The TIVOL blog provides insight into the world of fashion jewelry, bridal jewelry and fine timepieces, in addition to offering a behind-the-scenes look at Kansas City’s premier luxury jeweler.

The 4 C’s

For many, buying a diamond can seem a little intimidating. Often, customers are concerned they will overpay or worse: buy a poor-quality diamond.  Instead, the process of buying a diamond should be a fun learning experience and one that ends with a rewarding purchase.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 10.34.26 AM

We all know the 4 Cs: carat weight, color, clarity and cut. Each one of these characteristics is important and will give the diamond rarity and value.

Personally, I believe that “cut” is paramount. The way a diamond is cut will give it brilliance (or sparkle) or negate its potential for brilliance. In addition, the symmetry of the cut is very important. The individual cutting the diamond always lines up the stone’s top facets to its bottom facets.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 10.35.25 AM

The color of the diamond is what the naked eye can see, which ranges in categorization from D to Z.  D, E and F are colorless. G, H, I and J are nearly colorless. K, L and M are a champagne color to light brown. Z is a fancy colored diamond, and stones within this categorization can be very rare.

The clarity of the diamond is what the naked eye cannot see. The clarity range is from flawless to imperfect 3.  Flawless, VVS-1 and VVS-2 are very rare, while VS-1, VS-2, SI-1 and SI-2 are the most common to find.  Then there is I-1, I-2 and I-3, where the imperfections can be seen with the naked eye and can affect the long-term durability of the diamond.

Carat weight is the universally accepted measurement of the weight of the diamond, and is a unit of mass equal to 200 mg. Thus a .25 ct diamond (commonly called a quarter-carat), is equal to 50 mg.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 10.34.45 AM

In my opinion, when shopping for a diamond people should always be looking for an excellent- or ideal-cut diamond. Before buying, make sure to get a full explanation of these terms. So many times I’ve heard from customers, “I have a friend of friend who sells diamonds really cheaply.” They are cheap for a reason, and don’t be fooled or embarrassed to ask the important questions. Your diamond is a lifelong investment, both emotionally and financially. Speaking to an educated individual who is well-versed in diamonds is essential before making your purchase. At TIVOL, we pride ourselves on our breadth and depth of knowledge, so don’t be afraid to ask us questions.



March Madness at TIVOL

TIVOL is a 106-year-old company, and some traditions never change. While most office pools for March Madness are done on the Internet with immediate scoring, we like to keep it old school and work from paper brackets with multiple copies.

After every game a pre-determined TIVOL employee goes through every sheet and highlights or crosses out winners and losers. By the time the Sweet 16 rolls around, our jewelers’ shop looks more like a Las Vegas bookie’s office with the paper entries pasted all over the cabinets.

We wouldn’t have it any other way, actually. While the rest of our lives and our work has become very much digital, these paper brackets are a tradition we can’t part with. Call it nostalgia.

This year the system will be no different, only the teams will be as 2016’s March Madness looks wide open. Kansas is the favorite, but the local No. 1 has not won since 2008! So that leaves the Iowa State’s, Michigan State’s, UCLA’sBasketball2 and even some directional school in the hunt for the Championship.

One other thing remains the same at TIVOL for 20 years: my bracket always has Missouri on the top. (Although the Tigers and I will have to wait a while to cash that ticket.) There’s no tourney for the Tigers, but just for old time’s sake I might pick them to win it all anyway.


Gary (Store Manager) and Amanda (Sales Associate) filling out their brackets.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 12.25.54 PM

Danhov Personifies Handmade in America

Located in Hollywood, California, Danhov is an award-winning designer of unique and handcrafted engagement rings, wedding bands, and fine jewelry.




Founded in 1984 by Jack Hovsepian, Danhov is known in the luxury jewelry category for its innovative design philosophy. The designs of the custom-made engagement rings and wedding bands ensure that every Danhov customer wears a special ring that is an extension and personal statement of their discerning taste.



