Jewelry Eras Explained


Circa 1714-1830

This jewelry style was named for the four Kings named George who ruled England during this period. The designs are bold, ornate, and symmetrical. Bows and swags were popular motifs, and the techniques of chasing and repoussé were often used. Garnets, topaz, coral, and diamonds were fashionable, set in high karat yellow gold and silver settings. The diamonds in jewelry from this time were usually rose cut or table cut and often foil backed to give them more shine.


Circa 1837-1901

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Victorian jewelry was named after Britain’s Queen Victoria, and includes different styles that were popular during her reign. Sentimental jewelry was in demand and many people had lockets, brooches or pendants made with human hair from loved ones. After Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria wanted to remain fashionable while in mourning and “mourning jewelry” was created using jet and other black materials. Neo-Classical designs based on archeological finds in Greece and Rome were also popular, as well as Egyptian and Assyrian themes. Other recurrent designs included crescent shapes, snakes, and cameos. The gemstones most commonly used in Victorian jewelry were diamonds, jet, garnets, amethyst, coral, turquoise, tortoise shell, and chalcedony, and were often set in silver and yellow gold. Diamonds were usually rose cuts or early brilliant cuts.

Art Nouveau

Circa 1895-1915

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Art Nouveau is French for “new art.” This style was greatly influenced by the Japanese art that was being imported to Europe at the time. It is also seen as an artistic revolt against the mechanical themes and methods of manufacture that came out of the Industrial Revolution. Nouveau designs were more organic and asymmetrical. The jewelry incorporated sweeping and flowing lines with natural motifs such as flowers, insects, birds, and the female form. Diamonds were uncommon in this style and overshadowed by the use of colorful enamels and glass, and gemstones such as pearls, opals, amber, moonstone, tourmaline, amethyst, and chalcedony. Noted Art Nouveau designers were Rene Lalique, a glass designer renowned for his stunning creations of perfume bottles, vases, jewelry, chandeliers, clocks, and, in the latter part of his life, automobile hood ornaments, and Louis Comfort Tiffany, who designed stained glass windows and lamps (hence Tiffany lamps), glass mosaics, blown glass, ceramics, jewelry, enamels and metalwork.


Circa 1901-1915

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This style of jewelry was named for England’s King Edward VII. During his reign, jewelry was flaunted as a statement of wealth. Edwardian jewelry was made using the finest gemstones and precious metals. Use of platinum in jewelry became widespread and was valued not just for its pure color,1 but for its strength as well. Platinum’s strength and durability allowed for more intricate designs and the use of delicate filigree. Edwardian jewelry is distinctive for its white-on-white look using fine platinum filigree set with top quality pearls and diamonds.

Art Deco

Circa 1915-1939

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Art Deco design came into vogue after the end of WWI. The forms were bolder and geometric compared to the delicate Edwardian and flowing Art Nouveau styles that predated Art Deco. Strong, contrasting colors were achieved using richly hued gemstones such as diamonds, black onyx, lapis lazuli, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, jade, turquoise, and coral. Platinum was the most common metal used, but jewelry was also crafted from white gold. Designs were streamlined, linear, and geometric.


Circa 1940s

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During WWII, gemstones and platinum were in short supply so gold and enamel became very popular. Different colors of gold such as rose and green were used along with yellow gold to enhance the design and make up for the lack of color from gemstones. Retro jewelry is characterized by flowers and bows, animal figures, and industrial-inspired designs. Gemstones that were lighter in color such as citrines, aquamarines, and amethysts as well as smaller diamonds, sapphires, and rubies were used sparingly as accents.

Best Proposal Spots in San Diego


Balboa Park

With several museums, theaters, gardens, sports facilities and a zoo, century-old Balboa Park is easily the most popular attraction in the city. The most well liked spaces; especially the Lily Pond and Lagoon adjacent to the Botanical Building are great spots to take a stroll with your loved one. Here you will find that numerous gardens offer intimate spots for a proposal.


Photo Credit to Hotel Del Coronado 



Coronado offers a cozier small-town vibe, and it also has one of the best beaches in the world. Not only can you spend a night at the spectacular Hotel Del Coronado, you can end the evening by taking a Gondola ride through the canals and gently drift toward the sunset as you pop the question with champagne and chocolates discretely packed for after she says yes.


Torrey Pines State Beach

Known as a favorite amongst San Diegans, this summer sunset spot is a visually striking spot to pop the question. If you’re looking for more of an intimate proposal, be adventurous and go along the many paths it offers, but stay on the marked trail. The background to the proposal will include complimentary waves breaking on the rocks, the best amenity to an all-natural setting.



