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Article by: Jimmy Smith

Kronaby Sekel 41mmHaving been a part of the jewelry trade for nearly 21 years I’m probably a little more “old school’ than I care to admit. So when we were approached by a longtime acquaintance proposing that Levy’s carry smart watches I cringed and escaped the conversation with cat like reflexes! 

You see, my father put my first watch on my wrist when I was only eight years old and still today it’s something I don’t leave home without. I love the craftsmanship of mechanical timepieces, vintage or modern. Classic dials, sweeping motion of the hands, intricate workings of the movements down to the tiniest, yet important parts. I have always had a soft spot for all things horological as do many in this industry. To think of wearing a watch that “isn’t a watch”, doesn’t function like one and comes from the same company that may manufacture my television just seems sacrilegious.

So with all of these predisposed notions, in comes Kronaby Sweden, a designer and manufacturer of a proprietary movement that is better described as a “hybrid timepiece” rather than “smart watch”. Upon picking it up I was impressed the weighty feel of a solid, stainless steel case with a refined, almost retro look to the dial. Needless to say my opinion began to sway. The look of the watch is on par with many fine timepieces as well as popular styles. A representative for another watch brand actually mistook the personal one I’m wearing now (spoiler alert) for a beautiful Panerai!

The Apex 43mm that has been on my wristAll production and assembly is done in house for Kronaby, from movements, to cases and dials. This ensures the highest standards are met so each will be an elegant, timeless and durable watch meant to stand the test of time. Featuring machine turned dials, sapphire crystals, stainless steel bodies and bracelets, some with rich color finishes and white stitched genuine leather straps, they have a very desirable look.

But, the movement is the real star of the show. Each watch features traditional analog timekeeping as well as multiple connectivity functions for modern convenience. I’ve been wearing the Apex model, which is a 43 millimeter round case with a handsome black leather strap. Initially it resembles a typical chronograph with a main crown and two push actuators. The function of these can be set with the Kronaby app which is compatible with Apple IOS as well as Android devices.

The home screen that displays when you connect your watch to the appUpon downloading the app you are prompted to enable Bluetooth on your device and depress the crown on the timepiece. This will “pair” them and begin your experience. Once paired, you will follow simple step by step calibrations and your time will automatically set for you. The functions are in the app listed under “watch face” and pushers”. When you select “watch face” you will be given choices for Date and Daily 100. It’s as easy as touching the function you would like and dragging it in place to begin use. After setting your options, depress the crown and the hands jump into action to indicate date using the markers on the dial or displaying whichever function you choose.

The Apex has a sub-dial at the bottom which also has functions listed under “watch face”. You are given the same choices in addition to a second time zone setting, useful for frequent travelers. If you select the Daily 100 (I use this one every day) the sub-dial will track steps during the day and you can check total progress in the app.

 

Drag and drop options make it easy to manage the functions controlled by the watchThe “pushers” have several interchangeable features as well. Using the same “click and drag” system within the app you can set your Kronaby to control music and volume on your device. There is also a find phone function, “remember this spot” which can drop a “pin” to save a location in maps, and a camera remote feature. You can also pair with another device and using the “walk me home” option someone can be tracked to ensure safe travel between locations. This is an unbelievably useful tool for someone who has children, like myself. Lastly, the IFTTT gives your Kronaby, when paired with a hub device such as Alexa, the ability to manipulate household operations like turning lights and alarms off or on, opening garage doors, locking doors and other functions that gadget fans will enjoy.

 

There is also a feature for “filtered notifications” within the app. This provides your timepiece the ability to notify you of texts and phone calls from everyone or select persons you choose which you can also be declined from your watch. Chosen people can also be prioritized to give you one of three vibration alerts from the watch.

Set your own custom notifications for phone calls, text messages, social media, specific people and much moreThe app itself gives you activity trackers which tell you total steps taken in a day, provides information for “pins” placed or tracking. They even have a locator built in that will find your watch if misplaced or stolen! The app is kept up to date by Kronaby which updates functions on the watch simultaneously. This prevents the need to buy another one in the future since it’s always providing current features. There is no need to charge a Kronaby like other smart watches since it uses a lithium 2032 battery which can be changed at most fine jewelers. Kronaby even warranties the movement portion for two years, whereas other smart watches give you at most one year of service.

Coming in 38 to 43mm sizes, they are the same dimensions as other smart watches. With the classic look of a stunning timepiece combined with such convenient features and impressive construction, Kronaby has far exceeded my expectations. This could well be the perfect blend of a traditional and modern timepiece that anyone can appreciate.

