The Mardon Way – Technology

May 30th, 2017 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

Mardon has built its reputation as the best jeweler in the Inland Empire by creating its own way of doing business. The Mardon Way is to offer superior expert services along with distinctive merchandise in an information-rich atmosphere. In the old days, Mardon would have been known as a manufacturing jeweler. Today, we’ve added extra dimensions by using advanced technology to enhance our products and services. Our technology means we can offer unique jewelry and custom design services at very competitive prices.

Computer aided design (CAD) and modeling (CAM) gives us an efficient and flexible way to create original jewelry. We listen to your dreams, ideas and concepts and craft them into beautiful wearable jewelry using these highly efficient methods. Some stores that offer “custom” designs start from standardized design templates which are then tweaked just enough to be called custom. At Mardon, we design custom pieces from scratch. With few exceptions, our casting, setting and finishing is all done locally by the best craftsmen in town.

Pieces like wedding bands, medallions, pendants, and earrings that require precise detail  or that have relatively simple forms are made on our ModelMaster 1000 CNC Mill. This is a high precision lathe controlled numerically by computer instructions (CNC) that are generated by a computer aided design program (CAD).

ModelMaster Mill

ModelMaster CNC Mill

Other pieces that have more complex three dimensional forms are best made using our DigitalWax Rapid Protoype Machine, essentially a 3D printer. It uses a BluEdge laser to build a castable model out of plastic resins– the laser light moves back and forth to build the model in 5 micron layers. Wonderfully intricate and complex designs are now possible.

Rapid Protype

DigitalWax Rapid Prototype Machine

The newest addition to our arsenal of high tech is the Ortery 3D PhotoBench 60. This state-of-the-art imaging system is designed to take full advantage of the superb digital technology found in today’s cameras, including video and 3D imagery.We work diligently to illustrate the subjects of the Mardon blog faithfully– all part of our mission of honest representation and consumer education. We’re still learning, but in the coming months our new pieces will be shown in a new light!

We invest in these new technologies so that we can bring you the best product at the best prices. These tools are not cheap– the Model Master Milling system cost over $30,000 — but we’ve found that in the long run, they keep Mardon in the forefront as the Best Jeweler in the Inland Empire.

Voting for the Press Enterprise Reader’s Choice Survey ends Friday, June 2. Help us keep the streak going by voting Mardon — we’ve been voted Best Jeweler 9 years in a row.  Go back to our home page for easy access to the survey– one click and you’ll be ready to vote. It’s so easy and you don’t have to complete all the pages or categories. Best of all, you can vote more than once.

Thank you for your vote~ we promise to continue to strive to be the best!

Ortery Photo Bench

Ortery 3D PhotoBench 60

Ortery open

Ortery Photobench opened

 

 

The Mardon Way- Fine Gems

May 17th, 2017 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

benoit pic for jim

Mardon has developed its reputation as a fine jeweler by creating its own way of doing business. The Mardon Way is based on our passion for fine colored gemstones. Because we love the richly colored treasures that Mother Nature has created for us, we’re dedicated to setting these fine colored gemstones into beautifully made pieces that are a pleasure to wear.

We sell beautiful gemstones you won’t see at typical jewelry stores. Of course, we offer fine Diamonds, Emeralds, Rubies, and Sapphires, but where else in our community can you buy such unusual jewels as Benitoite, our California state gem?

Benitoite Ring jpg

.75 ct. Benitoite in custom platinum ring by Mardon

Benitoite ring

.92 ct. Benitoite in custom platinum ring by Mardon

Or natural Alexandrites, with their dramatic color change?

Alex ring copy

Matched pairs of natural Alexandrites in custom ring by Mardon

Padparadscha Sapphires?

padparadscha custom ring

4.9 ct. natural Padparadscha Sapphire in platinum custom ring by Mardon

Paraiba type Tourmaline?

Mint tourm

2.56 ct. Paraiba like (Cuprian) Tourmaline in Mardon Original rose and white gold ring

Burma Spinel?

Spinel Filigree ring

2.43 ct. Burma Spinel in custon platinum & 18K ring by Mardon

Inperial Jade?

