December 24, 2014
Earlier this year, it would have been hard to believe that anything could top the consolidation of the industry’s two largest players, Zale Corp. and Signet Jewelers Ltd., in terms of news for 2014.
December 23, 2014
At first, I thought this blog would be easy as pie. Pick my favorite gemstone jewels that I saw this year? You got it.
December 15, 2014
As I’m sure you’ve heard, probably multiple times over Pantone named Marsala, a dusky, earthy red color, as its hue of the year for 2015. And while it’s gotten a range of reactions from media, there was a lot of positive feedback coming from the team here, including yours truly.
December 12, 2014
I’ll start off this blog with a short confessional but not the scary, priest-behind-the-screen, say-10-Hail-Marys-type from my youth.
December 2, 2014
I am, admittedly, a bit late in coming around to my second word of the year for 2014, as it’s already been done.
November 21, 2014
When celebrities step out on the red carpet, you can usually count on them (or their stylists) choosing the statement jewelry that will get noticed, opting for major drop earrings and bold colored gemstones to accent their fashions in all the right ways.
But lately we’ve been seeing celebrities moving in the other direction when they’ve made public appearances--they are choosing smaller, delicate pieces that create an understated yet pulled-together look.
This has been especially true with earrings, with a number of celebs donning studs, small drops or getting trendy with ear climbers. They also are wearing sleek rings and bracelets that accent without taking the eye too far from their fashion and beauty looks.
Scroll down to see some of the best of the minimal pieces that stars have been wearing lately.
November 19, 2014
On Tuesday, Oxford Dictionaries named its 2014 “Word of the Year,” the orderly amassing of letters that, according to the professional wordsmiths at Oxford, has “attracted a great deal of interest during the year to date.”
November 13, 2014
One of the best parts of this job and this industry is hands down not only getting to see all the amazing jewelry but also getting to talk to the people--manufacturers, designers, retailers--behind it.
This is especially true when these conversations take place in person and I get to hear, for example, the inspiration and idea behind a jewelry collection from the artist themselves.
Last week I was lucky enough to meet with a designer who was new to me, Lisa Kim, and hear firsthand about her new collection, “Windlords.”
With a feminine-yet-edgy look that I think will speak to the modern self-purchaser, Kim’s jewelry draws from other interests of hers--mythology, fantasy literature and ancient history. She also has a background in animation and has studied the techniques of chasing and repoussé.
She is based in Los Angeles, where she produces all her jewelry locally. It’s available in karat gold or sterling silver, and uses ethically sourced gemstones chosen for their color and features. Currently she sells in a few select stores but is looking to expand her presence in independent retailers.
The design aesthetic of her new Windlords collection is a direct reflection of Kim’s belief in the parallel between “the mythic hero and the modern woman,” offering a big, bold look for a more affordable price point. Scroll down to see a few of my favorites from my recent visit with Kim.
This is Kim’s “Shield” ring, made with a rose-cut moonstone, oxidized sterling silver and 18-karat yellow gold ($6,125).
November 6, 2014
On Wednesday night, Nashville, Tenn. played host to the 48th Country Music Association Awards, bringing attention back to celebrity red carpet style at a time when there aren’t many awards ceremonies.
November 6, 2014
Last week, I had a fleeting thought that I should just ignore the latest diamond industry spat--a survey that led a group of eight organizations to skip the World Diamond Council meeting altogether.
October 31, 2014
I am not proud to admit it now, but I was the kind of little girl who wanted to quit games in the middle if it looked like I wasn’t going to win, a trait for which my mom, like any good mother should, always admonished me.
October 22, 2014
Last week I had the chance to talk with Dorothée Gizenga, executive director of the Diamond Development Initiative, about how the Ebola outbreak is impacting the lives and livelihoods of the artisanal diamond diggers the organization aids.
