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.

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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.

Moonstone shield ring

This is Kim’s “Shield” ring, made with a rose-cut moonstone, oxidized sterling silver and 18-karat yellow gold ($6,125).

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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brecken HeadshotThe work of gemstone miners and traders and how they extract minerals from the source seems to be a popular theme for documentaries these days.

Brecken HeadshotWe’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.

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Starting top left and moving clockwise: Pamela Froman, Octium, Omi Privé, and Oscar Heyman

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.

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.

Brecken HeadshotWe 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.

Brecken HeadshotHaving 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.

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Brecken HeadshotSince 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.

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