Jack learned at an early age how to marry precision with art. Shadowing his father, an accomplished fashion designer, he spent his formative years exposed to trend-setting haute couture. This influence now drives his passion to design each ring with exacting measures and create the most exquisite collection of bridal jewelry.



Danhov’s handmade and hand-assembled rings are produced one ring at a time by the most skilled jewelers at its California office. This individual, hands-on approach further exemplifies the precision, quality and strength for which Danhov is known.


Unlike many jewelry companies, no molds and mass-production assembly lines are used at Danhov. You won’t find a manufactured-by-machine ring with the Danhov stamp inside it. Danhov is very literal when it comes to the terms, “Made in the USA” and “handcrafted.”


Each ring begins with a single wire and is shaped to perfection by Danhov’s artisan craftsmen. This preserves the quality and unique intricacies that only handmade and hand-assembled pieces can show.


In addition to every piece of Danhov jewelry being made in the USA, the process of creating rings at Danhov is eco-friendly because it avoids the use of harsh chemicals and large machinery commonly used in the traditional molding and manufacturing processes.

All Danhov bridal and fine jewelry is protected by a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty that will cover any potential manufacturing defects. These rings are heirlooms-in-the-making; created to last.



Jewelry Survival Guide: New Year’s Eve Edition

New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, and if there’s one night of the year to be at your most stylish, this is it. To help offer some fashion tips for the big evening we asked our TIVOL staff for some quick tips. . .

Kate (marketing coordinator): Wear a bright lip (my personal favorite is Flat Out Fabulous by MAC) paired with fun statement earrings. Try something unexpected like Stephen Webster’s diamond Magnipheasant Collection.

Lipstick & Stephen Webster Jewelry

Stephen Webster Magnipheasant Earrings and a bright lipstick.


Stephanie (diamond buyer): Stack several Anita Ko or Penny Preville bracelets together with a pair of heels. The look adds a little spice to any outfit.

Fun high heels and an Anita Ko bracelet

Fun high heels and an Anita Ko bracelet


Lisa (Plaza associate): Try high-heel booties paired with diamond ear climbers and fold in lots of layered bracelets.


Killer booties and diamond ear climbers

Killer booties and diamond ear climbers


AJ (Plaza associate) – Nothing is more fun, classic or appropriate than a black cocktail dress with a long diamond chain by Forevermark or Roberto Coin.


A little black dress and a long Forevermore diamond chain

A little black dress and a long Forevermore diamond chain


Adam (marketing director): For guys, New Year’s Eve is the night to wear classic cuff links (there are plenty of understated, handsome options from the David Yurman Men’s collections) paired with a fitted tuxedo or black suit, a simple tie clip and skinny neck tie along with a classic timepiece that has either a metal bracelet (stainless or gold) or a black leather strap.


David Yurman cuff links, Ron Hami tie bar and a black tux

David Yurman cuff links, Ron Hami tie bar and a black tux


Ward (Plaza associate): You can’t go wrong with a blue pinstripe suit. It’s classic, and when paired with a rose gold watch – a Patek Philippe with an alligator strap will do just fine – you could call in 2016 or 2060 in the same outfit and look perfectly in style for the times.

Navy Pinstripe Suit and Patek Philippe

Navy Pinstripe Suit and Patek Philippe


Michael (Plaza associate): New Year’s Eve is the best excuse of the year to wear your favorite tux shawl collar with fun TIVOL Collection cuff links and a sharp watch (a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso is an excellent choice).


Jaeger-LeCoultre Watch and TIVOL Collection Cuff Links

Jaeger-LeCoultre Watch and TIVOL Collection Cuff Links

Penny Preville: Contemporary jewelry with a vintage twist

Penny Preville and Cathy Tivol

It was 14 years ago that I first met Penny Preville when she visited TIVOL for a trunk show. (Penny Preville is shown above right with Cathy Tivol in 2013.) By that time we had carried her jewelry for a few years, and already she was a fan favorite for many of our customers. (Something that still remains true.)

