Saturday, December 5, 2009

So Soon?

Time flies when you are having fun, right?
The Uniti auction closed last week, and with the anticipation and adrenaline constantly building, it was starting to feel like the end would never come.

We are so grateful to all of the artists who donated their time and materials to create a piece - be sure to check out these talented individuals here.

But - and there is always a but - not all of the pieces sold. With Christmas upon us, we have decided to put these pieces up for sale, with 100% of the sales going to the Red Door Family Shelter.

Therese Cruz created one of the most striking pieces to be included in this auction, both in shape and texture.

Embrace Cuff was inspired by the multicultural fabric Therese and her celebrity collaborator Paula Brancati believed existed at the core of the Toronto community.

Hand constructed from silver, copper, and 14k yellow gold. This piece is available for purchase at 18Karat for $950.

And remember 100% of the sales go directly to the Red Door Family Shelter.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Uniti Collection Enters the Home Stretch....

Who would have thought we would be at this point.. already.. so soon?
After months of hard work and determination and surprises and wonderful opportunities, the Uniti Collection comes to an end tomorrow at 2pm.

We are anxiously waiting, squinting our eyes and pretending not to look, as the online auction enters the last 24 hours. Remember, all of these pieces have been donated by the artists who created them and every sale goes directly to the Red Door Family Shelter - helping the families who need it most this holiday season.

A beauty for you jewellery box or a spectacularly unique present, don't forget to check out these pieces.
Go directly to the auction by clicking here.

Designer Samantha Hawkes in collaboration with Raymond Ablack (Degrassi: Next Generation)Designer Dino Giannetti in collaboration with Dina Pugliese (Breakfast Television)
Designer Suzanne Crudden in collaboration with Jonas Chernick (The Border)Designer Meghan Schnarr in collaboration with Lead and Gordon Pinsent (Canadian Acting Dynasty)
Designer Kim Drosdick in collaboration with Aaron Pritchett (Country Music Star)

Don't forget... Time's a tickin'!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Presenting new designer Carmen Tam.

With the Uniti Collection counting down its last few days, I thought it would be a good idea to take a break from the bids and the paddle numbers to present you the latest addition to the 18Karat list of local designers.

Carmen Tam is a recent graduate from George Brown's Jewellery Arts program, and has been working at the Organic Metal Gallery on College Street.

Carmen has a graphic style and geometric sensibility that inhibits each piece. Currently we have a matching set of silver and garnet, necklace and earrings (pictured to the right and bellow).

(Hand made Sterling Silver and Garnet Earrings, $268)

(Handmade Sterling and Garnet Necklace, $165)

Perhaps my favorite piece in her collection, are the pair of earrings to the right. The interesting thing about these sterling silver beauties, it that they are adjustable. Each circular disk is attached to the next via a double-ended screw top attachment, meaning you can remove links or re-arrange their order however you see fit. Despite their size, they are remarkably light-weight.

(Sterling Silver adjustable disk earrings

Just a reminder, the Uniti Collection jewellery auction ends at 2pm on November 26th. Remember, all funds raised go directly to the Red Door Family Shelter

Thursday, November 19, 2009

18Karat goes live...

Over the next week you can expect the blog post to come short and fast, as the flurry of activity related to the Uniti Collection grows.... (1 WEEK TO GO!!!)

But tomorrow morning, between 11 and 12, 2/4 of 18Karat will be live on CIUT 89.5fm
on a program titled, Career Buzz, where we will chat about the Uniti Collection
and the exciting things our shop gets up to.

Super excited!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Degrassi Next Generation Stars talk Uniti

Today the CTV website published a great article about The Uniti Collection and the two Degrassi stars who have been involved with our campaign. It was also great that the article featured the two artist who created these pieces, and aren't they lovely pieces..
Check out the article here..

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Uniti Collection - Launched!!

Where do the hours go in a day?
Where do the days go in a week?

Our jewellery auction in benefit of the Red Door Family Shelter is up and running, and will continue until November 26th.

The Uniti Collection isn't just about pretty and precious gems - every piece is inspired by the people closest to our hearts: our parents, our children, our spouses, and our friends - the community we all belong to.