October 13, 2014
A few weeks ago, the prologue to the über-popular podcast This American Life featured the story of an 11-year-old girl from west Detroit named Asia Newson who owns her own company, SuperBusinessGirl, and is known as the city’s youngest entrepreneur.
October 7, 2014
Last week another laboratory, EGL Platinum, issued a statement speaking out against the over-grading of diamonds while seeking to separate themselves from the EGL labs associated with this practice, a statement issued in the wake of the Rapaport Group’s move to quit listing diamonds graded by any EGL lab on RapNet.
October 6, 2014
Associate Editor Brecken Branstrator explores why a new line of customizable jewelry appeals to her and her friends, all of whom are in their 20s.
September 25, 2014
On Monday, NPR aired a story on why many jewelry stores choose to tuck away their price tags rather than display them.
September 22, 2014
Associate Editor Brecken Branstrator delves into another unusual category of jewelry, this time looking at the rather invasive pieces one designer said could capture a human’s kinetic energy.
September 11, 2014
I think I should begin this blog with a bit of an apology: We, like so many others, predicted incorrectly.
September 3, 2014
Associate Editor Brecken Branstrator takes a look at a new headpiece designed by U.K.-based fashion house The Unseen, which is covered in gemstones that respond to brain activity by changing color.
September 2, 2014
Jewelry found its way to the 39th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show last week when Carelle debuted its Florette collection there, an 18-karat gold and gemstone line.
August 22, 2014
If you keep up with magazines or blogs that cover jewelry, you’ve likely seen the headline, or some variation of it, at least once: “These aren’t your grandmother’s pearls.”
August 20, 2014
Designer Monika Knutsson breathes new life into old pieces of lace by dipping them in karat gold or sterling silver to create jewelry. Read more in Associate Editor Brecken Branstrator’s Q&A with the artist.
August 19, 2014
As of Monday afternoon, donations to the ALS Association, the nonprofit that works on research, care services, public education and public policy surrounding amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), were up 767 percent year-over-year. They rose from $1.8 million between July 29 and Aug. 18 of last year to $15.6 million in the same time period this year, according to figures released by the association.
August 7, 2014
I feel as though I’ve written a fair number of “large rough unearthed” stories in recent months, so many, in fact, that I began to wonder: Has this been an unusually active year for finding rough diamonds that are 100 carats or larger?
August 6, 2014
With all the recent consumer press reports accusing major chains of selling lead glass-filled rubies without proper disclosure, Associate Editor Brecken Branstrator takes a look at the rules for selling these stones.
August 4, 2014
When I was wading through the De Beers Group’s first-half results recently, a paragraph about De Beers Diamond Jewellers, the retail chain De Beers operates in a 50/50 joint venture with luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, stuck out to me.
July 25, 2014
I took a little trip to London on Wednesday night, without even leaving New York City.
July 14, 2014
I received quite a bit of response from last week’s post concerning consumers’ thoughts on lab-grown diamonds, from both the trade and the people I polled. My article even sparked a more formal poll, on consumer-facing jewelry website PriceScope.
July 9, 2014
It’s been a rough (no diamond pun intended) past couple of weeks for two of the industry’s largest producers of lab-grown diamonds.
July 2, 2014
The work of gemstone miners and traders and how they extract minerals from the source seems to be a popular theme for documentaries these days.
June 24, 2014
Everybody loves a mystery, and there is something particularly tantalizing about one that will never quite get solved.
June 23, 2014
July 2, a week from today, will mark the midway point of 2014. There will be exactly 183 days behind us and 182 more to go.
June 18, 2014
In 2012, Christie’s Rahul Kadakia cracked open a case of extraordinary jewels that once belonged to Huguette M. Clark that were, as the story goes, kept in a bank vault untouched since the 1940s.
June 10, 2014
Drop earrings and rings with diamond pavé were the go-to jewelry choices for celebrities attending the Tony Awards Sunday night, which recognize achievement in live Broadway theater.
