Official Texas Legislature pin and ring Texas Legislature Jewelry ProposalOfficial Texas Senate and House PinOfficial Texas Senate & House PinColorized texas legislature pin mockupTexas Legislature Pin FrontTexas Legislature Pin BackAustin American-Statesman story on official Texas legislature jewelryTexas State Seal RingTexas State Legislature Ring

Getting a Lege Up: How Kirk Root Became The Official Jeweler of the Texas Legislature

As Texans know, our legislature has a lot of traditions when they convene in Austin. Our historic capitol building, House and Senate chambers and the Texas Legislature’s tradition of wearing the official pin, pendant or ring while they work at creating laws for the Lone Star State are just a few of the unique traditions. But the official jewelry is not ordinary by anyone’s standards. They were custom designed by C. Kirk Root Designs in 1998 and are sold to current and former members of the Texas Legislature that served starting in 1989. Now available are pieces with "2017" engraved in the design for the 85th session of the Legislature.

The History

During the 75th Texas Legislative Session held 20 years ago, a bill was passed to hold a design competition for all Texas citizens to design the new legislative jewelry . These were to be made available for purchase by current and past members of both houses. State Senator John J. Carona from Dallas called to inform us that we had won the statewide contest in April 2008 and we began designing the custom jewelry. Former President George W. Bush, then Governor was shown the designs while at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. The governor wanted revisions and the chance to see prototypes, and we started delivering the final pieces to legislators in 2000. The designs are now considered classics and do not change year-to-year.

Texas Legislature Jewelry Proposal

Kirk Root Designs' original proposal

The Inspiration

The Texas Legislature Pin has a Victorian Style dating from the 1880s and is made of 18 karat or 14k yellow gold and platinum. There are two designs for each piece, one for those who serve in the Texas House and one for the Senators. A brightly polished platinum star forms the center of the pin and represents the star that is seen all over the Capitol complex. The pure platinum star that never tarnishes symbolizes Texas' purity and nobility.

Official Texas Senate and House Pin

Original mockup of the Texas Senate and Texas House pin front side

Official Texas Senate & House Pin

Original mockup of the Texas Senate and Texas House pin front side

The lettering in each design is crafted in a typical 1880s calligraphy style that matches the nineteenth legislature poster located in the basement of the Capitol. The wreath design is taken from the original state seal and is shown around the star. At the top of the wreath is the number of the member’s first legislative session (i.e. 85th) and the corresponding year of that session is below the star (2017). The scroll design is unique to the 1880s era too. Shells on the top and bottom of the design acknowledge the coastal region of the state.

Texas Legislature Pin Front

Texas Legislature Pin Back

Current and former legislators also have options to select a gold and platinum ring or pendant. Based on the same Texas-inspired theme as the Legislative pins, the ring depicts a wreath of Texas live oak branches on one side and olive branches on the other, also inspired by the original seal design. Each piece is highlighted by a polished platinum star in the center.

Texas State Legislature Ring

Colored mockup showing olive and live oak designs

The rings are available in men’s and women’s sizes. (Please note that the rings feature a design all the way around the ring and are not sizable. If you do not know your exact size please come by our Arboretum showroom or schedule a time for us to come to your office at the Capitol.)

The beautiful Texas Legislature Pendant hangs from a simple bail that will fit up to a 2.5mm chain. We regularly sell them with an optional 22” adjustable wheat chain in 14k gold. The front resembles the pin’s design and the back of the piece includes your name in a hand engraved in script in the upper ribbon. The legislator’s Texas district number is engraved in the lower ribbon. A star and the outline of Texas form the center of the back of the pendant.  

Any current or former Austin state legislator can purchase a piece of our officially licensed jewelry. However, if you don't want to run for office, but still want to show off your Texas pride, we're also licensed to reproduce the official state seal and offer a variety of Texas designs (and, as always, we can custom design a uniquely Texan creation of your choice).

Texas State Seal Ring

Based in Austin, C. Kirk Root Designs offers free delivery of any Texas Legislature Jewelry to your State Capitol office. We have been Austin’s premier custom jewelry store since 1989.

