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Lucire: Fashion

All that glitters

Elyse Glickman looks in to buying fine gems and jewellery for weddings—it’s a slightly different process to fashion items, as she talks to gem experts

OUR GENERATION may have grown up coveting emeralds, sapphires and rubies, but we’ve come of age embracing a wide spectrum of glamour that also includes tourmalines, citrines, topaz, amethysts and other great things from the good Earth. With so much to choose from, however, it’s not enough to love a gem or its setting. With that in mind, there are measures a bride can take to ensure the lustre of what captures her eye will endure for years to come.

While the process of buying “investment” pieces that fit the dress and the bride’s personality can be emotional, designer Margo Manhattan notes that one’s emotions can serve one well. ‘You’ll want to look for that glimmer and sparkle inside the stone,’ she advises. ‘You need to look below the surface, and not buying something because it is a certain stone you happen to like. Look closely at gems and ask yourself if they are too dark, or have little white fractions or other flaws. You want something that is clean and lively from the inside out, something that excites you enough to wear it all the time.’

Konstantina, creator of the Mahlia collection, suggests that when buying jewellery, ask the dealer lots of questions. For example, is the stone very rare, and why? How will a stone translate to the piece I am wearing or having designed? Does the mounting make the stone more valuable? Though a lot of the industry is catching up to the question of conflict-free stones, the origin of a stone is also an extremely valid question.

‘It’s not just about what kind of a stone it is,’ she adds. ‘Take note of the way the stone is cut, as certain cuts add to a gemstone’s value. It could be a special cut by a noted stonecutter, or an unusual specimen of its kind. It can be something fairly mundane, but the setting makes it more expensive. While “conflict-free” is still tough to pinpoint, there are more and more ways to certify what is truly conflict free. This has become a huge topic among jewellery designers because their consumers care about where the diamonds and other stones come from.’

Marcelo Novaes, an H. Stern spokesperson based at the company’s Rio headquarters and gemology museum, not only stresses the importance of seeking conflict-free jewellery, but also being sure the colours of gems within a piece will flatter the wearer and enable her to enjoy it on casual and special occasions.

‘The use of colour is not only centred on the stone, but how it can perform the best effect on each wearer’s individual feature,’ he says. ‘Each person is different, with different face shapes, skin, eyes and hair colour. All of that will have a big influence on which pieces will suit you the best. Work with sales’ associates who are trained in choosing the best colours, settings, stones complementing and accentuating your best look. It is also important to pay attention to “centre stone pieces”, where the principal stone is so perfect, flawless and colour-saturated, that it draws the eye to admire only the stone itself. Settings take a second place, and the gem will be valued according to how the close to perfection that nature would allow it to be.’ •


This page Items from the Mahlia collection from Tucson, Arizona.




Elyse Glickman is US west coast editor of Lucire.


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