil spirits and ‘terrors of the night’.
Peridot’s striking green hue makes it an excellent choice for jewelry, particularly for those who love vibrant and eye-catching gems. Its affordability, coupled with its unique color, makes it a preferred alternative to more expensive green gemstones like emerald. The gemstone is often faceted, but due to its high transparency, it can also be found in cabochon cuts, revealing a smooth, polished surface that showcases the gem’s natural beauty.
This is a stunning example of an 18k yellow gold Crownwork ring with prong set faceted peridot center stone with two prong set emerald baguettes and aqua enamel on inverted shank.
Spinel comes in a variety of colors, but the most commercially important are black, red and pink. The spinel is often mistaken for either a ruby or pink sapphire, as it can resemble both. Unlike many gemstones, spinel is rarely treated or enhanced, making it a natural and authentic gemstone choice. Its a gorgeous gemstone and under appreciated in my opinion!
This is an elegant Edwardian style crownwork ring with oxidized silver center featuring cabochon pink spinel, pave pink sapphire, white diamonds.
Click here to shop peridot, black or pink spinel. I’m working on a gorgeous green sardonyx beaded stretch bracelet as I write this – coming soon – sneak peak pic below!
Happy Birthday fellow Leos!
Ruby is the July birthstone, the name is derived from the Latin word ruber, meaning ‘red’ – the color of love and passion. Traditionally, the ruby is given for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversary.
There is something so elegant and classic about the ruby that works with any outfit for any occasion. Tough and durable, ruby measures 9 on the Mohs scale. Diamonds are the only natural gemstone harder than ruby.
I also love working with rubies in their natural form. They have a gorgeous organic beauty and deeper pinky, red earth tones. This is a natural ruby necklace from my recent Spring collection.
Fun fact: The red fluorescence power of ruby helped build the first working laser in 1960. Rubies, both natural and synthetic are still used to make lasers, as well as watches and medical instruments. It’s the gemstone with superpowers! This is a pave ruby pendant which is a bright, sparkly addition to any necklace or bracelet.
And one more gorgeous juicy Ruby cocktail ring with yellow sapphire surround. Perfect statement ring for a romantic evening or any evening for that matter!
Traditionally the June birthstones are pearl and moonstone. Pearls & moonstones are wonderful to work with and have been a long time favorite of mine.
Pearl has long been popular as a gemstone, despite being fundamentally different from most other crystal-based precious and semi-precious stones. Pearls are the only gemstones made by living creatures. Mollusks produce pearls by depositing layers of calcium carbonate around microscopic irritants that get lodged in their shells, usually not a grain of sand, as commonly believed. They have such unique shapes and color variations.
Click here to watch my jewel school about all things pearl. I have been a pearl wearer myself for years, everyone should own a strand or two!
Moonstone, was named by the Roman natural historian Pliny, who wrote that moonstone’s shimmery appearance shifted with the phases of the moon. The finest classical moonstones, colorlessly transparent with a blue shimmer, come from Sri Lanka. Since these sources of high-quality blue moonstones have essentially been mined out, prices have risen sharply. Other mines have since been found in India, Australia, Myanmar, Madagascar, and the United States.
Moonstone traps light and scatters it inside, creating a vivid imagery of a moonlight glowing in water. The energy of moonstone is introspective and balancing. Wear it to usher in new beginnings and bring closure to each end.
Click here to view moonstones throughout my collection.
May birthdays fall right in the heart of Spring and the emerald is the perfect gem to symbolize and celebrate this month. It is also the traditional wedding anniversary present for the 20th and the 55th year.
Prized for its brilliant green color, the emerald, a symbol of rebirth, is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth. Emerald, derived from the word smaragdus, means, quite literally, green in Greek. Emeralds are the green to greenish blue variety of the mineral Beryl, the majority of Emeralds are mined in Colombia and Zambia.
To determine if an emerald is real you can shine a blacklight onto the emerald. A natural emerald will show a pure green or blue-green hue. With the light, it will either not have any backlight or a weak orange-red or green color. Synthetic emeralds fluorescence will showcase a dark red color. An imitation stone will have a yellow or brown undertone color.
Click here to see emeralds currently featured in my collection.
Click here to read the cameo of my emerald flower necklace in The Zing Report from May 11th 2023.
Diamonds are the birthstone for April babies, as well as the gemstone for the 60th and 75th anniversaries. This classic stone has stood the test of time and a perfect addition to your jewelry collection.
Natural diamonds are a rare and unique ultimate gift for a loved one. Thought to be one of the hardest substances on the globe, natural diamonds date back billions of years. Diamonds are also thought to provide the wearer with better relationships and an increase in inner strength.