 

Having been a part of the jewelry trade for nearly 21 years I’m probably a little more “old school’ than I care to admit. So when we were approached by a longtime acquaintance proposing that Levy’s carry smart watches I cringed and escaped the conversation with cat like reflexes! 

Article by: Joseph Denaburg

Engagement rings have been a tradition in many parts of the world since Austria’s Archduke Maximillian gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring in 1477. The wealthy classes thought that it was a great idea and soon men all over Europe were presenting their betrothed with diamond rings when they became engaged. However, due to the rarity of the stone only the very rich could afford to buy them. Nowadays, engagement rings are almost as common as marriage itself, and many people prefer the uniqueness and character that antique engagement rings offer as a symbol of their love.

THE GEORGIAN ERA

For an engagement ring to be considered antique, it must date back at least 100 years, but they can date back many hundreds of years. The emergence of jewelry made from precious stones dates back to the Georgian era in England (1714-1837) when King George I-IV were at the throne. Jewelry from this era made from precious stones typically embraces a nature theme making use of designs such as feathers, foliage, and crescents. Pearls and other gemstones were very common during this time period and diamonds became much more prevalent with the discovery of mines in India and Brazil.

THE VICTORIAN ERA

The Victorian era (named after Victoria, Queen of England) sparked the next major shift in the creation of beautiful pieces of jewelry. During the Early Victorian era (1837-1855) coral and seed pearls were very popular additions to jewelry; diamonds and opals (which happened to be the Queen’s favorite) were also popular, and the abundance of colorful gemstones made jewelry an affordable luxury for most people. Following the death of Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, the Mid-Victorian era (1856-1880) is represented by dark mournful jewelry made from black enamel, onyx, and other dark stones. Influenced by the unearthing of Pompeii, the Late Victorian era (1885-1900) saw an abundance of sapphires and opals, as well as the continued popularity of diamonds and pearls.

The Late Victorian era saw a change in culture that allowed for the concept of engagement rings to catch on like never before. In 1879, several diamond mines were discovered in South Africa and henceforth, diamonds became the most popular decorative jewelry stone in the world. As the supply increased the stones stayed popular and valuable but people of more modest means were able to afford to buy diamonds. The tradition of the engagement rings was now within reach of ordinary people.

THE EDWARDIAN ERA

Engagement rings are a symbol of love that have been bringing people together for centuries. This special event should require a special ring to mark the connection that you and your spouse will share for the rest of your life. Nothing says “I love you” quite like the character of an antique engagement ring!

Engagement rings have been a tradition in many parts of the world since Austria’s Archduke Maximillian gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring in 1477. The wealthy classes thought that it was a great idea and soon men all over Europe were presenting their betrothed with diamond rings when they became engaged. 

Article by: Joseph Denaburg

Though the most important ring is in a person’s life is usually a wedding band, there is one another ring which has sentimental value to those who graduate from high school or college. I am of course referring to a class ring. Class rings are common among high school students and graduate students, and since their establishment, the tradition of class rings has become popular with students in the United States and Canada. It is worn to commemorate someone’s graduation from high school or college and often personalizes the student based on the activities he or she participated in while in school.

The tradition of wearing a class ring was originated in the year 1835.  Almost 180 years ago, the students at the United States Military Academy at West Point were the first ones to wear a class ring. In order to visually display the unity among the group, someone had the idea that everyone in the class should wear a ring with a similar design. Each one of the students wanted to showcase something which would remain as a remembrance of the time they have spent at West Point. From that time onwards creating class rings has been tradition for every graduating class of West Point as a representation of unity, and over time, it is a practice that has become common at all major high schools and universities.

For several years, class rings were created with uniform design and shaped for a particular school. As time passed, some institutions provided the students with the option of customization. The name and emblem of the institution would remain in the standard design, but there was now an option of adding the student’s name and other details that identify with the wearer.

Traditional class rings were made in gold, but now they can be ordered in various metals including silver, gold, or platinum. Gold rings with a satin finish will show the entire piece in gold with cuts to highlight the names and design. Rings with antique finishes use a black enamel to highlight the details; higher-end rings are often made in platinum.

The stone used on the ring will be of the same color for all the students of a particular school. However, the cut and the size of the stone can be ordered as per each person’s liking. The size of the ring will obviously differ for each person, and there is usually a slight design difference between the rings of males and females. The rings for males tend to be bit bigger in design that those designed for females.

