Modern Ideas for Traditional Anniversary Gifts

Anniversaries are an annual celebration of a marriage, a reminder of all that a couple has shared as well as of their hopes for their future together. It’s no wonder that numerous traditions have arisen to suggest gifts you can give your spouse on these significant milestones. Although certain traditions, such as the twenty-fifth anniversary being associated with silver, date back to Roman times, the first formal anniversary gift guide was published in Emily Post’s book Etiquette in 1922. Since then, many of the original suggestions have been updated with modern counterparts. Corresponding lists of gemstones and colors have also been added for each anniversary, offering even more inspiration for a thoughtful husband or wife looking for the perfect present. If you’re stumped, the list below can give you a jumping-off point to start your search.

Mondern Ideas for Traditional Anniversary Gifts | Auction King

1st: Traditional: Paper; Modern: Clocks; Gemstone: Gold; Color: Yellow

2nd: Traditional: Cotton; Modern: China; Gemstone: Garnet; Color: Red

3rd: Traditional: Leather; Modern: Crystal/glass; Gemstone: Pearls; Color: White

4th: Traditional: Fruit/flowers; Modern: Appliances; Gemstone: Blue topaz; Color: Green

5th: Traditional: Wood; Modern: Silverware; Gemstone: Sapphire; Color: Turquoise

6th: Traditional: Iron/Candy; Modern: Wood; Gemstone: Amethyst; Color: Purple

7th: Traditional: Wool/Copper; Modern: Desk Set; Gemstone: Onyx; Color: Off White

8th: Traditional: Bronze; Modern: Linens/lace; Gemstone: Tourmaline; Color: Bronze

9th: Traditional: Pottery; Modern: Leather; Gemstone: Lapis lazuli; Color: Terra cotta

10th: Traditional: Tin/aluminum; Modern: Diamond jewelry; Gemstone: Diamond; Color: Silver

11th: Traditional: Steel; Modern: Fashion jewelry; Gemstone: Turquoise; Color: Turquoise

12th: Traditional: Silk; Modern: Pearls; Gemstone: Jade; Color: Oyster white

13th: Traditional: Lace; Modern: Textiles; Gemstone: Citrine; Color: White

14th: Traditional: Ivory; Modern: Gold jewelry; Gemstone: Opal; Color: Ivory

15th: Traditional: Crystal; Modern: Watches; Gemstone: Ruby; Color: Ruby red

20th: Traditional: China; Modern: Platinum; Gemstone: Emerald; Color: Emerald green

25th: Traditional: Silver; Modern: Silver; Gemstone: Silver; Color: Silver

30th: Traditional: Pearl; Modern: Diamond; Gemstone: Pearl; Color: Green

35th: Traditional: Coral; Modern: Jade; Gemstone: Emerald; Color: Coral

40th: Traditional: Ruby; Modern: Ruby; Gemstone: Ruby; Color: Ruby red

45th: Traditional: Sapphire; Modern: Sapphire; Gemstone: Sapphire; Color: Blue

50th: Traditional: Gold; Modern: Gold; Gemstone: Gold; Color: Gold

55th: Traditional: Emerald; Modern: Emerald; Gemstone: Alexandrite; Color: Emerald green

60th: Traditional: Diamond; Modern: Diamond; Gemstone: Diamond; Color: White

Whether you’re looking for a limited-edition lithograph for your first anniversary, a diamond anniversary band for your tenth, a luxury watch for your fifteenth, or a strand of pearls for your thirtieth, Auction King  offers the best prices on a wide selection of fine jewelry, luxury items, fine art, and collectibles. Their format combines the dynamic excitement of a real-time auction run by a live auctioneer with the convenience and access of online shopping. Bid with confidence, knowing that their items are scrupulous checked for authenticity and their superior customer service is there to answer any questions. Sign up today for a free account to start bidding—and saving.

How to Celebrate National Handbag Day on a Budget

October 10th is National Handbag Day, and it’s no wonder that in the four short years since it was first introduced it has captured the imagination of handbag-loving women all over the country. After all, a purse is an accessory like no other—it’s an item of daily wear that serves an essential practical function as well as being a fashion statement. Even if you can’t just run out and spring for a brand-new Birkin or Baguette, though, you can still celebrate.