Art Deco Jadeite ring

14 ct. Imperial Jadeite cabochon in vintage Art Deco platinum ring

How about Gemstone sculptures by noted American lapidary artists like David Dyer?

zig zag ring 2

4.96 ct “Gypsy Rose” Garnet ZigZag Fantasy Cut by David Dyer in Mardon Original ring

We stock a wide variety of fine and unusual colored gems, ready to be set.

Moonstone

4.09 ct. Royal Blue Ceylon Moonstone

BlackOpal

1.82 ct. Lightning Ridge Black Opal

Spessartine Garnet

11.56 ct. Spessartite Garnet

And where else will you find qualified Gemologists who can show you these pieces and tell their story? We have a Certified Gemologist Appraiser (AGS), a Certified Gemologist (AGS), and two Graduate Gemologists (GIA) on staff. We are members of both the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) and the American Gem Society (AGS), professional organizations dedicated to consumer protection through education and fair dealing.

Our way of doing business is much riskier than the safe merchandising style you see in many jewelry stores, but it’s more rewarding for our customers and for our staff. Please come visit our new shop in the center of the Canyon Crest Towne Centre– it’s suite 14, next to the Rite Aid drug store. We’re here Tuesday thru Saturday, 10 to 5:30.

If you appreciate having a jeweler in your community who has the passion, expertise and resources to feature fine and unusual gems, please support us by by voting in for the Annual PE Readers Choice Survey, going on now. Just click the button on our homepage to go to the online ballot or you can vote by mail– ballots are published weekly in the Press Enterprise. And remind your friends and family– you can vote more than once! Your voice will be heard!

 

Amethyst Riviere Necklace

May 5th, 2017 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG
Riviere neck 1

175 carat Amethyst Riviere Necklace

Mardon has just acquired an exciting Victorian Amethyst Riviere Necklace. The antique Riviere necklace is a classic style much favored by Anna Wintour, famous editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine. Wintour is often seen wearing several antique Riviere necklaces at a time. Movie buffs recognize Ms. Wintour as the inspiration for the title role in “The Devil Wears Prada”, Miranda Priestly played by Meryl Streep.

Anna Wintour & Antique Riviere Necklaces

Anna Wintour & Antique Riviere Necklaces — Photo by Shankbone

This everlasting classic is comprised of gemstones of the same type that graduate smoothly in size. The gems are set in separate collet settings linked by small loops, so that the gems are featured prominently without excessive decoration.

Upper- Garnet collets in gold, Victorian, Lower - Amethyst collets in silver, Georgian

Upper- Garnet collets in gold, Victorian, Lower – Amethyst collets in silver, Georgian

 Collets are challenging to make. A band of metal is fitted tightly around the gem, with the top edge bent onto the stone as in a bezel. Excess metal is filed away at the edge of the gem to leave small prongs holding the stone– difficult to achieve without damaging the stone.

Amethyst and Citrine were most often used– these Quartz gems are relatively abundant so matching suites of large stones were easy to assemble. Rivieres became popular during the Georgian Period, 1714 – 1837, and were all the rage in the late Victorian period, 1880 – 1900.

Our necklace is a true antique, probably made circa 1870 – 1880. The collets test to be ~ 9 – 10 K gold. There is some variation in the collets, so we think this piece is what in known in estate jewelry as a “marriage”. Marriages are accepted in antique jewelry because of their age– our necklace is a true antique, probably made circa 1880, about 140 years old or more.  During the long history of the piece, who knows what transpired– the important thing is whether the integrity of the piece has been retained. Some of the collets could have been made during  the earlier Georgian period, prior to 1837. Here we have similar collets and similar gems, so we’re confident in offering the necklace as correct for the period.

The Amethysts range from 21 carats at the center to just under 4 carats each at the clasp. Some are grading into Ametrine, with both purple and a bit of gold color showing. The total gem weight for this necklace is estimated to be ~ 175 carats.

Because of the popularity of this scarce item, we’ve seen Amethyst Riviere Necklaces with similar sized Amethysts being offered for as much as $20,000. For example, you can go to this link to the S.J Philips of London website, http://www.sjphillips.com /necklaces-other where several Rivieres are shown. Because we think ours is a marriage, we’re offering this piece at the bargain price of $4750.