June 10, 2014
We’ve been back in New York for about a week, giving me time to (somewhat) catch up on rest and reflect on my time at market week in Las Vegas. This trip was not only my first time at market week but also my first trip to Las Vegas, which meant that my to-do list of things to eat, see and visit was pretty extensive.
While I didn’t get to do everything on my list (here’s looking at you, High Roller), I had an amazing time while I was there.
The best thing that continues to come out of these work trips for me, besides the education, is getting to see more brands, designers and jewelry, meeting people in person that I’ve been emailing for a while and meeting tons of wonderful new people. I am constantly in awe of the passion, dedication and energy that seems to pervade the industry.
By day in Las Vegas, I was going on a few appointments of my own at the shows as well as accompanying both Hannah and Michelle on theirs. Nothing beats getting to see the jewelry in person and trying it on, and Las Vegas provided that opportunity in spades.
Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the trip.
Starting top left and moving clockwise: Pamela Froman, Octium, Omi Privé, and Oscar Heyman
June 6, 2014
I personally attended two panels in Las Vegas where the topic of lab-grown diamonds, also called synthetics, came up; the first covered synthetic diamond disclosure and the second was on five forces shaping the future of the industry. No. 1 of those five was lab-grown diamonds.
May 28, 2014
Las Vegas market week is here once again, and this year, the National Jeweler team is sharing the essential items they keep in their bags to survive each day in comfort and style.
May 22, 2014
[caption id="attachment_2320" align="alignleft" width="150"] Robin Rotenier[/caption]
May 16, 2014
For some time, I’ve had a Swiss documentary called More than Honey in my Netflix queue, sitting right alongside Hotel Rwanda and They Call it Myanmar, movies I know I should watch but always forgo in favor of binge-watching Bridezillas.
May 14, 2014
Amazon has found another way to bring shopping to the increasingly mobile U.S. consumers. In recent days, the retail giant announced that consumers now will be able to shop on Amazon via their Twitter accounts.
May 12, 2014
English designer Imogen Belfield and her chunky, gold nugget-esque designs were one of the standouts for me in Las Vegas last year, and I have been thinking about her Rock Cluster necklace since then.
May 9, 2014
This week, WSMV-TV, an NBC affiliate in Nashville, Tenn., aired a two-part segment about Genesis Diamonds (not to be confused with lab-grown diamond company Gemesis), a local jewelry store that uses reports from EGL International, among other precious gemstone grading labs.
May 8, 2014
Born in the French Alps but now based in London, jewelry designer Ornella Iannuzzi has created a style that includes unusual, eye-catching and organic shapes, using rare and natural precious materials crafted in a way that mirrors sculptures as much as fine jewelry.
April 30, 2014
Based in London, designer Jacqueline Cullen incorporates a unique and interesting material into her designs: Whitby jet, 182 million-year-old fossilized wood found only in Whitby, England.
April 30, 2014
Woolly mammoths and walruses and dinosaurs, oh my! Jewelry designer Monique Pean has carved out an interesting niche, literally -- she digs in the dirt for unique fossils -- in the accessories market.
Marissa Collections sat down with the seasoned globetrotter about her passion for prehistoric treasures and philanthropy.
A retailer of fine jewelry and high fashion in Naples, Fla., Marissa Collections has begun conducting Q&As with new designers as the store adds them, and shares these with National Jeweler exclusively before posting the interviews on its jewelry blog at MarissaCollections.com.
Marissa Collections: Describe your transition from finance to jewelry design.
Monique Pean: While working in finance, my younger sister Vanessa passed away in a car accident at the age of 16. At that moment, I realized it was necessary to reevaluate what I wanted to do with my life. I decided to pursue a career that allowed me to combine my passions for design, art, travel and philanthropy.
MC: Did any of your former skills apply to the next phase?
MP: Very much so. I was able to use my financial skills to pursue an entrepreneurial path and properly establish and grow my brand.
MC: What’s a typical day like?