2017 Jewelry Trends kirk root galatea pearl necklacekirk root diamond floral necklacekirk root waterleaf dangle earringskirk root diamond chandelier earringskirk root sterling silver bubble banglekirk root black rhodium cross pendantkirk root white gold filigree cross pendantkirk root square cross floral milgrain diamond pendant

2017 Jewelry Trends: Keeping a Billion Year Old Gem Looking Fresh

Our founder, C. Kirk Root, made the craftsmanship of specialty jewelry his life's work. He was an innovator, always studying and finding new ways of bringing beauty into the world. He thought forward, and spent his celebrated career staying on top of the current trends. As 2017 begins, it's important that we keep the focus on what makes C. Kirk Root Designs stand out.

Although these gems originated ages ago deep within the earth, our dedication molds and shapes them into a perfect product for the modern day. With three decades of gem appraisal and teaching under our belts, the quality of C. Kirk Root Designs' jewelry pieces will never grow stale and our jewels' beauty never fades. We are continually crafting and customizing pieces to fit our customers' tastes exactly. As those tastes shift over time, we're always ready to respond. For you trendsetters out there, here is what people will be wearing in 2017. 

2017 Jewelry Trends

 

Statement Necklaces

kirk root galatea pearl necklace

kirk root diamond floral necklace

In this new year, expect a resurgence in long necklaces. Known as the "sautoir," these necklaces are impossible to miss. The C. Kirk Root Galatea Pearl Necklace ($1,785) and Diamond Floral Necklace ($1,753) are the perfect pickups for anyone following this trend.

Art School Earrings

kirk root waterleaf dangle earrings

kirk root diamond chandelier earrings

Early glimpses of 2017's earring designs show a focus on visually-arresting, future-facing lines and shapes. We're on board with the new direction with our Waterleaf Dangle Earrings ($6,500) and Diamond Chandelier ($1,575) pieces.

Arm Cuffs

kirk root sterling silver bubble bangle

Big statement pieces are what to watch for in 2017 and arm cuffs and bracelets are no exception. Expect a focus on multi-layered, modernist designs like our Silver Sterling Bubble Bangle ($1,500).

Crosses

kirk root square cross floral milgrain diamond pendant

kirk root white gold filigree cross pendant

kirk root black rhodium cross pendant

2017's most spiritually-minded jewelry trend is a focus on crosses. From traditional crosses to more ornate and experimental takes, wide varieties of this ancient symbol will be on display this year. Our Square Cross Floral Milgrain Diamond Pendant ($1,995), 18K White Gold Filigree Cross Pendant with Diamonds ($1,275) and Black Rhodium Cross Pendant with Diamonds ($892.50) all offer sophisticated takes on this look.

halo-style engagement ring solitaire engagement ringcathedral engagement ringtwo stone engagement ringthree stone engagement ringsolitaire engagement ring

A Perfect Choice for the Rest of Your Lives – Find Your Engagement Ring with C. Kirk Root Designs

You and your other half are about to start a new life together, so kick it off right. Look below for the ring that best represents the hope and love of your union.

ENGAGEMENT RING STYLES

When you're buying an eternal symbol of love, you want to make sure you're getting the right style for your partner. There are lots of options available, from timeless looks to more modern cuts. Knowing what you're looking for will make the process of buying an engagement ring much easier.

Solitaire

solitaire engagement ring

Classic and clean, the Solitaire has been the traditional engagement ring design since the 1800's. An excellent selection for someone who wants time-tested elegance.

Halo-Style

halo-style engagement ring

Halo-Style rings encircle the central stone with a border of gleaming diamonds in micro pavé style. The exacting craft required for this style results in a dazzling piece of jewelry.

Cathedral

cathedral engagement ring

Reflecting the house of worship where the betrothed will make their lasting vows, the Cathedral engagement ring mounts the diamond on arches that stand out from the ring shank.

Two-Stone

two stone engagement ring

Your engagement represents two separate lives becoming one. The Two-Stone ring model underscores this with dual diamonds - two lives, together in the present and the future.

Three-Stone

three stone engagement ring

The two diamonds that join the center stone are symbolic of the couple's past, present and future together. The union's eternity is built into the ring's design.
Shop our engagement rings online or visit our store for personalized guidance on this pivotal purchase.

Put Your Feelings in a Box: The C. Kirk Root Designs’ Gift Guide

Give your loved ones something that perfectly encapsulates your feelings. Our Gift Guide provides the ambitious gift-giver with unforgettable options your loved ones will cherish.

