Jewelry Insider's Top Ten Blingy Bits of 2009

Another year down, jewelry hounds, another year of frivolous fun in jewelry land. We've seen red carpets sparkle (and stink up the joint), the entire D-list attempt to start their own jewelry lines, stunning diamond auction sales despite a Bernie Madoff-induced luxury melt down, and plenty of 'lower jaw-drop' moments.

As we bloggers are predisposed to do this time of year, I've taken a look back at 2009 and culled together some of my favorite jewelry moments with some of yours. The result? This little Top Ten list for your reading pleasure.

Thanks to all for joining this shiny place of jewel-filled sarcasm, schadenfreude and joy. Here's to another bling-filled year!

10. Brad Pitt's Diamond Daughter

The third most popular post this year involved a random tidbit detailing Brad Pitt's diamond jewelry gift to his daughter, Shiloh. Lesson learned? Some kids have all the luck. And always write about Brad Pitt.

9. Technicolor Diamonds

Lower jaw-drop moment of the year alert: Despite the economic woes taking most of us mortals to our knees this year, some lucky as*&, I mean, folks snapped up some stunning natural-color diamonds off the auction block in 2009 - inlcuding the Wittelsbach blue diamond that broke the record for most expensive rock ever sold at auction.

8. Woodstock/Mad Men Mania

The 60s came back with a vengeance this year, with Woodstock celebrating it's 40th anniversary and Mad Men taking the entertainment and fashion worlds by storm. Jewelry fashion followed suit, with this fourth most popular post for 2009.

7. Celebrity Jewelry Robbery Ring

Just when you thought Hollywood couldn't get any more tawdry, a ring of wannabe reality star youngster thugs robbed D-listers like Paris, Lindsay, and that vacuous brunette from The Hills of their beloved family jewels. The horror! And they didn't even get an agent out of it...

6. Paris Rules

Nope. Not talking about 'the Hilton' - despite writing about her over a dozen times this year (sorry 'bout that). Paris, France was - yet again - my favorite Fashion Week by far, with jewelry exploding all over the catwalks. Bigger, better, bling-filled bliss.

5. Vampire Chic

From Team Edward to True Blood, it was all about the undead in 2009. Enter: blood red rubies, cross necklaces, vampire-inspired jewelry lines, and lots of black eye-linered brooding. Oh - and angst.

4. Paula Abdul – From Mess to Maven

Oh, Paula. How you confuse me so. You gave us some of the absolute worst fashion moments on the red carpet in 2009, yet somehow your jewelry line sells out in minutes? And recently, you've made some classic red carpet appearances with jewelry that actually fits the occasion. Let's hope you have enough sense (and money in the coffers) to keep your current stylist now that Ellen is stealing your spotlight.

3. Celebrity Engagement Rings

From The Bachelor bungle, to my second most popular post - Ivanka Trump's engagement ring bling - the celebrity world of betrothal never disappoints. Here are some of the year's highlights for your drooling pleasure.

2. Angelina's Oscar Emeralds

The most popoular post of 2009 was my early report of Angelina Jolie's emerald Oscar jewelry. Sorry, Jen - 2010 is gonna be your year.

1. Michelle Obama

Mighty Michelle jump-started a sinking fashion industry when her husband's historic campaign and election took the country by storm. So I joined the throngs of other fashion bloggers who followed her every move in those first few months of 2009. The good news is, she continues to breathe fresh life into the jewelry world with statement pieces, brooches and classic pearls akimbo. No matter your political persuasion, you gotta give it up for bling you can believe in.

Did I miss any of your favs? Weigh in, jewelry hounds!

A Golden Smile for the New Year

We all know gold fillings and glittering grills are status symbols famous hip-hop stars and wannabes use to put the Midas Touch on their teeth. But a recent study uncovered evidence that wealthy hip-hoppers aren't the only ones who like to decorate their dentures.

According to National Geographic, sophisticated dentistry allowed Native Americans to add bling to their teeth as far back as 2,500 years ago.

An analysis of thousands of teeth examined from the collection in Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History revealed that ancient peoples had semiprecious gems soldered on to their teeth as a pure form of decoration.

While the origins of the samples are not known for sure, it's clear that people - mostly men - from nearly all walks of life opted for the look, noted Jose Concepcion Jimenez, an anthropologist at the institute.

