9 Special Spectrum Entries: Giving Out My Own Awards

EditorsAug 12, 2019

9 Special Spectrum Entries: Giving Out My Own Awards

Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator highlights interesting stones, designs and even one pair of eyeglasses spotted at AGTA’s recent Editors’ Day event.

Omi Prive’s padparadscha sapphire and diamond ring was a highlight of the 2019 AGTA Spectrum Awards for Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator.

Put hundreds of pieces of jewelry, food and mimosas in a sunlit Manhattan loft for one day and you’ve got some pretty happy editors.

Last Tuesday, the National Jeweler team headed to the West Village to take part in the AGTA Spectrum Editors’ Day event, where we walked through tables and tables of creations.

I don’t know if it was just me being more attracted to the deep colors, but it seemed like there were quite a few tanzanite pieces this year. There seemed to be an abundance of blues and pinks, and starburst motifs were also really popular.

And while it was great to get to look through so many different designs, there were a number that stood out to me for various reasons.

You got to see pictures of the first-place winners, according to the Spectrum judges, in my story last week, so I thought I’d go beyond those and show you some other notable creations from Editors’ Day through my own fun awards.


The award for The Piece I’d Want to Wear Every Day

goes to…

Mark Loren Designs’ 14-karat yellow gold “Long” agate and gemstone earrings.

The Laguna agate drops were glowing in the sunlit loft on Editors’ Day, calling to me with their vibrancy. I love how sleek and simple they are while still providing amazing color and an interesting pairing of stones—agate (45 carats total), green tourmaline (6.33 carats), akoya cultured pearls and .22 carats of yellow sapphire.

The award for The Piece Most Interacted With goes to…

Deirdre Featherstone of Featherstone Designs’ eyeglasses with platinum and gemstone “enhancements,” featuring spinel, tourmaline, aquamarine, opal, garnet, sapphire, tanzanite and diamonds.

I caught them out of the corner of my eye as soon as we walked into the space and couldn’t wait to try them on. And from what I could tell watching others as they neared the glasses on the table, the same could be said for everyone.

They were fun, beautiful, creative and unexpected (for the awards, but for anyone who knows Deirdre, not so much), and I loved watching everyone get so excited to try them on and take pictures. Even I took the rare selfie (and posted it to this blog no less) because I was so tickled with them. Needless to say, I’d wear my own glasses a lot more if they looked more like this.

The award for Best Bridal Look goes to…

Omi Prive’s 18-karat rose gold and platinum ring with a 5.01-carat unheated cushion-cut padparadscha sapphire with 2.69 carats of diamonds and a hidden .01-carat alexandrite.

The chances of an Omi piece being among my favorites was high—their stone selection is always on point, and their jewelry always does the perfect job highlighting the stone while giving it the perfect setting. This padparadscha is, in my opinion, the perfect color, especially for a bride, and accenting it with slightly off-set pear-shaped diamonds is the cherry on top of it all.

I would definitely say yes to this padparadscha, and that has nothing to do with a royal effect.

The award for The Most Interesting Color Combination goes to…

Gaston Jewelry Studio’s 18-karat white gold ring featuring a 5.38-carat emerald-cut Mexican fire opal next to turquoise cabochons and set with 0.75 carats of tsavorite garnet and 1.10 carats of diamonds.

Orange and blue are on opposite sides of the color wheel, so putting them together isn’t exactly shocking, but there’s something about this pairing that is so eye-catching.

Maybe it’s the use of the transparent fire opal next to turquoise cabochons on such a large scale that makes it so unexpected, but I clearly wasn’t alone in my appreciation of the piece; it won honorable mention and manufacturing honors in the Business/Day Wear category.

The award for Prettiest Piece from the Best Name goes to…

These 14-karat yellow gold earrings featuring 32.78 carats of boulder opals accented with 2.11 carats of tsavorite garnets and 1 carat of diamonds from Brecken Farnsworth.  

I was at the AGS Conclave event in San Diego in 2014 when I discovered there was another Brecken in the jewelry industry. Even better, she was there as well. I had only heard of a handful of other Breckens before, and had definitely never met one, so my mind was a little blown. It’s still a little bizarre to me, but I take it as a sign that I’ve found myself in the right place.

I was so thrilled when I picked up this pair of earrings at the Spectrum press event to admire them and their details only to find out they were from Brecken Farnsworth of Parle Gems. I love the opals and their celestial golden accents topped off with a pop of green, so here’s a shout out from one Brecken to another.

