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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Ten Most Outrageous Jewelry Pieces of 2012



Welcome Sharon Sussman, Dir. of Products at Brilliance...

Who says jewelry design can’t look fab without a touch of eccentricity?

Jewelry expresses our innermost feelings and intentions. A precious gem can symbolize undying love, perhaps, or mark an important milestone. It can also reveal the wearer’s own personality and eccentricity. It’s no surprise, then, that more and more people are getting their inner freaks on via some outrageous pieces of bling.

This year, we’ve seen even non-jewelry objects get encrusted with diamonds, plated with gold, and generally made to look glamorous even if their original purposes were fairly mundane.

As you may have guessed, when it comes to outrageous pieces of jewelry, the rule seems to be the bigger the better, and preferably with references copped from popular culture, geography, and historical events. Many such pieces are unique and memorable enough to command top dollar in major auction houses.

Below are my top ten jewelry pieces from 2012 that stretch the boundaries of creativity and glamour.

10. The Izmir Necklace



Encrusted with round baguette-cut and pear-shaped diamonds, mandarin garnet beads, opal beads, amethysts, rubellites, citrines, pink and purple spinels, topaz and one 50.79-carat cushion yellow sapphire set in pink gold, the necklace is a study in luxurious excess. The piece, which took hundreds of hours to compete, pays homage to the Oriental Ball and the Arabian Nights. All that adds up to one awe-inspiring piece.

9. The Dentelle Opale d’Orient Bracelet


 Jewelry designer Victoire de Castellane went all out with the precious stone color palette to come up this brilliant piece for the Dear Dior line. It is primarily inspired by travels to the exotic and mystic Orient. It features a rich opalescent center radiating with meticulously set clusters of diamonds, rubies, tanzanites, garnets, spinelles, and spessartites set in platinum and yellow gold.

The Dentelle Opale d'Orient Bracelet is a far cry from the designer's previous work for the My Dior collection, which featured a predominantly minimalist style.

8. The Wave Necklace



Imagine a vortex of glamour resting on your chest. Designer Harry Winston worked with a gorgeous cascade of diamonds, so that anyone wearing the Wave necklace seems to be dripping with liquid brilliance.  Featuring a jaw-dropping 60.4-carat pear shaped stone pendant, it is widely considered to be one of the more memorable pieces featured in the  Biennale des Antiquaires 2012.

7. A Drop Into the Ocean Necklace



Further inspiration from nature can be gleaned in this Wallace Chan-designed necklace.  The poetic name for this beautiful piece of jewelry does justice to the superbly crafted 379.21-carat aquamarine pendant, plus diamonds and sapphires done in streaming rivulets. The designer takes inspiration from Eastern philosophies and aesthetics, and is the only Asian to be featured in the 2012 Biennale des Antiquaires.

6.  The Boucheron Mosaique Delilah Necklace



This is a mosaic neck piece made up of an astounding 26.89-carat pink pear-shaped morganite, 112.88-carat 921 pink sapphires, 50-carat 409 princess-cut diamonds, 16.26 carats of 132 orange sapphires, and 15-carats of 118 yellow sapphires. Outrageous in its overall value and weight but decidedly sedate in design, the Boucheron Mosaique Delilah necklace is a study in carefully-executed, tasteful jewelry craftsmanship.

5.   The Cartier Platinum Panther Ring



Jewelry with a bite seems to be the Cartier premise with this fine, feline finger adornment. The almost whimsical design is set with 24.46-carat cushion cut sapphires from Sri Lanka for the panther’s “spots”. Its fur is made of encrusted diamonds; it also features the occasional onyx spots, emeralds for eyes, and an onyx nose. Definitely a roaring ring for the adventurous set!

4. The Piaget Hand-Knitted Cuff Watch with Diamonds

Piaget puts forward the kind of craftsmanship and design it has become famous and much sought-after for with this stunning piece. The painstakingly hand-twisted and knitted watch cuff features an 18k white-gold mesh, taking inspiration from, and paying homage to a similar design done in the 1970s. Set with 69 brilliant-cut diamonds and over 300 more diamonds on its face, the watch case itself is something to behold.

3. The Van Cleef & Arpels Aquarius Clip with Sapphires


The Van Cleef & Arpels trademark for seamless jewelry craftsmanship is highly evident in this piece from the company’s Zodiac line. Quirky yet professionally done, the Aquarius symbolism of the bearer of water is unmistakable, and will definitely add glamor to anyone born under this sign. Featuring clusters of diamonds, five star sapphires with a total weight of 18.28 carats, and smaller sapphires done in the Van Cleef & Arpels “Mystery Set” method, this clip is surely a better alternative to the usual birth stone jewelry.  

2. The Gangnam Celebrity Diamond Pendant



The irony of what could arguably be the most popular non-English language song of 2012, which criticizes excessive consumerist culture, might be lost on whoever commissioned this Gangnam-style diamond pendant from the Brilliance jewelry company. 6 ¼ carats of diamonds embellish this wacky piece featuring the now-famous horse-riding stance. It is a great conversation-starter piece, and a fitting, though pseudo-satirical, statement done in precious stones and set in 18k white and yellow gold.   

1. The Gollum Creature Ring

As far as geek jewelry goes, Lord of the Rings pieces are some of the most desirable. While most people would expect The One Ring to be the most noteworthy, that honor this year belongs to Badali Jewelry’s Gollum-inspired ring. The ring is available in both sterling silver and 14k gold. Gollum’s spindly arms and legs curve form the ring’s band.

Definitely an unusual, yet precious, piece.

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Guest author Sharon Sussman is currently the Director of Products at Brilliance, a jewelry company which specializes in certified loose diamonds, engagement rings and custom-made jewelry. A graduate of Touro College, she is also a gemologist and jeweler whose articles and advice columns have been published on notable fashion and finance blogs and sites. She can also be found on Google + and reached at sharon.sussman@brilliance.com.


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