During the Middle Ages, diamonds were thought to hold healing powers and to cure ailments stemming from the pituitary gland and brain. By heating the crystal and taking it to bed, it was thought to draw out the harmful toxins that were crippling the body.
It was also believed that diamonds could have an effect on an individual’s balance and clarity and could boost their energy when combined with other crystals like amethyst. Research has shown that the most common diamond carat size is somewhere between 1.0 and 1.2 carats. A single-carat diamond is just over half a centimeter in diameter, less than half the size of a penny!
Traditionally diamonds have been the center of jewelry designs as the main focal point. However in my collection I sprinkle them throughout lots of my designs as a natural enhancer to a vast array of other beautiful, colorful gem stones. Diamonds also complement my signature gold crownwork® elevating the design and adding some extra sparkle!
Click here to see more ways diamonds feature throughout my collection.
I love to change up the norm a little bit and work with black and champagne diamonds both gorgeous, they add a unique touch to classic styles. Also great unisex options for diamonds!
Everyone loves a true love story including me and jewelry is my love language. Whilst I don’t have a specific wedding collection, I love to work one on one with clients to create a unique, personal piece that they will cherish forever. Here are some of the wedding stories I have been a part of or here to start the conversation of your own love story.
Read about the history of the diamond as an engagement ring.
AFTER years at building a successful jewelry business in Australia, Ray Griffiths knew it was time to move on. Although his work had appeared on dozens of magazine covers and in countless fashion spreads, he had tired of appearing at the same places on the Sydney party circuit. He could have chosen Paris or London as his new home, but those towns didn’t have the allure of New York. He saved his money and planned to move to the city and get a fabulous job designing jewelry at some funky atelier before striking out on his own.
”Eventually, the day came when I had enough money to risk everything,” he said. ”Well, not risk everything. I had been in the business for 18 years and I was bored. I wanted to take on a new challenge.”
He’s bored no more, and it turned out he did risk just about all he had. A few weeks after packing all of the paintings, jewelry molds, art books and exotic knickknacks he had collected during his years of globe-trotting, he wound up in New York with just his suitcases. Everything else, which he had sent ahead by ship, vanished. The shipping company, he learned, went bankrupt, and he has had no luck since in finding the container with a lifetime of mementos.
Like it or not, the man from Down Under had to start over.
”Somewhere in the world, stuff is out there with my name on it,” he said. ”You never figure everything in your life would disappear.”
Perhaps some puzzled South Pacific islanders are picking through trinkets that washed ashore on the whim of a wayward cargo god. Perhaps his goods are stashed away in some musty warehouse. Mr. Griffiths has yet to figure it out, although he has asked his brother back in Australia to make a few inquiries for him.
It’s not that he wants a settlement from the shipping company, if one was offered. Money can’t replace what took him years to collect: sheafs of newspaper and magazine clippings, gifts from friends, original sketches of his designs. Worse, the shipment included a recently discovered bundle of letters his father wrote when he was in the military during World War II.
”All of a sudden, I had these things that connected me with him again,” he said. ”Just all the things you have in a life. You get wiped out, and there’s nothing left.”
It was as if he could not prove who he was. Gone, too, were the certificates and letters that attested to his skills as a gemologist. A handful of those survive, which he tossed into his suitcases at the last minute before boarding a plane to the States in September. One of them shows a sparkling, curvaceous curiosity: his ”Homage to Jessica Rabbit” earrings, which were finalists for the 1995 De Beers Diamond Award.
AT least his friends always knew he was a winner. Soon after he arrived, they banded together to help him rebuild his life and furnish his apartment. Each donated two of everything: spoons, forks, plates and cups. A jeweler pal from Australia, who grew up in Pittsburgh, gave him a set of tools she had left in her hometown. To pay the bills, an old buddy landed him a job at a clothing store in SoHo, where he works three days a week for a modest salary and clothing.
”I’m in retail land now,” he said. ”They’ve been very good to me. They give me outfits to make sure I look good, so when I’m in the poorhouse I won’t look terrible.”
He actually looks upbeat, considering. Two days ago, he got back to work, in a newly rented studio in the meatpacking district along West 14th Street. He hunched over a workbench, using a tiny torch with a slender flame to melt some gold scraps he later pressed into fine wire.
”It takes a little while to get back to doing this,” he said. ”It’s testing my patience.”
What else is new? He was able to afford the work space by moving from his Chinatown high-rise to a cheaper place on the Lower East Side. This time, he took no chances and hauled the stuff himself. Not that there was all that much.
The whole experience has left him with some good cocktail party stories, as well as a new appreciation for minimalism. That will be reflected in his new creations, since an artist is always inspired by his life and surroundings.