The ornamental gemstones (including jade) were attached with an adhesive made out of natural resins, such as plant sap, which was mixed with other chemicals and crushed bones, Jiminez said. He added that the dentists likely had a sophisticated knowledge of tooth anatomy. For example, they knew how to drill into teeth without hitting the pulp inside, he explained. Lucky for them.

Today, the art of tooth decoration is still alive and well - and not just on the likes of Lil Wayne or 50 Cent. Some folks opt to have gold, diamonds, birthstones and more bonded to their teeth as more dentists offer the service as a way to distinguish themselves in a crowded market.

And if you decide that bling on your bicuspids is getting in the way of say, chewing or speaking clearly? The decoration can be easily removed without causing any damage. Lucky for us.

Carrie Underwood's Diamond Engagement Ring Details

Carrie Underwood flashed her diamond engagement ring this week after news hit that her hockey-player boyfriend, Mike Fisher, popped the question. Trouble was? No one could find any details about the little tidbits we jewelry hounds find most important - carat count, cut, and COST!

But People Magazine reports that the large center stone we could barely make out in all the photos isn't just any old diamond, folks. It's a flawless yellow diamond designed in a platinum setting by her by jeweler Johnathon Arndt, who said in a release,

“This ring is a symbol of love from Mike Fisher to Carrie Underwood,” as he wished the couple congratulations.

The five+ carat rock is reportedly worth over $150,000

Johnathon Arndt Gallery of Jewels came into the national spotlight when they formed an alliance with the Academy of Country Music and The Country Music Association. His Gallery of Jewels is an "invitation only" Gallery with only six locations Worldwide.

Here are some other links of Carrie's red carpet bling over the past year if you're curious how Arndt bedazzled her for her high profile events. I can only imagine what the wedding will bring!

Carrie at the CMAs
Carrie at the AMAs
Carrie at the Acamedy of Country Music Awards (ACMAs)
Carrie at the Vanity Fair post Oscar party
Carrie at the Grammys

Julianne Moore Bares All for Bvlgari

Like Charlize Theron for Dior, Julianne Moore is entering the luxury lexicon of jewelry spokesmodel-dom, appearing in famous watch and jewelry brand, Bvlgari's, latest campaign peddling their 'Serpenti' line, among other styles.

Almost as jaw-dropping as her nude photo shoot is the pair of Colombian pear-shaped emerald earrings she'll wear, weighing 52.86 and 62.32 carats each. The stunning emeralds were part of Bvlgari's first retrospective exhibition at Il Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome earlier in the year.

Dare I say that they rival Angelina's emerald Oscar earrings from Lorraine Schwartz? I'm just saying...

The Serpenti collection is designed around snakes and scale shapes - a slithering genre that's trending big for 2010 (including Brangelina's line for Asprey). Bvlgari touts the new collection as a return to the design aesthetic that made the brand famous to begin with, with the A-lister ads (called "Eccentric Charisma") set to debut in February.

Does Julianne Moore's tasteful nudity and amazing emeralds make Bvlgari more attractive? I've always admired her talent, but have never taken her for the 'spokesmodel' type - so it's a surprise they would choose her out of all the other 'sell-outs', I mean, serious actresses out there.

What do you guys think?

Kevin Jonas Weds in Platinum and Diamonds

Trading a promise ring for a platinum ring, the oldest Jonas Brother (Kevin) got hitched to Danielle Deleasa over the weekend - breaking tween-aged hearts from the Jersey Shore to Japan. The Jo-Bro did such a good job designing his bride-to-be's engagement ring ( covers all the diamond deets here), I was curious if his taste would trickle down to the wedding jewels.

I wasn't disappointed.

The young bride reportedly walked down the aisle in a strapless tulle and Chantilly lace Vera Wang gown and wore a silk-and-crystal flower in her hair designed by Denise Leli. The happy couple exchanged classic, yet chic eternity bands crafted by celebrity jeweler, Jacob & Co (who also did the engagement ring).

Danielle's diamond eternity band is set in 18kt white gold and features round cut brilliant diamonds (totaling 3.83 carats), and Kevin's is set in stainless steel with single rows of brilliant-cut diamonds along each edge and on each side (totaling 2.24 carats).