MP: Between designing, traveling for personal appearances and all of the other aspects that go into running a business, I find that each day is completely different. I love that I get to meet people with different backgrounds and experience so many new places.
MC: Which came first, your love of travel or jewelry design?
MP: I’ve loved both from a young age. My grandmother has an incredible Art Deco jewelry collection, and she always encouraged me to explore her jewelry box as a child and experiment with wearing multiple rings and bracelets at once. My father worked in economic development, so I was lucky enough to accompany him to over 40 countries, which got me hooked on travel.
MC: Since travel is such a major component of your work, how does it affect your design process?
MP: Each year I take a trip to a new destination to find sustainable materials and partner with local artisans to develop new collections. The geography and indigenous art of these areas are my core inspirations along with modern artistic movements and architecture. I’m working with artisans in the Arctic Circle, French Polynesia, Peru, Guatemala, Colombia and the Philippines.
MC: What are some of your favorite destinations?
MP: I keep returning to Japan, where I’ve collected many comfortable, sculptural pieces over the years. Others are Brazil, Egypt, Antarctica, Guatemala and South Africa.
Pean's 18-karat recycled yellow gold fossilized walrus ivory Norske oval ring ($10,530)
April 28, 2014
Woolly mammoths and walruses and dinosaurs, oh my! Jewelry designer Monique Pean has carved out an interesting niche, literally -- she digs in the dirt for unique fossils--in the accessories market.
April 25, 2014
I am writing this blog post from the sunny lanai (fancy Florida word for what we just called a porch when I lived in Pittsburgh) of my parents’ house in Florida.
April 24, 2014
This past winter, one of my esteemed industry colleagues included a saying in one of his blogs that I had never heard before: If you really want to be wary of the mass media, read an article on a topic about which you are particularly well informed.
April 17, 2014
We know that consumers are using their mobile devices to shop at levels never seen before. Whether it’s on a tablet or smartphone, they’re using mobile to shop, review peer feedback and opinions on products and services, and get social about their experiences and interactions with brands.
April 17, 2014
I ran a half-marathon Sunday and I did OK, considering the confluence of severe snowstorms and the flu that deterred my training.
April 9, 2014
I would like to clear up any confusion about a not-really-breaking news story that seems to have gotten new life lately following an article by The New York Times and the almighty online news machine, where stories get picked up and re-posted ad nauseam.
April 9, 2014
Last week I attended Circa’s “Scotches & Watches” event, which gave attendees a glimpse of what both a great scotch and watch collection look like, from entry-level purchases to the top-of-the-line product.
April 7, 2014
Having a Google alert set for the general term “jewelry” can turn up a lot of results. While not always relevant, it’s good to at least sift through the alerts to make sure we’re not missing any important news stories, and it can be a great resource for interesting tidbits you wouldn’t otherwise find.
Not too long ago, one of my alerts turned me on to a really interesting story about Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde and his project to eliminate smog with a new device he’s creating.
Roosegaarde and his team of experts at the Studio Roosegaarde, which has locations in the Netherlands and Shanghai, are developing a safe, energy-friendly installation to capture smog and create clean air. The Smog project uses patented ion technology in an “electronic vacuum cleaner” to create large holes of clean air, and they’re aiming to create the largest smog-free park in Beijing, according to Studio Roosegaarde.
The project’s timing is aligned with the recent vow by Beijing’s municipal government to lower the concentration of fine particulate matter by 25 percent by 2017.
A mock-up is currently being tested in the studio, and the first park is slated to open in early summer of next year.
What’s more, Roosegaarde is using the smog captured from the machine and turning it into fine jewelry. “I like the notion that you take something high-end and combine it with the problematic,” Roosegaarde told The New York Times.
April 4, 2014
It’s been a long couple of weeks. I am exhausted from Basel and still in the midst of my not-very-well-thought-out decision to give up alcohol for Lent. What I wouldn’t give for a beer at dinner tonight or even right now; but I digress.