Every piece in this collection has been donated by the artist who created it, and the sales from each piece will go directly to the Red Door Family Shelter.

For a list of the designers and celebrities who have collaborated on this piece, and to view each beautiful creation (and where to place a bid.. hint... hint..) visit

All of these pieces will be on display at 18Karat throughout the auction.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Uniti Uniti + The Weston Family.

Shelly Purdy is one of Toronto's most talented jewellery artists, and why wouldn't she be, she apprenticed here at 18Karat.

When Uniti was in it's cellular stage, Shelly was key in helping us brainstorm, so we were thrilled when she was matched up with Alexandra Weston, to create a piece that would represent the Weston family and their perspective on family and community.

Leave it to Shelly to take a lot of great process shots..

(Alexandra at Shelly's studio)

Having recently started her own family, Alexa
ndra chose stacking rings to symbolize family,

"I wanted to design a ring because for me, in keeping with tradition, a ring symbolizes love and commitment through all good and bad & the strength it takes to keep one's love strong through it all. It can be seen as a commitment to one's family. Having a ring that is two parts represented the caregiver and those more dependent & sheltered. We wanted the ring to be stackable as a family should be able to grow."
- Alexandra Weston
(Loose Aquamarines)

Shelly has a popular line of Achievement Rings, and was inspired to create a piece for Uniti that carried those ideas forward,

"The Achievement Rings Collection was inspired from a need to recognize the daily small stuff that over time builds into a family's legacy. It's what mothers are made of. These aquamarine stacking rings are little trophies to remind us of our greater purpose. Precious reminders that among the miserable weather days, the flat hair, and stupidly hard days, that tehre have also been times when we have shined brightly... days to cherish so that we can spring from them with a quiet confidence of wonderfully sunny days ahead" - Shelly Purdy

Check out Shelly's Achievement Rings for Uniti here.

Check out Shelly's work here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Uniti Uniti Uniti + Elvis Stojko

We were very excited to hear that World Champion Figure Skater Elvis Stojko was interested in participating in our jewellery arts auction – even more excited when I learned that his designer would be yours truly.

And now for a little selfish blogging....

It has been a year since we started blogging, bringing you the in's and the out's of Toronto's jewellery arts scene from the perspective of our little family run shop. But how much do you really know about your lead blogger.... me?

A whole lot more now.

As a multi-disciplinary artist, jewellery design is my latest venture. Having focused primarily on drawing and printmaking, the challenge of designing in the three-dimensional is a challenge I have met gladly, although there are some bleaker moments. Now, as a member of the 18Karat family, I am learning how to turn pen and paper into metal and stone.

Early in September, I met with Elvis Stojko as he was performing at the CNE to discuss the jewellery piece we were set to collaborate on for our Uniti jewellery auction.

I was a little surprised by how many ideas Elvis already had, and we soon came up with the basis that would form a very lovely pendant.

The reoccurring theme from our meeting was the idea that family and community shape you into the person you become - protecting and pushing us forward.

Above, you can see the process of cutting and shaping a piece of rose quartz that will fit into the center of the pendant, flanked on both sides by black onyx.

The Uniti auction begins November 12th, with the pieces being on display at our shop, and up for auction via Waddington's online auction.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Amy Kovach – Uniti Designer

Electric excitement is zipping through 275 Dundas Street West, and no it has nothing to do with the rainstorm hitting the streets outside. No this excitement is all about the young jewellery artists creating beautiful gems that are due to begin arriving any day now.

But until they do, perhaps a little teaser - another little peek into what these very talented individuals have in store for us in the upcoming Uniti auction.

Amy Kovach has a keen eye for graceful organic shapes with an obvious appreciation for the simplicity found in nature. A few months ago, Amy met with singer Justin Hines, with popular songs 'Wish You Well' and 'Say What You Will'.

Amy's piece will be a stacking three-band ring that symbolizes what family and community means to both Amy and Justin.

A little birdy told us that this piece is ready and on its way to our shop. Hands up who's excited?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Uniti - Darlene Martin meets Jenn Valentyne

Yesterday was the last day of our Emerge exhibit, marking the end of a straight 7months of exhibits featuring local artists in our shop. During the month of October, we will not be hosting a show, as we prepare for Uniti.

