My Diamond in the Rough

Well, jewelry hounds, she's here! Roxanne (Roxy) Parker Rataj was born on February 10th to the delight of her mom and pops. She came out 8 pounds 20 inches but has eaten her way to 9 pounds 6 oz and 23 inches in two weeks' time(!)

I think I have an over-achiever on my hands...

Wanted to share a few pics with you all so you can see what's been occupying my time since diamonds and divas have taken a back seat this month. Ain't she swell?

While my daughter's birth was perfectly timed for numerologists and folks who care about such things (2/10/2010 has a nice ring to it, right?), I did miss covering New York Fashion Week and was shocked to hear of Alexander McQueen's untimely passing. The fashion world will never find a replacement for his apocalyptic, whimsical, down-the-rabbit-hole stylings - - truly tragic.

But on to sunnier skies. Namely? Oscar! The party scene has been rolling non-stop leading up to the big night on March 7th, so I'm sure there will be lots of ground to cover next week. Stay tuned - and thanks for all of your good wishes and support during my brief sojourn. In the meantime, Roxy and I are busy prepping for red carpet gawking from our feeding spot on the couch.


Baby On Board

Jewelry hounds, I have good news and better news. The good news is: I am just about ready to give birth to my first baby!

The better news? It's a GIRL!!! (Do they make Dior diapers? Just asking...)

The not so great news is: I will obviously be otherwise occupied for a spell while I welcome our little bundle of joy into the world (and get used to life as a feeding machine). But don't worry - I will be posting updates every now and again during the next month, and will be back to my regular weekday post schedule in March (defintitely in time for the Oscars!).

In the meantime, I hope you all continue to gawk at bling with wild abandon on the homepage (peruse their Celebrity, Fashion and Jewelry News items), and on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Until then, I remain your humble, diamond-loving, jewel-hunting, celebrity-worshiping, baby-birthing Jewelry Insider! Stay tuned!

Coleen Rooney, UK's Diamond Diva

In the world of celebrity jewelry boxes, there are diamond lovers and there are diamond fanatics. I just uncovered the latest entry to the latter category in one Coleen Rooney, wife of one of England's most beloved footballers, Wayne Rooney, of Manchester United.

The Daily Mail reports that the British celeb has a 'compulsive and impressive' diamond habit which began when Wayne presented her with a £25,000 diamond ring from Tiffany for her 18th birthday.

By 21, she had traded up to a £200,000 10-carat yellow diamond ring from Chopard, and her most spectacular piece to date is the bespoke wedding ring, said to be worth close to £350,000, which was made by Jacob & Co in New York. It's a band encrusted with more than 50 diamonds, topped off with a solitary rock that inspired the 'chicken nugget' reference.

Hello, lover.

While the couple is apparently going through a financial scandal involving funds withheld from their management company, they clearly have enough to (get this) send an assistant to New York to pick up - what else? - diamond jewelry worth around £450,000.

Is an Intervention in order? You be the judge.

Ring in the Super Bowl!

The most coveted piece of jewelry this time of year does not come from Paris Hilton's jewelry box or Tiffany's display window. Nope, it's the Super Bowl ring, symbolic of victory in the National Football League's annual overhyped, usually anti-climactic championship game.

Some players wear them. Some store them. Some have even sold them. But for the most part, it's the only piece of jewelry guys have ever really dreamed about. Welcome to our world.

Here is a snippet of a piece done in the New York Times a while back that gives interesting details about the coveted bauble. And while we're at it - - Go Saints!


WHO GETS THEM?: Every winning player and coach. The N.F.L. pays for up to 90 rings, and then it's left to the team to buy more than that, or to add extra diamonds and other modifications that surpass the league's $4,000-a-ring outlay. "Jerry Jones said it cost the Cowboys $8,000 last year," said Jim Steeg, the league's director of special events, referring to the Cowboys' owner.

SIZING IT UP:This is jewelry for big, beefy men! Men with thick, often gnarled fingers! Men who fling and maul other men every Sunday for a living! The average ring size is a 13, according to Jostens, a ring-making company; that is two sizes above the average man's ring size. But there are men AND THERE ARE MEN. For his Super Bowl XX ring in 1986, William (The Refrigerator) Perry, the enormous former Chicago Bears defensive tackle, broke the mold at a 23, a ring so large that a half-dollar coin can pass through it.

WHO MAKES THEM?: Ring makers like Balfour and Jostens, which have made 19 of the first 27. There are general design guidelines, but teams add their own touches to personalize the ring, including bromides like "Harmony, Courage and Valor" (Green Bay Packers, Super Bowl I), "Winning Edge" (Miami Dolphins, Super Bowl VII) and "Team of the '80's," (San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIV).

JUST THE BASICS: The N.F.L. approves of a ring with diamonds weighing 1.2 carats at a certain clarity, but each team can vary the points and clarity to its desire. Generally, the rings have the Super Bowl and N.F.L. logotypes; the words "World Champion"; a depiction of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which goes to the Super Bowl victor, and the player's name and number and the team name.

LIZ TAYLOR MAY NOT HAVE ONE, BUT . . . Showy? Extravagant? Ostentatious? The Super Bowl ring is all these things. The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIV ring boasts three .35-carat marquis-cut diamonds and one three-quarters of a carat diamond set into a football-shaped white gold insert, surrounded by smaller diamonds. The ring celebrates the 49ers' four Super Bowl victories, and features four tiny Lombardi trophies, a depiction of the Golden Gate Bridge, the player's name and the team's 17-2 record.