WILDFLOWER COLLECTION

One of our longest-running and most beloved jewelry lines. Our renowned Bluebonnet jewels - including the Large Bluebonnet Pendants with Tsavorite Garnet Leaves ($2,275–$2,700) and Small Bluebonnet Earrings with Tsavorite Garnet Leaves ($3,325–$3,475) - are perennial favorites all over the state of Texas. Show how you really feel with these famous pieces.

2LPC 1006

 

LONE STAR BLUE TOPAZ

The piercing color of the Lone Star Blue Topaz jewelry line reflects the beauty of the Texas sky. The Lone Star Blue Topaz Solitaire Scroll Ring ($1,050–$1,450) or our Lone Star Blue Topaz Solitaire Scroll Pendant ($425–$600) are among our most popular originals.

 

2LPC1148b

EXQUISITE PIECES

Dainty Gold and Diamond Link Necklace ($682.50)

This necklace is made of 14k yellow gold and has 8 diamond links throughout the piece. Understated elegance for the beautiful woman in your life.

dainty-gold-necklace

 

Square Flush Set Diamond Band in 18k White Gold ($585)

This band is set with 0.08cttw diamonds and has a size of 6.5”. It is finished via a brush finish top and polished sides. A resilient and beautiful piece of jewelry for the people you are happy to have in your life.

square-flush-band

 

Hammer Finished 14kt Gold and Diamond Bracelet ($1,095.50)

If someone you love wants to make an elegant fashion statement, bangle bracelets like the Hammer Finished 14kt Gold and Diamond piece are the way to go. The piece shows off 10 diamonds with a full diamond weight of ~0.32 cttw. Additionally, it will go with any style or design. So the recipient of this gift can wear it anytime.

hammer-finished-bracelet

 

White Ceramic Alternating Longhorn Logo Band ($245)

State-of-the-art band for UT fans who like comfortable jewelry that’s just a bit different. White ceramic accented with alternating, engraved Longhorn logos. Available in sizes 4.5-13. Piece is suited for both men and women.

longhorn-band

Diamond Bow Dangles ($420)

Bow-shaped dangles with SI2-I1 diamonds set in with gold. The bows symbolize ideas of femininity, remembrance and love. The diamonds have a 0.16 cttw (total carat weight). A lovely sentiment at an affordable price.

diamond-bow-dangles

Black Rhodium Cross Pendant with Diamonds ($892.50)

This stately pendant is fitted with diamonds that have a 0.26 cttw. The diamonds are set in black rhodium and shaped into the form of a cross. Thoughtful gifts like this are the most treasured.

black-rhodium-cross

Large Bluebonnet Pendant with Tsavorite Garnet Leaves ($2,275.–$2,700)

This pendant, which is our signature piece, comes with custom blended 18kt cast in your choice of green, gold or palladium. The Large Bluebonnet Pendant, our longtime #1 bestseller, specifically embodies the gorgeous design and unique culture of the great state of Texas. This true Texas jewelry beauty, straight from the heart of the state, will show your love in physical form.

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Evening Star Earrings ($1,650)

The Evening Star Earrings also rank with C. Kirk Root Designs’ signature items. They include the custom, cut pear-shaped Lone Star Blue Topaz, a famous design element. Each earring set is unique due to the blue hue and saturation varying from stone to stone. Your loved ones will know they are special to you with the Evening Star Earrings.

evening-star-earrings

Spotlight on November Birthstones: Topaz

How is it already November?! As we go into the second to last month of the year, we have a new birthstone to discuss: Topaz! Topaz is a gorgeous gemstone that comes in a range of colors, from colorless to blue to orange to pink. With a hardness of eight on the Mohs’ Hardness Scale, topaz is an ideal stone for everyday jewelry. Pure topaz is colorless but the varying colors come from trace elements found in its crystal structure. The most prized variety of topaz is Imperial topaz, which has a gorgeous pink-orange color.

Our favorite variety at Kirk Root Designs is blue topaz because it is the state stone of Texas! Naturally colored blue topaz is quite rare so the majority of blue topaz that you’ll see actually began as colorless and was then treated with irradiation. The irradiation treatment is very safe and stable and brings out the gorgeous and vibrant blues! The most important source of topaz is Brazil but we have topaz here in Texas as well. Texas topaz is found in Mason County in the Precambrian granite of the Llano Uplift. Most of the topaz found in Mason County is colorless but a minority does have a naturally-occurring pale, icy blue color.