So while we are busy at work, we thought we would show another designer busy putting her piece together for the charity auction in benefit of the Red Door Family Shelter.

Darlene Martin was the first designer to be featured in our shop and has done a lot to bring this auction to life. Last week she met with Jenn Valentyne from Breakfast Television, and is busy creating a piece that symbolizes family and community to them both.

The colour green is at the core of this piece, as it symbolizes to both Darlene and Jenn life, family, and home.

As we get closer to the auction date, the anticipation is growing as we wait to have all of these beautiful pieces in our shop.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thank you to everyone who wrote in with such warm words of kindness and encouragement after listening to our short feature on the CBC. Feeling like celebrities for a day was a new feeling for us here at 18Karat.

But the good news doesn't end there as the designers working with us in our Uniti campaign continue to send in their sketches and discuss their projects with us.

You might remember Therese Cruz, one of the young artists we are currently featuring in our shop. Therese met with Paula Brancati of Degrassi and Dark Oracle fame, and is now creating a piece of jewellery that symbolizes what family and community mean to them both.

Therese liked the idea of creating a bangle because of how closely it sits on the body, entwining and encircling the wrist.

The inspiration for this cuff comes from the different threads that create a piece a fabric; many pieces coming together to create a whole. For both Therese and Paula, this action of coming together was key to both a successful community and a happy family.

Using copper, silver, and gold, this piece is sure to be a stunner.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Look Who's Talking Now............

We are!!
This morning the CBC aired a truly wonderful piece on our little shop.
Who would have thought they could pack so much punch into a 7 minute segment, but boy are we overjoyed.

Thanks to Mary Wiens and the CBC!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Uniti - A spotlight on local artists.

Canadian artists are amazing!
If you didn't already know this, you soon will.

Meghan Lynn Schnarr only recently graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design, specializing in Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing, but already her work has been featured in galleries all over Ontario.

"As I studied and learned more about design and fabrication, I became interested in the intimacy of creating something to be worn on the body and its connection to the wearer.

When people see my work, I would like them to be curious about the stories that inspire it and the people and places it celebrates."

Meghan's keen sense on the personal connection we attach the jewellery, and its ability to preserve memory, made her the best candidate to meet with Gordon and Leah Pinsent to create a piece for Uniti.

Gordon and Leah saw Uniti as a way to pay tribute to their wife and mother Charmion King, and Meghan was the perfect designer to make this desire a reality.

Can't wait to see this piece!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Going Places....

Although months in the making, it seems about time for me to mention our upcoming event - one like no other. Currently we are organizing Uniti - Uniting Toronto for Families, a charity auction to benefit the Red Door Family Shelter.
Silent auction? Oh so - 'been there done that'.

Well.... not this one.

Unlike other auctions where the hold overs from last seasons/years/decades collection are auctioned off. For Uniti, each piece is being made especially.

It doesn't stop there however, each piece is a collaboration between a local designer and a local celebrity. Together they use their ideas of family and community to form the basis of a jewellery piece that will be donated, and then sold during our silent auction.
Who are these designers, and who are these celebs?

Our first match up was with Meghan Schnarr, an excellent young designer, and Gordon Pinsent and his daughter Leah, who are using this as an opportunity to pay tribute to their wife and mother, Charmion King.

Our second, was with the very talented Amy Kovach, and singer Justin Hines.

Our third, was with Therese Cruz, a recent graduate from George Brown's Jewellery Arts program and a featured artist in our shop, with Paula Brancati from Degrassi Next Generation and Dark Oracle.

Our fourth, with Samantha Hawkes, also a recent graduate and featured artist, with Raymond Ablack, also from Degrassi.

But that's not all. Just a little tease.
Let's see where it goes!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Last But Certainly Not Least...

As the first half of our Emerge exhibit comes to a close, we would like to introduce you to the fifth and final designer we have been featuring at 18Karat.

So please welcome...
Samantha Hawkes.

Born into an artistic family, Samantha inherited a deep appreciation for creativity and a true respect for artists. Samantha drove into the creative world at a young age, exploring various forms of art and media.