Bertrand at Mr. A’s

While San Diego is home to dozens of fine dining establishments with breathtaking ocean views, the rooftop terrace at Bertrand at Mr. A’s serves up exceptional French influenced American cuisine with a perspective overlooking the entire city. Be pampered with an extremely attentive staff and enticed with the finest cuisine. Toast to new beginnings during an inspiring San Diego sunset from their outdoor, wrap around balcony. Alerting the staff to add extra details can make a positive and lasting impression that you both will cherish and remember along with the magic of your proposal.

Emmy Awards 2016 Favorites!

The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards aired on September 18, 2016 showcasing so many talented and famous celebrities along with their designer jewels! So many brilliant drop earrings and bright two-stone cluster rings were the center of attention amongst many celebrities including many more. We are here to show you a few of our favorite fashion trends revealed that evening and the similar items we have available for you!

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Above we have Ariel Winter looking glamorous wearing Harry Kotlar jewels. To the right we have our new Hearts On Fire® Diamond Destiny Teardrop Halo ring.


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Above we have Liev Schreiber wearing a sleek and classy Tiffany & Co. CT6 3-Hand 40 mm men’s watch in stainless steel with a white dial and black alligator strap. To the right we have a Ball Trainmaster Cleveland Night Express in stainless steel with a white dial and a black alligator strap.

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The gorgeous Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner is seen wearing a Forevermark gold necklace. To the right we have a similar vintage gold 4.70 ctw diamond tennis necklace.

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Kristen Bell walks down the red carpet wearing stunning set of Harry Winston diamond earrings. To the right we have a similar glistening set of Hearts On Fire® 2.25 ctw Diamond Aerial Double Petal Earrings.

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Here we have Connie Britton smiling for the camera wearing an embellished set of Hearts On Fire® diamond bracelets. To match the ensemble, we have a ravishing 7.39 ctw diamond curb link bracelet. 

Top Three Rolex President Watches

Since its introduction in 1956, the inimitable Rolex watch has made an indelible impression in the watch world. After several decades of developments, Rolex perfected one of its most popular styles, the Day-Date, also known as “the President.” Recognized everywhere as the company’s most iconic and luxurious model, it conveys many traits that represent the nickname it was given. This well-known watch was recently made in three different versions. First the original 36mm size, the discontinued 41mm size and the latest, which is a 40mm size. All Day-Date watches are crafted in solid platinum or 18k white, yellow, or rose gold.

President Day-Date 36mm

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A favorite amongst kings and presidents, celebrities, and Rolex enthusiasts, the Day-Date is famous for being the first wristwatch that displayed the day of the week written in full, along with the date and time. That this timeless treasure is still in production today is a testament to its worldly appeal, and makes it the perfect piece for one that truly appreciates traditional values.

President Day-Date II 41mm


Rolex made a larger version called the Day-Date II, launched in 2008. Sized at 41mm, it provides a lavishly bold frame with increased resistance to abrasive shock and magnetic fields. This now-discontinued version is still recognized as a popular choice amongst Rolex aficionados, and pre-owned versions are available at our store.

President Day-Date 40mm

With a redesigned case at 40mm, the 2015 version of the Day-Date features more renovations and its fine details make this Rolex watch shine. The newest Rolex Day-Date is also equipped with the Swiss watchmaker’s latest mechanical automatic movement. This ultimate version provides incredible qualities to admire and reliability to last a lifetime.

Each version of the Rolex Day-Date comprises impressive features to satisfy even the most serious of collectors. Come to Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers to view our constantly updated selection of pre-owned Rolex watches, and treat yourself to a luxurious piece to add to your collection.

Summer Jewelry Trends 2016

This summer dare to wear all the latest trends that are sweeping over the fashion world! There are new trends and old trends to explore this year and many are making a comeback in unique stylish ways! We are excited to offer you a profuse amount of choices and at Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers; we will always have the perfect accessory to add to your collection!


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Statement pieces with a tribal feel bring back that raw contrast from extravagant earrings to intricate necklaces and bracelets.


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Artistic graphic earrings are hot this summer as we bring back the 1960’s. From large oversized hoops to dramatic designs, this season brings a fun and flirty return.


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The unforgettable pearl is a timeless and elegant piece that will forever remain as an eternal fashion statement and shows up yet again in many glamorous necklaces, rings, and earrings.


