It’s the most cliché thing I can possibly say in the intro sentence to a year-end blog roundup, but: I can’t believe this year is nearly over. I really can’t.
This was such a big year for me personally, and the rate at which it has flown by is more evident than it has ever been before. Because this year, rather than measuring time by how many new destinations we’ve visited, or who and what I saw at JCK Las Vegas, I’ve been watching my daughter grow. And it’s all been passing by far, far too quickly.
So while I welcome the new adventures—and jewels!—2019 will surely bring, I lament the passing of this year only for the sentimental reason that I just want to grasp onto these moments and hold them tight for as long as possible, because this time next year will come up as quickly as they all do (and I’ll most certainly be saying, “Wow, can’t believe it’s almost 2020!”).
So if you’ll permit me a stroll down memory lane, I’ll take you through the Britt’s Picks that made my year shine bright (my consistent Tuesday feature, broken with only while the wonderful Kristin Young held down the fort for me while I was on maternity leave). What a year for jewelry it’s been. Thanks, as always, for enjoying it with me!
“Handcrafted in oxidized silver, 18k and 22k yellow gold, and stainless steel, the pair combines an industrial style with delicately placed gemstones, showcasing the power of opposing forces. Three spokes hang from each earring, each spoke dangling a bezel-set diamond, a faceted teal tourmaline, and at the center, a rose-cut tourmaline encased in an organic border of gold.” Read more.
“I love their shoulder-skimming length, their ombré arrangement of dark-to-light diamonds, and their arrow shape, which makes them youthful. They would have been right at home on the red carpet, but I’m in love with them for any occasion.” Read more.
“Hailing from Sanchez’s Querencia collection, one that pays homage to the designer’s home country, the piece features four 24k pure gold Maximilianos coins, each one encircled in diamonds, and a charm-like placement of 10 Mexican fire opal pieces (that’s not including the big one, arguably the design’s centerpiece).” Read more.
“The Panther ring by Tal Barkel shows off its unheated sapphire, clocking in at just over 8 carats, exceptionally well. Setting it in silky blackened gold, the one-of-a-kind design turns the volume way up on the color pink.” Read more.
“With 14.5 carats of the precious gem, they’re certainly no slouch in the weight department, but it’s the designated, wave-like setting of pear and round-shape emeralds that imparts the biggest impact. The resulting pattern really does appear as an electric shock, or, perhaps, the image of a heartbeat (they sure are enough to send your heart racing just a little faster).” Read more.
“It brings me joy by simply seeing this ring, a mix of rainbow sprinkles against a background of yellow gold (which brings another thought—how great would this ring be for someone celebrating a special birthday?). While the official colors of Fat Tuesday are purple, green, and gold (representing justice, faith, and power, respectively), you can’t deny the merriment of this full spectrum of hues.” Read more.
“Dubbed the Meadow of Diamonds, this two-tone creation is spectacularly awash with detail, from delicate swirls to the scalloped edges, and everywhere in between. The band features seven lucky diamonds (as described by the brand), bezel-set in silky yellow gold, each one not quite aligning with the next, like a carousel of stones bobbing up and down as it spins around and around.” Read more.
“It had to be this ring in particular today, with its colorful presence that hints at the iciness of winter just as much as the pastel peace of spring—sort of the ideal bridge between the two seasons, which is where many of us (at least on the East Coast) are finding ourselves right now. Do I need a jacket today? (The answer is nearly always yes, with the caveat that once I arrive at my destination, I will feel overheated). The logistical joys of changing seasons.” Read more.
“They would have looked fabulous on the red carpet, and I’m hoping that this sort of color play will extend well beyond the close of awards season (which, I guess starts now).” Read more.
“Named Circles, I don’t think it’s really meant to be roses at all, but the spiraling pattern that clusters along the ruthenium-blackened band bears a striking resemblance to the blooms. That the setting is gleefully dark—add to it the black diamond trio that dances across it—lends a gothic look, creating the scene for an epic romance rife with drama.” Read more.
“They clinch that well-composed look and more with their surge of color, brightening any look you could dream up. They’d look great in an earring group, too, if you wanted to mix and match with some studs or even another pair of huggies to get really creative.” Read more.
“For me, this ring goes above and beyond simply being green, though. Its hand-fabricated combination of shapes—a square-edge halo flanked by angled, kite-shape sides—is the most geometrically pleasing look, a flawless grouping. And those side stones? Swoon, rose-cut diamonds. It doesn’t get better than rose-cut diamonds.” Read more.
“Ocean Blue is ideal for the summer, because—as the name implies—it evokes the sea. Both variations make me feel warm and sunned and happy, which is all anyone can ask for when it’s April and still cold outside.” Read more.
