Not only did I learn a lot about gems from the industry veterans who were there, but walking around and getting to try on all the beautiful jewelry taught me a lot about my own preferences.

I’m such a fan of color in most aspects of fashion and beauty (chalk it up to a Southern upbringing), so everything at the Spectrum Awards was right up my alley.

But, more than that, I’m a huge fan of a simple colored stone. When visiting the bridal wear table, I found myself attracted to a cushion-cut Sapphire engagement ring.

While at the event, I tried on a number of rings with colored gems. Here are a few of my favorites from the day.

This is the “Mandarin Dream” ring from Joe Escobar Diamonds, an 18-karat rose gold and platinum ring featuring a 7.23-carat orange sapphire accented with white diamonds and orange sapphires.

Mandarin Dream

This is another beautiful ring I loved from Ajit Roy. The 14-karat yellow gold ring features an oval green tourmaline accented with yellow diamond melee.

Ajit Roy Tourmaline

One of the things that also really struck me while I was there was the variety of colors when it came to opals. I was unfamiliar with anything more than a traditional white coloring, and immediately fell for a number of pieces using black opals.

This one shown below was one of my favorites. The Dena Kemp 18-karat white gold ring is accented with tsavorite garnets, blue sapphires and diamonds.

Dena Kemp black opal

I’m also a fan of statement jewelry; give me a piece that’s oversized, bold or less traditional, and I’m in. And here, the Spectrum Awards definitely did not disappoint.

This was one of my favorite pieces overall. This Thomas Turner 18-karat yellow gold necklace featured rough chrysoprase slabs accented with Akoya cultured pearls and diamonds. It was just stunning in person.

Thomas Turner Chrysoprase

And on the winner’s table, I found one that I thought was tops as well.

This double finger ring from Michael John Jewelry features a diamond polar bear jumping between two opal icebergs. How fun is that?

Michael John Polar Bear

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.