American Gem Trade AssociationAdd More Color To Your Life

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By Deborah Yonick, jewelry style expert

If the sunny colors spied at the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Sept. 23 reflect an optimistic view, the future looks bright. Pops of happy hues, with lemon yellow and sea foam among the most talked about, adorned stylish starlets posing on the red carpet like Claire Dane, Julianne Moore, and Heidi Klum.

In much the same way as color in fashion commands attention and signals signature style, colored gemstone jewelry too is a big part of the wow factor for both fashion risk-takers and classic beauties. Unique and unmatched, the diversity gems convey in jewelry design make them a must have accessory for any red carpet moment.

Jewelry stylist-to-the-stars Michael O'Connor, who hosts the must-attend red carpet jewelry suites at major awards shows like the Emmys, cites an explosion of jewel tones in fashion and accessories. “This year's jewel tone colors are everywhere and more than two or three colors are dominating the trends, including bright yellows, oranges, reds, blues, greens and lavenders, and even brightly colored patterns like never before.”

If there is one celebrity that most embodies the add-more-color-to-your-life style mantra, it's Heidi Klum, who knows how to rock gemstone jewelry, almost always by Hollywood designer darling, Lorraine Schwartz. Never disappointing, Klum was as fresh as a sea breeze in billowy front-slit Alexandre Vauthier sea foam gown with vivacious Paraiba tourmaline, black opal, and natural pink diamond earrings and Paraiba tourmaline and diamond rose gold ring.

Also rocking those take-me-away Caribbean colors were Emmy Best Actress in a Comedy, “Veep's” Julia Louis Dreyfus in Kingman turquoise and diamond ring, and Lightning Ridge black opals and diamond earrings in 18K rose gold by Irene Neuwirth; Leslie Mann in turquoise and brown diamond earrings and bracelets by Lorraine Schwartz; presenter Martha Plimpton in aquamarine and gem cluster ring, and earthy citrine gold pendant earrings by Fred Leighton; and Access Hollywood's Shaun Robinson in aquamarine rose gold earrings from AGTA Member Dallas Prince and natural colored diamond bracelet from AGTA Member Underwoods Fine Jewelry in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Emerald maintains its red carpet reign, a favorite of celebrities like “30 Rock's” Jane Krakowski in emerald and diamond platinum earrings and emerald, onyx and diamond ring by Lorraine Schwartz; Jessica Pare in Bulgari platinum ring with 15-carat cushion-cut emerald and two sapphires totaling nearly 7 carats; “E” correspondent Giuliana Rancic in emerald and diamond 18K gold earrings by AGTA Member Sutra Jewels; and Lily Rabe also in Sutra emerald and diamond drop earrings, and yummy Vanilla and Chocolate Diamond gold ring by AGTA member Le Vian.

Shades of bordeaux ruled in dresses and jewels, as well. Great examples include "Two Broke Girls" star Kat Dennings, who accessorized her dangerously low-cut strapless red J. Mendel gown in garnet and gold ring and bracelet by Neil Lane; “30 Rock's” Tina Fey in red embroidered trim strapless Vivienne Westwood finished in Fred Leighton platinum ruby, onyx and diamond ring, diamond snake pendant earrings with rubies and diamonds, and ruby and diamond bracelet; and “21 Jump Street” star Ellie Kemper popped red against her black lace dress in triple drop ruby and champagne diamond earrings and ring by AGTA Member Sethi Couture.

Also steamy, “Top Chef's” Padma Lakshmi looked radiant in coral Monique Lhuillier topped with Fred Leighton coral, onyx, and diamond platinum pendant earrings. Delightfully delicious, “Soprano” star Jamie Lynn Sigler dripped in 18K Strawberry Gold and Raspberry Rhodolite and Vanilla and Chocolate Diamond jewelry by Le Vian; and Kelli Garner, too, looked sweet in flowing yellow gown with Le Vian Raspberry Rhodolite and Vanilla Diamond ring.

O'Connor sees a greater use of colored gemstone jewelry to augment all colors worn on the red carpet, from bright to basic. Jewelry standouts present stark contrasts, direct opposites on the color wheel, like a green gown with ruby jewels. But more neutral hues, from black and white to 50 shades of gray, also benefit from bold bursts of color stone jewelry.

“We styled Emmy winner Jon Cryer's wife, actress Lisa Joyner in gem cluster drop earrings by Abellán New York and multi-gem encrusted bracelet by AGTA member Bellarri against a white single shoulder Grecian gown by David Meister,” tells O'Connor. “Bursts of color against a white canvas look amazing.”

Other great examples of divas accessorizing neutral gowns with color include “Mad Men” bombshell Christina Hendricks in ruby and diamond platinum earrings and ruby, jade, and diamond cuff and bangle bracelets; and “Modern Family's” Sarah Hyland in ruby and diamond floral earrings, and natural ruby and diamond ring, all by Lorraine Schwartz.

O'Connor also notes that complementing dress color is just a part of the style equation. “I often advise clients consider their makeup colors, especially to play off of rich jewel tone earrings.” He cites gorgeous tanzanite and diamond platinum earrings by AGTA member Takat Gems adorning correspondent Viviana Vigil, who worked the red carpet with O'Connor for the Reelz Channel, home to his new show “MovieStyle with Michael O'Connor.” Vigil popped the rich blue purple hues of tanzanite against a black single shoulder goddess gown.

The variety of colored gemstones spied on the red carpet is truly beyond the rainbow, with a special affinity for gems in the quartz family. Among femme faves: “Fashion Police” Joan Rivers sported an ametrine and diamond ring from AGTA Member Somewhere In The Rainbow collection, designed by Shelly Sergent and crafted by Gary Cadman of Schmitt Jewelers, Phoenix, Arizona; “The Good Wife” Julianna Margulies flashed amethyst and gold pendant earrings; and SNL star Kristen Wiig flaunted a moss agate and gold locket ring, both by Fred Leighton.

Several stars also rocked crystal quartz, among them Lucy Liu in 9-carat rock crystal and diamond platinum Lorraine Schwartz ring; Glenn Close in rock crystal, black jade, diamond, and pendant earrings; and Gretchen Mol in rock crystal and diamond platinum ring, the latter two by Fred Leighton.

The current trend for strapless gowns, highlighting bare necks and bold cleavage, appeared to favor statement earrings over necklaces for Emmy ensembles. But O'Connor notes that TV coverage of the event does not tell the whole story. “The celebrities covered by the media may have opted for statement earrings, which are extremely popular especially in pendant styles, but necklaces are actually making a comeback on the red carpet.”

The most important takeaway, O'Connor reminds, is that you feel good in what you wear, because when you do, you project confidence—the key to true red carpet style!


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