She has left little in the artistic world unexplored, having ventured into fashion design, music and countless forms of visual art. With a keen eye and a strong aesthetic, she first explored jewellery design through the beading world. Having developed her skill in jewellery design, Samantha finds great satisfaction in the creative process and artistic liberty which the field provides.

14k yellow gold, fine silver

Necklace and Earring Set
14k yellow gold, fine silver,
cubic zirconia

"The endless possibilities and the infinite potential of exploration and inspiration are what fuel my passion for jewellery and creativity.

I draw inspiration from the balance of nature and movement, in combination with contemporary forms and objects which surround me in my daily environment."

Thanks to everyone who came out to support these young artists during the reception. It was especially memorable for the music stylings of the Jessica Stuart Few, who impressed us all with their amazing sound.

Emerge runs until the end of September, so come on down and take a look at these exquisite pieces.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

And A Warm Hello To....

The reception we hosted for our young designers was certainly a success, thanks in no small part to the musical stylings of the Jessica Stuart Few, and the team of supporters from George Brown College.

But more of that later. Let me introduce our fourth designers... Ji-Sung Han.

Born in Busan, South Korea, Ji-Sung found her first love of crafting in origami - folding coloured paper into flowers, animals, and decorative pieces.

After moving to Canada in 1998, her artistic impulses re-emerged, and she entered George Brown's J
ewellery Arts Program after graduating High School.

Rose Rings
18k yellow gold, sterling silver,

Rose Necklace
18k yellow gold, 14k yellow gold
sterling silver, pearls

Ji-Sung's work reflects and explores the relationship between flowing lines and evocative curves.

"My favourite piece in this collection, is the Rose Ring. This was the final piece that I constructed, I wanted to create my collection as a set, so naturally the Rose Ring complimented the other pieces beautifully. It is the ideal piece because all the knowledge I gained about gold, silver, and anticlastic forming."

And I think we would have to agree with her, these rings are stunning. And lucky for us, they are on display and for sale at our shop.

Thanks to everyone who came out to support these designers, and to everyone who has stopped by to take a look. These pieces will be on display until the end of September.

Don't forget to leave us a comment, and tell us what you think!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Please Welcome...

Our Emerge exhibit has entered it's second week and I am pleased to introduce you to our third young designer – Margo Glenn.

Margo is from a small farming community in South-western Ontario. She globe trotted extensively before studying Jewellery Arts at George Brown, and will be starting her Masters Degree in Architecture in September.

Drop Earrings
14k white and yellow gold, diamonds

She is inspired by nature, the innate qualities of the material at hand, and the introspective and expressive journey of creation. She works in gold, silver, copper, and has developed a unique line of jewellery based on an ancient leather hardening technique.

Anwedah Necklace
14k white and yellow gold,

Perhaps her most ambitious piece, titled Anwedah, is a celebration of her Aunt's journey with Bariatric Surgery. Created in 14 karat yellow and white gold and diamonds, it contains a mechanical clasp, hand-made chain, and computer modeled components.

The wings of the butterfly move individually, and glitter with eight diamonds.

"Not only was this piece emotionally challenging to design, but it was by far the most complex and difficult piece I have created."

Margo's work will be on display as part of our Emerge exhibit which runs from August 1- September 30.

18Karat will be hosting a reception for this event on August 13th from 5pm-8pm. Not only will the designers be in-store, we are also happy to announce that the Jessica Stuart Few will be providing the live soundtrack to the event.
Drop by for an evening of local art, music, and unbridled creativity!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Readers, May I Present...

All five of our young designers have dropped off their jewellery at 18Karat and we are busy constructing new displays to accomodate all of their - sometimes uniquely formed - pieces.

Today, I would like to introduce you to.... Therese Cruz

For Therese Cruz, pursuing a career in jewellery started as a childhood hobby in the Philippines collecting 'fancy' costume jewellery given to her by her father.

When she moved to Canada, it gradually developed into a liking for art and design as a whole, and the technical aspects related to it.

It pushed her to get into George Brown College's Jewellery Arts program after highschool.
She currently resides in Toronto.

Furturist Manifesto Ring
18karat white and yellow gold

Firecrackers Pop Brooch
Sterling silver

"I explore the different dimensions and expressions created by lines. The pieces I create are a multitude of rather geometric forms, with a contrast of matte and high polished finishes. I consider my jewellery miniature sculptures displayed on the body"

These pieces only represent a fraction of the work Therese will be showing during Emerge, and isn't it tantalizing?