“With a signature Coin band setting sprinkled in diamonds and the robin’s-egg blue gem, Bronfman’s work is evident at first glance—even if you find yourself a bit distracted by the turquoise’s entrancing beauty. ‘Matte yellow gold and turquoise look so beautiful together,’ says the designer. ‘My Coin stud earrings inspired the band design.’ ” Read more.
“For an excellent assortment of hoops, there is Ania Haie, a London-based jewelry (or jewellery, if you’re from across the pond) brand that will be showing for the first time at JCK Las Vegas this year. Offering an array of sterling silver jewelry at attainable price points, its styles are easily crowd favorites: Just trendy enough without being a passing phase, sleek and classic for every day and every individual’s taste.” Read more.
“The Deco band is handcrafted in 18k yellow gold, and the expertly detailed texture around each bezel frames the diamonds, both round and square. Those diamonds make up nearly 4 cts.—a substantial weight for such a momentous occasion (if this were to be a 25th-anniversary band, that is).” Read more.
“Since I am now Mother of Elephants, I was instantly captivated with this charming necklace by Ela Rae. Skilled with bohemian-style jewelry, the New York–based company, helmed by creative director and founder, Pamela Mufson, is exhibiting at JCK Las Vegas for the first time this year.” Read more.
” In the flesh, I’d be enjoying a chat with their wonderful team, surveying the new goods, and piling my fingers high with any assortment of cocktail, stacking, and engagement rings. I would then proceed to snap no less than 50 photos of my hands wearing the rings, because, ironically, although I’m not a bad photographer, the category I’m worst at capturing is jewelry.” Read more.
“Hyrv is based in Tallinn, Estonia, and run by founder and creative director Kateryna Pishon. The brand just concluded its first showing in the Design Center at JCK Las Vegas this year, coming away an Editor’s Choice winner as a JCK Rising Star.” Read more.
“Its Art Deco style, with geometric accents and dainty diamonds, provides the look of grace, while its dog-tag style makes me feel as though it belongs on a beach. It’s like, the most glamorous surfer on earth should be wearing this necklace. That’s a look I would very much like to perfect, no surfing lessons necessary.” Read more.
“The designer’s signature look is getting mixed and matched with her new, patent-pending design. Unveiled at the 2018 JCK Las Vegas show, the earring collection features an interchangeable design that allows the gemstone mechanism to dangle from hoop earrings, turned into a pendant, or used as a charm.” Read more.
“And then there’s the enamel. Another big theme in Vegas, the painted color adorned everything from big diamond rings to bangle bracelets and everything in between. That pop of brightness goes hand-in-hand with the rainbow aesthetic, though it’s been more common to see a single use of color in any given piece. This variety featured in Colette’s earrings makes them all the more special.” Read more.
“Sportun’s Wrap collection comprises not only styles like the one pictured, but also bracelets featuring gemstone beads, if your customer is so inclined to dress her summer arms in a bit more color. Each piece is highly wearable, and, according to the designer’s website, are ‘to be given, received, and worn in thoughtfulness.’ ” Read more.
“Composed of an impressive 413 total cts. of aquamarine, this is no subtle trinket—but it would be seen as the centerpiece to someone’s entire vacation wardrobe. You don’t accessorize with the necklace, you plan your ensembles around it.” Read more.
“It’s an eye-catching style that I interpret in a number of ways: a river of diamonds traveling through a landscape of moonstone; a shimmering moonstone mirror cracked through the center, revealing a layer of sparkle; a flawlessly finished jigsaw puzzle.” Read more.
“The spiny fingers of a frog grasp the ‘golden ball,’ in this case, not golden at all, but a 16.5 mm Tahitian gray button pearl. This ‘ball’ is the key to the frog’s story, because it’s what gets him an audience with the princess in the first place, so I appreciate that the jewelry designer chose to spotlight such a vital element, where many would select something more literal.” Read more.
“The Ellie ring is a popular seller for Froman, so it actually comes in a number of different stones. But it’s this iteration, with a 3.17 ct. specialty-cut sunstone, that has my eye. I’m not that familiar with sunstone—it’s not a gem you see often—and for that, I think I like it more. I love its seamless blend of green and whiskey brown, as it caters to my craving for autumn—wouldn’t this be the perfect gemstone representation of the upcoming season?” Read more.
“This pair is extra special, because they’ve been kissed by a nested row of puka shells. Puka, which means ‘hole’ in Hawaiian, has a storied history of its own. Found on some beaches in Hawaii, the smooth, bead-like style was carved by nature during its tumbling journey through the ocean.” Read more.
“It’s a fabulous shade of red that’s neither too deep nor too light—and, being rhodolite, it’s a wonderful alternative to the ever-sought-after ruby. Its rosy hue is the fashion equivalent to fall’s soft suedes that I find to be an irresistible yearly addition to my new seasonal wardrobe, so obviously I feel the same way about this ring—it’s a must-have.” Read more.
