Good morning, my darlings!! I’m home and caught up at last – which means it’s time for us to ogle all of the spectacular, sparkling specimens I met on my travels, beginning with my AGTA GemFair adventures in Tucson.
The gorgeous jewels of AGTA GemFair 2018.
How much do I love the AGTA GemFair?? Words alone cannot express. Which is why I brought home digital droves of photographic evidence to share with you.
I met the above rainbow of beauties at Kimberly Collins Gems. The dealer is best known for her selection of loose gemstones, but she also makes a selection of irresistible finished pieces (which I loved so much that one home with me). Kim herself is a delight and I highly recommend visiting her booth even if it’s just for a chat and a cookie.
From sleek stackers to a museum quality masterpiece! And I do mean literally museum quality: designer Paula Crevoshay is has shown her work in multiple museums and is preparing for another exhibit soon.
This piece, inspired by the Portuguese Man o’ War jellyfish, features opals, chrysocolla, sapphires, and coral. Totally bananas, in the best way.
I spent most of my GemFair focusing on the finished jewelry on display, leaving the loose gems and pearls to my fellow Gembassadors (and Gemologists) Ben Guttery and Hannah Becker. But I had to stop at Kaiser Gems when I saw this.
This glorious, perfectly organized tray of color-sorted gems was just too perfect for me to resist. I don’t know if you know this about me…but I love organizing things. Sometimes when I’m sad, I go to the Container Store. Gazing at this tray of precisely partitioned gems fills me with both joy and calm.
Speaking of joy, calm, and gemstones: this seems like a good time to remind you that because this is the AGTA (American Gemstone Trade Association) GemFair, every single vendor has satisfied the AGTA’s stringent ethical standards.
One of the best parts of AGTA GemFair 2017 was meeting the fabulous Dallas Prince of Dallas Prince Designs, who covered me in jewels and offered to adopt me (and the feelings of adoration are entirely mutual). When I arrived on the floor at GemFair 2018, I sashayed directly over to Dallas’ booth and played dress up for as long as I could justify.
This was one of my favorite looks we put together! Look at all those luscious greens and blues. I particularly love the bold scale of the earrings, the irresistable navette shape of the ring, and the creative use of briolettes in the necklace.
A stack of sapphire engagement rings from Under the Crown jewelry! As the public shows more and more interest in individuality where engagement jewels are concerned, colorful bridal is increasingly important to consider.
Pink and purple were the hottest hues on many AGTA GemFair shoppers’ lists, as attendee after attendee told me they were hunting these two particularly sweet shades – in spinel and sapphire, specifically. One suspects the Pantone color of the year, Ultraviolet, and Princess Eugenie’s instantly infamous Padparadscha are at least partly responsible.
I loved getting to know American Pearl Company at the 2017 AGTA GemFair and I was not disappointed when I visited them again this year.
One of my favorite materials there were these tiny, light-as-a-feather and utterly charming natural Tennessee river pearls. I poured them onto a tray and played with them like they were a tiny, luminous zen garden. Most of them were loose, but American Pearl Company had set a couple of these babies into sleek, simple pearl rings like the one pictured above. So pretty and subtle.
Have you ever seen a more delicious color combination?
I always love seeing how Erica Courtney defies convention to combine colored gems with impossibly bold style, and these babies are a sterling example. These red carpet-worthy stunners sizzle with vibrant tourmaline and Mandarin garnet briolettes.
I’m not the only one going cuckoo for colored gems right now: AGTA GemFair 2018 saw a full 10% increase in buyer attendance from the previous year, drawing industry insiders from over 90 countries seeking colored gems and pearls from the show’s 300+ top notch exhibitors.
How could I go to Tucson and not see any turquoise in silver?
These gorgeous pieces, which Navajo Arts and Crafts was showing at the AGTA GemFair, are carefully handmade using traditional techniques. These stunning statement pieces feature elongated turquoise of rare, exceptional Sleeping Beauty turquoise. I’m actually having trouble remembering why I didn’t buy one for myself.