Mardon offers the best and most exciting pieces of estate jewelry to be found in the Inland Empire, as well as fine original works, built-from-scratch custom jewelry, and the full services a real jeweler can offer.

Don’t forget to vote in the Annual Press Enterprise Reader’s Choice– we’d love to be your choice as the Best Jeweler in the Inland Empire for the 10th year in a row.

2017 Best of IE

 

 

Reader’s Choice Voting Starts May 1

April 29th, 2017 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG
I-26100 Zircon Star

Magnificent Cinnamon Zircon & Diamond Star Ring by Jenny Sweaney

It’s that time of the year again– the Annual Press-Enterprise Reader’s Choice Survey starts Monday, May 1. Readers of the Press-Enterprise will have a chance to choose their favorite businesses and services. It’s easy and fun to name your favorite shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. Reader’s Choice helps your favorites survive in today’s hyper-competitive business world, so your vote means something. You can vote online from May 1 to June 2.

2017 Best of IE

Our fans have chosen Mardon Jewelers as the Best Jeweler in the Inland Empire for eight years in a row! Your vote is important because it informs our community about the best choices for shopping, dining, entertainment and services. We sincerely say “Thank You!” and ask for you to vote for us again.

As many of you know, Mardon has a new location. After 20 years at the Mission Inn, we’ve moved to the locally owned Canyon Crest Towne Centre. And it’s been a happy move– our spacious new shop has a fresh and open ambiance. Our customers love the convenient restaurants, shops and businesses and especially the central location and easy parking.

Along with a dynamic new Showroom, we now have a roomy Workshop where you can see us make the magic happen, a Gem Lab & Consultation Room for privacy in buying and selling, as well as a handicapped accessible restroom.

Mardon continues to provide the wide range of beautiful handcrafted and estate jewelry and the expert services you’ve come to expect. In the coming weeks, we’ll feature new finds and creations and discuss in detail the important services we offer, so check back often. ( better yet- subscribe! – you’ll be automatically notified of new posts ). And don’t forget to Vote!

Mardon — Your Family Jeweler Since 1961

Magnificent Fancy Yellow Diamond Ring

February 18th, 2017 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG
3.08 ct Yellow beauty blog

3.08 ct. Fancy Yellow VVS2 Diamond in Platinum Edwardian Ring

This wonderful platinum ring with its magnificent 3 carat Fancy Yellow Diamond is now showing in our estate department. It was made by the firm of T.B. Starr, Inc. Our best guess of its age, based on the ring’s marks, style and construction, is that it was made in New York City, circa 1907-1920.

Theodore B. Starr was a famous American jeweler of the Victorian and Edwardian era. In his day, he was known as one of New York’s finest jewelers, rivaling Tiffany. His shop, Theodore B. Starr & Co, located in the busy heart of Manhattan at 206 Fifth Avenue catered to the rich and famous.

Upon his death in 1907, his son incorporated the business as T.B. Starr Inc, so we know from the marks on the ring that 1907 would be the earliest year this ring could have been made. The firm finally closed it doors in 1923.

3.08 ct Yellow blog

 

The ring has been lovingly restored. We’ve replaced the original black onyx calibre (tiny rectangular cuts)- some were missing, others were broken- with natural blue sapphires because of the durability issues with the onyx. All the diamonds are original. Minor chips around the center diamond have been repaired, and the stone has been certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA ) as Fancy Yellow, natural color, VVS2.

Scan 26.jpeg

 

This fancy yellow diamond follows modern cutting standards more closely than most diamonds of the period. As a result of proper geometry and correct angles, it is very brilliant compared to most Old European cuts. The stone is so bright, its brilliance overwhelms the golden color, so we’ve set the main diamond with a gold cup underneath to enhance the beautiful color.

3.08 ct Yellow under blog

 

The ring has elements of both the elegant Edwardian style and the bold Art Deco look– the elegant design is composed of swooping garlands leading the eye to focus on the center attraction. Sapphire and black onyx calibre accented many of the Art Deco jewels of the Roaring 20’s, but we think the ring was made somewhat earlier, prior to 1920.