New York was still a good choice, he insisted. For that, he thanks his friends. Telling them, however, is another story. The day he moved, his computer crashed, taking with it all his addresses and phone numbers.
”Why didn’t the cosmos just write me a letter?” he said. ”What did I do in my last life?”
I love a bit of color all year round but when Spring arrives you start to see it popping up all around you –in nature, on restaurant menus and back into peoples style!
Spring is all about new beginnings and transformations; it’s a season that symbolizes starting fresh and starting over. After months of cold temperatures that often result in many of us feeling the winter blues, spring reawakens us and our surrounding environment, bringing everything back to life.
Spring is conveniently just after the world renowned Tuscon Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase and it’s my annual opportunity to stock up on colorful, rare and enchanting gems. I’ve been attending the showcase for over 30 years and it’s one of my favorite times of year to catch up with the dealers as well as other jewelers to share our finds. It’s like a time portal, a trip around the world, and a treasure hunt all rolled into one!
Lately I’ve been drawn to the organic, raw beauty of certain stones, I just love the rich natural color. This Spring my earring collection has some stunning carved pieces such as carnelian, chalcedony as well as some interesting shapes in varying colors of agate.
Another favorite that comes with Spring is the longer, warmer days and evenings which makes it enjoyable to wander, explore and get inspiration from the city around me. The city is quite literally blooming from the cherry blossoms in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, the Orchid Show at the New York Botanic Gardens and the new seasonal produce at the Farmers Markets. Everything around me is an opportunity to get the creative juices flowing!
On my way to the gem show all I could think about was big juicy stones and color for spring after what had felt like a long drab winter so color excited me.
As the warmth of the Tucson sun thawed me out I just ran to the color at every place I saw it so we purchased Melee (small calibrated sizes) in lots of color and when I returned to New York I spread out the stones all over the white bench tops in my studio and moved things around like a gemmy puzzle around until I got colors that pop to me.
Whilst was doing this I felt an urge for classic ring forms to pair with the warmth of the color combined, my normal east west designs I use (and love) gave way to a feeling of north south rings and the drawing of the ring started. I love the way these ring hug and elongate the finger whilst giving a fabulous pop of color.
It is best to arrange dried flowers in groups, rather than individually by the stem.
Start with your largest bunch of flowers. This dried babies breath is perfect for holding all the other flowers and grasses in place. I cut the stem accordingly and placed it directly inside my vase.
Next, add another grouping of large flowers. I kept the eucalyptus stems together and tucked them into the dried babies breath branches.
Add the rest of your dried flowers to the arrangement. I placed the pampas grass stems on one side and allowed them to sort of cascade down. I added a few stems of the bunny tails and white nigella to the front of the arrangement and places where I felt the bouquet needed some texture and interest.
Pro tip spray your pampas grass with hairspray to prevent shedding.
Big thanks to Modern Glam for the tips on the perfect arrangement
” There are no rules here! You can also add some fresh flowers (orchids, hydrangea or dahlias) and rotate them out seasonally with anything you find at the market”
This is one of my all time jewelry stone setting techniques. The term is derived from the french word PAVE, which literally means “to pave”. The inspiration for this is the cobble stone streets of Europe.
Small stones are set across the metal in the piece which allows me to blanket the jewelry in color (something I love).
The pattern for the stones is worked out on the metal to hold the stones into place. I love setting the stones in oxidized silver, it gives a rich body of color and a powerful effect overall. Its an old jewelry technique that works well with my crownwork®.
Working with Pave is where I can play and have fun with the stones, I often sit at my bench with bags of small stones I have picked up in Tuscon and move them all around like puzzle pieces until I get the right combination.
The stones are set deeply into the oxidized silver so the jewelry is beautiful and durable. Click the video below for more of my thoughts on all things Pave.
I worked with enameling in my designs years ago and recently fell back in love with it.
Enameling has very strong historical design references, it has been used throughout jewelry history dating back to ancient times. Many cultures have been using enameling for thousands of years dating back to 1300 BC.
Making the enamel involves mixing flux and ground glass then melting it at a high temperature. It can be extremely difficult to work with and control, our enamelist has years of experience and is a highly skilled artisan. She uses multiple firings to build up the layers and create the bold, fun colors I love to work with.
Plique-a-jour enameling is hand painted onto the crownwork® in layers so that the color shines through the work.
Opaque enameling is baked into a channel built into the design.
Enameling brings a beautiful unblemished permanent color to my the jewels, it doesn’t soften over time and will look the same 100 years from now.
I love the vitreous sheen of the enamel in the jewelry juxtaposed with the polished stones.