And like many celebrity grooms, Jonas glammed up for his special day in custom-made platinum accessories. Designer Eric Aulis from CliQ Jewelry spent months perfecting the jewels which consisted of platinum cufflinks with 186 round diamonds (valued at $15,500); platinum tuxedo shirt studs surrounded by diamonds (valued at $8,900) and a platinum tie accent with round diamonds (valued at $5,400).

The Disney dude knows how to work the ice - nicely done.

Jewelry Buying Tips for Guys

With diamond prices reaching a record low, fellas, now is the time to pull the proverbial trigger on that jewelry gift you've been thinking about for months now but haven't had the ba - , I mean, time to buy.

In other words? Time to 'man up'.

But not to worry. Just pay attention to the following gift giving tips, and I guarantee you'll impress her with your remarkable taste and insight.

Know your audience:

There's nothing like that look you get when you know you missed the mark. The slight grimace followed by the fake smile? The best way to avoid awkward gift giving is to study what your significant other likes. What does she usually wear? Has she complimented friends on their looks? You know how to make her laugh, you can surely pick up some tips on her personal style. Take notes and bring what you know on your shopping trip.

Know your budget:

There are many price points in the jewelry world - from $99 to $9999 and beyond. Don't get in over your head with a bauble that will break the bank or make her afraid to wear it. Also, bring what you learned about stone and metal quality to the store, so you won't be duped into thinking 'bigger is better'. Often, it's not.

Know her size (mainly for ring purchases):

There's nothing like wowing her with a diamond ring she'll just have to wait three weeks to wear. Guys, break out your inner sleuth for this one. Find a ring she currently wears, trace the inside and bring it to your jeweler. You can always size a ring, but delayed satisfaction doesn't always fly when it comes to jewelry.

Know the occasion:

  • If you're not about commitment but want to impress her with a gift of jewelry, word to the wise: stay away from the ring category. A ring, no matter what the design, is loaded with symbolism that screams "I'm in it for the long haul." A nice pair of diamond studs might be the better choice in this case.
  • Right Hand Rings are the perfect self-gifting occasion to celebrate a promotion, graduation, or 'just because'. It's also a great friend-to-friend or mother-to daughter gift. Think female power!
  • The 'go big' calendar moments are of course Valentine's Day and the December holidays. If she's expecting a ring, and you're thinking peridot earrings to match her eyes?you might want to think again.

Know the return policy:

Even with all of these words to the wise, there is ultimately no guarantee your jewelry gift is going to hit a home run. Most stores - whether they are online or in the mall - have a return policy. Don't be afraid to ask your salesperson.

With a little preparation, education and thought, we guarantee buying jewelry will move decidedly from "a little better than a root canal" to "right up there with no calorie ice cream and winning the lottery". Happy Shopping!

Diamonds, Gold and Wii?

Jewelry lovers, it's time again for one of those outrageous tidbits detailing the ridiculous use of our favorite substance on tech gadgets, phones and the like. Well, this little ditty might just take the cake.

A Liverpool man is designing three custom-made Nintendo Wii units he calls the Wii Supreme, made of 2500 grams of solid 22t gold and 78 flawless 0.25 carat diamonds. The pricetag? Approximately $500 grand, folks. For a glorified Play Station - or whatever the kids are calling it these days? Crikey.

Who on earth would buy such a prize? Rumor has it The Queen herself was gifted with a golden Wii (perfect for those lazy afternoon 'virtual' fox hunts?). But who else do you think would drop that kind of money to play Super Mario Brothers in such style?

Weigh in - and have a great weekend!

Oh and last minute shoppers? Don't forget about JewelClub - the Friends and Family site that offers prices well below retail. Here is a link to their latest sale - an additional 20% off their wholesale prices until Christmas Day (with free standard shipping and gift box to boot!).

It ain't a golden Wii, but it'll do....

Elin Woods Ditches Her Diamond

It was only a matter of time, but the first sighting of Tiger Woods’ wife, Elin, hit the media universe and (surprise!), she was spotted without her wedding band and diamond engagement ring.

Many women have dealt with this very same dreaded diamond dilemma – when do you take off the rings when the marriage goes south?

Kate Gosselin wore hers way beyond her husband’s bad behavior made big news to send a symbol of strength to her kids. Some women toss theirs in a drawer at the first sign of trouble.

In Elin’s case? Well, she’s got more than her fair share of ‘trouble’ to deal with – but rumor has it she hasn’t thrown in the towel quite yet.

What would you do (or have you done) with your diamonds when it’s time to move on? Do you sell the rocks? Turn them into a different piece of jewelry? Toss the suckers? Weigh in!

‘Time to Share’ Charity Shines Bright

The nation's largest freshwater pearl jewelry company, Honora, is betting on social media to do more than snipe about Tiger Woods’ bedpost notches.

Bloggers, Facebook fanatics and the Twitterarti and joining forces to spread the word about a win-win holiday giving initiative that combines our softer side with our penchant for great jewelry fashion. Check this out:

The first 1,000 folks to donate $30 or more towards Honora's ‘Time to Share’ initiative will receive a free Honora Floating Freshwater Pearl Watch valued at $100!

But this isn’t a charity event aimed at making money for the prominent pearl jeweler. 100% of the proceeds will be given to the Share Our Strength organization that helps end hunger for our nation’s children.

AND – if you donate before this Friday, you’ll get the pearl watch in time to re-gift it to your BFF by Christmas morning (that’s if you can bear to part with it).

It’s not often bling-obsessed jewelry hounds like us can give back and go glam at the same time. So click here to make your donation and let me know if you’ve made it on the first 1,000 list!

Christie's Auctions $5 Million Diamond

I've got one doozy of a 'lower jaw drop' alert, jewelry lovers. Christie's reports that the storied 'Evening Star' diamond recently sold for a whopping $5.4 million, the latest in a line of remarkable diamonds to dazzle at auction.

According to a press release, the 39-carat, D color diamond from India's famed Golconda mines was snatched up by an anonymous buyer, paying $138,000 per carat for the diamond dubbed the "Evening Star" because its previous owner liked to wear it out at night.

How charming for them.

The icy rock was part of Christie's "Magnificent Jewels from a Distinguished Private Collector" sale, held Thursday in New York.

The sale of the "Evening Star" comes on the heels of the record-setting $10.8 million sale of "The Vivid Pink" diamond Dec. 1 in Hong Kong and the $7.7 million sale of the 32.01-carat D-flawless Annenberg Diamond in October.

"The diamond market continues to show remarkable strength despite the volatility of the financial world," Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry at Christie's New York, said in the release.


My question is: who wears these things in the light of day? Don't you have to have a body guard brigade following your every move? Or is it something these folks will just keep in a showcase for or a vault somewhere for their own personal enjoyment (which would be a crying shame)?

What would you guys do with a rock that size? Weigh in!

December Blues

Blue Topaz is December's birthstone and one of the more popular colored gemstones on the market today. Find out more about this cool creation and slip some well-informed hints to the gift givers in your life.


Blue topaz has become one of the most popular gemstones on the market today, due to its clarity, durability, availability and affordable cost. Yet it is a shade of topaz rarely found in nature. The stone's watery blue color is most often created through a combination of heat treatment and irradiation.

Topaz is one of the well-known pegmatite minerals that also includes beryl and tourmaline. Blue topaz is the birthstone for December - and is also the recommended gemstone for couples celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary.

Most blue topaz starts life as a colorless or slightly tinted topaz from places like Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and China. It is then irradiated (to incite the color change) and heated (to stabilize the change). The result is a permanent aqua shade. Despite the stone's exposure to irradiation, experts say it poses no health hazard whatsoever to the wearer.

Topaz holds the distinction of being the gemstone thought to have the widest rage of curative powers. According to legend, the stone can dispel enchantment and improve the eyesight. The ancient Greeks believed that it had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Topaz is also said to change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink.

With a ranking of "8" on the Mohs scale of hardness, blue topaz is exceptionally strong and durable and well-suited to everyday wear. However, it should be protected against hard blows that can split, crack or chip it.

Shop Blue Topaz on

Reindeer Games Gone Glam

Breaking news: Rudolph apparently has a nose for the jewelry business.

Jewelry lovers who are hoping for, say, a nice tasteful pair of diamond studs or an inexpensive gemstone piece for the holidays this year might be disappointed to find a lovely pendant made out of that rarest of materials - reindeer dung - under the tree instead.

Yup. Sparkly reindeer-dung necklaces are indeed on sale at an Illinois zoo that hopes to attract the same holiday shoppers who swept up their dung Christmas ornaments last year. The limited-edition Magical Reindeer Gem contains dried, sterilized reindeer droppings -- sprayed with glitter (of course) -- on a beaded chain. They'll be available at the Bloomington zoo's gift shop for $15, or by mail for $20.