Our Estate department is stocked with many beautiful items like this gorgeous ring. Estate jewelry is always a great value because it’s priced simply on content, and diamonds are priced at wholesale. The style and workmanship of these great pieces is always a pleasure to see. Stop by — you are welcome to browse. Mardon is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 – 5:30.

Faberge Necklace

January 28th, 2017 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG
blog-Russian Pendant & chain front

Faberge Necklace

We recently had the opportunity and pleasure to examine this sweet Faberge necklace from the early 20th century. The necklace is fabricated from 14 karat yellow gold and silver, set with rose cut Diamonds and a beautiful pear shaped Aquamarine. The delicate chain is handmade from platinum.

Our client has a wonderful family provenance for the piece.* The original owner of the necklace was named Olga Apollonovna Skalkovskaya. Olga was born into the Russian gentry, the eighth of twelve children. She was beautiful, talented and well educated, finishing her education by graduating with honors from the St. Petersburg Conservatory as singer.

Olga

She had such a wonderful mezzo-soprano voice and theatrical presence that she was immediately offered the position of leading soprano of the Imperial St. Petersburg Opera performing at the Mariinskiy Theater. Olga, a rising star, soon attracted the attention of Czar Alexander II, who made a habit of visiting her in her dressing room. Clearly a delicate situation– how does one say “no” to an emperor. At the same time, she was being courted by a well known physician, Lev Bertensson. To solve her problem, she married the doctor, didn’t renew her singing contract and left the Opera.

Olga at the Opera

Even though her operatic career was over, Olga continued to sing and to teach while she raised three sons and a daughter. Her son, Sergei said “She turned our house into a kind of salon, a meeting place for the most outstanding Russian and foreign musical talents.”  In 1879, a contemporary critic listed her among “the general officers of our musical world,” along with Cui, Borodin, Mussorgsky and others. Sergei recalled “Visitors to our house — not only as my fatherʼs patients, but as welcome guests and friends — included some of the most outstanding Russian as well as foreign writers, musicians, actors and artists. Suffice it to name them: Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Grigorovich, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Anton and Nikolay Rubinstein, Auer, Yesipova, Davydova, Savina, Stanislavski, Figner, Chaliapin, Battistini, Duze, Repin and Rerich.” (Sergei Bertensson, Around Art, Hollywood, 1957). Famous names indeed!

Olga and Lev lived in the swirl of Russian high society until 1905, when tragedy struck during the Russo-Japanese war. Her son Boris, a doctor in the Russian navy, was killed when his ship was sunk by Japanese warships. Olga abandoned her singing career. Her marriage to Dr. Bertensson deteriorated until they separated around 1916. Hard times were imposed by the Russian Revolution. Olga stayed with son Mikhail until his death in 1933, when she emigrated to Estonia to live with daughter Tatiana. She died in 1941 at the age of 90 after a long life full of ups and downs.*

*excerpted from family historical document authored by Dimitri Arensburger.

blog-Russian Pendant with box

Faberge necklace with original box

We know her necklace was made in St. Petersburg around the time of the Russo-Japanese War. The marks date it to sometime between 1904 -1908 because the pendant is marked 56, the old Russian quality mark for 14K, and is accompanied by the initials AP (cyrillic), the initials of St. Petersburg assayer Alexander Romanov for that period. The box is correct, the markings appear authentic, and the apparent age and wear looks right, so we can assume with confidence that it’s a genuine piece from the workshops of Faberge.

blog-Russian Pendant mark

Russian quality mark and assayers mark

 

The style of this necklace is distinctly Edwardian – the delicate bow knot was a favorite element of the jewelry designers of the time. Beginning around 1890, the large ostentatious jewelry of the Victorian era began to be replaced by ethereal delicate styles. Jewelers who chose not to embrace Art Nouveau or the Arts and Crafts movement developed the style became known as style guirlande (the garland style). These aristocratically styled pieces with their garlands and ribbons, laurel wreaths, bow knots, tassels and lace, recalled the elegant Court of Versailles of the eighteenth century. These designs, favored by the rich and famous, especially by King Edward VII and his court, became know as the “Belle Epoque” style.