A natural diamond is created by the heat and pressure in the earth’s core, they move their way up over millions of years to the earth’s surface – they are carbon molecules that become cubic minerals. A lab grown diamond is a near instantaneous modern version of the same thing. It has the same composition but it’s “in the image of” and doesn’t have the natural unique qualities that a natural diamond has.
Which do you recommend?
They both serve their purpose – I personally prefer natural diamonds. I have worked with them all my life and there is always something special about stones the earth has created. You should work with whatever stone speaks to you and that is within your budget. If you see a lab grown diamond that works for you, then that’s the one that was meant for you!
Will lab grown diamonds wear out or yellow over time or are they the same as natural diamonds?
They have the same chemical composition and they will go the distance, just like a natural diamond.
What is the prettiest cut in your opinion?
I love so many of them! Its always so hard to pick a favorite or the prettiest. If I had to choose one to work with today it would be a 3-4 carat cushion cut, it is elegant and timeless and will always retain its value.
How do I choose an ethical stone? I don’t know where to start
Canadian and Australian diamonds are ethical because of the way they’ve set up the mines. The most important thing is to be able to trace the source of origin, the certification of the stone will be able to tell you that. Having vintage diamonds recut is also a fabulous way to be kind to the earth and ethical at the same time.
Can you help me source a diamond for my engagement ring?
Absolutely! I studied diamond technology and know everything about the structure of diamonds. I have spent my life working with these gorgeous stones. Click here so we can start a conversation, I can work within all budgets.
Do you recommend ordering a diamond online? (Brilliant Earth, Blue Nile)
I think it’s better to go somewhere where you’re going to get an education on the stones – I like to get multiple stones for a client and then I give them a loupe to look at them each closely so I can explain each stone thoroughly. It’s educational, personal and helps you to connect to the stone.
What are some common misconceptions about diamonds?
People often look and adhere to the four C’s – color, cut, clarity, and carat when referencing diamonds. But sometimes you can find a really beautiful one that’s got a lower grade because of an inclusion, but that inclusion that lowered the grade could be right on the very side of the stone that with the right design you can barely see when its set. You can get more bang for your buck!
What are some fun facts about diamonds?
For me, I love that they are the hardest atomic structure on the planet. They are also the most simple atomic structure. Diamonds are cubic and the speed at which they transmit the light through the mineral is what makes them sparkle so much and that makes them beautiful. The speed of light makes them shine.
What are black diamonds?
Black diamonds are diamonds that nature exposed to other chemicals (graphite, pyrite or hematite) in their formation. They used to use black diamonds to produce the needles for record players! They wouldn’t get worn out after use.
Should I care about the fluorescence in a diamond?
I personally like fluorescence, it gives them a bit of a personality because under a black light it glows. I think it’s one of nature’s great tricks!
I have some diamonds in old heirloom jewelry. Can you pull these and make me something new?
Absolutely! Depending on their size and condition, it’s easy to reuse diamonds for many things. I love to work with clients to make the perfect new piece for them out of things they no longer wear or have inherited. I have shared a few of my favorite diamond transformations with you below.
This ring is the perfect blend of something old and something new. The clients’ grandmother gifted a 1 carat diamond earring each to he and his brother to use in rings for their future brides. Our client’s girlfriend had her heart set on an oval ring and we had a 1 carat round to work with. Ray stalked her social media to get a sense of her style and then designed this ring that features the family heirloom and blends that with her amazing style. The ring now has a name “Lady Di” and its own hashtag on Instagram.
The stone in the pendant came from our client’s grandmother’s ring and was surrounded by diamonds. She and her sister split all their grandmother’s jewelry and she brought the pieces she didn’t wear to us. We made a beautiful solitaire Crownwork® pendant and then a pair of stick earrings and circle earrings with the surrounding diamonds. We recycled the gold and incorporated that into all the pieces too. New life for family heirlooms!
This client had a big diamond ring she was no longer wearing, she wanted to use the diamonds for a versatile everyday piece. We pulled the diamonds from the ring and set them in an 18k yellow gold Crownwork® pendant in oxidized silver to make them really pop.
The client had a big pair of diamond earrings that she wasn’t wearing, she saw our 18k yellow gold Crownwork® pinky rings at a trunk show and fell in love.
We made her a pinky ring using one of the diamonds and set it with a black diamond halo for extra dramatic effect.
We have shared lots of custom & restoration stories and wedding stories, I love working on these projects.
Fun to design and fun to wear, when I am making pendants I like to take my time and really think them through. Matching the perfect stone(s) to the perfect setting. I sit at my desk with the settings and pull out my stones, its like a fabulous & sparkly puzzle.
Three of my latest favorite creations to pop out of my brain are all so different but could easily be worn together.