March 27, 2014
Business Insider posted a slideshow online earlier this month that showed the websites of major companies in 1990s as compared with their domains today.
March 26, 2014
Since I’m still getting acclimated with the fine jewelry industry and trying to expose myself to as many brands and people as possible, I decided to join National Jeweler Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff and check out the collections of Buddha Mama two weeks ago. Based on the name and the buzz behind the brand, I was intrigued.
March 24, 2014
“Delicious.” “Decadent.” “Luscious.”
March 18, 2014
When I attended the Women’s Jewelry Association’s “In the Know” conference for the first time two weeks ago, I was blown away by all the speakers and the knowledge they had to share with the crowd.
March 13, 2014
In early February, we ran a story about a new program called Sustainable in Style. Created by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based diamond company Avilan, the program pairs independents designers--Sofia Kaman, Toby Pomeroy and Megan Thorne among them--with Avilan’s “eco ethical” Storied Diamonds, which are recycled, or previously owned, stones.
March 7, 2014
Designer Sylva Yepremian is the female half of the husband-and-wife design team behind Sylva & Cie. She lived in Lebanon and Paris before coming to California as a teenager, counts English as her fifth language and likes to run, work in her vegetable garden and throw large dinner parties in her spare time.
Read on to learn more about what inspires Yepremian and her husband Raffi in this interview conducted by guest blogger Marissa Collections, a retailer of fine jewelry and high fashion in Naples, Fla.
Marissa Collections has begun conducting Q&As with new designers as the store adds them, and shares these with National Jeweler exclusively before posting the interviews on its jewelry blog at MarissaCollections.com.
Marissa Collections: Your father was a master jeweler for Cartier. Tell us about his history and what he taught you.
Sylva & Cie: He began his apprenticeship early on in our native Lebanon, where he learned jewelry-making techniques that date back hundreds of years. It’s rare to find craftsmen who still practice them. He taught me the balance between creativity/beauty and craft/engineering--both sides must be synchronized in perfect harmony for the piece to work.
MC: Does he still work in the business?
S&C: Yes, even at the age of 76 he comes in every day. My family works in the same building in downtown L.A., but on separate floors so we stay sane. He’s especially helpful regarding technical aspects. I’ll come to him with a problem such a designing a hinge or creating alloys that are a major component of my work. It isn’t just about surrounding a stone with diamonds and boom!
MC: What brought your family to L.A.? Did you experience culture shock?
S&C: It’s even more complicated. We’re Armenian and moved to Paris from Lebanon when I was little. My father decided to go on his own from Cartier and thought it would be better to start completely fresh so we moved to L.A., where we had family. I was distraught to be uprooted at the age of 16 but ended up loving California’s climate and convenience. It was a difficult adjustment though since English was my fifth language--I always thought I’d become a UN translator.
MC: What do you miss most about living in Paris? How often do you return?
S&C: I miss the culture and high attention to aesthetics. Everything the French do is about maximizing beauty from a fruit plate to an outfit just to run errands. You don’t see a lot of Uggs there. I visit at least once a year and have probably been to the Louvre 25 times.
MC: Your mother’s also in the industry. What’s her niche and what did you learn from it?
S&C: My mom and aunt strung pearls, onyx and jade for a major department store. To earn extra money, I helped and learned all about beading. Their business exploded into a retail operation that has become one of the city’s premier bridal jewelry destinations to this day.
The diamond ring on the left is 18-karat yellow gold set with two rough diamonds weighing a total of approximately 6.02 carats and 0.70 carats of single-cut diamonds ($14,375 retail). The ring on the right features two pear-shaped stones, 3.04 and 2.01 carats, surrounded by 0.72 carats of old European cut diamonds set in oxidized sterling silver with an 18-karat yellow gold band. It retails for $103,750.
MC: How does your exotic heritage inspire your work?