Interestingly, the delicate platinum chain has no clasp. Instead, the bow knot top has little hooks on the back. The chain has a ring on each end that is slipped onto the hooks– not the easiest piece to put on but very secure when it’s being worn

blog-Russian Pendant reverse

Faberge necklace reverse

The method of using silver overlay on 14K gold was very much in vogue during the late Victorian period. Diamonds became more popular as they became more affordable due to the increased supplies from the mines in South Africa. At the time, silver was the metal of choice for setting diamonds — platinum was not widely available and white gold alloys were not developed until the early 1920s. But silver was not the ideal solution — it presents maintenance issues. As you can see from the photos, the silver overlay of this piece has become very dark with oxidation over time.

Around the turn of the century, silver over gold was largely supplanted as platinum became more available. In 1903, the invention of the oxyacetylene torch, which could reach the temperatures necessary to melt platinum, meant that jewelers could make pieces entirely from platinum. Jewelers of the day quickly learned to appreciate the wonderful working qualities of platinum. Cartier became famous for his delicate designs that exploited not only the white beauty of platinum but also its strength and workability. Hand engraving is particularly suited to platinum– it’s beautiful and preserves the luster of platinum better than high polished surfaces– so many Edwardian pieces are lavishly embellished with beautiful engraved decorations.

blog-Russian Pendant face

Faberge necklace closeup

Our client has shown the piece to a firm in New York that specializes in vintage Russian jewelry and to an expert at the Antiques Road Show. Their expert valuations were significantly different, demonstrating the difficulty in appraising an item like this. While her piece has no actual Faberge mark, the style and craftsmanship, the Faberge box and the family provenance prove the piece to be authentic. In the auction markets, pieces from famous makers like Faberge, Cartier, Tiffany, etc., often bring prices far beyond the intrinsic value of materials, particularly when they have such an interesting provenance. This necklace might only have a thousand dollars of intrinsic value, but because of it’s rarity and uniqueness, it appraises for five figures! At auction, this piece would probably sell quickly, attracting the attention of wealthy Russian buyers because of it’s connection to such a famous Russian personality.

blog-Russian Pendant box label closeup

Faberge label

Mardon offers auction advice, placements and sales for important jewelry. Auction houses charge private individuals a selling commission plus publication, insurance, and shipping fees. At Mardon, we’ll take care of placing, shipping, and insuring your jewelry for the same cost as the auction house charges. You won’t have to worry about shipping, insuring or getting paid by the auctioneer. We can do this because of our standing in the jewelry trade and our continuing relationship with auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s– they charge us a lower trade rate selling commission. Our excellent insurance covers shipping and handling.

Mardon offers full appraisal services including estate valuations as well as insurance appraisals. We repair, buy and sell vintage and estate jewelry as part of our commitment to our community as “The Family Jeweler.”

Our new shop at the Canyon Crest Towne Centre is open 5 days a week, Tuesday thru Saturday, 10 to 5:30.

Mardon Grand Opening

July 27th, 2016 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

Sign photo

Our Grand Opening Sale will be Sept. 1 – 10 – Mark Your Calendar! Big discounts from 10 to 60% on our excellent Mardon inventory.

After twenty wonderful and productive years at our Mission Inn location, Mardon Jewelers is moving to the Canyon Crest Towne Centre. Our new shop at Suite # 14 will be located on the main parking lot at CCTC, opposite the Ralph’s Supermarket, between the Rite-Aid drug store and Migliore Gourmet Foods.

Contrary to any rumors you may have heard, Mardon is continuing under the same family ownership you’ve know for all these years.  Jim & Kaye Sweaney, Jenny Sweaney & Scott Christiansen, and Mary Smith are all on board to welcome you at the new digs!

The new shop will be twice as big as the Inn shop, 1440 sq. ft, and all on one level. We’ll have a spacious show room, a nice big workshop, a Gem Lab/Gem Room for gemological work and private consultations, and of course, an office for shop management. Additionally, we’ll have a restroom for customers that is ADA compliant, as well as an employee lounge and restroom.

