9 of My Favorite Pieces from the AGTA Spectrum Awards Editors’ Day

EditorsNov 18, 2022

9 of My Favorite Pieces from the AGTA Spectrum Awards Editors’ Day

Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator’s highlights include a chrome tourmaline ring, a giant opal necklace, and an American mined stone.

Senior Editor, Gemstones Brecken Branstrator rounds up her favorite pieces from this year’s AGTA Spectrum Award entries, including this chrome tourmaline ring from Samuel Getz Designs.
A few weeks ago, I flew to Dallas for a whirlwind 24 hours with the American Gem Trade Association.

They invited a few editors out to see the entries in this year’s Spectrum Awards, and it was such a joy to be back at an event I had been severely missing the past few years.

We were given a whole day to look through the jewels, stones, carvings, and works of art. (The cherry on top of the day was the location: fine mineral dealer The Arkenstone hosted the competition in its stunning gallery, so we were surrounded by the most beautiful pieces. I kept finding myself looking back and forth between the jewelry and the specimens in the background as they caught my eye.)

The level of artistry we see every year in Spectrum was definitely still there, and I was blown away by the creativity and talent.

I rounded up the pieces the judges awarded with winning honors in a story that ran earlier this week, but I wanted to highlight the entries that caught my eye too. Here are some of my favorites.

The opal I’d add to my #neckmess

I love everything about this necklace from Emily Chelsea Jewelry. That fantastic opal, sourced from Agere Treasures, is what initially caught my eye and had me immediately trying it on, but the more I looked at the whole piece, the more I fell in love with the concept overall.

The designer complemented the giant opal in a perfect modern setting with aquamarine, citrine, amethyst, heliodor, and garnet baguettes as well as diamond accents, and hung it from a double chain.

I know now that it’s already in someone’s private collection, so I will just have to continue admiring it from afar, but to me it was the perfect combo of fantastic stone and thoughtful and wearable design.

You can see a video of it on our Instagram here.

The pearl ring that captured my heart

I’ll admit, I sometimes struggle with pearls. I think today’s designers have done a lot of magical things with them to reinvent the category, but for whatever reason, it’s not often I find myself wanting to own a pearl piece.

Then walks in this golden pearl beauty from Laurie Reid of LFR Studios to change my mind.

Is it the way the gold metal perfectly matches the gold color of the pearl that is so special? Or is it the way the roundness of the pearl perfectly complements the geometry of the ring setting? I think it’s both.

I love the thoughtfulness behind this ring; the work that went into it is obvious. I’d happily wear this pearl any time.

The loose rare stone I want to set

I have really been getting into rhodochrosite lately, probably ever since I first dove into its world when I made it the topic of a “5 Things to Know About…” article.

The fine mineral specimens are so pleasing, and there’s something about the faceted red material—which doesn’t show up that often—that always attracts my attention, so it wasn’t at all surprising to me that I kept coming back to this 11.46-carat stone during Editors’ Day, mined in Colorado and cut by Ben Kho of Kho International.

It’s definitely one for the wish list.

The set rare stone I want to wear

Give me a trapiche gem any day of the week—they’re visually interesting and have a fascinating story, gemologically speaking. (For anyone who wants to dig into them more, I wrote an article on that material, too.)

I love the simple gold setting on this ring from Paul Farmer Goldsmith, with just enough details in the granulation on the side to lets the trapiche emerald speak for itself.

The jewel I’d wear daily

This ring from Ian Delucca of Khobe Delucca was a no-brainer for me—it’s got a striking stone (a tourmaline, for those wondering), a modern Art Deco setting, and an edge with the darkened metal via ruthenium plating over 18-karat gold. Just perfect.

I instantly knew I’d wear this ring all the time if it was mine and heard several editors expressing the same admiration for it, hence it’s honor as the Editors’ Choice award winner. 

I’m still thinking about it weeks later.

The one that swayed me to diamonds … for a bit

I admit to having been surprised to see a diamond ring in the mix, but as AGTA reminded, it does feature color. And it does it well.

The ceramic edging and sideways direction of the diamond in this ring from Jeffrey Bilgore is very of the moment, in the best way, and I love the combo of the yellow stone and the green accents (done with tsavorite garnets) for a pop.

It’s another one I think hits on all the points a Spectrum piece needs, and I could definitely see myself wearing it. Another to add to the wish list.

The suite I think would make a killer piece

I’ve never seen anything like this—a suite of cabochon emeralds and matrix. It’s such a cool way to show the beauty of emeralds and their formation story and could really be a conversation starter.

I’m dying to see what this 112-carat suite from Desmond Chan of Gem Arts International could become in the right hands—just think of the potential statement necklace.

The ring with the perfect classic-setting-and-brilliant-stone combo

I fell in love with this chrome tourmaline. It’s as simple as that.

In this classic three-stone design from Samuel Getz Designs with emerald-cut diamond accents, the setting adds just enough beauty to allow the vivid color and clarity of the stone to shine.

My favorite spinel jewel

Would it be a complete list from me if it didn’t include a spinel? It’s hands down my favorite stone, and it felt like there were more in play in the Spectrum entries this year than in years past.

There were a range of colors, from red and pink to purple and the steely grays that have been popular for some time now, but my pick is this blue spinel ring from none other than Omi Prive.

