Color Jewelry is in Full Bloom
There are many jewelry events that I look forward to during the year. My editorial background and the books I’ve authored are a total giveaway. I have a passion for discovering new talent, hunting down rare period pieces, and I am sentimental and often engrossed in the personal stories behind the jewels. Therefore, I love jewelry week in Las Vegas, the one time of the year during which I can uncover emerging designs and see the best of antiques, all in a span of a few days. But there is also the yearly AGTA Spectrum Awards Editor’s Day, in which I get to see, not only the winners but all of the colored gemstone jewels that have been entered into the U.S. and Canada’s prestigious natural colored gemstone and cultured pearl competition. AGTA (American Gem Trade Association) is known in the jewelry industry as “The Authority of Color” and is dedicated to promoting natural colored gemstones and cultured pearls through a variety of educational and promotional programs. In 1984, the AGTA Spectrum Awards were first launched and three decades later, the awards, judged by a panel of esteemed jewelers and retailers, continues to recognize and honor the outstanding jewelry designers and lapidaries for workmanship, innovation, and creativity in approximately 15 categories including bridal, evening, menswear and the cutting edge lapidary art.
Viewing all of the colored gemstone entries on display is like being a kid in a candy store-you don’t know where to look first. This year, I had even more fun than usual–due to the fact that my 21-year old niece was visiting me and the organizers were kind enough to invite her.
Sammie has been obsessed with jewelry since she dressed up as Disney princesses and we made sparkly tiaras, sashes and pendants from rhinestones and Elmer’s Glue. She ‘only wanted real diamonds’ by the time she was four– and I hosted jewelry parties for at least two of her childhood birthdays in which each one of her friends went home with personalized charm necklaces and/or bracelets which they got to design with their own hands, making the pieces even more special to them. When she was younger, she never wanted her jewelry to be “matchy, matchy” and her favorite colors changed from pink to purple to blue/green. It wasn’t surprising to see that not much has changed. The first jewels she tried on were a large Paraiba tourmaline ring, a pair of unheated oval pink sapphire earrings (by A. Kleiman & Co.) which actually won first place in the Classical category and a few tanzanite pieces.
I had some favorites of my own–and was thrilled when Michelle Orman of Last Word Communications (the Public Relations Agency which organized the Editor’s Day event) directed me to the ‘photo studio’ created for editors, writers and bloggers –which consisted of boxes of plants, sand, and rough minerals. which provide pretty backgrounds for jewelry along with the natural light in the rooftop space in which the event took place.
Colored gemstones continue to gain more and more popularity in modern jewelry and Bejeweled has been featuring various stories on different gemstones and the talented designers who work with multiple colors and cuts since our inception a little over a year ago. Here are my picks from the Agta Spectrum Awards Editor’s Day, photographed with a little help from my favorite assistant, Samantha Bernstein…