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Jewelry History

  • The Oldest Jewelry is TINY!

    Neandertal jewelry

    The “necklaces” are tiny: beads of animal teeth, shells, and ivory no more than a centimeter long.

    Isn’t it an amazing feeling to know that jewelry has been worn throughout the history of humankind? Just like us, they felt compelled to adorn (though jewelry was also likely to be worn to protect and ward off evil).

    While there has been much debate regarding the authenticity of these jewelry fragments, proof is now positive: Neanderthals did create jewelry.

    Now, a study uses a new method that relies on ancient proteins to identify and directly date Neandertal bone fragments from Grotte du Renne and finds that the connection between the archaic humans and the artifacts is real. Ross Macphee, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, who has worked with ancient proteins in other studies, calls it “a landmark study” in the burgeoning field of paleoproteomics. And others say it shores up the picture of Neandertals as smart, symbolic humans. [Source: Science Magazine]

    If you’re looking for jewelry from the Neanderthal period, we’d love to custom design it for you…but it’s a little too late!


  • Fun facts about Cleopatra’s Costume

    Image result for liz taylor jewelry cleopatra

    Some movies are simply “jewelry heavy” where the film relies on jewelry as if it were a co-star, enhancing the beauty of the film…and the lead actress of course.

    Cleopatra is one such movie where the jewelry lovin’ queen played by jewelry lovin’ actress Elizabeth Taylor stunned theater goers with her staggering array of gold dripping costumes.

    Here are some other fun facts about Cleopatra (found in AnOther) you might not know.

    1. Taylor’s 24-carat gold cloth cape, designed to look like the wings of a phoenix, was intricately assembled from thin strips of gold leather and embellished with thousands of seed beads, bugle beads and bead-anchored sequins.

    2. A colossal total of 26,000 costumes were created for the film.

    3. Taylor had 65 costume changes in Cleopatra, a record for a motion picture at the time.

    4. She was allocated an incredible $194,800 (£123,000) wardrobe budget.

    5. Costume designer Renie Conley won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Costume Design (along with Irene Sharaff and Vittorio Nino Novarese), for her creation of Taylor’s stunning gowns, which placed emphasis on the actress’ beauty and sexuality over historical accuracy.

    6. Sartorially, the film was extremely influential, popularising snake rings, arm cuffs, geometric haircuts and maxi dresses, as well as the “Cleopatra Eye” makeup trend – a 60s Revlon commercial promoted Cleopatra “Sphinx Eyes”.

    7. According to Rex Harrison’s autobiography, Fox custom-made the boots for his character Julius Caesar while Richard Burton’s boots were Stephen Boyd hand-me-downs from the previous attempt at making the film. Harrison was amazed that Burton did not complain.

    8. The armies of extras alone were issued 8,000 pairs of shoes.

    9. Taylor’s iconic gold cape sold at auction for $59,375 in 2012. Prior to that it had been stored in a cedar closet, finely wrapped in tissue paper.

    10. The female extras complained about their overly tight and revealing costumes, which they said provoked wandering fingers among the male ensemble. The studio eventually hired a special guard to protect them.



  • An Antique Jewelry Box to Behold!

    There are jewelry boxes and then there are amazing forms of detailed art. This box falls in the latter category.

    Can you imagine storing your jewelry in it? We could. (Though you’d certainly need a lot of jewelry to fill it!)

    Antique jewelry box

    This fabulous antique jewelry box or casket was sold for $11,000 in 2007. Holman’s detailed description of the antique jewelry box helps us understand why the casket was so unique: This antique jewelry box is a mid-19th century antique Italian ebonized jewelry casket with 89 hand painted enameled panels set in with rosettes & braided wire, Roman figural finials, four full caryatid columns, cherubs riding swans to corners & top, applied metal faces & florals, multiple doors & drawers with interior & exterior decorations. The antique jewelry box measures 16″h x 14″w x 11″d. [Photo courtesy of Stuart Holman] [Article source: Victoriana.]

  • What Jewelry did the Flappers Wear?

    The 1920’s were a period of tremendous social change and nowhere was this seen more in the unique and bold fashion choices for women.