The award for The Coolest Use of a Rare Stone goes to…

The platinum “Intersection” ring from Ricardo Basta, featuring a 8.70-carat trapiche emerald cabochon accented with 1.66 carats of white diamonds and .12 carats of black diamonds.

I love the way the design of this ring worked with the “spokes” of the trapiche emerald. It’s clean and let’s the stone speak for itself—trapiche is a sight to see all on its own—with just enough intrigue as the black and white diamonds continue the pattern with faceted, sparkling brilliance.

The award for The Best Way to Catch Dreams goes to…

Buddha Mama’s 20-karat yellow gold “Dreamcatcher” pendant featuring a 42.52-carat cushion-cut zircon set with white and gray enamel with diamond flowers and pears.

I am not a good sleeper. I need darkness and almost complete silence to fall asleep, and I will wake up at the sound of a pin dropping, all of which makes living in New York City an adventure. How nice then to find what might be my perfect solution at the AGTA Spectrum Awards! I love how much gold is involved in this, I love the zircon in the middle and I love how oversized it is. After all, who wouldn’t want to don such a lovely piece, especially if it meant a better night’s sleep?

The award for The Piece With the Best Sense of Humor goes to…

Ionescu Design’s ring titled “A Little Gremlin About to Misbehave,” featuring a gray baroque South Sea cultured pearl accented with a .07-carat ruby and .13 carats of diamonds.

The gorgeous stones, the thoughtful and innovative design, the stunning manufacturing—those are all the reasons and more why we love the Spectrum Awards. But it’s also a piece like this—with a sense of humor behind it—that also provides such a bright spot.

This little guy, with his tongue sticking out, had many of us grinning from ear to ear. I don’t know how one looks at a pearl like that and sees a gremlin, but I’m so happy it happened. He made my day.

The award for The Best Use of My Birthstone goes to…

Sean Gilson’s platinum earrings featuring onyx toroids accented with 8.78 carats of aquamarine and diamonds (.36 total carats).

I have hot and cold feelings about my March birthstone, if I’m being quite honest, and don’t find myself steering toward aquamarine often.

But I like these earrings a lot, especially the way they pair the black onyx—we’re seeing a lot of that and black enamel right now—with the light blue, and the way they partner the rounded shape of the onyx starkly against the geometric shapes of the faceted aquamarines, with the added intrigue of the bottom kites appearing to be almost floating. They’re modern and sleek, and I’d happily wear these to celebrate my birthstone.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

Pantone color of the year 2024
TrendsDec 08, 2023
Pantone’s Color of the Year Is Warm and Fuzzy

The peachy hue also marks the program’s 25th anniversary.

Mary Tyler Moore and Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co. Bone Cuffs
AuctionsDec 08, 2023
Sotheby’s Sold All Mary Tyler Moore’s Jewelry

The 21 pieces up for auction, including Tiffany & Co. jewels and a Cartier watch, garnered more than $430,000 across two sales.

Inesa Kovalova’s Links pin
CollectionsDec 08, 2023
Piece of the Week: A ‘Strong & Precious’ Brooch

Centered on a sunny heliodor, the “Links” pin was designed by Ukrainian jewelry artist Inesa Kovalova.

De Beers | Diamonds Falling
Brought to you by
The Most Important “C” in Diamonds: Confidence!

Without the ability to instill confidence within the industry and directly to the consumer, a diamond holds very little value.

Lashbrook ring
MajorsDec 07, 2023
Lashbrook Sues Manly Bands for Allegedly Copying Designs

The wedding band company is also accusing its former customer of removing watermarks from Lashbrook images for its own use.

Weekly QuizDec 07, 2023
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this short test.
Take the Quiz
Rough diamonds from Alrosa
Policies & IssuesDec 07, 2023
The G7’s Long-Awaited Statement on Russian Diamonds Is Here

It provides a timeline for the implementation of new restrictions, but no details.

24 Karat Club of New York new members
MajorsDec 07, 2023
24 Karat Club of New York Welcomes New Members

The organization has elected 12 new additions.

Platinum  Guild International Diamond Rings
Brought to you by
If It’s Custom, Make It Platinum

With holiday proposals right around the corner, encourage your customers to go for platinum when making the big purchase.

National Jeweler columnist Sherry Smith
ColumnistsDec 06, 2023
On Data: How Are Independents Doing So Far This Holiday Season?