How to Celebrate National Handbag Day on a Budget | Auction King

However, for those of us without iron willpower, there are ways to get beautiful designer bags for less. You can check to see if there’s a sale on at your local department store or boutique, and there are a plethora of sites online that focus on designer handbags. Before you take it for granted that the advertised price is really a good deal, though, you should do a little research—it’s rare that you’re going to find a truly great deal at a retail outlet, and certain high-end brands will never be marked down in a store. If you know the value of the bag you’re considering buying ahead of time, you may be disappointed to find that a sale price isn’t much of a deal, but you won’t be taken in.

If you want to score a high-end handbag for significantly less than full price, you have to think beyond retail. The best designer handbags combine enduring style with superior construction. With good care, they can last forever. That means that previously owned and vintage handbags offer you a beautiful option for owning luxury brands without paying outrageous prices. In fact, it isn’t hard to find consignment shops and websites offering well-known designer brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and more. You may also be able to find handbags in estate sales as well. However, although both of these options are better than shopping retail, neither offer the very best deals.

The best-kept secret for finding designer bags at rock-bottom prices is to shop at auction. Auction King, which offers a variety of luxury and collectible goods from seizures, surpluses, manufacturer overruns, and inventory reductions, gives you the opportunity to shop in a live auction format from the comfort and convenience of your own home. With bids starting as low as $1 for authenticated goods, there’s no better source for finding a beautiful designer bag at an unbelievable price! Sign up for a free online account and treat yourself to your new favorite handbag today.

 

Spotlight on October’s Birthstones: Opal and Tourmaline

People with October birthdays have the gift of choice when it comes to their birthstone. This month is traditionally associated with two birthstones: opal and tourmaline. Unlike some other gemstones, both of these minerals present a range of colors and features that make can make one stone quite different from another.

Spotlight on October Birthstones Opal Tourlamine | Auction King

Opal is a gemstone-quality variety of silica that is prized for its play-of-color, the flashes of colors you see when you turn an opal back and forth under white light. This phenomenon is caused by the refraction of light between the different layers of silica spheres that make up the stone. Given that opal can have a base color from white to black and play-of-color in literally any color of the rainbow, it is no exaggeration to say that no opal is exactly like the next. These stones are associated with good luck in many cultures, and have been prized since ancient Roman times.

Opal is a relatively soft stone, with a hardness of only 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, so you’ll want to treat this gem with care and avoid exposing it to high temperatures, abrasion, or chemicals. The value of an individual opal, while it can be affected by considerations like size and clarity, is really based on a subjective judgment of the colors and patterns in that particular stone, and how well its cut displays them. Stones with less common play-of-color hues, such as reds, or bolder patterns featuring bright strokes of color are valued more highly than those with common colors and less vivid displays.

Tourmaline is the name given to a variety of boron silicate minerals that can be found in a rainbow of colors, depending on the amount and type of trace minerals found in the crystal structure. While it can occur in all colors, you’re most likely to find gems in pink, red, blue, green, or multicolored—yes, a single tourmaline can display multiple colors, depending on the conditions of its formation! With a Mohs hardness of 7 to 7.5, tourmaline is a relatively durable stone that is suitable for use in all types of jewelry.

Before the advent of modern gemological analysis, tourmaline was often mistaken for other gemstones, based on color. The different varieties of tourmaline may be referred to by names based on their color, such as rubellite for red or indicolite for blue. The color of a tourmaline is the most important factor in judging the quality of a tourmaline—unusual or highly saturated colors will command a higher price than more common or lighter types. For example, rare paraiba tourmalines, first discovered in Brazil in the 1980s, display a vivid blue-green, and are highly sought after.

No matter what kind of opal or tourmaline you’re looking for, AuctionKing.com routinely offers a variety of rings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings—even loose stones. We continually add new items to our collection to ensure that our clients have a stunning selection to choose from. Sign up for a free online account and start browsing today.

What’s the Difference Between Cels and Sericels?

For fans of animation, collecting artwork from their favorite feature-length or short animated films is a way of bringing their passion for the medium into their homes. Knowing the history of how animation was produced can help you understand the difference between the two primary kinds of animation artwork you’re likely to find on the market—cels and sericels—and why their relative value can vary considerably.