The history of the ring also carries some traditions with it. A class ring is usually worn on the ring finger of the right hand. This counters the common tradition of wearing wedding rings on the left ring finger. It is also customary that the insignia on the ring should face inward towards the wearer while he or she is enrolled in school. After graduation, the ring can be worn with its insignia facing outwards. The rings of famous institutions are much cherished and are even handed over as heirloom.

Though the most important ring is in a person’s life is usually a wedding band, there is one another ring which has sentimental value to those who graduate from high school or college. Where did this tradition come from?

Article by: Joseph Denaburg

The Emerald, which gets its name from the word “smaragdus” (meaning green in Greek), has been mined since the Egyptians first recognized the stone’s beauty in 1300 BC. Their rich color is one of the main reasons that the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra prized her Emeralds more than any other gemstone. Emeralds are seen as a symbol of rebirth, and they are believed to grant the owner foresight, youth, and good fortune. It is also said that Emeralds have the power to increase the wearer’s speech and diplomacy and bring power to the wearer. These precious stones are also said to warn the wearer of incoming dangers when the color becomes slightly pale. Emeralds are the only stone other than Topaz to be listed in all of the ancient birthstone tables.

Other folklore states that Emeralds were once used as amulets to ward off Epilepsy in children, and they were long thought to cure diseases of the eye. They have also been said to improve memory, intelligence, and clairvoyance. Traditionally, this beautiful gemstone is gifted on a couple’s 55th wedding anniversary, but Emerald jewelry is also common as a gift for 20th and 35th anniversaries.

Emeralds are one of the more difficult stones to cut, due to their hard nature (they are harder than steel) and brittleness. Inexperienced gem cutters are known to leave these stones riddled with microscopic impurities, and it often takes an expert to ensure you are getting a fine quality stone.

A rectangular step-cut is the most common cut of the stone, as it suits the natural shape of the crystal. Instead of bringing out the sparkle of the stone, the “emerald cut” as it is commonly known enhances the depth of the crystal, bringing out the gem’s color.

Emeralds are now found in many countries across the world: Pakistan, Russia, Australia, India, Norway, South Africa, and the US, but the largest producers in the world are Brazil and Columbia. It is popular opinion that the most beautiful Emeralds in the world are those found in Columbia.

Emeralds are very delicate stones, and the wearer should be careful to avoid contact with salt water or extreme temperature changes. It is best to carefully clean these gemstones with a soft brush and warm water.

The Emerald, which gets its name from the word “smaragdus” (meaning green in Greek), has been mined since the Egyptians first recognized the stone’s beauty in 1300 BC.

Article by: Joseph Denaburg

As reported from Tucson, red, pink and lavender spinel colors drew much attention at its 2013 Gem and Mineral Show, although blue sapphires still seem to lead the market. Natural and cultured pearls also attracted the buyers’ attention.

The launch of the first Los Angeles Antique, Jewelry and Watch Show, hosted by US Antique Shows, occurred in March of this year. All eras of jewelry history from the Renaissance to Art Deco were represented. Also featured were pieces previously owned by celebrities and royalty, some of which were signed.

As always, Miami Beach served as the site for a variety of shows, including the International Contemporary Jewelry Fair, which presented jewelry as a “collectible art form.” Levy’s Fine Jewelry enjoyed a very successful visit to the Original Miami Beach Antique Show.

The Jewelers of America (JA) previewed its 2013 jewelry trends last summer and its list included statement necklaces and earrings, unique colored gemstones, sterling silver pieces, big and bold pearls, and “beyond-bridal” platinum.

How does this stack up against other predictions?

From JCK, the expectations for 2013 include emeralds, subtle drop earrings, black & white, i.e., diamonds and white topaz with cool colored stones (colorless rock crystal, black spinel, onyx), snakes and serpent jewels, drusy (flat-backed, crystal dusted mineral), cabochons (vibrant colored gemstones), hair ornaments, and estate jewelry, including wedding sets, fine gemstones and period looks.

And from our own Jared of Levy’s Fine Jewelry, the list includes estate diamonds for recut; big, bold chunky jewelry w/ large stones in yellow and rose gold circa 1950s-1980s; Victorian and art nouveau; original antique and estate engagement rings, and signed designer pieces.

As reported from Tucson, red, pink and lavender spinel colors drew much attention at its 2013 Gem and Mineral Show, although blue sapphires still seem to lead the market. Natural and cultured pearls also attracted the buyers’ attention.
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