There are so many ways to wear pendants, they are the ultimate mix and match jewel. They are amazing on their own, stacked with some friends, layered together. So perfect to collect and treasure.
I always make my pieces on a detachable bail so they can be put on lots of different chains and played with in infinite ways, they can also be clipped onto your bracelets for the ultimate charm. That is a whole other story that you can read about here. Have fun and play with your jewels, I certainly have a lot of fun making them.
One of my favorite things to do every year is hit up the gem show in Tucson, the main show they have in Feb was cancelled but there was a smaller version last week that I went to. As well as finding beautiful stones to work with I am forever inspired by the incredible bounty mother nature provides.
These stunning stones are all snapped up by the museums, they look like something dropped into the earth by aliens.
The Dinosaur bones are breathtaking and always a highlight, the dealer sources them cleans them up and then reassembles them in steel frames to hold them all together. They are breathtaking and a real highlight to my trip every year.
The real reason I go is to find the stones that speak to me for new jewels, I really do run across rooms when something catches my eye. These are the gems I brought back with me and I can’t wait to start creating with them.
I found a whole slew of fabulous new beads to make bracelets and necklaces with.
On the left is Prehnite and the right is Aquamarine. The extra sparkle comes from Titanium coating.
On the left is Aragonite and the right is Natural Moss Aqua
Natural Moss Emerald
Natural Butterscotch Amber, all one of a kind beads.
I also found these amazing Sonoran Turquoise pieces, I love the combination of the blue and green together. So dreamy, it has a rich warm organic feel. I cant wait to make some gorgeous rings and pendants with these beauties.
This Petrified Wood is going to be cut into amazing drops for statement earrings.
This pink sapphire is the perfect example of a stone that just spoke to me, the color and the cut are so crisp and clean. Not sure what I am going to do with this beauty yet.
For me, Spring is a celebration of the rebirth of nature and I love watching all the trees and plants come to life and explode from the earth. It is the perfect time to break out the pastel jewel tones. I love the mottling colors and imperfections of the stones I am drawn to at this time of year.
The stones that I love to work with also have the properties and feel good factor that we all need as we move into this fresh new season. Opals bring love and peace; Chalcedony brings vitality and energy; Chrysoprase brings joy and abundance; Turquoise brings wisdom and balance & Coral is a beautiful organic gift from the ocean.
My early training and apprenticeship installed a love and respect for intricate design and workmanship, during my 20s I lived in London and began travelling the world and spending lots of time in museums soaking up as much history and culture as I could. During this time, I fell in love with the Ottoman Empire.
The Ottoman Empire was a 600-year state that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and Northern Africa between the 14th and 20th centuries, They were known for their achievements in art, science and medicine. Istanbul and other major cities throughout the empire were recognized as artistic hubs, especially during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. This produced beautiful and intricate architecture, the domed mosques are magnificent. They were also renowned for their jewelry making and carpet weaving.
When I finally went to Istanbul, I was struck by the beauty everywhere and inspired by their use of beautiful shapes in their architecture and incredible workmanship and structure.
I fell in love with Top Kapi Palace and it continues to inspire my work to this day.
I picked out some of my favorite pieces that were inspired by the Ottoman Empire.
18k Yellow Gold crownwork® pendant with pave diamond
18k Yellow Gold crownwork® domed disc pendant with pave sapphire center
18k Yellow Gold crownwork® pendant with pave orange sapphire and diamonds
18k Yellow Gold crownwork® egg earrings with pave tsavorite and tourmaline center stones
18k Yellow Gold crownwork® hand painted enamel earrings with pave diamond
18k Yellow Gold crownwork® red enamel earrings
18k Yellow Gold crownwork® rings with pave pink sapphire & color change garnet
18k Yellow Gold crownwork® multi sapphire one of a kind ring
Charm Bracelets really are the “choose your own adventure” of the jewelry world.
Charms date back to the prehistoric period when they were formed out of shells, clay and animal bones, then continued to develop into gems, rocks, metal and wood. Throughout all periods of history charms and talismans have been used as symbols of faith, luck, prosperity and to mark and celebrate achievements and occasions in life.
A beautiful link bracelet is a solid base for a charm bracelet, you want the bracelet to have some substance so it will support the charms as your collection grows and so it can still have some roll on your wrist. Crownwork® lends itself beautifully to large link bracelets as it keeps them nice and light on the wrist but weighty on the eye. Click here to see all of the fabulous bracelets that work perfectly with charms.
There are so many ways to start a collection of charms, you can choose those that have meaning to you (birthstones/anniversary stones), those that have a design that you fall in love with, those that are made with your favorite gemstones. We have pearl charms, tassel charms, coin charms, gold ball charms; the possibilities are endless. The most important thing to keep in mind is to balance the weight and style of the charms around your bracelet so they lie nicely around the wrist and feel comfortable.