Whats the difference between cels and sericels | Auction King

Prior to the advent of digital technology, animated movies were hand-drawn. The term cel is short for “celluloid,” and refers to the transparent sheets that characters were drawn on to create each frame of a movie. The outline of the character or characters in that frame would be hand-drawn on the front and then the colors painted on the back, and the entire cel shot against a static painted background for the scene. Each frame had to be painstakingly drawn and shot, one at a time. A single animated feature usually required around 100,000 cels.

This type of cel, which was used in the actual production of a movie, is known as a production cel. Studios often sold them off as collectibles after animated films were completed. However, the advent of digital technology eliminated the use of production cels—Disney has not used them since 1990, and other animation studios phased them out over the course of the following fifteen years. The worth of these one-of-a-kind items can vary considerably based on the rarity of the image, the popularity of the film or character it depicts, and the condition of the cel, but it’s not unusual to pay thousands of dollars for one piece.

Major studios recognized that demand for cels—a physical memento of favorite films or animated characters—did not diminish because the process that produced them had been left behind. Cels are still produced in limited editions for collectors. While these cels, created with the needs of aficionados in mind, tend to be more affordable than production cels, they can be quite pricey in their own right, depending on the size of the production run, the degree to which they are hand-drawn and -painted, and if they are signed.

Sericels are the most affordable option for collectors who enjoy the look of cels but do not have an unlimited budget. These images are mechanically produced with silk-screened color, which brings the cost for a collector down significantly. Some sericels are produced solely in limited editions, which can increase their price depending on how restricted the run is. Sericels may also be sold without the background that typically accompanies a limited edition cel.

The key to enjoying a collection of animation art is to know what you’re purchasing before you buy, and to prioritize your personal enjoyment of your collection. For savvy collectors, the lvie online auction at AuctionKing.com offers an opportunity to find animation art at a fraction of the prices you’ll see at commercial galleries. Sign up for a free account and check it out today.

Spotlight on September’s Birthstone: Sapphire

When you’re thinking of blue gemstones, sapphire, September’s birthstone, is the one that is most likely to leap to mind first. And no wonder. Not only has it been used as a precious stone for thousands of years, but it is also second only to diamonds in hardness, which makes it extremely durable.

Spotlight on September's Birthstone: Sapphire | Auction King

Sapphire is a form of the mineral corundum, which is made up of aluminum and oxygen atoms. In its pure form, corundum is clear—in fact, these white sapphires are often used as accent stones in jewelry. Trace amounts of iron and titanium give sapphires their classic hue, which can range from violet blue to greenish blue. Natural sapphires also come in other shades, such as yellow, purple, orange, and green, depending on the trace elements influencing their color.

With a nine on the Mohs scale of hardness, sapphire is suitable for any kind of jewelry, including rings that are worn daily. One of the most famous modern sapphire rings, which has a twelve-carat sapphire surrounded by diamonds, is Princess Diana’s engagement ring, given to her in 1981 by Prince Charles, which Prince William later used when he proposed to Kate Middleton. Sapphires are so tough that synthetic sapphires are used in many industrial applications, such as wristwatch crystals and shatter-resistant windows.

The name “sapphire” comes from the Latin word “sapphirus” and the Greek word “sappheiros,” which both mean “blue.” As you would expect of a stone with such a long history in diverse cultures, sapphire carries many folklore associations. It is believed to bring good fortune and protection from harm, and to promote wisdom and serenity.

The value of individual sapphires is judged on color, clarity, cut, and carats. Color is the most important factor: the purer the blue and the more intense the color, the more valuable the stone. It is not unusual for a sapphire to be heated to intensify its color; sapphires that are unheated, however, will generally be valued higher. The most valuable stones can be more expensive than diamonds on a per-carat basis.

Natural sapphires tend to have some inclusions, but fewer than rubies (another form of corundum). Some sapphires, known as “star sapphires,” exhibit asterism, where needle-like inclusions of rutile (titanium dioxide) throughout the stone reflect light to create the appearance of a luminous star. These are typically cut as cabochons to show off the effect. The cut of a sapphire, star or not, should be chosen to maximize the size of the stone while maintaining good proportions and showing off the best possible color.