I loved the cobalt blue spinel, of course, and the very classic Omi setting, but this ring also gives gem connoisseurs an extra little treat in the halo—as if Paraiba tourmaline and diamonds weren’t enough, those vivid little blue gemstones are very rare stones called hauyne.  

It’s something you’d only expect from a place like Omi. 

 Related stories will be right here … 
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

FinancialsDec 06, 2022
Signet Anticipates Solid Holiday Season, Raises Guidance

The jewelry giant posted a decline in same-store sales in the third quarter but is gearing up for a season of growth.

TrendsDec 06, 2022
Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year Is A Lot Like Rubellite, Spinel, Ruby

“Viva Magenta” easily finds its colored gemstone counterparts.

AuctionsDec 06, 2022
Jewels from the Sunken ‘Ship of Gold’ Smash Auction Estimates

Holabird Western Americana Collections offered hundreds of treasures recovered from the S.S. Central America in its Dec. 3 sale.

Brought to you by
How To Buy Colored Gemstones

Give your customers the full gemstone buying experience by using the 6C's.

ColumnistsDec 06, 2022
The Smart Lab: 6 Holiday Email Marketing Strategies To Boost Sales

From creating catchy subject lines to retargeting abandoned carts, Emmanuel Raheb has a half-dozen pieces of email marketing advice.

Weekly QuizDec 01, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
IndependentsDec 06, 2022
CD Peacock Names VP of Client Engagement, Experience

Qi Holtzman is a member of the second generation to run the family-owned Chicago area jeweler.

IndependentsDec 05, 2022
Holocaust Survivor and Jeffrey Mann Jewelers Matriarch Rena Mann Dies

Mann, who opened the Ohio jewelry store with her husband and son in 1984, was 95.

Brought to you by
Knowledge and Skills for Today’s Hot Topics

From laboratory-grown diamonds to design to country-of-origin, GIA's Alumni Collective™ has a seminar to suite your needs.

TechnologyDec 05, 2022
Timex Ticks into the Metaverse with Bored Ape Yacht Club

The watch brand will create 500 custom timepieces for holders of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs.

Events & AwardsDec 05, 2022
WJA Foundation Awards Nearly $60K in Scholarships for 2022-2023

Scholarship winners received awards in six different categories.

SourcingDec 02, 2022
Alrosa CEO Sergey Ivanov to Step Down, Report Says

According to Russian news sources, the sanctioned head of the diamond company is leaving to take a job with an investment group.

SourcingDec 02, 2022
Lucapa Sells 170-Carat Pink Diamond Unearthed This Summer

Said to be the largest pink diamond found in hundreds of years, “The Lulo Rose” was sold for an undisclosed sum.

AuctionsDec 02, 2022
Here’s How 2 Royal Jewels Performed at Auction in Denmark

A princess’s tiara fell within its pre-sale estimate while an Art Deco bracelet from a queen doubled it.

CollectionsDec 02, 2022
Piece of the Week: Foundrae’s Chain

A closer look at the bold links reveals a subtle, surprising detail.

Supplier BulletinDec 01, 2022
Take Your Jewelry Design Process Digital with the GIA Alumni Collective™

Sponsored by GIA Alumni Collective™

WatchesDec 01, 2022
Rolex to Certify Pre-Owned Watches

Retailers within its official distribution network will be able to sell the authenticated timepieces.

CollectionsDec 01, 2022
Kendra Scott’s New Collection is for Barbie Girls

The capsule collection combines the brand’s classic styles with Barbie’s signature pink color.

AuctionsDec 01, 2022
13-Carat Pink Diamond Withdrawn From Christie’s Auction

The auction house is not offering any details on why the fancy vivid pink stone was pulled from its upcoming “Magnificent Jewels” sale.

SourcingDec 01, 2022
Nomad’s Is Selling Its Stones to Raise Money for Ukraine Again

In the spirit of an advent calendar, “Gems to Help Ukraine” will sell a stone a day through Dec. 24 on the Nomad’s Instagram account.

GradingDec 01, 2022
PhotoScribe Granted Patent for Method that Verifies a Stone’s Identification

The secure mark combines an overt mark with a covert data set to provide assurance on a gem.

SurveysNov 30, 2022
5 Things Retailers Should Know About the Start to the Holiday Season

Plus, what a potential rail strike would mean for retailers.

WatchesNov 30, 2022
Watchfinder & Co. Will Launch a Marketplace Next Year

It will provide a place for select luxury watch retailers to sell their stock.

MajorsNov 30, 2022
Pomellato Buys Into Italian Goldsmith

The brand has purchased a minority stake in Costanzo & Rizzetto.

SourcingNov 30, 2022
Firestone Restarts Operations of Lesotho Diamond Mine

Liqhobong has been in a care-and-maintenance period since the start of the pandemic.

MajorsNov 29, 2022
LVMH Acquires Jewelry Manufacturer Pedemonte Group

The strategic acquisition will bolster the luxury titan’s production capacity in its watch and jewelry division.

CollectionsNov 29, 2022
Alex and Ani Founder Carolyn Rafaelian Has Launched a Fine Jewelry Line

The new brand, Metal Alchemist, focuses on unisex, classic jewelry designs.

IndependentsNov 29, 2022
Reinhold Jewelers’ Holiday Book Is an Ode to an Important Beverage

The 2022 edition of the retailer’s annual publication pays homage to the coffee farms and shops of Puerto Rico.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy