Colored Stones May 2019: Bright Stuff by Debra Navarro & Judi Powers


For the People

Esther pendant with 12 ct. Tenda-cut scapolite and 0.25 ct. t.w. sand pavé, $3,410 (on black diamond bead chain, $2,750–$4,488)

Debra Navarro had worked in a jewelry store for 15 years when she saw Sharing the Rough, a documentary about mining in East Africa. The film motivated her to make a life-changing decision: In 2015, she visited Kenya and Tanzania with the filmmakers and, later that year, left retail in order to design her own eponymous line of jewelry featuring gems sourced from the region. “Understanding how it all begins added so much meaning to every piece of jewelry,” she says. “I felt compelled to tell that story.” Since her intercontinental leap of faith, Navarro has returned to East Africa three times to ­purchase gems—including tourmaline, tanzanite, iolite, aquamarine, garnet, spinel, ruby, and sapphire—directly from the miners. In her new Watu collection (the name means “people” in Swahili), she pairs the stones with earth-toned diamonds and 18k recycled gold. Five percent of each purchase goes to Gem Legacy, which helps support mining communities in the region. “When the miners say, ‘What we really need is an air compressor to breathe down there,’ I can work toward that,” Navarro says. “And so can the consumer.” —Victoria Gomelsky

Gee solitaire with 1.88 ct. pink spinel and 0.06 ct. t.w. sand pavé, $1,490

Top: Vincent cocktail ring with 10.5 ct. green beryl and 0.26 ct. t.w. sand pavé, $5,480; Debra earrings with 7.24 cts. t.w. Tenda-cut pink tourmaline and 0.18 ct. t.w. sand pavé, $7,480; Sune Erosion ring with 13.1 ct. Tenda-cut pink tourmaline and 2 cts. t.w. diamond and sand pavé, $9,900Debra Navarro; 316-871-0569;



Powers Up

judi powers amphora peridot ring

What began as a custom project for Zionsville, Ind., retailer Robert Goodman Jewelers has blossomed into a new design, the Amphora ring, for artist Judi Powers. “It was the dead of winter, there were three inches of snow in the backyard, and I was craving the wild colors of spring and summer,” recalls Powers, who turned to super-saturated, vibrant center stones. “The citrine reminded me of daffodils and forsythia; the Uruguayan amethyst was the color of purple pansies; the peridot with rubies was like pink begonias; and the sphene was the color of summer grass.” She’s already plotting Amphora rings with her signature pink and green tourmaline, and then…who knows? “I carry the setting with me everywhere I go in case I come across a stone that will fit in the ring!” —Melissa Rose Bernardo

judi powers amphora amethyst ringAmphora ring with amethyst in 14k green gold, $1,675; Amphora ring with peridot and rubies in 14k green gold, $3,595;

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