Sapphires are found all around the world, in Asia, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. While stones from Kashmir, Sri Lanka, are legendary for their pure blue color, high-quality sapphires can be found from any region.

Auction King regularly features sapphire bracelets, pendants, rings, earrings, and necklaces, including rare fancy sapphires in a range of colors. Their low opening bids and live-auction format give bidders the best opportunity to buy these high-value stones at prices well below retail. Sign up today for a free online account to find the sapphire piece you’ve been looking for!

Are Sports Memorabilia a Good Investment?

The market for collectible sports memorabilia is large and growing. It’s a subject that many feel passionate about, and many collectors choose their purchases based on their favorite sports and players. But do these purchases also make a good investment? They certainly can, but it isn’t necessarily a given that any individual item will go up in value. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

Are Sports Memorabilia a Good Investment | Auction King

The bigger the name, the bigger the value: Signed balls or jerseys from truly famous players will of course fetch more than similar items from players who didn’t establish (or haven’t yet gained) an all-star reputation. It’s okay to take a chance on a rookie item if you accept that the chances of that player turning out to be the next Babe Ruth or Joe Montana are slim.

Supply and demand influence price: If there are few of a particular item on the market, or there is no possibility of creating more, then the price will reflect that scarcity. When a sports figure has flooded the market with autographed pictures, on the other hand, their value will be correspondingly low. Do some research to figure out if what you’re considering purchasing is rare or not before you agree on a price.

Condition is key: As with many other types of collectibles, sports memorabilia should be in excellent condition to fetch top dollar. This is especially true of things like baseball cards, where there may be many examples of a particular card in existence, but almost none in pristine, museum-quality condition.

Tastes change: There is a certain degree of subjectivity in the sports memorabilia market, so you can’t be sure that an item you buy will immediately or smoothly go up in value. If the overall economy is bad, collectors may tighten their belts and forego buying. If a sports figure gets in legal trouble, the value of typical memorabilia associated with them, like game jerseys, may decline. And in general, fads for one sport or another may cause prices to fluctuate in ways that don’t seem to make logical sense. Know that you may have to wait some time to make an advantageous sale on any item you buy.

Deal with reputable sellers only: There is no one central market for sports memorabilia, so you may be talking to any number of auction houses, private sellers, or dealers. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of fakery and fraud in this area, as unscrupulous people try to make a profit off their buyers’ desire to own a piece of history. You should only purchase from reputable sources you trust.

The bottom line is that if you enjoy sports memorabilia, it can be a great way to combine investing with owning a collection you enjoy. To find sports memorabilia items at below-market prices, check out the live online auction at AuctionKing.com. They continually add new items from football, basketball, baseball, and more to their selection. Sign up for a free online account today and start browsing.

Spotlight on August’s Birthstone: Peridot

Peridot’s rich history, along with its beautiful yellow-green brilliance, give it a deserved place of pride among gemstones. Its use as a gemstone dates back thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians, who called it “the gem of the sun,” mined it from the island of Zagarbad in the Mediterranean, one of the few known ancient sources of the gem. Many historians now believe that Cleopatra’s famed collection of emeralds was actually peridots. The stone was frequently mistaken for emeralds in medieval times, before more sophisticated gemological analysis was available.

Spotlight on August's Birthstone Peridot | Auction King

Fortunately for modern aficionados, many sources for peridot exist nowadays, including Arizona, New Mexico, Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, and China. This gem-quality variety of the mineral olivine is found in igneous rocks and brought to the earth’s surface from deep in the mantle by volcanic activity. It ranges from a pale yellow-green to brownish-green, with a deep olive green considered the most desirable hue. Peridot has also been found in meteorites, although usually not in sizes large enough for use in jewelry.

The origin of the name “peridot” is unclear—while some say that it comes from the Arabic “faridat,” meaning “gem,” others speculate that it comes from the Greek “peridona,” meaning “giving plenty.” The stone has a wealth of meaning attributed to it. It has long been associated with healing properties, protection from evil spirits, abundance, and luck. On Hawaii, peridot is associated with Pele, the goddess of volcanoes.

