By Brecken Branstrator
But the more I started looking through old photos, stories and events, the harder I realized it was. How was I ever going to narrow it down?

It was such a great year for designing in gemstones, with many colored stones coming to the attention of both celebrities and consumers. Not to mention, I was getting myself acquainted with many stones that were new to me.

Since 2014 was also my first full year as a member of the fine jewelry industry, I found that my tastes were evolving dramatically over time. As soon as I learned what Paraiba tourmaline was, I immediately became obsessed with almost any piece that included it (welcome to the club, right?).

The more I saw, the more I began to appreciate the intricacies of jewelry as well as both edgy, trendy pieces and classic, feminine pieces, quickly culling a wish list with every press preview, trade show or event.

Nevertheless, as 2014 draws to a close, I give you a (non-exhaustive) list of my favorite pieces of the past year.

Lisa Kim

Lisa Kim’s “Shield” ring, made with a rose-cut moonstone, oxidized sterling silver and 18-karat yellow gold, seen when Kim paid an office visit to National Jeweler

Anthony Lent

Anthony Lent’s 18-karat yellow gold “Muse” ring, inspired by the Three Graces of classical mythology, features a trillion-cut spessartite garnet (also called a mandarin garnet) at the center with platinum and diamonds at the necks of the graces, seen at the Couture Press Preview.

Michael John Jewelry

Michael John Jewelry’s asymmetrical earrings with diamonds, sapphires and Australian opals, as seen at the Jewelers of America Fine Jewelry Preview


Also seen at the fine jewelry preview was this “floating ring” by Estenza, boasting rutilated quartz and diamonds in 14-karat yellow gold

Katy Briscoe

Seen at the Couture show in Las Vegas was this 18-karat yellow gold and carved sapphire ring accented with diamonds by Katy Briscoe

Erica Courtney

These drop earrings by Erica Courtney featuring jade, opal, demantoid garnet, lavender spinel, diamonds and gray sapphire in 18-karat gold were seen at the 2014 AGTA GemFair in Tucson.

Babette Shennan

Also seen at GemFair was Babette Shennan’s “Gingko” 18-karat gold ring with an antique finish featuring rubellite and pink diamonds


Omi’s double halo ring featuring a center ruby accented with a halo of rubies and an outer halo of diamonds set in 18-karat yellow gold, seen at the JCK Las Vegas show

Wendy Brandes

From Wendy Brandes’ “Maneater” collection comes this Pink Elephant and Tipsy Writer ring, covered in pink sapphires. It won honorable mention in the 2015 AGTA Spectrum Awards, and we got to see it displayed at the AGTA press event in New York City.

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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.