As a local Texas business, we love using blue topaz. In fact, we have a whole collection with our Lone Star Blue Topaz! The stones feature our Lone Star cut which embodies the spirit of Texas and we make rings, earrings, pendants and bracelets. We also have a selection of Mason County topaz which feature the state cut of Texas!

Vault Finds: 1.37 carat Natural Nigerian Pink Spinel

Welcome to a new series, Vault Finds! We have an astounding collection of gemstones here at C. Kirk Root Designs and sometimes a special stone plays a disappearing act, whether it be in a box with old floppy discs or a custom stock job envelope from five years ago. Then at the perfect moment, it resurfaces and we are reminded of why we loved them in the first place. Join us in Vault Finds as we highlight these fantastic stones that we get to fall in love with all over again!

First in the series, this GORGEOUS pink spinel! One of the many “Kirk-isms” we have here is when one of us sees a gemstone that truly excites us we ask, “Does that make your socks roll up and down?” Well y’all, my bare feet in ballet flats had imaginary socks that were rolling up and down when I saw this beauty. Found in an old job envelope, this lady was in a scratched up old stone case but her color still burst through.

When I see a beautiful gemstone, the nerd in me loves to think about the route it took along the gemstone pipeline. As a spinel, this beauty is a member of the cubic crystal system, meaning her rough form would have been an octahedron. Spinels primarily occur in alluvial deposits, like a river bed, and are found in countries like Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Brazil. Our pink lady here came from Nigeria. Can you imagine finding a bright pink octahedron in a river bed in Nigeria? What a treasure!

Our pink lady would have then gone to a stone cutter who determined that the best cut for her particular rough was the marquise cut. After a series of faceting, her true beauty came out and now we see her bright pink color and the light reflects off her beautifully. Weighing 1.37 carats, this lovely lady has excellent polish, VVS clarity and, the best part of all, she is 100% natural, meaning she has not undergone any treatment! Her color is what really sets her apart. Spinels come in a range with the reds being the most sought after. I have never seen a spinel this color before and she is truly vibrant!

She would look absolutely incredible set east to west in a simple yellow gold pendant or ring that would really allow her color to take center stage. I’m hoping our pink lady finds a home with one of our incredible customers before I have to start skipping lunches to take her home with me!

http://www.kirkrootdesigns.com/shop/1-37-carat-natural-nigerian-pink-spinel

By: Virginia Schneider

On a Gem Caper… Visiting our Local Gem & Mineral Show!

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been working in the jewelry industry for almost 20 years and never taken in one of our local gem shows! I guess it’s easy to overlook outside opportunities when you are surrounded by the subject daily. But I have 2 growing kids who share my love for gems and it appears I inherited this love from my Mom! So when we found that the Austin Gem & Mineral Society was hosting a show this weekend we decided to grab the opportunity and make a “family day” of it!

 

First things first… breakfast! As luck would have it, the restaurant we wanted to visit in downtown Austin was closed- for good. Well boo… So that gave us the opportunity to check out a local outdoor artist ally on Baylor Street (Hope Outdoor Gallery) where artists can express themselves in spray paint while we checked phones to find an alternate breakfast spot!

Side note: If you haven’t visited this local gem, please do so quickly. The property owner originally planned to allow this art installation experiment for 6 months. After 6 successful years at this location, there is a move coming in the future so this property can be developed as originally planned. Here is an article link for more information: http://www.austinchronicle.com/arts/2016-08-05/austins-popular-gallery-of-graffiti-searches-for-a-new-location/ .

 

And I digress… Back to our goal at hand- to see gems and minerals! We made it to the Palmer Events Center. Parking was easy and admission was reasonable. The focus theme for this year’s show was “The Minerals of Mexico”. There were many large specimens and plentiful information. The vendors were friendly and knowledgeable. My children really enjoyed the “information hunt” that was prepared by age group. Each child had a different list of questions they worked around the room to find answers to. Once that was completed, they were rewarded with a sample gemstone- garnet! My son was especially pleased since that is his birthstone.