The Bears' ring was quite a piece of work, featuring a half-carat diamond surrounded by 13 smaller diamonds in the shape of a "C," bordered by 26 smaller diamonds. And lest we forget, the Pittsburgh Steelers' ring for Super Bowl XIII showed a Lombardi Trophy rising out of the Orange Bowl, where the game was played, and the Miami skyline in the background.

LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT: Terry Bradshaw owns four of them from quarterbacking the Pittsburgh Steelers but never dons a single one. "I don't wear it," said Mr. Bradshaw, the irrepressible former CBS football studio show analyst who just signed on for the same role with the Fox Network. "Man, it's made of diamonds!"

Valentine's Day Deals on JewelClub

Let the Valentine's Day jewelry blitz begin! I'll be highlighting deals you won't want to miss (or tell your sig. other about) leading up to V-Day to help gift givers get hip to some serious fine jewelry steals.

My favortie sample sale site, JewelClub, just launched their latest promotion: 15% off a dozen of their most classic diamond styles. That's 15% off WHOLESALE, jewelry hounds.

The studs pictured here are $50 bucks, folks. The earrings about $70. And I'm loving those vintage-y right hand ring styles - most are pricing out at $1,000 or more off the retail price.

(insert 'lower jaw drop' here)

How do you play? Easy. Click here to get to the discount ad. Enter the code: INSIDER when you login, and you'll get access to an entire Friends and Family site that has great wholesale product in all fine jewelry categories. And they add new product all the time, so be sure to check back often.

So, fellas? Flowers and chocolates are fine and all, but why spend the bucks on a perishable when you can get a V-day gift that will last forever? And there's free shipping with every order.

So that happened.

In Defense of Diamonds

Jewelry hounds, I don't have to convince you that wearing shiny things is a great way to feel fabulous. And while our gawking at 10-carat rocks on celebrity ring fingers isn't getting us any closer to a solution to global warming, it's good harmless fun for the most part, right?

Sometimes, though, jewelry can bring with it its share of controversy.

Many potential diamond jewelry buyers, for example, might be turned off by the prospect that the stone they purchase could unknowingly support a terrorist regime in Africa (aka: 'blood' or 'conflict' diamonds).

We all saw the Leo movie, 'Blood Diamond'. Many of us saw the 60 Minutes expose a few years' back. And recently, we've all seen the 'eco-friendly' adverts pumping up the 'conflict-free' status of their jewels and gems. And good for them.


While one blood diamond sold to a consumer is one diamond too many - there's too much misinformation about the 'prevelance' of these stones on the market than is warranted by all the media coverage.

Conflict diamonds captured the world's attention during the extremely brutal conflict in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s. During this time, it is estimated that conflict diamonds represented approximately 4% of the world's diamond production. Not 40% or even 14%. 4%.

Through UN measures like The Kimberley Process and other national regulations, the truth is there are very few conflict diamonds slipping through the system these days - less than 1%, according to In other words, I'd have a better chance of understanding an episode of 'Lost' than unwittingly purchasing a conflict stone.

Again, I'm not advocating that we shouldn't get that less than 1% stat down to zero - but consumers should know that the diamonds they buy from major retailers like Zales, Sears, JCPenney, Macy's, Kay Jewelers and most independent jewelers all abide by the regulations that have been in place for over seven years now. So you don't need to go to a 'green' jewelry outlet or sift through vintage styles when you want a politically correct, shiny new diamond piece to add to your wardrobe - 99% of the diamonds on the market today fit that bill.

And for you do-gooder divas who still aren't convinced, consider this: The vast majority of diamonds come from countries at peace in Africa. These countries have been able to invest the revenue from diamonds into the development of infrastructure, schools and hospitals for the good of the communities in which diamonds are found. Check out Russell Simmons' worthy charity, The Diamond Empowerment Fund for more on that.

So, ok. End of soap box. Diamonds don't need a defense attorney - they need to be worn, loved and enjoyed - especially this time of year (Valentine's Day hints should start now, ladies). I just read one too many 'eco' diamond ads, and had to vent.

What do you all think of the topic? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Grammy Jewelry: Glam, Gauche and Gaga

Diamond jewelry was the big hit on the Grammy Awards red carpet last night, with lots of pendant earrings, icy studs, cuffs and a few statement necklaces thrown in for good measure.

Gone are the colorful gems of the Globes and SAGs - which should come as no surprise since the music industry is more bling-obsessed than the thespian set. And while there were some stunning looks to applaud, there were a few fashion missteps from some of the red carpet's most reliable stars.

Taylor Swift (despite her unimpressive duet with icon, Stevie Nicks) looked lovely in 12 carat diamond pendant earrings from Lorraine Schwartz. And Pink one-upped her teen competition with, oh, a mere $2.5 mil worth of ice from Neil Lane.

The statement necklace brigade was represented by Shawn Colvin. And simple diamond studs made Rihanna's unfortunate gown choice a little less, um, poofy?

Speaking of poof, Jersey Shore's Snookie showed up in basic hoops (sans the hair bump) and a Seaside-inspired mini that outclassed Britney Spears' unfortunate frock choice with what appears to be fishnet overlay. Oh, sister.

The biggest disappointment for me was the night's big winner, Beyonce, in these gaudy, oversized, yellow gold Lorraine Schwartz earrings and nude Stephane Rolland frock. Not a good color combo and a she crossed the glam line to gaudy. Agree?

And of course, Lady Gaga, in a category all her own - didn't disappoint with her fashion statement or her performance. The show could only go downhill after her incredible opening number with Elton John and the red carpet suffered the same 'gasp' vacuum as well at the end of the day.

What do you guys think? Are you as gaga for Gaga as I am? Are you thumbs up with the Beyonce choice? Weigh in!