Sherry Smith breaks down the numbers on jewelry sales in November and reveals the category that “emerged as a standout.”

133 carat yellow diamond
AuctionsDec 06, 2023
A Yellow Diamond, Hollywood Jewels Stand Out at Sotheby’s

Additional lots will be offered in the Fine Jewels online sale through Dec. 7.

GIA logo
GradingDec 06, 2023
GIA Debuts Revamped Graduate Jeweler Program

By mixing creative and practical skills, the new course hopes to fill the industry’s bench jeweler gap.

A 1930s gem-set and enamel ‘Maltese cross’ cuff attributed to Verdura for Chanel (left) and a loose cushion-cut Burmese sapphire weighing 11.87 carats (right) were the top lots in Bonhams New York Jewels auction this week.
AuctionsDec 06, 2023
Verdura Cuff, Burmese Sapphire Shine at Bonhams

Several other colored gemstones joined the pieces in the top 10 list.

Neil Lane lab-grown diamond engagement ring
FinancialsDec 05, 2023
Signet Jewelers’ Q3 Sales Down 12%

The retailer is still expecting a strong holiday season with improving demand for natural diamonds.

Memorial for slain jeweler Peter Damian Arguello in Wheat Ridge, Colorado
CrimeDec 05, 2023
Police Continue to Investigate Murder of Colorado Jeweler

Peter Damian Arguello, the owner of Peter Damian Fine Jewelry & Antiques, was shot and killed in an apparent robbery last week.

Tanishq store
MajorsDec 05, 2023
Tanishq Continues U.S. Expansion With 2 New Stores

The Indian jewelry giant has opened locations in Houston and Frisco, Texas.

Grandview Klein Diamonds Namibia scholarship winners
SourcingDec 05, 2023
Grandview Klein Awards Two Scholarships in Namibia

Each student was provided with the full amount of tuition for the Namibia University of Science & Technology.

De Beers Ryan Perry and David Prager
SourcingDec 04, 2023
David Prager To Leave De Beers in 2024

Ryan Perry, who has been with De Beers since 2002, also will be leaving the company next year.

Chrono24 ChronoPulse
WatchesDec 04, 2023
Chrono24 Debuts the ‘Dow Jones’ for Luxury Watches

The watch seller’s new index tracks sales data from 14 brands, including Rolex and Patek Philippe.

David Bouffard Signet Jewelers
MajorsDec 04, 2023
David Bouffard to Leave Signet, RJC

The industry veteran will step down from both roles in April 2024.

David Webb turquoise and lapis ring
TrendsDec 04, 2023
Amanda’s Style File: Decadent December

Tanzanite, turquoise, and zircon are all options for December babies, who sometimes “get the birthday shaft,” Amanda Gizzi writes.

Lightbox x Roséate Light Wand pendants
Lab-GrownDec 01, 2023
Lightbox Teams Up With Brand Founded by Former Tiffany Exec

The lab-grown diamond brand also collaborated with the website The Future Rocks on a collection launching today.

Lila Moss Calvin Klein campaign
FinancialsDec 01, 2023
Movado Lowers Guidance Again After Q3 Sales Dip

The company said it is facing a “challenging retail environment” but is prepared for the holiday season.

Muzo emerald and argyle pink diamond necklace
CollectionsDec 01, 2023
Piece of the Week: Muzo’s Emerald and Argyle Pink Diamond Necklace

It’s the hero piece of the newest "Green Jewel" collection, a collaborative offering from the two mines.

Pink Supreme Diamond
AuctionsNov 30, 2023
This Pink Diamond Reigned Supreme in Hong Kong

The 15.48-carat fancy intense “Pink Supreme” topped Christie’s fall jewelry auction in Asia, while a Patek Philippe led the watch sale.

Claire’s CFO COO Chris Cramer
MajorsNov 30, 2023
Claire’s Hires Former Bath & Body Works Exec as CFO, COO

Chris Cramer, who also spent time at Gen Z intimates brand Parade, will take on the dual role.

133 carat yellow diamond
AuctionsNov 30, 2023
Sotheby’s To Auction 133-Carat Yellow Diamond

The stone headlining the upcoming sale could fetch up to $5 million.

Kwiat diamonds
IndependentsNov 30, 2023
Frank Adams Rolls Out Kwiat’s ‘Mine to Shine’ Program

The retail offering lets customers track their diamond’s journey.


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