It was an easy afternoon and we covered the show in 3 hours. Our daughter received several “red hair” discounts and was even allowed to crack a geode of her own! The inside crystals that were revealed for the first time ever were lovely! We also saw a faceting demonstration by a stone cutter which was very educational. He was so informative and had a great example of light and how it refracts at different angles through stones.

I’d highly recommend you catch this show next year! Here’s a link the website for the Austin Gem and Mineral Society: http://www.austingemandmineral.org/index.html

We’d also love you to take a gem tour through our store in Austin Monday through Saturday. Our cases exhibit some of the finest cut precious gems around. Colored gemstones were truly Kirk’s passion and we’ve developed a keen appreciation for the unique qualities and stories found in each one.

 

Tisha Koerner

Spotlight on October Birthstones: Opal

We here at C. Kirk Root Designs are feeling the effects of fall this October! While we still have high temperatures, the days are getting shorter and the leaves are starting to change color. What gemstone perfectly embraces the changing colors we see during autumn? Opal, of course! Opal is one of two birthstones for the month of October, along with tourmaline. Best known for its incredible ‘play-of-color’, opal displays different colors unique to each specific stone when you move the stone and allow the light to hit each “patch” composing the stone.

Opal comes in three different varieties: precious opal, fire opal and common opal. The most popular that you’ll come across is precious opal which displays the play-of-color on a light or dark background. White opals have a light background and typically display cool colors like green and blue, but the finer white opals will also display pink, yellow and red. The higher the saturation of the color the better! Black opals are more highly prized than white opals, as the black background really allows the colors to shine. Black opals display the whole range of colors, but the most desired color is red. Fire opals are transparent to translucent stones which have a yellow to dark reddish-orange body color. Common opals are translucent to opaque stones that do not have the typical play-of-color associated with opal but they’re valued for their rich body colors, like a beautiful pink.

What country do you primarily think of when you hear the word opal? Our first thought here is Australia! Australia is the most important source for precious opals, specifically an area called Lightning Ridge which produces opals with the most incredible play-of-color. Ethiopian opals are also gaining popularity and have a very different look from Australian opals. They look a little more “jelly-like” and tend to be more translucent. No two opals are alike as the pattern and colors in each stone are unique!

We love creating pieces with opal, like the ring below. Set in 14kt rose and white gold, this ring features an incredible 1.42 carat black opal from Australia. When you move your hand you’ll see flashes of purple, pink, green, blue and the most desired of all, red!

By: Virginia Schneider

My Favorite Sister Birthstone… Tourmaline

We are well into October my friends and it’s time to talk about Opal’s birthstone sister, Tourmaline. While opal is an amazing gemstone with its own treasurable attributes, it doesn’t offer strength and breadth of color variety quite like the alternative option known as tourmaline. Of course this is a generalization about opal and please don’t think we love it any less, but along with a Mohs Scale Hardness of 7-7.5 tourmaline certainly offers a huge array of exciting colors that can fit all tastes and end uses.

Tourmaline is mined all over the world. This global availability has led to the variety of colors as there are different mineral deposits and environmental conditions creating the glorious color spectrum as we have come to know them. Closer to home, tourmalines are being mined in Maine and California so if you are a fan of “shopping local” you’ve hit pay dirt!

The name tourmaline is derived from the Sinhalese word “toramalli” which means mixed gems. This is coincidentally accurate in that for hundreds of years tourmalines of strong reds, blues, and greens were confused with rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. Tourmaline truly offers the rainbow in color choices. It is considered the gemstone of strength, love, and friendship and is said to render firm and long-lasting relationships making this a fantastic family member for October birthstones!

We have an intriguing collection of tourmalines (including rough uncut crystals) at Kirk Root Designs featuring a variety of colors to suit everyone! Pink and green are often the colors that come to mind when we mention tourmaline. The pear shape tourmaline in this pendant weighs 2.42carats and has a rich velvety hue that dances when hit with light. The 18kt yellow gold setting delicately hugs this stone and is accented with small full cut round brilliant diamonds. The top of the pendant wraps the 18kt white gold bail design with diamond accents as well making this a stunning necklace. This piece would be so refreshing for casual daytime wear or can instantly dress up with a pair of heels!

By: Tisha Koerner