    Jewelry was not based on function. No longer design was determined by the cost of the materials. “In addition,  by focusing attention on the design rather than the intrinsic value or materials, the Art Nouveau movement of the late 19th and early 20th century had already suggested that jewelry need not act as a three dimensional bank statement, but instead could be worn purely for its decorative qualities. – A Collectors Guide to Costume Jewelry. Tracey Tolkin

    And to this day, some of the same fashion rules apply. Jewelry needn’t be an indicator of wealth, but of personality, of expression. Here are some examples of fashion from the 1920’s. Note how “everything old is new again” since many of these trends exist to this very day.


    Statement earrings anyone?

    When do strings of pearls ever go out of fashion?

    Statement hats…and more pearls, of course.

    Chandelier earrings…and Princess Leia buns, way ahead of their time!

  • What to expect from an Art Nouveau Ring

    What constitutes an Art Nouveau ring?

    Well let’s start with what constitutes Art Nouveau first, shall we?

    According to Brilliant Earth Jewelers:

    As the 20th century was approaching, an imaginative and original style of jewelry-making burst forth from the vibrant European arts scene. The Art Nouveau (literally “New Art”) era, lasting from 1890 to 1910 and was actually a broad artistic movement, with one of its key tenets that art should be a part of daily life.

    The mood of Art Nouveau jewelry is soft, mystical, and romantic. Pale colors and flowing, undulating curves helped to establish a soothing aura. Art Nouveau jewelers, greatly influenced by depictions of nature in Japanese art, looked to the natural world for inspiration.

    Art Nouveau jewelry also took chances, breaking from traditional diamonds and incorporating less popular but distinctive gemstones like moonstone, amethyst, opal, amber, citrine, peridot and freshwater pearls.

    If you’re interested in a ring with an Art Nouveau touch, check out one of our latest custom design engagement rings, then let’s find some “new art” for your ring!


  • The Ring of Latvia

    Maybe you wore the same school ring as your graduating class in college or high school. Or you and a friend or lover wore a ring that symbolize how two halves make a whole (like wearing a half heart, for instance.) But collective ring wearing is still a rarity.

    Unless you’re from Latvia. Then the same ring is ubiquitous to its entire small population. A whole country wears the same kind of ring…now that’s some serious solidarity.

    The ring that mostly all Latvians wear?

    The Nameja Gredzens

    Latvian Ring "Namejs". It's popular amongs Latvians that live outside of Latvia because it shows their love for Latvia and recognition of their heritage.:

    The Nameja gredzens or Ring of Namejs [NAH-mays] consists of:

    Three separate bands of silver twisted around each other and forming a braid
    A thread-like chain wrapping them together, making them one
    Four separate elements that come together in a single shape

    And while the overall design is the same, no two rings are exactly alike. Each one is handcrafted.

    The Nameja Gredzens are old!

    This style of ring has been excavated from sites along the Daugava River dating back to the thirteenth century. These rings were simple yet contained the same components as ones designed today. Each ring is still forged by hand, braiding three bands of silver (traditional) or gold and then wrapping them with a chain.


    Nameja Gredzens

    are worn with pride!

    The Nameja gredzens are give to a man as rite-of-passage (from boyhood to manhood, for example). Women also wear the braid of Namejs in the shape of rings, necklaces, bracelets or brooches.

    The Nameja Gredzens are symbolic.

    The three bands on this style ring represent Vidzeme, Kurzeme, and Latgale, the three ancient tribal regions of present-day Latvia.


    If you’d like one of the powerful and symbolic rings (you don’t have to be from Latvia!), let us custom design your very own Nameja gredzens

  • Pairing the Perfect Necklace for your Bridal Gown

    Sure, your bridal gown carries a lot of weight fashion-wise, but let’s not discount the importance of the necklace you pair with it. Consider your jewelry the “cherry on top” bringing your whole finished look together and sends a powerful message since its so enhanced by the beauty of the gown.

    Here are some smart necklace pairing tips for your bridal jewelry. (Remember: many of the same pairing tips apply with any outfit.)


  • The Mystical Qualities of a Talisman

    Most of us probably have an amulet or talisman or two in our jewelry box, whether we know it or not. It’s that piece we wear for luck, like a job interview. Or we don for protection, like before going on a long trip.

    Some may simply call these powerful pieces lucky charms” but the meaning runs deeper. Amulets and talismans have been around since the beginning of the human race…certainly not a passing trend!

