It's been a year full of surprises my fellow jewelry hounds. From diamond dentures and bug jewelry to gold parties and Gaga, the "Year of the Tiger" was nothing if not 'unusual'.
So as the last days of 2010 take their final bow, it's time to do what we media folks love to do best: Look back. And make lists.
Here is a smattering of some of my favorite jewelry moments combined with some of yours - because without you guys, I'm just all alone in the universe writing about Lindsay Lohan's jail jewelry and diamond dog collars as if it actually MEANS something.
So my heartfelt thanks to you all for joining this shiny place of jewel-filled sarcasm, schadenfreude and joy for yet another year. Here's to more days of diamond diversions!
10. The 'Ears' Have It
If 2009 was the year of the statement necklace, 2010 brought the sentiment to the ears. The trend started with the smashing success of Courteney Cox's Golden Globe teardrop triumph and continued throughout awards season. Look for swinging chandelier shapes and shoulder dusters to continue to shine well into 2011.
9. Baseball Bling
In the year's 4th most popular post, I got to the bottom of those weird rope necklaces all the baseball players were wearing last season. I was surprised as anyone to know that jocks not only get emotional about jewelry - they believe it has super powers. And I thought I had issues...
8. Pink Diamond Shatters Price Record
So. There's this dude, Laurence Graff. And he has piles of money. What does he do with it? He gobbles up the world's most valuable diamonds like pints of Chunky Monkey. His latest acquisition was a 24.78-carat piece of pink perfection that sold for a record-breaking $46.16 million. And now back to our regularly scheduled budget deficit....
7. Neil Lane - Jeweler of the Year
My jeweler of the year award has to go to Neil Lane. He's always been a red carpet staple but his monopoly on celebrity weddings in 2010 was staggering. He designed Anna Paquin's bridal jewels, Nicole Richie's wedding band, Jessica Simpson's newsworthy ruby rock - along with the bling for the entire Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. AND he launched a bridal line with Kay Jewelers to reach the mere mortal market. Just call him the Kim Kardashian of the jewelry world: He somehow seems to be everywhere. And he's taking it straight to the bank.
6. Black Diamond Blitz
'Tiger Woods Miss Mistress' winner a black diamond ring for her trouble back in March, I feared one of my favorite stones would be forever branded the 'other women'. But Sex And The City II (despite being one of my biggest disappointments this year - see #5 for more) gave black diamonds a glittering close up - and the stone is now a must-have for red carpet divas and regular folks alike. I'm giving it my 'most likely to succeed' award. Stay tuned.
5. Diamond Disappointments
Not to be all Debbie Downer and all...but there were some MAJOR jewelry/fashion bummers this year.
Exhibit A: The Oscars
When Kathy Ireland's questionable interviewing skills are the only thing worth squawking about - you know you've got a bummer year on your hands.
Exhibit B: Fashion Week: Spring 2011:
Where. Was. The. Jewelry?
Exhibit C: Sex And The City II:
My favorite New York women finally jumped the shark. Aiden? In Abu Dhabi? "I Am Woman" karaoke? C'mon!
Exhibit D: Angelina Jolie.
The world's most stunning actress (a la Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn) can't seem to wear anything but black and diamond studs on the red carpet. And Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts are stuck in the muck with her. Help me, Housewives of Beverly Hills. You're my only hope.
4. Where's The Beef?
Lady Gaga wore a meat dress. 'Nuff said.
3. Kanye West's Diamond Dentures
In the third most popular post for 2010, we learned that replacing your teeth with real diamonds might help people forget you're an egomaniac for a week or so.
2. Chelsea Clinton's Engagement Ring
More people read my post on Chelsea's engagement ring than any other entry in the history of the blog. Despite the fact that I (and all of my other fellow jewelry hounds) STILL haven't found a decent picture of the thing. Hat's off to you, Chels, for keeping us all well out of your business. And for making my Alexa rating skyrocket.
1. The Sapphire Heard 'Round the World.
Hey. Did you hear? Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton. Shocker! Seriously, though, you're going to have to endure many a royal wedding post in 2011 - cuz there's gonna be major crown jewels on display. I'm already hyperventilating.
But perhaps the most important repercussion from all this nonsense, is the resurgence of the Lady Di ring silhouette and sapphires as a popular stone for engagement rings. I hope the trend continues, because if there's one thing I've learned in 2010 - you don't have to break the bank to get a great piece of jewelry these days (JewelClub, anyone?). And that includes engagement rings.
OK. I think I hear the champagne calling my name. (It happens.) I hope you all have a safe and shining New Year. In the meantime, weigh in with your favorite jewelry moments from 2010! As always, I love to hear from you. (Janet - that means you!)
See you on the flip side!
Cocktails and jewelry - what a winning combination. As I was recently pondering what jewelry to break out for my favorite champagne-drenched holiday this Friday (wait for the Carrie Bradshaw moment...), I couldn't help but wonder (there it is...): Why is it that jewelry and luxury libations have such a glittering partnership?