It’s not hard to see why peridot has been a popular gemstone throughout the ages, nor why many cultures have attached meaning to it. The stone looks beautiful under both natural and artificial lighting, which has given it the nickname “the Evening Emerald.” Readily available, it’s an attractive option for those looking for beautiful green gemstone jewelry at an affordable price point. As with other transparent gemstones, its value increases with the size of the individual stone, lack of visible inclusions, and greater intensity of color. While peridot is often cut in standard faceted shapes from round and oval to marquise and triangle, it can also be made into beads and cabochons as well.

Peridot is a 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means it is relatively resistant to scratching. However, the stone can be chipped by a careless blow, and is vulnerable to high heat or rapid temperature changes. You should not clean peridot with steam or with an ultrasonic cleaner.

Whether your birthday is in August or not, peridot makes a fine addition to anyone’s jewelry wardrobe. Auction King carries an assortment of peridot earrings, rings, necklaces, and bracelets, which we regularly update as new finds become available. Our live auctioneers are happy to answer your questions to help you find the exact piece for your taste, and you’ll find your budget goes further when you’re buying at below-market auction prices! Sign up for a free account today to get started.

How to Select Blue Topaz Stones

Blue topaz is one of the most popular colored gemstones on the market today. It’s no wonder—this stone combines beauty, durability, and affordability in one desirable package. If you’re interested in purchasing blue topaz, what should you be looking for?

How to Select Blue Topaz Stones | Auction King

The first thing to know is that topaz is an abundant mineral in nature, but most natural topaz is colorless (or nearly so). To produce a range of blue shades, topaz is generally treated with heat and/or radiation. This is a standard industry practice, and is considered permanent, though you should avoid exposing treated stones to extreme heat. Naturally occurring blue topaz is quite rare, and should you find one for sale, expect the price to reflect its scarcity.

Blue topaz has a Mohs scale hardness of 8, which makes it resistant to scratching and thus suitable for all kinds of jewelry. However, like diamond, topaz exhibits perfect cleavage, so the mineral can be prone to chipping. You may want to consider a bezel setting for blue topaz pieces that would see hard wear, such as rings worn on a daily basis, to avoid damage. It has a high refractive index, which gives it a brilliant sparkle.

Blue topaz stones should be evaluated on the basis of their clarity, color, cut, and carats. Stones should be transparent and free of any visible inclusions, which would reduce the value of the stone significantly. Blue topaz is available in a range of hues, so judging the color is somewhat subjective, although as a rule darker, more saturated colors tend to be more valuable. If you are purchasing a necklace, earrings, or bracelet, you’ll want to be sure that the color of all the stones is well matched.

Blue topaz is available in a full range of standard cuts. Oval, pear, and emerald cuts are all popular, as they tend to take advantage of topaz’s natural crystal shape and to maximize the depth of color. Whatever the cut, it should enhance both the hue and the light-reflecting properties of the stone. You should never purchase a blue topaz that looks dull.

In smaller sizes, blue topaz is fairly inexpensive, but the price rises as the size of the stone increases. However, relative to other blue gemstones such as sapphire and aquamarine, blue topaz is still reasonably affordable in larger sizes.

Auction King regularly features blue topaz pendants, rings, and more in our auction. Feel free to browse our selection and ask us anything you’d like to know about any of the pieces on offer—we pride ourselves not only on our convenient-to-use bidding platform and great deals, but also on our commitment to friendly, responsive customer service. Register for a free online account to start bidding today!

How Much is a Natural Opal Worth?

Opal is the national gemstone of Australia, where the vast majority of the precious variety of this stone is mined. It is known for the striking display of shifting rainbow colors that the finest specimens exhibit, called play-of-color. No two opals are alike, from their base color to the hues found in their play-of-color, which means that determining the value of an individual stone is less straightforward than for other gemstones.

How Much is a Natural Opal Worth - Auction King

Take diamonds, for example. To determine the value of a diamond, you take into account the four Cs—color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. Evaluating an individual stone on these primary factors allows you to easily compare it to other diamonds. Opals, on the other hand, should be evaluated not only on the size of the stone and how skillfully it is cut, but on the base color, the stone’s clarity, and the colors and pattern of the play-of-color. Each of these factors will influence the value of the stone.