Its impossible to pick favorites, click here to see our current collection of charms.
All of our charms are made with a hinged bale on the top so they are easy to interchange and play with (this also allows them to serve double duty as pendants on your favorite necklaces)
LOVE this all pearl charm bracelet we put together for a client a couple of years ago, so timeless and chic.
Working one on one with clients on their charm bracelet project is always so much fun, its like telling stories of events and travels throughout their lives through jewelry. Ray has been working with a client for a few years on her bracelet, every few months they add a new charm. The latest one is a green enamel “train track” he made to represent a train journey she went on through Ireland.
Repurposing old jewelry into charms is also a great way to breathe new life into pieces you no longer wear but have great sentimental value. Drop us a line if you have a fun project for us to work on together or would like to build out your perfect charm bracelet. We can book an appointment with Ray in the studio or over Zoom.
In the luxuriant landscape of rare and one-of-a-kind jewelry, Australian-born; New York-based designer/goldsmith Ray Griffiths is legendary for visionary design, superb quality gem materials and intrepid, master artisanship. Having trademarked the distinctive, chic and airy 18-karat gold jewelry genre called Crownwork® in 2014, Griffiths has earned an assured place in jewelry history, although he’s too modest to say so. While he’s also renowned as a master jewelry restorer, this year marks the 20th anniversary of Griffiths creating adornments in the USA. “I left Sydney, Australia for New York when I won the U.S. Green Card lottery many moons ago,” he recalled in his sun-lit atelier high atop Fifth Avenue. Wearing his trademark necklace of Tahitian pearls and a Crownwork® ring, he explained, “I’m about to become a naturalized U.S. citizen any day.” To honor these dual milestones, Griffiths is celebrating and compensating for COVID pandemic-related travel restrictions with a new E-commerce websitethat is rich in editorial content, videos and jewelry lore.
“2020 was the first year that I was unable to tour the U.S. doing trunk shows at independent jewelers and luxury department stores due to the pandemic,” Griffiths said. “I have been working with some of the same jewelry stores for 18 years, so the customers and I know each other very well. We all socialize when I come to their towns and stay in touch throughout the year. Many of these people feel like family to me.” An irrepressible extrovert and frequent philanthropist, Griffiths is donating a portion of his February and March 2021 jewelry website sales to the nonprofit mental health organization The Child Mind Institute. “I am donating to this organization in memory of a family member,” he explained “I’m also giving because of all the people I know who’ve mentioned that their children have struggled with remote learning and missing their friends throughout the COVID pandemic.”
The revamped Ray Griffiths site is notable for its ease of use, interactivity and the authoritative yet lighthearted way that Griffiths imparts jewelry knowledge that educates and entertains. In the Design Notes section, for example, when visitors see a pink design note bubble on the product page, they can click on it to read some thoughts from Griffiths about how he conceptualized the specific jewel. There is also a gemstone information index that shows images of stones in the raw while noting their material properties, along with its zodiac sign and birthstone month. While the experience of shopping on the site is far livelier than what one encounters on many other websites, Griffiths schedules virtual appointments for those who wish to connect directly. Other noteworthy features on the site include The Restoration and Custom Section. Here, Griffiths highlights and explains the design process involved with certain pieces.
The transcontinental jewelry journey of Griffiths began when he was sixteen in Melbourne, Australia, with an apprenticeship in restoring antique European jewels. “I signed on with a high-end restoration house run by master artisans,” he recalled. “We had all sorts of elaborate suites of jewels coming in all the time, and tiaras, too.” Because his training was quite technically exacting and detail-focused, it helped Griffiths acquire fluency in the language of gold and precious metals. “Each metal has unique material qualities and has its own temperament, so to speak,” he explained while showing this writer around his pristine workspace. “I had a fantastic apprenticeship, because the more you learn about what can be done with gold to shape and form it, the easier it is to use your imagination to design with it and create beautiful jewels.” This experiential understanding of gold’s unique characteristics; its myriad technical and artistic potentials are two essential elements that differentiate Griffiths from mere jewelry designers. So does his rigorous training in 400-year-old European jewelry traditions.
According to Marla Zimmerman of the upmarket Pittsburgh, PA. jewelry salon, Choices “Ray’s jewelry embodies old world craftsmanship and fuses it with a timeless and glamorous design aesthetic. Between his superb quality colored gemstones and his Crownwork®, he creates incredible jewels for people of all ages and genders. He is indeed a master jeweler.”