S&C: I’m drawn to old things with a patina and ornate details from being surrounded by Arabic architecture. I could never be a minimalist. It’s just not in my DNA.
MC: How would you describe your jewelry?
S&C: Vintage influence meets rock ’n’ roll edge that appeals to a modern sensibility.
MC: How could someone spot it?
S&C: I customize oxidized alloys for a warm, antique effect, which I also achieve with reclaimed diamonds in a range of colors from soft white to champagne. Their softer refraction is more interesting than super-shiny diamonds. My imperfect cuts show the hand of the jeweler.
MC: You’re inspired by Art Deco. Why and do any other periods appear in your work?
S&C: Because jewelry was handmade then as opposed to being produced with mass-production molds. Each piece reflects the unique skills of its maker, and the magic comes from their inconsistencies. I’m also fond of Georgian jewelry.
MC: Do you collect antique jewelry?
S&C: I’m a hoarder, to my husband’s dismay. I shop antique shows and auctions all the time. Recently I bought a tiara, which I wear upside down on a silk ribbon as a necklace. I’m obsessed with tiaras now and designing one of diamond birds.
MC: Your collection focuses on women’s jewelry. Do you plan to expand?
S&C: I’m launching bridal since the market is limited to traditional looks. Many women are already using my stackable rings as wedding bands, so I’m creating a capsule collection of engagement rings in vintage diamonds. It will be ready this year.
March 6, 2014
While I was in Tucson, I managed to sneak in a few extra seminars at the AGTA GemFair for fun, and one of them was a presentation about the Cheapside Hoard, which I think is fascinating.
March 3, 2014
When it comes to educational sessions at jewelry trade shows, I am usually in the audience, scribbling notes furiously for a future story.
February 27, 2014
I recently made the decision to deactivate my Facebook account, nearly 10 years after I first signed up and created a profile on the social media platform.
February 26, 2014
While I was in Tucson earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a small event to meet the team behind a documentary that’s in the works called Sharing the Rough.
February 24, 2014
When I arrived at work on Friday morning, a headline relating to the big news that has the industry buzzing--the pending merger of Signet and Zale--caught my eye immediately. “Signet to Buy Zale, Law Firms Cry Foul” it read, with the corresponding article going on to list five, just to “name a few,” law firms that are “investigating” the deal.
February 20, 2014
Golden tones in jewelry were big among celebrities in January and February, as they rocked pieces that were either metal-heavy or featured diamonds and colorful gemstones.
February 12, 2014
I have been in the same book club for six, going on seven, years. I think that’s pretty remarkable, or at least that’s what people tell me when I tell them about my book club.
February 10, 2014
Last week I went on my first official business trip, to the gem shows at Tucson and what a trip it was.
January 30, 2014
Though I’m still working to familiarize myself with what it is and how it works, I have noticed that Bitcoin seems to be in the news a lot more recently.
January 23, 2014
Every month, our digital team sends web traffic statistics about National Jeweler: how many visitors we had and what the top content was for the month, both on the site and the 10X Blog, which is calculated separately.
January 16, 2014
I don’t know why but I’ve always been fascinated with demographics and the differences among the generations: what were the cultural influences that shaped the ideals of those in their 60s versus those in their 20s and 30s.
January 13, 2014
Much talk has arisen in the diamond industry about confronting the problem of lab-grown diamonds being mixed with natural, or mined, diamonds by naming and shaming--publicly calling out companies that are guilty of knowingly trying to pass off synthetic diamonds as natural.
January 9, 2014
Gemstone-laden drop earrings and elaborate cocktail rings were the scene-stealers jewelry-wise at the 40th Annual People’s Choice Awards, held Wednesday at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
January 7, 2014
I’ve always harbored a fascination for bobsledding.
January 7, 2014
Hannah and I were having a laugh last week about how the calendar date of Jan. 1 inspires people to vow to turn over a new leaf: they are going to lose weight, save more money, be a better all-around person.