    According to Wikipedia:

    Amulets and talismans are often considered interchangeable despite their differences. For example, the amulet is an object with natural magical properties, as opposed to a talisman which must be charged with magical powers by a creator. It is this act of consecration or “charging” that gives the talisman its alleged magical powers. The talisman is always made for a definite reason whereas an amulet can be used for generic purposes such as averting evil or attracting good luck.[2]

    The Seal of Solomon, also known as the interlaced triangle is said to have been the emblem by which the wise king ruled the Genii. As a talisman it was believed all-powerful, being the ideal symbol of the absolute, and was worn for protection against all fatalities, threats, and trouble, and to protect its wearer from all evil.

    Christian talisman (Breverl), 18th century.

    Avert Evil Eye to Ward off Jealousy.



  • Dali, the Iconoclastic Jewelry Designer

    When most of us think Salvador Dali, we think of boldly surreal, flamboyant artwork. But Dali was an incredibly original and prolific jewelry designer as well. His collection currently resides in Dalí-Joies at the Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain.

    All the pieces in the collection are unique items, and the combination of materials, dimensions and shapes used by Salvador Dalí make this a one-off set in which the artist managed to express in a unique way the wealth of his singular iconography. Gold, platinum, precious stones (diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, aquamarines, topazes, etc.), pearls, corals and other noble materials combine to form hearts, lips, eyes, plant and animal forms, religious and mythological symbols and anthropomorphic forms.

    As well as designing the forms of the jewels, Salvador Dalí personally selected each of the materials used, not only for their colours or value but also for their meaning and the symbolic connotations of each and every one of the previous stones and noble metals. Some of the jewels that form part of this collection, such as The Eye of Time (1949), Royal Heart (1953), or The Space Elephant (1961), have become key works and are considered to be as exceptional as some of his paintings.


    The Bleeding World

    The Bleeding World. 18 karat yellow gold; 18 karat white gold; Diamonds (6), diamond cut (round) of 1.5 to 2.5 mm in diameter, approximately; Natural rubies (corundum) (2), irregular shaped fragments (in the shape of teardrops); Pearls (17), of 3.0 to 3.5 mm in diameter

    Tristan and Isolde

    Tristan and Isolde. Technique: 18 karat yellow gold; Platinum; Diamonds (39), diamond cut (round) and 8/8 (the smallest), of 1.0 to 3.0 mm in diameter, approximately; Almandine garnet (1), triangular cabochon

    The Honeycomb Heart

    The Honeycomb Heart. 18 karat yellow gold; On the pin, 13-14 carat yellow gold; Diamonds (13), diamond cut (round) and 8/8, of 1.5 to 3.0 mm in diameter approximately; Natural rubies (corundum), mixed cut (round and oval) of 2.0 to 4.5 mm approximately.

    Ruby Lips

    Ruby Lips. 18 karat yellow gold; Natural rubies (corundum), mixed cut (round and oval), of 2.0 to 4.0 mm, approximately; Pearls (13), of 4.0 to 6.0 mm in diameter, approximately.

    Necklace with Entwined Limbs (Choreographic Necklace)

    18 karat yellow gold (on the figure and on the untied ring); 16 karat yellow gold (on the pieces of the necklace); Natural Amethyst (quartz) (1), fantasy cut (oval) of 50.7 x 46.0 x 26.0 mm, approximately; Natural green sapphire (corundum) (70), mixed cut (oval) of 5 to 9 mm, approximately; Diamonds, diamond cut (round, oval and marquise), of 2 to 6 mm, approximately.

  • Flapper Fashions of the 30’s

    What about this look still maintains its chicness and fun after all these decades? The daring haircuts, the Art Deco jewelry…and of course the swing of the short skirt.

    What were flappers exactly?

    According to Wikipedia:

    Flappers were a “new breed” of young Western women in the 1920s who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles, and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms.[1] Flappers had their origins in the liberal period of the Roaring Twenties, the social, political turbulence and increased transatlantic cultural exchange that followed the end of World War I, as well as the export of American jazz culture to Europe.

    1929 Louise Brooks, The Canary Murder Case

    Longer pearls were fashionable in the early 20’s and became shorter as the decade progressed. Real pearls not necessary.

    Violet Romer in a flapper dress.


    Actress Norma Talmadge.

100 Years in Jewells Business

Today, Joseph Schubach builds upon his family's experience and continues the tradition with Joseph Schubach Jewelers, offering both intimate jewelry brokering in his Scottsdale, Arizona showroom and full-service online sales to clients from around the world, where he has maintained that personal customer connection in the virtual world.

Contact Us

Call Joe, Margie or Jen for expert help at (888) 724-8222