First, there's the cocktail ring. The jewelry category emerged in the roaring 20s during Prohibition at illegal, booze-filled ‘cocktail’ parties. Women went big with fashion statements at these underground soirees, flashing their oversized, colorful baubles along with their newly exposed knee caps.
Cocktail rings generally have an oversized center stone of 3 carats or more and are typically worn on the right hand (any finger will do). But as we jewelry hounds know, there are plenty of costume options out there that won't break the bank.
But there's another drinkable jewelry look emerging from the shadows lately - champagne diamonds. From light champagnes, to burnished browns and rich cognacs, these natural diamonds offer a selection of tones and hues to compliment every style, taste and tolerance level.
An informative piece in the New York Times reports that the stone made its debut in the late 1990s when it was discovered in Rio Tinto's Argyle mine in Australia, but is only now gaining a strong following - including from yours truly and a bevy of Hollywood's leading ladies.
If you really want to tie one on, how about a double shot with a champagne diamond cocktail ring like this one for almost $400 off retail? 'Tis the season!
And be sure to check out the champagne diamond treasure chest on Jewelry.com for more bubbly bling - it's jewelry that's perfect for teetotalers and the tipsy alike!
Celebrity engagement news is breaking big today! Here's the scoop:
From "Black Swan" to Baby Momma:
Not only is Natalie Portman engaged to her (gorgeous!) choreographer boyfriend, Benjamin Millepied, they're also expecting their first child. The Black Swan star met her hubby-to-be on the set last year (he choreographed all of her numbers), and the Oscar buzz is building along with her little ballet-dancing bun in the oven.
Portman has been on the red carpet all month promoting the film (and Dior's new perfume), but despite a mention of 'eating a lot' lately - this news is a total shock.
No ring sighting yet, but stay tuned.
Hef's Getting Hitched:
The other shocker today is news that everyone's favorite bachelor octogenarian popped the question to his 24-year-old playmate girlfriend, Crystal Harris.
"After the movie tonight, Crystal & I exchanged gifts. I gave Crystal a ring. A truly memorable Christmas Eve," Hefner, 84, tweeted. "When I gave Crystal the ring, she burst into tears. This is the happiest Christmas weekend in memory."
Later, he clarified, "Yes, the ring I gave Crystal is an engagement ring. I didn't mean to make a mystery out of it. A very merry Christmas to all."
What kind of ring exactly remains to be seen, but my guess is Hef will make sure his bunny's got enough 'carats' to keep her satisfied.
But celebs aren't the only folks with romance on their minds. With New Year's Eve around the corner, many questions have yet to be popped. So fellas? If you need a little nudge in the right direction - check out the amazing post-Christmas engagement ring deals on sample sale sites like JewelClub.
And check out my 'Affordable Engagement Ring' guide here for more sparkling solutions.
In the meantime, congrats to the happy couples!
I. WANT. A. BLACK. DIAMOND!!!!!!!!!
See? Coal is cool this year, Mr. Kringle.
black diamond jewelry appealing to folks outside of tattoo parlors and vampire support groups. But this year? The stone finally crossed over, and it's never going back.
Celebrity designer, Stephen Webster, now litters his lines with the look. It was the best part of Sex And The City II. And many celebs - from Katy Perry to Christina Aguilera - are sporting them on the red carpet.
And the best part? Black diamonds are surprisingly affordable compared to white ice.
Here are a few of my favorite black diamond looks right now - all of them ready for their Christmas close up. Or how about a great New Year's surprise?
New York Times reports that jewelry is the 'go to' purchase for all you last-minute shopper types (aka: all men).
The huge diamond 'rock of love' seen on Bret Michaels' girlfriend since July was once a promise ring but as of this week has officially been promoted to engagement ring.
After 16 years, two kids and more than one breakup, Kristi Gibson said "yes" to Michaels' marriage proposal on Monday night's finale of Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It.
But every rose has its thorn, as they say...
Instead of presenting her with a new diamond ring to seal the deal, he 'regifted' the ring he gave her from Christmas 2009 that he said was used as "a promise of an engagement but without a date."
It is some serious ring finger candy, though. Sources tell Us that the couple designed the 4-carat platinum cushion-cut ring with micro pave diamonds at a cost of over $200,000.
"She's been very patient and strong," Michaels of Gibson, who stood by his side this year throughout his sudden brain hemorrhage and subsequent stroke. (And three skank-filled seasons of Rock of Love.)
"It just made our bond for each other that much stronger. It gave us a bond that's unbreakable."
Or at least until Bret's next reality dating show...
What do you think of his promise ring/engagement ring proposal? Should he have bought Kristi a new ring to symbolize this important next step? Or is 4-carats enough to stand for a 'promise' and an 'I do'?
Celebrity engagement ring buzz these days has a strange six degrees of Jessica Simspon thing going on.
First, her famous ex, Nick Lachey, proposes to longtime girlfriend, Vanessa Minnillo. A week later, Jessica gets her now famous ruby and diamond engagement ring from Eric Johsnon.