Emerge begins August 1st and continues until the end of September. A reception will be hosted at 18Karat on August 13th, at 5pm. Stay tuned for more!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Let Me Introduce...

With only a few weeks to go before August, we can barely contain our excitement.

Is it because of the warm reds and oranges of a late summer?
Hot muggy breezes mixing with brisk ones...?

Or, is it because August marks the beginning of Emerge a group show featuring the work of 5 very talented recent graduates from George Brown's jewellery design program. Every week leading up to the reception (August 13th), I will be introducing you to one of these artists.

So get ready.
Today, let me introduce you to..... Shannon Clay.

Growing up in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Shannon was always surrounded by artists - print makers, traditional sewers, carvers, and jewellers. It was the sense of creating – the tactility of construction with bare hands – that drew Shannon towards the arts.

Croissant Earrings -
Fine Silver, 14k Yellow Gold
Wash Behind Your Ears -
Sterling Silver, Soapstone, Serpentine

"Taking for granted the opportunity to express myself boundlessly, I have created pieces which show my unrestrained imagination and creativity.
I have taken inspiration from the Viking tradition, Inuit carving traditions, modern techniques in jewellery production, metal forging techniques as well as my own mortality."

These pieces only represent a fraction of the work Shannon will be showing during Emerge, and isn't it tantalizing?

Emerge begins August 1st and continues until the end of September. A reception will be hosted at 18Karat on August 13th, at 5pm. Stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Where DOES the time go?

My oh my, the summer is at its peak already and it has been a month since my last post.
I think some of our readers were thinking we had given up this ol' internet game.
Not true.

We have just been super duper, extra-ordinarily crazy, busy. Conjuring up another 6months of exciting events - trying to do our part to put Toronto on the world's jewellery map.
Not an easy feat, but an exciting one.

We have entered our second and final month of the Mosaics exhibit, featuring Turkish designer Murat Tunc. On June 25th, we even hosted a reception that allowed us the oppurtunity to meet some interesting people and to learn a little bit more about Turkey, (especially what's good to eat and drink.. mostly drink).

My favorite pieces, have always been the rings. They are chalk full of detail and intricacy, and they are unlike anything I have ever seen. So bear with me, as I take this time to do a little ode, to the ring...

24ct. gold plated-silver rings, featuring remarkable and intricate hand-painted porcelain squares. This reminds me of the intricate needlepoint that your grandmother, or great-grandmother used to do. Murat is all about the details.

What I have enjoyed most about this exhibit, is getting a better insight into Turkish art and design. I never realized how little I knew about this country. Istanbul is really a cultural crossroads, combining Persian, Greek, Roman, and Asian influences that create a beautiful aesthetic.
This ring is certainly one of my favorites, with a floral pattern that seems entrenched in Persia.

Not only does Murat design and manufacture each of these pieces, but he also carves each cameo he uses.

While Murat's work is inspired by many different cultural and historical aspects, his cameos are all inspired by famous Greek and Roman forms. Focusing mainly on the Gods and Goddesses.

It has been great having Murat's work at 18Karat. His unique aesthetic has really taken off, and we are excited to see where this artists goes from here.
Mosaics runs until the end of July, and we will be keeping a select line at our store into the future.

Monday, June 8, 2009

tradition + culture + history = Mosaics Exhibit

We are busy little bees over here at the shop, and isn't it exciting to have so much good stuff in the works. So forgive us if we took a little longer to announce our new designer showcase...

For the next two months we will be featuring Murat Tunc, a recently arrived Turkish sculpture/artist/jeweller/designer who creates some truly captivating pieces.

Murat's work is characterized by a meticulous attention to detail, the under-side of each ring, bracelet, and pendant is as beautiful as the top.

His work features porcelain disk which are painstakingly (to say the least) created.. dot by dot by dot. They are then fired at over 3000 degrees to ensure a long life.

But the show stoppers are really the rings - faceted quartz, from lemon to smoky to clear, with rubies or emeralds underneath that create excellent light play. It's really one of those.. seeing is believing.. sort of things.