Miller Park Zoological Society spokeswoman Susie Ohley told the Chicago Tribune that while 'silly', she estimates the zoo could make as much as $16,500 - a welcome windfall since they lost $200,000 under city budget cuts this year.

Stop 'taking crap' and sell it instead - not a bad business plan.

What do you guys think? Would you wear jewelry made from Dancer's droppings? Or are you strictly a dung-less consumer?

Celebrity Jewelry Stars of the Week

Update: Rumor has it the necklace SJP is wearing here is a diamond snake from the Brangelina Asprey jewelry collection. To be continued...

Three leading ladies stole my heart recently with their icy jewelry fashion choices. It’s the holiday season after all – time to bring out the big guns. And while I certainly don’t have the budget to bling out like these fabulous females, it doesn’t hurt to break your lower jaw just lookin’ at ‘em, right? So. Here goes.

First up is Sarah Jessica Parker in a stunning wrap-around diamond creation worn to the UK premiere of her latest romantic comedy, Did You Hear About the Morgans? Hard to tell if the movie will be any better than her previous rom com outings post SATC (we'll just call Failure to Launch a 'minor' misstep), but this diamond doozy more than makes up for her collecting the proverbial paycheck.

Next up is the leading lady who gives the term ‘family jewels’ new meaning. Queen Elizabeth stepped out this weekend in more carats than a bunny convention – giving her royal subjects and eyeful of ice just in time for the holiday season. Cherrio, mortals!

And finally – I just have to drool like the rest of the world over Michelle Obama’s Kennedy Center Honors ensemble. Purple is ‘her’ color, and she knocked it out of the park in a strapless Peter Soronen number with a Tom Binns gemstone statement necklace that couldn’t be more perfect (um, yeah, that lower jaw thing is happening).

What do you guys think of this triumvirate of taste? Am I scoring some good looks to satisfy your inner jewelry hound? Weigh in!

Champagne Diamonds - Brown is the New Black

As promised, jewelry hounds, I am continuing coverage of my new favorite gemstone - champagne diamonds - a positively glittering new jewelry trend that's sure to have staying power well into the bubbly New Year and beyond!

Tired of the same old same old? Champagne diamonds not only offer up the glam, they give you something different from the natural diamond color wheel when accessorizing for the season. Red carpets and runways have already taken to the sparkling stone, and just curated a cool collection of the cognac-colored gems just ripe for the picking.

Most of the world's supply of champagne diamonds comes from Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine in the rugged and beautiful East Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The Australian Aborigines who are traditional owners of the land in the East Kimberley believe that the diamonds were formed when a barramundi fish escaped through a spinifex net. According to that myth, the colors of the diamonds mined from the red earth of the region come from different parts of the barramundi.

Fish or no fish, these diamond beauties have really captured me. I'm putting this champagne diamond right hand ring from Reed's on my holiday wish list (a girl can dream, right?). Which champagne styles do you want under the tree this year?

Rare Pink Diamond Sets Auction Record

Hold on to your haute couture, jewelry hounds. One whopper of a diamond just entered the hands of a lucky (and filthy rich) bidder on Tuesday.

A rare, 5-carat pink diamond was auctioned off by Christie's Hong Kong for a record $10.8 million, putting some shine back into the world's rare and large stones market.

The stone, of a "vivid pink" hue and considered near perfect but not quite flawless, triggered brisk bidding with a final price that smashed the previous record set 15 years ago in Geneva for a 19.66-carat stone that sold for $7.4 million. The pink gem's per-carat price of $2.2 million was also the highest ever paid for any diamond at auction, Christie's said.

"No stone has ever been sold for $2 million a carat, we were used to ... a million dollars a carat for colored diamonds but never 2 million," Francois Curiel, Christie's Europe chairman told Reuters. "This is an absolute record that is not going to be broken for a while I believe."

But the famed Wittelsbach Blue Diamond still holds the record as the world's most expensive jewel ever sold at auction, fetching a mere $24 million last year. Just a drop in the proverbial bucket, right?

Pink diamonds have always been coveted by the rich, the famous and we mere mortals alike. Click here to see which celeb dazzled their loved one with a pink diamond engagement ring for the ages - not quite 10 carats, but a keeper nonetheless.