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Modifying the classic brooch into a new contemporary piece of jewelry has created itself as an accent piece to any outfit.


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In its most raw form, gems have made itself as a stand-out accessory as each piece focuses solely on the beauty of the stone.


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Layering pieces have been another go to fashion from stacking bangles to layering thin rings and necklaces, though these items are tiny in size, they do make just as much of an impact as any other pieces.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas!

This year Father’s Day falls on June 19, 2016 which happens to be right around the corner! What do you plan on giving dad this year? Show some appreciation for dad and surprise him with something special. Here are some great gift ideas!

Come visit our site for a full overview of all the items we have to offer!


Vintage 0.05 CTW Diamond Button Cufflinks

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New Man’s Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto


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New Deakin & Francis Dartington Crystal Decanter

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New Deakin & Francis Credit Card Wallet

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New William Henry Cabernet Collection RB8-11 Pen

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New SureFire UDR Dominator Flashlight

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How Does a Diamond Get Turned Into a Sparkly Stone?

As you may know, diamonds come from mines deep underground; but not everyone realizes the steps and processes each individual stone must go through to make it into a finished piece of jewelry. We are going to explore those processes that take the diamond from a rough, unattractive chunk of stone to a glistening gem that is marveled at by all.

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Diamonds are naturally formed in the shape of an octahedron, or eight-sided crystal and are made solely of the element carbon. A mixture of excessive pressure and high temperature formed the diamond billions of years ago deep underground and it was subsequently brought closer to the earth’s surface by volcanic eruptions that occurred eons ago. A “flawless” diamond had a chemical makeup of only carbon. Impurities in the chemical composition are responsible for giving most diamonds their color. Nitrogen is the most common impurity and is the cause of yellow or brown color found in the stone, whereas the presence of the element boron will make a diamond blue.   Pink diamonds do not attain their hue due to impurities, but rather, it is a structural defect in the crystalline makeup of the diamond that reacts with light and produces those shades. Green diamonds are formed by neither of these; they are colored green through a type of natural radiation within the earth. They are very rare and usually just faintly colored green. The most valuable diamonds are either completely colorless or vivid shades of yellow, pink, or blue. Most diamonds have some amount of color in them, usually a tint of yellow or brown.



Diamonds are primarily mined in Africa, although some smaller caches have been found in Russia, India and North America. When they are mined they go through several sorting procedures to organize them by size. They are then examined by experts to determine whether they are classified as “gem quality” or “industrial quality”. Being that diamond is the hardest natural material known to humankind, industrial quality diamonds are used in applications such as the manufacturing of diamond bit drill parts, abrasives, and saws. Gem quality stones are sold to cutters, primarily located in India, Belgium, Israel, New York, London and Amsterdam where they begin the next step in the transition.


When a stone begins its journey to be a cut gem, it must first go to a “planner,” who carefully studies the natural shape of the rough stone and any inclusions, or flaws, that it may contain, in order to determine the best cut to maximize beauty and profit. Once that person has concluded the analysis, it is onward to the cutting process, where the diamond gets its preliminary shape, and then it’s off to be polished and faceted. The cutting and polishing process is a tedious one, and due to the hard nature of the diamond, it must be polished with diamond abrasives. The polishers will then facet the stone according to proportions, traditional shapes, and practiced methods, taking into consideration any imperfections that remain. Proper faceting techniques maximize the way light travels inside the diamond, producing the sparkle and beauty that we value in a diamond. Once the stone has its shape, facets and polish, it is ready to wholesale to a jeweler who will then set it into a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Diamond with Tweezer

Before a diamond is set into jewelry it will oftentimes be sent to a grading laboratory, such as the Gemological Institute of America, for a grading certificate. Once there, a professional Gemologist will evaluate all aspects of the finished stone and provide its owner with a report of his or her findings in relation to that stone. It will always include the cut, carat weight, color and clarity. It also provides the proportions and features of each stone, including a plotted map of inclusions present or laser inscriptions, if any. These reports are frequently utilized by anyone trying to market the stone, or for a consumer who wishes additional assurances about their purchase.

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When a graded stone is purchased by a jeweler, he or she must determine how to set the stone. Drawings are rendered, measurements and proportions are taken and metals are melted for production. Whether the setting that is chosen is cast or hand-forged, there is still much work that must be done before the project will reach completion. After the jeweler has the basic setting intact and all of the metal has been polished, it is time to set the stone. The jeweler will again measure and drill out a “seat” for the stone to rest in, then carefully bend the prongs over to secure it in place. A final polish and re-check will complete the diamond’s journey from a piece of rough stone from the mine to its new appearance as a finely cut and polished jewel to be enjoyed in all its beauty for years to come.