Nathan Smelser, Clear Coat Painting and Development, is our primary contractor (local of course) and his wife Sara Cole Smelser, Cole Decor, has created a beautiful new environment. The new shop walls, ceiling and floor will be completely new, top to bottom, with a gorgeous new color scheme. We’ll be taking our beautiful solid oak cases with us– too tried and true to leave behind– and adding some new furniture for customer convenience.

We love the charm and homey feeling of the Canyon Crest Towne Centre and we like the local ownership, the Thompson family, who have been very welcoming and helpful.

At this point, the renovation is really rolling along. Next Saturday, July 29, all be our last day of business at the Inn. We’re targeting a soft opening for Tuesday, Aug. 16, with our Grand Opening Sale beginning Sept. 1 – 10

Coming Down the Stretch

June 2nd, 2016 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

Horse &Jockey blog

Horse and jockey are flying full tilt down the home stretch! After 20 years in our current location, Mardon is moving! We’d like to announce our upcoming move to a new spot at the Canyon Crest Towne Centre, 5225 Canyon Crest Drive, Suite 14, Riverside, 92507. We hope to reopen by August 15 – stay tuned for updates on our progress. Meanwhile, you can still visit us Tuesday thru Saturday, 10 – 5:30 pm at the Mission Inn shop, 3640 Main, Downtown Riverside.

The new Mardon will be twice as big and you’ll have much easier access with convenient free parking right in front. Our prime location will be front and center on the main parking lot, next to the RiteAid drug store. You’ll be able to combine your visit to Mardon with all the convenience and amenities of the charming Canyon Crest Towne Centre.

Mardon will continue to offer the best in unique and unusual fine jewelry including our famous Raincross Collection. Our fabulous team will provide the wonderful custom jewelry we’re known for. Our highly trained Gemologists will offer expert appraisal services as well as fair and honest buying of estate jewelry, diamonds, and gold.

We just acquired this wonderful estate pin – it’s crafted from 18 karat yellow gold and diamonds. The jockey’s riding silks are enameled to show the colors of his stable. We wonder if anyone knows which stable the red and green jersey and cap represent?

A reminder–Tomorrow, June 3, is the last day to vote your choices for Best of the Inland Empire. Please vote your choices for the Best of Inland Empire 2016 Reader’s Choice survey. Vote by going online to pe.com/go/vote IE

There are five main categories– Places Go Do, Shopping & Services, Food & Drink, Home & Garden, and Hometown Favorites. Under each category, you’ll find lots of choices for your favorite businesses, restaurants, entertainments, places to go, etc– just remember you will need to place at least one vote in each of the five categories in order to submit your ballot.

We hope you’ll vote for Mardon Jewelers once more– we really appreciate you vote and your continuing support. We’ll see you in our new shop– watch for our Grand Opening Sale!

 

Antique Marshall’s Badge

May 21st, 2016 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

Badge front

This unusual estate jewelry item turned out to be are a real surprise. We purchased it along with a large group of vintage pieces– sort of an after-thought, thrown into the lot at the last minute. We don’t buy a lot of silver jewelry, but this was just funky enough to be of interest. It went into my “Later” box where it’s been languishing for several months. Last week, I was going thru the box, decided to give it a try and priced it for the estate case.

The handmade badge is set with a 12 x 10 mm cabochon turquoise center and 5 really nice dark red pyrope garnets, each about 5.5 mm, round brilliant cut with lots of sparkle.

The front has the hand engraved inscription “City Marshall” and “Gallup New Mexico”. The back is hand engraved “P. J. Dugan”

Badge reverse

It’s my habit to do a bit of research on interesting estate pieces, so I asked Mr. Google about P. J. Dugan. It turns out that P.J.Dugan was indeed  the City Marshall of Gallup from 1908 to 1911. Here’s his picture. Do you think he looks like a Wild West lawman?

Dugan less texture

Marshall Dugan

Read the oath he swore while New Mexico was still a territory. It attests to his duties on the election day when the new state constitution of New Mexico was on the ballot. I chuckled at his statement that the town was “exceedingly orderly”. Can’t you see Marshall Dugan walking around town in the bright New Mexico sun with the red garnets flashing on his silver star, checking to make sure all the saloons are  closed!