Penny’s story is as charming as her jewelry is beautiful. More than 20 years ago she began making pieces inspired by her grandmother’s collection of vintage jewelry. Penny has memories of her grandmother’s necklaces, rings and earrings from when she was a child, and her affinity for that classic style has never diminished.

What’s great about Penny is that she always re-creates her core pieces so they are ever-present in her collections. Her aesthetic, however, continues to progress with the latest fashions as she creates new works, custom designs and one-of-a-kind pieces for avid collectors, making her line all the more special.

Of her newest collections, I’m mad for this square Asscher bracelet (below), which we just received in our cases. It’s to die for! The piece remains classic because it goes with everything and it looks good on everyone.

Penny Preville Asscher Bracelet

But that’s the beauty of Penny Preville jewelry in general. You can wear her to any occasion – literally – from running errands in jeans to black tie events. So many of her pieces can be mixed and matched as well, quickly changing a look from day to evening.

Beyond fashion jewelry, the Penny Preville bridal collection is also stellar. The bridal jewelry provides a vintage feel just as her everyday pieces do, yet the collection’s modern touches make it highly wearable to meet today’s sensibilities. The look offers an “estate” quality to the jewelry, but with the durability of contemporary manufacturing.

It will be interesting to see where Penny takes us next with her future collections. In recent years we’ve explored everything from oversized aquamarine slices to geometric yellow gold pieces. Personally, I think Penny Preville will go back to her roots with a reinvented Art Deco look. But as always, the new designs are certain to be vintage inspired with a modern twist – her signature style.

Visit us at TIVOL on December 18 – 21, 2015 to see the latest from Penny in her holiday trunk show. (Dec. 19 & 21 at the Country Club Plaza store and Dec. 18 & 20 at Hawthorne Plaza.)

Forevermark Diamonds: Rare, Beautiful and Responsibly Sourced

Selecting a diamond can be a difficult decision to make, even for the most informed customer. There are so many variables at play; everything from the 4 Cs (cut, color, clarity and carat weight) to price, to the ethics involved in mining — and beyond.

De Beers, the global leader in diamond mining, exploration and retailing for 125 years and counting, is well aware of the issues at play when making these choices. Their newest company, Forevermark, streamlines the process — if you can forgive the pun — flawlessly.

Forevermark diamonds are hand-selected for their beauty and rarity, and each is genuine, untreated and natural. Experts at the Forevermark Diamond Institute carefully inspect every single diamond, going beyond the technical qualities of the 4 Cs to hand-pick only those diamonds that are truly beautiful.

Of all the world’s diamonds, less than one percent are eligible to become Forevermark. Each Forevermark diamond is also responsibly sourced, originating at one of a handful of carefully selected mines that benefit the people, communities and countries where they are located. In addition, Forevermark traces each diamond along its journey, ensuring that strict business, environmental and social standards are met at every step.

Forevermark diamonds

Invisible to the naked eye, each diamond receives an inscription that includes the Forevermark icon and an unique ID number, making each Forevermark diamond as special as the promise made when it is given or received. The inscription also allows each Forevermark diamond to be registered in the owner’s name, confirming it as uniquely theirs.

Respect and love for nature are deeply embedded in the heart of Forevermark. For every acre of land used for mining by Forevermark, De Beers dedicates seven acres to the conservation of nature, building thriving ecosystems with healthy populations of native wild animals and plants.

In total, almost 180,000 hectares of land around The De Beers Group of Companies’ mines are set aside for conservation. In Botswana, Jwaneng mine operates a 17,000 hectare Game Park, which is home to more than 1,700 animals and hosts a field unit for Cheetah Conservation in Botswana.  Along the Diamond Route, various conservation, research and breeding programs contribute to monitor and protect wild animals. These programs include a Rhino sanctuary reserve.

In essence, selecting a Forevermark diamonds is a n0-brainer. You will not find a more beautiful diamond at a better value, and you have to feel good about the positive things Forevermark is doing for the communities and for the animals where the rough is mined

In Kansas City, TIVOL is the exclusive retailer of Forevermark diamonds. A sampling of our inventory can be viewed here.