As Griffiths explained, European artisans invented crownwork to form the underside of tiaras and crowns from the 1600s through the 1800s. In those days, a structured, sculptural shape was made and then hollowed out to create a lightweight yet resilient grid on the reverse of the headgear. This lattice-like grid formed the piece’s hidden structural integrity. Taking this concept as a point of departure for his own jewelry collections, Griffiths started designing and hand-fabricating jewels featuring fully visible; 18-karat golden Crownwork® for everything from earrings to pendant necklaces, oversized yet lightweight link bracelets, wedding ring sets; high jewelry glittering with important diamonds or colored gemstones. “I can’t tell you how many women have thanked me for making earrings, rings and other 18-karat and gemstone jewels that are boldly proportioned yet lightweight and comfortable to wear for an entire day,” he said. “No more sagging earlobes or weighed-down wrists!”
Griffiths also makes sculptural Crownwork® beads in classically graceful and universally appealing forms like lanterns, spheres, ovals and pods. Whether these beads comprise an entire necklace of their own or form golden stations on a strand of Tahitian pearls, a tourmaline bracelet or turquoise earring, their voluminous forms and ergonomic appeal make them look and feel utterly pleasing.
“Ray brings personality to every piece he creates,” said Karen O’Neil of Frederic’s Fine Jewelers in Upper Montclair, N.J. “Our customers gravitate towards his colorful gemstone and trademarked Crownwork®, which is lightweight yet strong and always perfectly executed. Our clients treasure Ray’s designs as timeless heirlooms, yet they also look forward to passing them on to future generations,” she added. Musing over the good fortune that he enjoys long-term relationships with other upmarket retailers around the U.S., such as Stanley Korshak in Dallas, TX., Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Palm Beach and in Naples, FLA.; Belle Cose in Jackson Hole, WY. Sotre Collection in New Orleans, LA., Angela in Menlo Park, CA. & The Fine Jewelry Bar in Palm Desert, CA.), Griffiths is also a jeweler to several generations of the same families. “I get the feeling that people of all ages love the detail in my work and how it unites a classic sense of Antiquity with contemporary forms, clean lines and lightness. My pieces are made to last forever,” he said, “as long as they are looked after with care.”He added that, “The continuity of relationships I have with my customers means that I have been involved in making many jewels that mark important events in many family trees.”
While he has long worn jewels that he designs and makes by hand, like Indian maharajahs of yore, Griffiths always wears pearls, and his favorites are organically shaped baroque pearls, some of them offset by Crownwork® beads. “I have been wearing lustrous, irregular pearls for at least 20 years,” he recalled. “I am often stopped on the street by people asking where I got them, which has resulted in some serendipitous sales.” Given that musician Pharrell Williams has been rocking pearls on Chanel runways and in daily life since 2014 and global pop star Harry Styles wore a pearl earring to the 2019 Met Gala, Griffiths feels vindicated in having led the charge for men in pearls. “At last, more style-setting men are wearing pearls!” he enthused. “Besides being beautiful, pearls are fascinating as they are one of the few gem materials created by living creatures. Baroque shapes with beautiful luster suit the more casual dressing in this day and age,” he explained. “They should be a staple in everyone’s wardrobe.”
As one surveys the Griffiths jewelry oeuvre; observes how he’s designed a jeweler’s version of the American Dream and launched a new website, it’s obvious that his enthusiasm for human connection through jewelry is part of the secret of his success. Elaine Souza, owner of the Gladstone luxury jewelry and fine art gallery in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA., put it this way. “We have an amazing track record with Ray. We have enjoyed representing his innovative and impeccably crafted designs since 2009. Customers of all ages and genders fall in love with the timeless, sculptural, and colorful aspects of his jewelry. And once they meet the charismatic person behind the designs, they find themselves collecting Ray’s jewels on a regular basis.”
“I can’t wait to start doing trunk shows again and working face-to-face with clients,” Griffiths wrote in an email. “For the time being, however, I’m styling their jewelry and dreaming up special made-to-order pieces with them via FaceTime and Zoom. Working closely with clients informs my designs in the best possible way. I’m so fortunate that I have the chance to view the jewelry on the client and see how they experience it.”
We teamed up with Image Intelligence, a fabulous personal branding company with a love for color for their take on some of Ray’s designs. They picked out a few favorites and gave us their tips for wearing them.
One of Rays biggest inspirations is COLOR ! “I have always been drawn to the joy, happiness and feeling that color can bring. My inspirations as designer come from the colors that I was surrounded with growing up in Australia, there is something special about the sunlight there that intensifies the color , I love using bright juicy stones in my designs.”
Garnet is the birthstone for January babies, these gorgeous gemstones are one of the most interesting and diverse to work with as they come in such a large variety of colors. Garnets symbolize love and inspire passion. As well as being the birthstone for January, Garnets are the gemstone for your 2nd Wedding Anniversary and the Zodiac gemstone for Aries, Leo and Libra.