In general, opals tend to be cut in cabochons, which best display the shifting colors for which it is known. (The exception to this rule is fire opals, which may also be found in faceted cuts.) A jeweler may cut an opal into a free-form shape to best display an unusually striking play-of-color, but in general, symmetrical cabochons that are neither too thin nor too thick are preferred, and will be valued more highly.

The base color of an opal can range from white to black, with a white or light background being most common. Darker stones are preferred, as they tend to show a more vivid and thus more desirable play-of-color. Black opals, which have a jet-black base color, are the most valuable, and can go for thousands of dollars per carat, depending on the other factors affecting a stone’s overall appearance.

Opals can be found with a clarity from transparent to opaque, with greater transparency increasing the value of the stone. Clear opals of any base color are called crystal opals, and are coveted because their transparency makes the play-of-color throughout the stone more visible. Inclusions are evaluated solely on how they affect the overall appearance of the stone.

Many factors are considered in evaluating the play-of-color itself. First, the play-of-color should ideally be centered on the stone and not include any dead spots (i.e., places in the stone that exhibit no play-of-color). It should be bright and visible under any lighting conditions to command the best prices. How many and which colors are included in the play-of-color matter—colors on the warm end of the spectrum are rare, and a more varied display-of-color is better than a limited one. Finally, larger or rare patterns of play-of-color are more valuable than small patterns that may show only pinpricks of color across a stone.

Ultimately, the value of an individual opal is somewhat subjective—the beauty of each opal is unique to that particular stone, because of the geologic processes that form it. To find precious opals at below-market prices, visit the online auction at Auction King. Our live auctioneer can answer any questions you have about individual pieces via our chat module, so you can feel confident you know the characteristics of the necklace or ring you choose before you buy. Sign up for a free account to get started.

How to Get a Rolex for Cheap

Among high-end luxury watches, Rolex is the brand everybody recognizes, even if they don’t know much about watches. With a reputation for reliability, durability, and classic style, it’s no wonder that this has become the go-to luxury purchase for watch collectors or those looking to celebrate a significant career achievement or life event. Of course, with even the least expensive new Rolexes retailing for thousands of dollars, this isn’t a purchase most can make lightly. However, you don’t have to resign yourself to waiting until you can save up the money to pay full sticker price on a brand-new Rolex. If you know where to look, you can get a Rolex for a fraction of the retail price.

How to Get a Rolex for Cheap - Auction King

Rolex built its reputation on precision and durability, crafting its watches to function accurately in the most extreme environments. While Rolex watches come in a variety of different models, the overall iconic style has remained consistent and timeless. Classics like the Oyster, Submariner, and GMT-Master are still manufactured today in versions not radically altered from their initial iterations. This doesn’t just aid in brand recognition; it means even Rolexes that are decades old remain stylish rather than looking dated, and of course their superior workmanship means they still keep time perfectly. Savvy collectors take advantage of these facts to purchase used Rolexes at lower prices than can be found in retail stores.

As with many other kinds of luxury goods, your best odds of finding a good price on a Rolex are at auction. However, you need to be certain that you are buying from a reputable seller. Counterfeit watches are a big business precisely because luxury watches are such a desirable commodity, and Rolex is a prime target for those wishing to dupe unwary purchasers. While there are several ways to help distinguish a real Rolex from a fake, your first step should always be to take care in who you’re buying from.

You’re most likely to find a Rolex at a lower price at an auction that specializes in seized or abandoned goods. This is because these auctions won’t have a reserve, or minimum price, they are trying to meet before they’ll sell their goods. Rolexes are known for retaining or even increasing their value over time, so traditional auctions will set opening bids at a significant fraction of the retail value of the watch, while auctions of seized goods can start with bids as low as one dollar.

Just like a work of art, a Rolex is an investment that brings personal enjoyment to its owner while it appreciates in value over time. If you purchase one wisely, you can have the added satisfaction of knowing you got it at below-market prices. Auction King regularly features Rolex watches, along with other luxury watch brands. With deep experience in the auction business, we offer the convenience of online shopping with attentive customer service, answering all your questions on any piece so you can be satisfied that you are getting exactly what you want. Sign up for a free online account to get started today.