Archive for October, 2011

AGTA Spectrum Awards

There’s nothing quite like being able to ogle over a huge selection of gorgeous fine jewelry, and that’s why visiting the AGTA (American Gem Trade Association) Spectrum Awards is always one of my favorite days of the year. This yearly competition honors the best of the best in the lapidary arts (that’s gemstone cutting for the layperson) and colored gemstone jewelry. Not only was I able to browse the winning pieces, but the entire field of entrants. Up close and personal.

Colorado-based Todd Reed took Best in Show (above) for his spectacular Palladium and 22-karat yellow gold locket featuring blue Moonstones, grey Diamonds (24.51 ctw.), blue Sapphires (17.34 ctw.) and white Diamonds (5.10 ctw.) opening to reveal a 76.03 ct. Moldavite Buddha. You can view the rest of the winners right here.

Although it’s easy to find images of those in the winners circle, I wanted to give you a peek into some of my other favorite entries that I wanted to snatch up right on the spot.

I was crazy about this Barbara Heinrich 18-karat yellow gold necklace featuring 13 trapezoidal-shaped Jasper slices accented with yellow-brown diamonds. Collar necklaces are huge in fashion right now, and the natural striations of the Jasper felt organic while also being really bold.

One other Heinrich piece that also intrigued me was this 18-karat yellow gold necklace with black tourmaline slices. In a competition full of bright colors, I loved Heinrich’s use of matte black with tiny diamond accents. It reminds us that the idea of “colored” gems encompasses many things.

This Ben Kho 14-karat yellow gold necklace featuring 117 carats of colored sapphires and diamonds was a showstopper. I loved the rainbow effect of the stones in different cuts and sizes and the fact that the palette was so varied. The V-shape of the piece had a certain retro appeal, but I also think it would be fabulous layered with other necklaces for a modern touch.

The architectural grid of this bracelet drew me in, and the muted color choices felt refined and discreet. Pamela Huizenga created this piece from 22-karat yellow gold and natural multi-colored rose-cut diamonds – simply beautiful.

Lastly, I fell deeply in love with this unusual ring by Katey Brunini that was featured in the Bridal category. Her 18-karat rose gold “Vertebrae” ring featured two emerald trapiche cabochons surrounding a 6.34 carat diamond. (Trapice emeralds – occasionally found in Colombian mines – are rare gems that exhibit a 6-pointed star pattern made up of dark carbon impurities.) A stunning choice for a non-traditional bride or just someone who appreciates the unusual.

’70s Style

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This season, that ’70s silhouette is popping up everywhere – from work-appropriate pantsuits to dramatic disco-esque maxi dresses. Take the look above, from Rachel Zoe’s Fall 2011 collection, that reinterprets the bell bottom and matching jacket to feel totally this century.

Likewise, this über-sexy embellished gown from YSL Spring 2012 has a bit of Studio 54 married with modern embellishments like hand-beadwork and a naval-grazing neckline. In between the two is a glamorous jumpsuit in red silk from Emanuel Ungaro, below. The gold collar necklace and belt bring subtle sparkle to an effortless ensemble.

So what are the best ways to infuse a little bit of ’70s glam to your own wardrobe? For day, there’s nothing like a classic pocketbook that feels a bit preppy. Try a simple silhouette like this LOUIS VUITTON Lilac Epi Reverie Shoulder Bag, or go more boho with a slouchy texture like this woven Bottega Veneta classic.

For evening, a little glitter never hurt. We love this JIMMY CHOO Silver Metal & Rhinestone Clutch Bag because it feels a bit like a disco ball. If you’re looking for sleek sophistication, our pick is this VBH Sand Glitter Canvas Manila Clutch. The classic envelope style is timeless but the shimmering canvas gives it a modern twist.

Images via

Essential Retro Watches

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Think the retro styling a la Mad Men is wearing off? Think again. The latest cover of GQ Australia shows Taylor Lautner carrying off the mid-century vibe beautifully, wearing tailored suits, slicked-back hair and dapper timepieces.

A vintage watch is a great way to embrace the look without an insanely high price tag. Elegant models by Rolex, Omega and Breitling can be found as low as $1,000 – a relative bargain compared to their contemporary counterparts. Plus, the use of simple, stately dials and always-in-style leather bands means that these accessories will stay in your collection forever.

We put together a set of our favorite essential retro watches – featuring a round face and leather straps – for easy shopping. Our pick for best value is Omega, the Swiss brand that is the official timekeeper of the Olympics.