The variety and vibrance of the colors of these stones are why they are such a delight to work with.
Pyrope Garnet – these are the most popular of the red varieties, with that rich, juicy color that most people associate with garnets. The word pyrope derives from the Greek word for “fire-eyed”, in reference to the high refractive index of the stones.
Spessatine Garnet – the color way for these babies are orange to orange-red in color. They have a high refractive index that gives them a luscious fire and brilliance, they literally glow.
Hessonite Garnet – these are a unique variety of grossular garnet, in that it is an orange-brown color, rather than the typical green. Although sometimes confused with citrine or topaz, Hessonite garnets can be distinguished by their inclusions, which appear as curving areas of varying translucency.
Color Change Garnet – these Garnets are pure magic, they change color depending on the light source. The color change can be from greenish yellow to purplish red, or from blueish green to blueish purple (my favorite). This color characteristic is due to the combination of various mineral compositions of three or more garnet species.
Tsavorite – these are rich, almost fluorescent green colored garnet.
There are many more variates of the versatile stone, I really do adore working with Garnets. Click here to shop our Garnet jewels and keep an eye out for all the new pieces that are currently marinating in my mind.
“Jewelry is something that takes a long time to get right. Integrating technical skills into one’s own sense of style and design occurs over time. Jewelry isn’t seasonal, it’s evolutionary.”— Ray Griffiths
In the rarified realm of design-driven, luxury jewelry, Australian-born; New York City-based designer/goldsmith Ray Griffiths is legendary for visionary design, superb quality gem materials and intrepid, master artisanship. At the end of the 20th century, Griffiths drew a winning number in the U.S. Green Card lottery made his new home in New York. While 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of Ray Griffiths Fine Jewelry, having trademarked the distinctive, chic and airy 18-karat gold jewelry genre of Crownwork® in 2014, Griffiths has long distinguished himself from other designers.
Having apprenticed in a high-end jewelry restoration house in his native Australia, Griffiths became fluent in the language of gold and precious metals as a teenager. “The more you learn about what can be done with gold to shape and form it, the easier it is to use your imagination to design with it and create beautiful jewels,” he reflects. His masterful grasp of gold’s unique characteristics and deep understanding of its myriad technical and artistic potentials distinguish Griffiths from mere jewelry designers, and many jewelers, for that matter.
Griffiths designs and fabricates everything from earrings to pendant necklaces, oversized yet lightweight link bracelets, wedding ring sets and high jewelry glittering with important diamonds or colored gemstones.
Situated in a sunlit studio on a lovely stretch of New York’s Fifth Avenue, Griffiths dreams up collections that are influenced by adornments from Regency and Edwardian eras as well as Moorish aesthetics and masterpieces from Roman and Greek antiquity. It’s also worth noting that Griffiths loves to create bespoke engagement and wedding jewelry, in addition to offering classic engagement rings and wedding bands.
Owing to his unparalleled restoration skills, Griffiths is renowned as a “jewelry whisperer” who takes weathered jewelry and restores it to its youthful structure, sensuality and shine.
The atelier of Ray Griffiths is a sunlit space that sits high above New York’s Fifth Avenue. Here, gold is worked and made into precious pieces stamped with the mark of Ray Griffiths Fine Jewelry. Likewise, this is also where Griffiths lovingly restores vintage and antique jewels. To some of his clients, Griffiths is a “jewelry whisperer” who takes weathered or damaged jewelry and restores it to its original shape, sensuality, sparkle and shine. “I like the time-traveling element of doing fine jewelry restoration,” Griffiths says. “It’s fun to imagine who these pieces may have belonged to previously, and where they might have traveled,” he says. “If only some of those jewels could talk to us!”
As gold has often been described by poets and alchemists as sunlight made solid, it is perfectly fitting that the picture-windowed space where Griffiths creates and restores golden jewels is bathed in golden light. Housing two jewelry benches, (one for Griffiths and one for the jeweler who assists him), the studio also contains a safe, the contents of which rival Aladdin’s Cave in terms of treasure. In addition to packets of diamonds, sapphires and other colored gemstones, there are of course 18-karat gold Crownwork® jewels, along with strands of pearls, turquoise and myriad of other gems. “It’s a privilege to be able to work with gemstones and make gold jewelry for people who appreciate the beauty of what I produce,” Griffiths says. “Gold came to our planet from meteorites that crash landed here one hundred million years ago, and gemstones are also precious pieces of eternity. Creating jewelry more than a career, it’s also an emotional process. I love seeing my clients light up when they wear my designs.”