Rony Tenenbaum: wedding & engagement jewelry for all

The landscape of the bridal jewelry market has been experiencing an incredible shift in recent years. While traditional designs and classic solitaire diamond rings have filled the showcases for generations, there is a movement toward the new and the contemporary. This shift is greatly attributed to the surge in same-sex marriages flooding the country.

With the legalization of gay marriage by the Supreme Court in June 2015, the demand for modernized wedding jewelry designs is rapidly expanding. New York based designer Rony Tennenbaum (no relation to Gwyneth or the rest of The Royal Tenenbaums), whose designs have been celebrated for more than 25 years by the LGBT community, is one of the driving forces behind this new wave of contemporary design work that is at the forefront of new bridal jewelry trends.

The Tennenbaum brand pays attention to individual storytelling in jewelry. Tennenbaum’s pieces mirror the new tastes and desires of wedding customers—more than being different, it’s about showcasing your personality and individuality.

Tennenbaum’s collections are created to think outside the box, to be fresh and to be innovative. His work appeals to people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences regardless of sexual orientation.

In 2015, Tennenbaum was voted a jewelry industry innovator by InStore Magazine, a publication that is distributed to jewelry retailers across the country.

View Rony Tennenbaum’s collection at TIVOL here.

Rony Tennenbaum

Marco Bicego: Foodie and jewelry designer extraordinaire

Eighteen months ago I sat across from Marco Bicego while he (and I) wolfed down delicious ribs, BBQ beef, etc. after his first personal appearance at TIVOL. He was so happy – he took pictures with his phone. Little did I know that I had found a kindred foodie spirit. Marco loves food – all food – AND he’s an accomplished cook. I promised him more barbeque the next time he comes to Kansas City for an event, so now that we’re about 24 hours out from his next personal appearance at TIVOL, I hope he’s fasting in preparation.


Marco’s jewelry has always been a huge personal favorite, and here’s why. It’s just plain easy…easy to throw on, mix with other pieces I own, and feel like I’m “put together” and chic when it’s on. The brand’s signature hand-carved engraving sets it apart from the pack and, because of this, it stands out. Marco Bicego is a perfect brand to layer, layer, layer – the collections go beautifully together.  My favorite is the Lunaria collection – modern with irregular organic shapes.


I can’t wait for tomorrow night (Wednesday, November 11 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at our Country Club Plaza store) to see his latest designs. I’m ready for a new piece. Or two. Or three.

And the same goes for barbeque ribs.

Patek Philippe Visit: Heading Home

September 19, 2015

I woke up early to have a good breakfast and finish packing. I was so excited to head home and see my wife and daughter I didn’t sleep more than an hour. The Geneva airport was pretty simple to navigate, and I boarded my flight on time. Took my seat in business class again and tried to stay awake as much as possible to help get back on Kansas City time. There were actually a surprising number of decent movies that I had not yet seen that I was able to enjoy. Again, I enjoyed a few ice cream sundaes after lunch, and made quick time of the long flight over the Atlantic. A nice three-and-a-half hour layover in Newark and I was back on my way to Kansas City. I landed on time around 7 p.m. and was home close to 8 p.m. My wife was awake and we got to spend some nice time together before I passed out. I woke my daughter up the next morning and picked her up. For the first time holding her, she put her arm around my shoulder…and I melted.

Patek Philippe Visit: Day 7

September 18, 2015

I woke up for my last day of training with a mix of emotions. I was really starting to miss my wife and daughter back home, but also very sad that I would be spending my last few hours with some great people in an environment I may never get to experience again. The last day would be spent learning about the final quality control procedures, and then a wrap up of the week.