Dugan oath

Supporting the provenance, we think the garnets are the famous Anthill Pyrope Garnets found on Garnet Ridge, in the Four Corners region near Dinnehotso, Apache County, Arizona. Garnet Ridge is just a hundred miles or so north of Gallup.These pyrope garnets have a high concentration of chromium which accounts for their beautiful bright red color.

They are so named Anthill garnets because the ants of the area haul up pebbles of garnet as they make new tunnels. As a result, the margins around their ant hills are dotted with little bright red gems.

For those who love and collect jewelry, it’s rare that we’re able to connect a jewelry item to the actual period, use and person to whom it belonged. It’s also rare to have the materials match the provenance so well. You can see this unusual item in our famous Estate Department Tuesday thru Saturday, 10 – 5:30 pm. Probably won’t last long because it’s so unique.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog, don’t forget to vote for Mardon as your favorite Inland Empire jeweler. We’re hoping to achieve 7 years in a row! You can vote online easily —  just go to pe.com/go/voteIE

You can vote for your favorite jeweler (Mardon) and all your favorite shopping, services, entertainments, and eateries. It really helps family businesses like Mardon survive and prosper.  Your vote matters!

 

 

Diamond Hourglass 18 Karat Gold Necklace by Sydney Mobell

May 7th, 2016 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

blog I-25712 all

Now showing at Mardon, this charming necklace is from the celebrated American jeweler, Sydney Mobell. Mobell is considered a modern master of the jewelers art. His shop in the Fairmont Hotel of San Francisco was famous for transforming everyday items into irreverant jeweled art, producing such items as a diamond studded Frisbee, an jewel encrusted toilet seat, and a gold and diamond monopoly set.

blog I-25712 dime

Mobell pieces on display at the Smithsonian National Museum include a mouse trap, a baby pacifier, a sardine can, and a cell phone, all of solid gold and diamonds! The whimsical Hourglass in one of his signature pieces–You can buy a new necklace of the same Hourglass design shown here from the Smithsonian Store for $3800.

Mobell made several versions of the diamond filled Hourglass, starting with a larger 2 carat size with twisted rope standards, finally perfecting the design in the form you see here. The trick was to get the shape of the glass just right so it would look like an hourglass and the diamonds would flow easily from top to bottom (see photos).

blog I-25712 Diams Up blog I-25712 Diams mid blog I-25712 Diams down

We think ours is early because while Mobell’s signature is correct, it’s not marked with the copyright mark or 18K mark of later pieces. Key pieces of evidence support the provenance of the piece. First, the style of the signature is correct—it uses his signature font and was engraved using a pantograph type engraver. It’s unlikely that anyone but Mobell would have the custom font templates required for a pantograph engraver.

mobell sign

blog I-225712 mark

Second, the chain is by Herco, a well known long established high end chain supplier located in– you guessed it — San Francisco.

Finally, you’ll notice the top and bottom gold discs are not perfectly parallel to each other– this indicates the piece was handmade, probably before they had all the bugs worked out of the design.

blog Herco

You’ll find fabulous collectible American art jewelry by Mobell, Angela Cummings at Tiffany, Gucci and others featured in our Estate Department, along with filigree engagement rings, fine Emeralds, Rubies, and Sapphires, famous name vintage watches like Rolex, Omega, Waltham, and all sorts of unusual fun items.

And please remember, Mardon is always interested in buying fine jewelry of all types and conditions. If you have items you are looking to sell, our gemologists will examine your pieces, give our expert opinion as to value and make a fair offer. We also handle high value items for auction. Give us a call, we’ll set up an appointment for you.

We hope you’ll remember to vote in the Press Enterprise 2016 Reader’s Choice. Vote for your favorite jeweler (Mardon!) and other hard working small independent businesses here in the Inland Empire– it really helps us little guys!

Reader’s Choice voting is early the year, ends June 3, 2016.  Voting online is so easy– just go to pe.com/go/voteIE  Your vote matters!

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