There was a matching squash blossom necklace that caught my eye also (and I wasn’t the only one) but it was actually too long on me for me to be able to take a respectable selfie in it.
THIS is Campbellian Collection’s mermaid ring. A perfect blue green sea of Brazilian tourmaline surrounded by green garnets, lavender sapphires, and diamonds.
If you have a second, go check out Campbellian Collection’s Instagram account: Bella Campbell has been posting lots of photos of different people wearing this ring (including yours truly) and it’s really fun to see. She ask me if I wanted to know how a mermaid feels, and then whipped this baby out for me to put on.
This serpentine style from Lika Behar is a perfect example of what I love so much about colored gemstone jewelry.
This turquoise would have been notably lovely in any setting, but in exactly the right setting it’s irresistible. By the same token, the lovely snake and rich yellow gold are beautiful, but the turquoise center elevates both even further. It’s the exquisite synergy of a beautiful natural object, perfectly showcased in exactly the right way.
The gold/snake/turquoise combo reminds me of Victorian jewelry, but the overall silhouette and design aesthetic are purely modern.
Spectacular sapphires from Inner Circle Fine Jewelry! The smallest is around 3 carats, the middle around 6 carats, and the largest is in the neighborhood of 9 carats.
I was trying to decide which of these sapphires I liked the best, but they looked so good all together that I decided I couldn’t deprive you of any of them.
Inner Circle Fine Jewelry was represented at AGTA GemFair 2018 by two of the sweetest ladies who have ever stuffed chocolate truffles into my purse. They also let me go outside with their jewels so that I could take a good picture in sunlight (by the food trucks AGTA invited to GemFair – it smelled amazing right here!). If you ever want to curry favor with me, chocolate and access to natural light for photography are two really good methods.
Pretty pink conch pearls are among the most valuable pearls in the world. That’s a conch shell in the background – the creatures that produce these rosy rarities. Conch pearls can’t be cultured, so they only exist naturally.
I usually only see conch pearls in exceptional antique and designer jewelry, so it was really exciting to handle them loose. Thanks, American Pearl Company!
A perfectly on-trend and absolutely gorgeous purple sapphire and Paraiba tourmaline ring by Erica Courtney. This piece takes my breath away.
I can’t give you a better example of a top notch, well-designed, edgy but accessible colored stone engagement ring. The vivid Paraiba tourmaline surrounding the Ultraviolet center sapphire is a magnificent juxtaposition of exuberant, exceptional stones making magic together.
Two delectable pearl pendants by new-to-me designer Lisa Mele Fine Gems!
There’s something so regal about these, isn’t there? You’d feel like a queen every day going around with one of these around your neck.
A few of the mesmerizing strands of tourmaline on offer at Bentley Gemstones!
I spent a fair amount of time hanging out at Bentley (they’re a friendly bunch) and the difference in the amount of gems they had at the beginning of AGTA GemFair compared to the end was shocking. Demand for high quality material (particularly tourmaline, a Bentley’s specialty) was definitely in full force.
Here’s another simple but impactful design from American Pearl Company!
I love the decision to use a triangular pearl at the end of this pendant. It gives the entire piece such a fresh, modern feeling. It didn’t hurt that it looked spectacular with my outfit, either.
A lot of you requested opals when I surveyed you on what you wanted to see from the AGTA GemFair, and it was a genuine pleasure to hunt for some spectacular ones while I walked the floor.
This glorious opal ring is by Omi Prive. Doesn’t it look like a tiny planet wreathed in sapphires and diamonds? Magical.
A huge THANK YOU to the AGTA for choosing me as one of their 2018 Gembassadors and for being such a perpetual delight to work with! It was a joy and a privilege to have the opportunity to share the 2018 AGTA GemFair with all of you, my darlings.
An enormous thanks also to my fellow Gembassadors, the fabulous ladies of LBG PR, and all of the friendly exhibitors and attendees of the 2018 AGTA GemFair! If it weren’t for all of you, none of these pretty pictures would be possible.