And now? Jess's famous ex, Cowboy QB Tony Romo, popped the question to his 24-year-old lady love, Candice Crawford (sister of Chace) on December 16th.
And this rock is the biggest of them all! (Not that we're counting, Jess).
Romo proposed with an 8-carat, radiant-cut, fancy yellow diamond with one carat of round diamonds around the center stone,” Aslam Bakshi, owner of Diamond Images USA, Inc. in Miami, Fla. tells HollywoodLife.com.
“The center stone is very difficult to find and rare, but it is one of the most popular shapes today.”
The ring is reportedtly worth about $475,000 - $225,000 more than the $250,000 Neil Lane ring Jess got back in November. (Not that we're counting, Jess).
No word yet about wedding plans, but since word hit the street that Jessica's clothing empire is worth $1 billion (!) - I'm thinking Jess will have the last laugh after all.
But who's counting?
Resetting diamond jewelry is one of the most cost effective ways to get more use out of those jewelry box lingerers that never get to see the light of day.
Old rings that have been relegated to those dark corners like a diamond you've inherited or a generous gift that well, just isn't your taste - now's the time to hunt them out.
While some folks want to sell their jewelry these days, remember the resale price of a diamond ring is way below the price paid for it. Most people after finding out how much they'll receive decide it's not worth selling, but then have no idea what to do with the ring.
Why not reset it and forget it? One of the most popular ways to reset a diamond ring is either to take out the diamond and set it as a pendant, or reset the diamond with smaller gemstones surrounding it, to give it an entirely different look and feel.
If you have an heirloom the question of to reset or not can be fraught with emotional issues. After all, this ring may have been passed down from generation to generation and to take it out of its originally setting is almost like breaking the chain. If you do decide to reset, then when you talk to your jeweler, find out about having an antique setting that is more to your taste, but still keeping within the era of the original setting. If you do decide to take the resetting plunge, make sure you go to a reputable jeweler that specializes in resetting. Spend time with the jeweler and make sure you're confident that they understand what you're looking for.
A good idea is to have the diamond graded by a professional gemological laboratory such as IGI or GIA. They'll examine the stone and you'll receive a diamond certificate detailing the diamond's properties. That way if any queries arise when you receive the diamond back in it's new setting you can re-check that it is the same stone. Make sure the jeweler insures the stone during the period they have it. If they don't make sure your insurance covers the diamond during this time.
Find out how long it will take to reset the stone - you don't want any nasty surprises. If you're having additional stones in the new setting, make sure they're the quality you want, ask to see a sample of the types of gems of diamonds that will be surrounding the diamond, together with your diamond. Some colors or diamonds reflect in the main stone, making the stone appear duller than it is (and vice-versa, they may bring added brilliance to your gem).
The same applies if you've having it set in gold. Some diamonds appear to have a more pronounced yellow tint when set in yellow gold. White gold or platinum may make the stone appear more colorless.
No matter what you decide, giving your diamonds a facelift is a great way to get more bang for your buck in these trying times. And you have recycling bragging rights you can cart out in front of all your eco-friendly pals. Seems like a win-win to me. Good luck!
And YOU get a pink diamond! And YOU get a pink diamond! And YOU get a pink diamond!..
And I'm getting a headache from hearing about all the crazy schwag these 'Oprah's Ultimate Favorite Things' audience members are making out with.
From a $2,500 Philip Stein watch, studded with 58 diamonds; $1,900, 1.17-carat Dana Rebecca earrings, featuring 100 diamonds; $525 Judith Ripka earrings made with canary crystal stones and white sapphire accents and...
A. TRIP. TO. AUSTRALIAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
...these folks are getting more free stuff than Debra Messing at a pre-Oscar gift bag party.
But this latest little freebie for 6,000 folks in Oprah's Australian audience has me really drooling with envy: a necklace featuring a real pink diamond designed in the shape of an 'O' (of course).
It makes sense that Australia's famous diamond exporter, Rio Tinto is in on the action - and because they are the largest supplier of pink diamonds, it makes even more sense that they'd create a style for the Divine Miss O with that coveted stone as the centerpiece.
The AP reports the one-off design uses "Australian colors" and features seven diamonds including a rare pink Argyle diamond mined from its operations in Western Australia's Kimberley region.
And now 6000(!) audience members are going away with one for friggin' free.
What's next? Free cars? Oh, right....
No pics have surfaced of the O-inspired style since the show won't air until later this season, but I'm sure the piece will look something like this:
Which reminds me. Circle pendants (a style that Oprah sent off into the jewelry stratosphere back in 2006) are a great, classic way to gift the women on your list this holiday - for romance, friendship, good parenting, rockin' "round" the Christmas tree (sorry) - the look is universally wearable.
And affordable. Circle back to JewelClub for their stash of circle styles - many under $100 (like this one for just over $50!).
And Oprah? If you're listening? I've been a very good girl this year....