“There’s a bit of personal inspiration that helped create the designs seen here, too. ‘One of my best friends married her longtime boyfriend from Kenya, and some inspiration for this collection actually comes from the colorful clothes he always wears,’ ” says Carolyn Thamkul, executive vice president of Belle Étoile.” Read more.
“I find aquamarine to be one of the most versatile stones there is. For one thing, blue is a major crowd-pleaser, and the fact that it’s a primary color means it can match pretty favorably with anything. This can be true for any shade of blue, but aquamarine in particular is especially agreeable.” Read more.
“From the Italian company’s Twist Twist collection, the ring actually hits three major trends for the fall season. The aforementioned blue (which, while not really a trend, is a major color set to dominate 2019), its use of hard stones (opaque gems like the lapis lazuli you see here), and the fact that its construction is in rich, chunky gold.” Read more.
“I think that’s why it feels so appropriate for autumn, and Halloween in particular. True, its colors are perfect for this season, all creams and browns and a dash of black. But that look of something seen long ago feels bigger than just a pretty pendant.” Read more.
“With its two-tone design—white gold and yellow gold split evenly down the center, giving it a color-blocked look—and diamond accents, it doesn’t scream summer. But the twin palm trees, dancing in bypass style, are all anyone needs as a reminder of the season. It’s an ode to summer that needn’t be worn solely in summer.” Read more.
“From Hatai Jewelry, this vermeil bangle bracelet is regally adorned with a tusked elephant duo, their golden trunks detailed with enamel tiles and their ears painted creamy white. The bracelet is hinged for ease of wear, so it can slip effortlessly on any wrist, or even somewhere further up the arm if you’d like.” Read more.
“Its easy layers are all rolled into one sleek piece, lending that sweet layered look in one easy swoop. Make no mistake, it’s a stunning statement necklace, whether the masses are in layering mode. But for those who do want the look of multiples and either aren’t really game for gathering numerous necklaces or just want the on-off convenience of a single piece, it’s just the thing.” Read more.
“This delicious Manhattan ring kicks off the cocktail party. Like its collection name, the title of this ring serves as a homonym: Referring to the delectable combination of vermouth, whiskey, and bitters, while at the same time representing the Big Apple.” Read more.
“I would say that the pear-shape black opal, clocking in at 8.63 cts., is the star of the design, and that’s probably pretty close to true. But this is an ensemble cast, complete with a rainbow array of colored gemstones and—the really cool finishing touch—titanium anodized to shades of purple and blue, all glistening and bright.” Read more.
“Pearlescent, iridescent, rainbow—however you want to describe them, styles like these are lovely for the holidays. You’ll no doubt see plenty of that sheen in everything from decor to attire, so why not choose the jewelry to match?” Read more.
“There are more than 68 cts. of colored gemstones in this baby, set with lemon topaz, citrine, and green amethysts. A single diamond sits between each stone in this eclectic collection, which is composed of an assortment of cuts from pear to round to emerald.” Read more.
“Gregson’s hand-engraved and enameled surfaces look like something else to me, too. The round shape paired with a series of grooved lines resembles that of a record, which is perfect for me since listening to records at Christmas is the epitome—or at the very least, one vital aspect—of the holidays.” Read more.
“They maintain the cheery disposition of the rainbow trend that belongs to spring and summer while toning it down with slightly deeper, more autumnal and winter-worthy shades.” Read more.
“Nemo and Dory have been rereleased and updated to include hand-painted enamel for the first time (you can also get a version in 14k white gold with diamonds that is just divine, and it’s an über-sophisticated way to sport your love for everyone’s favorite little clown fish and Dory, too!).” Read more.
“This one, a cushion-cut beauty at just over 5 cts., is a strawberry ice sensation that shines brighter than Rudolph’s nose and gives famous padparadschas (Lady Gaga’s engagement ring, and Princess Eugenie’s as well) excellent company.” Read more.
“If Kuzbari’s creations were bold and exuberant then, they’re even brighter and more whimsical now. She’s expanding her Smile collection, a line of “fun and uplifting bejeweled faces,” with an assortment of fine friends featuring cheery, encouraging expressions that radiate happiness.” Read more.
“The Comet earrings, from the designer’s Shooting Stars collection, are instant classics with an updated twist. The hand-cut black onyx is sleek and shiny, pairing beautifully with shimmering curves of diamonds that trail behind soaring round pink tourmalines—the colorful comets of the scene.” Read more.
At top: Animalier collection Hedgehog ring in 18k rose and black gold with 7.09 cts. t.w. black sapphires and 0.02 ct. t.w. brown diamonds, price on request; Roberto Coin (that edition of Britt’s Pick, here).