Mosaics explores how tradition, culture, and history combine to shape our future and the way we express ourselves. Murat's work is the amalgamation of this idea, swirls of Greek, Persian, and Byzantine aesthetics blend and collide in each piece he creates.

For more information visit our website,
We will be hosting a reception for Murat on Wedneday June 25th from 5pm - 8pm at our shop on Dundas Street West, Toronto.

Let us know what you think and post a comment!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Remember that gem?

Mother's Day brought with it a super 18Karat-meets-Bijouxbead promotion.. remember that stellar necklace by Darlene Martin...
If not, here it is gracing the very lovely neck of Whitney, our winner, who just received it via snail-mail.
Congratulations again to Whitney. Couldn't imagine that gem finding a better home.

So Pretty!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Don't forget.... Metamorphosis Exhibit is two days away!

Just a reminder to everyone who loves the hand-crafted -
Lara Bazant will be in our shop Wednesday May 27th from 5pm to 8pm to meet and discuss her work.
You may remember a previous entry we did on Lara, but if you don't - here's a little recap.

Using reclaimed, natural, and fair trade materials sourced from all over the world, Lara Bazant aims to fuse global sustainability with a unique and individual sense of style.
We hope to see you Wednesday to help support this local and ethically minded artist.

We appreciate everyone who stops by and encourages local art to grow!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Meet Alex..

You may have never met, but let me introduce you to one of the most expensive gemstones commercially available – Alexandrite. Not only can top quality alexandrite sell for over $100,000 a carat.

This beauty is remarkable for its seemingly magical colour changing capabilities - especially higher end stones - from an emerald green to a plum red.

A variety of chrysoberyl, (derived the Greek chrysos and beryllos meaning 'a gold-white spar' and not to be confused with beryl - those are emeralds and aquamarines to name a few) alexandrite is the result of a small scale replacement of aluminum by chromium oxide, a process which results in its stunning colour change. Green by daylight and red by incandescent - it's like having two stones in one.

This stone apparently acquired its name when Finnish mineralogist Nils Gustaf Nordenskiol discovered the gem upon the sixteenth birthday of the future Tsar, Alexander II of Russia.

The most stunning examples still come from Russia, specifically the Ural Mountains... but don't be fooled the fakers still run rife. Some lab-grown (synthetic) stones are actually corundum lanced with various chemicals such as vanadium or colour-changing spinel. Like always folks, if one of the most expensive stones is selling for a super deal..... too good to be true.

Recently we had a beautiful 1.05ct. alexandrite come through the shop, and honestly... what photos can't capture. As the stone dazzles, flecks of red, green, and plum compete for your attention in the most breath-taking way.

Between you and me... diamonds are soooo boring in comparison!

Monday, May 11, 2009

and the winner is.........

...... (drum roll) ......
...... (which continues) .........
Whitney from Virginia!

Look at us, making friends all over the world.

Thanks to everyone who took part, and especially to Bijouxbead for entrusting us with her lovely treasures.

So stick around, because you never know when the Give-Away Spirit might return to 18Karat!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Here Comes the Bride.

Engagement season has been in full swing over at 18Karat – and the gents were lacking in imagination.

Why not give you a gander at two very different, but very stunning beauties. (Our fingers are crossed for you boys!)

A gorgeous cushion cut diamond sitting upon a truly beautiful hand engraved shank; set with diamonds of course.

A lovely princess cut diamond sit atop a tapered shank with 2 trilliant diamonds flanking it.

Aren't they pretty.. Let us know & leave a comment!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Liar Liar Pants on Fire: Imitation, Synthetic, and other Man-Made Gemstones

As with anything worth a pretty penny, gems (especially the big '4' – diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and rubies) are prone to imitation and... 'dark-dealings', (ooh yes, I said it.. dark dealings.)

So when putting down a large wad of cash on that which twinkles.. make sure, as always.. that you are dealing with a reputable and trusted jeweller. And remember – if it seems too good to be true, it always is.

Synthetic Stones

These stones are laboratory grown stones that exhibits essentially the same physical, optical, and chemical properties as their natural counterparts.
Formed under laboratory conditions, these stones are created using extreme pressure and heat.

