Feature Friday Q&A with Grace Lavarro from Jewels by Grace

I'm sure everyone is familiar by now with our Feature Friday Q&A questions.  I ask the same questions to every designer that is featured.  Why use the same questions?  Because I am fascinated with the differences in the answers.  You can ask the same question a million times to a million different people.  The result?  A million different answers.

But this week, I decided to do something a little different.  This week's Feature Friday is not a modern designer with modern pieces.  This week's Q&A is with an amazing woman with a passion for history and the lives of the folks who previously touched her jewels.

If you haven't seen Jewels by Grace yet and you have a passion (like I do) for antique diamonds and jewelry; then you are going to fall in love!  And by "love" what I really mean is that you are going to find yourself spending an inordinate amount of your paycheck on these fabulous vintage, estate and antique pieces.  Oh, Did I mention that they are F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S, fabulous?!

1.  What first got you interested in antique & vintage diamonds?
My mother-in-law had a FABULOUS antique jewelry collection, passed down to her by my husband's grandmother, the family matriarch.  All the women in his family LOVED antique jewelry and after seeing my MIL's 14 ct. old European cut, I was hooked!

A lot of it, I feel, also has something to do with my personality.  I tend to march at the beat of my own drum, and like the quirky and charming, and most of all, the unique.  This is my overall aesthetic and is reflected in the jewels I purchase and wear.

1.50 ctw "Moi et Toi" Antique Platinum Bypass Ring, $4,750.  Honestly, I have to say it...I am
completely, madly in love with this ring!  The diamonds...The platinum....Sigh.

2.  What are some buying tips that you can give folks who are specifically looking for older diamond cuts?
Old cut diamonds and antique jewelry cannot be judged (and valued) in the same way as modern jewelry.  They are two very, very different animals.  Buyers who are looking for perfection (i.e. perfect symmetry, polish, excellent cut) should not waste their time on old cuts and antique jewelry - it simply would not meet their needs.  Antique jewelry is to be loved and appreciated by virtue of their overall beauty, condition, craftsmanship and, above all, their history and the lives they have lived.  They will come with some nicks and chips, patina and even some broken parts - I akin this to a woman who has lived a full life and has the wrinkles to show for it!

1.02 ct Antique Cushion Cut Diamond, GIA H, VS2, $5,125.00.

3.  How do you determine the value of an older diamond cut?  If/How is that different from pricing modern diamonds?
Contrary to popular belief that antique diamonds actually cost less and are, therefore, less valuable than modern cuts, old cuts are actually priced using the same parameters as modern stones (old Euros are priced the same as round brilliants, and old mine cuts and antique cushions are priced the same as fancy cuts).  Like modern goods, they are priced based off Rapaport values, the industry bible.  Given their current popularity, rarity could also someday play a factor in values.  Modern goods will always be available - antique jewelry?  Not so much.

.55 ct Antique Cushion Cut Diamond, Fancy Deep Orangey-Brown, $750.

4.  When designing your own pieces featuring older diamond cuts, what are some of the things that you give consideration to?
When designing pieces, I actually look to vintage pieces for inspiration.  I like to bring back that old world look and charm with some modern design touches so that they are more wearable by today's women.

.55ct Antique Cushion Cut Diamond Bangle Cuff, $1,850.  I adore these bangle cuffs that Grace
makes!  They are so versatile & perfect for stacking or mixing!

5.  So far, what is your most memorable diamond purchase? Why?
My most memorable diamond purchase would have to be my very first significant old cut diamond - a 1.96 ct. transitional.  It was everything I wanted in an antique diamond - it had the most beautiful checkerboard facet pattern I have ever seen, and a very lively face up. In a moment of weakness, I sold it and I have been pining for it ever since.  A very close second would have to be a 5.64 ct. antique asscher that I found for a client - I did not want to sell that ring!

3.80 ctw Art Deco Brooch/Pin - A truly stunning & rare Art Deco platinum filigree brooch, set with
approximately 2.45ctw asscher cut diamonds & approximately 1.35ctw old european & single cut
diamonds, all of G-I color, VS clarity, $7,500.

6.  What is your ‘white whale’ - the one diamond or piece of jewelry that you are still searching for?
Ha!  I do not have a "white whale" - instead, what I have is a whole pod of white whales.  I would like a vintage step cut in the 5-6 ct. range (preferably in its original mounting), a 3-4 ct. vintage marquise (set East-west, preferably in an Art Deco mounting), a 6 ctw. old European cut earrings in Victorian period silver over gold dangles, and a 5 ct. old European cut diamond, just because I think everyone has to have one!  :)

Seriously, when I win the lottery...Grace already owns (& has for sale...) one of my "white whales!"
This pair of 9.15 ctw Antique Cushion/Old Mine Cut Earrings, $67,750.

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