It’s a Great Time to Sell Your Gold!

You may have seen rising gold prices on the news, and that’s because prices haven’t been this high in over a year! The precious metal went up as much as 1.25%, or $16.75 an ounce, to as high as $1,268.45 according to The Business Insider.

To visually understand how much gold values have risen per ounce, here is a chart from May ’15 to April ’16.


Click here to see most recent stats!


If you’re thinking of selling gold, right now is a great opportunity to bring any of your precious metals. Stop by any of our Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers locations and we’d be happy to assist you:

How to Choose the Best Earrings for Your Face

With all of the earring choices out there in dangles, hoops, chandeliers and drop earrings, it can seem a little overwhelming to choose a style that suits you best! We’ve put together a handy guide for which style of earring is most flattering to every face shape.

A round face loves long, slim earrings to help slim and lengthen. Ovals and rectangles are a better choice than circular earrings for you.



A square face is most flattered by softer edges; stick to round or oval earrings. Hoops look great on you!



Oval faces have it easy – everything looks good on them! Just keep the length of the earring to your chin to avoid making your face look long.



Heart-shaped faces are balanced out by earrings that have more volume on the bottom than the top. Triangular and tear drop earrings are stunning on you!



Too many choices? Don’t worry, a pair of classic diamond studs looks amazing on everyone!



Find all of these, plus a wide selection of other earrings to suit your needs, at Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers.

Rare Pearls from Unusual Sources


When we think of a pearl, we oftentimes conjure up images of hard, white round beads with an iridescent luster, that come from the bivalve known as an oyster. In reality, all mollusks are capable of producing pearls, however, wild pearls are very rare, so most pearls available on the market today are cultured, or farmed, with the help of human intervention. This happens by introducing a foreign body—usually a small bead for cultured pearls, or a pebble or grain of sand in a wild pearl—into the living creature while it is still alive, and waiting for the animal to essentially grow layers of nacre around it, thus creating a pearl. Nacre is the term used to describe the outer layers of the pearl that give it that iridescent luster. Nacre is actually an immune response secreted to protect the organism from injury due to parasites, foreign bodies or physical damage. Once nacre is produced, it forms layers to encapsulate the foreign body, thus producing a pearl. Pearl farmers use that function to their advantage to impregnate the mollusks with tiny beads of mantle tissue from a donor shell, then they wait (6 months all the way up to 7 years for some varieties) for the creature to produce the thin layers of nacre around the bead, in order to generate mass quantities of cultured pearls. The vast majority of most pearls used in jewelry today are cultured.


There are lots of different varieties of pearls available today. Wild (natural) salt water pearls, cultured salt water pearls, freshwater mussel pearls, and cultured freshwater pearls are all very common types of pearls. Some lesser known pearls that stand out for their unique beauty are the quahog pearl and the conch pearl. Let’s explore those last two.1024px-Pearl-variety_hg

A quahog is a hard shelled clam that is native to the New England waters of the northeast United States. Quahog shells fashioned into beads were used for hundreds of years by the Native Americans as wampum, or money, with the bright purple hues equaling the most value. Occasionally a bit of debris or a foreign body will enter the quahog’s shell and in reaction, it will start producing nacre to protect it from the invading material. The end result is a beautiful purplish pearl that can vary in degrees of color intensity. Since they are rare and no known cultured quahog pearls have been produced, they are quite expensive. Many of these pricy finds have been discovered by accident—usually while eating a meal prepared with the meat found inside the quahog!


A conch pearl is a little bit different. It comes from the marine gastropod known as the Queen Conch, hailing from the warm waters surrounding the Caribbean. These pearls do not have nacre—they instead have a porcelain- like finish and come in a range of colors from white to brown to orange, and their most prized colors, vibrant hues of reds and pinks. Conch pearls are formed by concentric layers of fibrous crystals that give them their unique flame- like appearance, so while these beauties are technically considered pearls, and they are form in a similar way, they have a very different luster. Since the conch produces these pearls deep inside its shell, it is not possible for scientists to culture a conch pearl without harming the animal.


Quahog and conch pearls are valuable in their own right because they are rare and are not created with the help of humans, unlike cultured pearls. They are produced strictly by nature, so to come across one of these exquisite treasures can be truly special.