We began our day meeting with a few individuals who take the final cased-up timepiece and begin checking it with a fine-tooth comb. First, they check to make sure the correct hands and dials are on the correct reference. They test the crown and pushers when applicable. They test the winding mechanisms and calibers. Essentially all of the aesthetics are tested and compared to a master sheet. These are done in random order and with random references, so not to numb the mind or eye to the same reference over and over. Once the aesthetics are approved they are then tested for timing and accuracy in a variety of fashions for close to 30 days. The chronographs are tested by machine for pinpoint accuracy, and the second chronograph hand is aligned via magnification to lay perfectly vertical with the 12 o’clock marker. Once the battery of tests for accuracy and timing have concluded, they are then tested for water resistance. They are submerged in a bath of water, and then exposed to simulate a timepiece in a shower. They are then heated to 40 degrees centigrade, followed by a drop of cold water on the crystal to ensure no condensation appears. Next the bracelet or strap is put on the watch and it is weighed to detect the presence or absence of any required components. These tests are not only performed for the new Patek Philippe timepieces, but for Patek Philippe repairs as well.

We next learned about the international customer service division, or ICS for short. There are currently 55 service centers around the world with 200 watchmakers. They have two groups, one for pre-1970s timepieces and one for post-1970s timepieces. Patek Philippe is one of the only watchmakers in the world who will repair its own pieces from its inception. This can become problematic when there are no plans for most watches pre-1930s. When a vintage piece comes in plans are recorded, and often repair pieces are made from scratch. We met a man named Frank, who produces vintage wheels and gears by hand. He can fashion the teeth on the wheel within two microns…by hand. To be clear, a micron is 1/100 of a millimeter, so he’s pretty much an engineering marvel. In over 21 years working for Patek Philippe, he has made only one mistake on fashioning these gears from scratch. It truly is amazing to know that the same dedication and quality control is given to their timepiece interventions as is given to new watches.

Patek Philippe watchmakers

The next highlight of the trip was visiting the grand complication floor of the manufacture. We met the celebrities of the watchmaking world. We saw the Caliber 89, which up until a few weeks ago was the most complicated watch ever created. We met a watchmaker who repairs vintage minute repeaters, quarter repeaters and hour repeaters. He was in the process of creating a new gong for a quarter hour repeater because the original had fallen to disrepair. Next we saw the shining symbol of recent Patek Philippe history, the Grandmaster Chime. On its 175th anniversary last year, Patek created only six of this reference number, with a seventh to be on permanent display in its museum. There are 1,366 components in the Grandmaster Chime, and 20 complications. It takes five months to assemble — not make, but just to assemble!  There are two people who assembled the timepiece, and they trained for two years just to assemble this one watch. It is a modern marvel of engineering, and I strongly suggest viewing a video on YouTube to see it.


The last training module for the trip was learning more about Patek Philippe’s Advanced Research department. The guys in this group are the ones the nerds call nerds at Patek. Some of the brightest minds in the company work together to find new ways to improve time keeping and performance for all Patek Philippe timepieces. Recently, they were responsible for the development of the Spiromax, Pulsomax, and Gyromax.

We concluded our day with a recap of the week and our own personal highlights. We received a book from Patek that recapped our training, and had our guides sign them for us (it actually reminded me of signing yearbooks in high school). We parted ways and after a quick drink at the hotel, made our way to Le Loti restaurant at La Réserve Hotel.  This restaurant felt like I was walking into a scene in a James Bond movie. The parking lot was littered with Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Audis, an Aston Martin and a Bugatti. Walking in I felt underdressed in a suit. There must have been Middle Eastern royalty presence due to the amount of men in suits with earpieces clearly packing heat. The only thing missing was a craps or roulette table. Luckily we were given a secluded corner where we couldn’t bother any of the other guests in the restaurant.

IMG_3952 IMG_3945

By this point in the trip everyone was pretty wiped. We had been out every night and up early morning. Honestly, I am glad I am happily married and don’t need to participate in such a lifestyle anymore. After saying our final goodbye to one of our hosts who came to dinner, we went back to the hotel for our last night as a group. I ended up packing that night because of my very early flight the next morning.