While these gems are much, much cheaper then their natural counterparts (which is often the tip off that something just doesn't smell right) they are usually more expensive when compared to other fakers.

Imitation Stones

These stones are not necessarily laboratory grown stones, but are materials used to replicate the appearance of a costly stone, without having the same chemical composition. This ranges from stones such as synthetic white sapphire and cubic zirconia in place of a diamond to ceramics and glass. The history of imitation stones dates back hundreds of years, and of course we are all familiar with the rhinestone - originally crystal found along the Rhine that evolved into glass with a metallic backing.

Assembled Stones

This method is often reserved for specific types of gem stones, specifically opals and turquoise. Assembled stones are exactly as they sound – multiple layers or combinations of manufactured and/or natural materials fused, bonded, of joined together to imitate the appearance of a natural gemstone. In the case of an opal, it can exist as a solid stone, a doublet, or a triplet.
Doublet - when two layers (a black backing often made from plastic, glass, or inexpensive black potch and a thin layer of opal) are glued or fussed together.
Triplet - when three layers (a black backing often made from plastic, glass, or inexpensive black potch, a thin middle layer of opal, topped with a clear glass, quartz, or plastic) are glued or fussed together.
Reconstructed Turquoise - Pulverized turquoise that is fussed together.

All in all.. these man-made gems are worth next to nothing. With absolutely no resale value, unless they are of historical importance.. or are set in a gold or platinum setting, (and yes.. they do exist..) and then, they are only worth their setting.

**Don't forget to subscribe to this blog before the 10th to be included in our Mother's Day draw... Good Luck to those who have!**

Saturday, May 2, 2009

M E T A M O R P H O S I S Exhibit.

May breezes bring in more then the summer ladies and gentlemen, they have also brought us this months featured designer – Lara Bazant.

[As a side note, can I just add how talented all those thousands of Etsy-ers are? First Darlene, then Inna, and now Lara. But you already knew that right..?]

For Lara, years of travel have culminated in jewellery that has been inspired by every unique country and its tradition, culture, and aesthetic. Using fair trade, natural, and reclaimed materials sourced from all over the world, Lara Bazant combines global sustainability with individual style.

Be sure to drop by 18Karat to view some of these interesting and well-traveled pieces –
especially the Fair Trade Kazuri beads (made in a community of single mother's outside of Nairobi $34-$60) and the adorable bamboo button rings ($12), not to mention the one-of-a-kind necklaces that also function as a bracelet with a few clicks of the clasp.

A reception will be held May 27th at 5pm. Drop by to meet the artist and view the exhibit. Support local artists!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mother's Day G I F T I N G

To celebrate not only mother's and mum's but all of the strong women who have helped form us, 18Karat and Bijouxbead have teamed up to say Thank You!

Starting today, subscribers to our blog.. (this very one!).. will have a chance to win a one-of-a-kind necklace designed and crafted by Darlene Martin of Bijouxbead herself.

Have My Eye On You (pictured above and valued at $190) will be given to one lucky subscriber or follower on our Mother's Day Draw to be held May 10th.

One more time.. For those in the back..
Subscribe to our blog here.. and this baby could be yours.

(Also.. if subscribing .. make sure to follow up with the link that is emailed to you to confirm your subscription, or else... you won't be verified!)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Organic Simplicity - ReceptionR E C A P P E D

Thanks to everyone who came out last night for our Organic Simplicity reception. We love getting to meet local artists and jewellers –– and they abounded last night.

If you missed it, don't fret!
We will continue to feature Inna's work until the end of this month, and we will continue to carry her pieces into the future.

So a big thank-you to Inna and don't forget to check out her work at

And now... for some pictures.

Don't underestimate the complications of window dressing.. Visual merchandising is tough.. but it turned out great.

Inna, chatting with a fellow jewellery designer.

Inna and Vanessa – winding down the reception.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Organic Simplicity - Reception

Put on your party shoes because 18Karat is hosting a reception in honour of Inna Gorshtein.

On April 23, from 5pm - 8pm, drop by the shop to meet the artist and view the pieces on display.
For more information, visit or call 416-593-1648.

We have enjoyed having this artists work on display, so drop by and support Toronto's amazing artisans.