The year 2019 was another good year for eyeing beautiful jewelry (though aren’t they all?). Britt’s Pick romanced 50 jewels this year, each as covet-worthy as the last. A few highlights to acknowledge:
- Earrings were the most represented category this year—by quite a bit, actually—which comes as a bit of a surprise to me, for some reason.
- Yellow gold was the most admired metal, by a landslide.
- The color blue appeared more times than any other (which grooves well with Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year).
- Alishan and VTse tied for most appearances (jewels so nice, I picked each twice!).
- Oval was the most popular stone cut on Britt’s Pick this year, though a good variety was represented.
- And, finally, I definitely had a crush on all things celestial, as did much of the industry in 2019.
Thanks to everyone who was a part of Britt’s Pick this year, and to anyone who enjoys these mini celebrations of great jewelry with me week after week. Here’s to a bright and shiny 2020.
“What I love about these Pavla earrings is that they’re impactful. (I have statement jewels on the brain after witnessing Sunday night’s Golden Globes.) I think they’d hold their weight just fine at a formal event, but I am vying to wear them with a casual Canadian tuxedo (read: all denim).”
“Clearer, though, are the Stripe earrings’ tangible elements, of which I’m able to put into words. Like their alternating lines of metal that contrast and coexist at once. And their awesome ability to detach, leaving just the stripy square studs to wear all by themselves, when a dangle just won’t do.”
“Its soothing effects are no accident. In a post on the designer’s Instagram, the piece, snuggled against a deep-hued floral background, is captioned with details of the heart chakra, describing green as calming, stress-relieving, and invigorating. It is aesthetically beautiful, that can’t be argued, but this piece has been created thoughtfully, too.”
“Aside from a flair for jewelry design and sparkling industry relationships, their loving relationship has to be a factor of their success. As proof, Frederic designed this pair of earrings for Karen, in honor of their 32 years of marriage. And they’re just in time for Valentine’s Day!”
“For the maximalist, I can just picture this piece in a trio of bracelets, bookended with yellow gold bangles or thin cuffs (to bring out that golden border around the opal). But it’s a stand-alone design at heart and one that deserves to be the headliner it surely proves itself to be.”
“A luminous opal, cleverly swathed in a circle of 22k yellow gold, rests against a darkened silver setting, a trick that works to brighten the center stone’s light all the more. The brand is a whiz at creating jewelry that appears, well, ancient, so my desire to think about historical eras gone by—and a sudden craving to catch up on Game of Thrones—in this necklace’s presence means the brand’s doing an ace job.”
“Seaside pebbles inspired this masterpiece by Sofragem, the Bangkok-based designer and manufacturer of jewelry. The wide cuff features a natural-looking arrangement of these rose gold pebbles—hence the piece’s name, Organic—layered with a glimmering assortment of colored gemstones, in the beachiest, most sunset-like hues: pink and orangey-yellow, offered by tourmaline and fancy color sapphires.”
“An ode to the song of the same name sung by Nina Simone (the original was by Jacques Brel in 1959), the Ne Me Quitte Pas earrings—Don’t Leave Me in English—are one-of-a-kinds.”
“Fun and fancy at once, the Athena earrings are composed of four long rows of delicate chains spaced with round, prong-set aquamarine alternating with bezel-set round diamonds. The style is reminiscent of a mobile, the chains hanging from a baroque-style arm where rose gold swirls around more bezel-set diamonds. At the very top, a single bezel-set diamond anchors the pair to its hook-and-eye fasteners.”
“With a glossy look that’s also durable (kind of like the superhero herself), this particular model features a silver dial, gold and red accents, and the Captain Marvel emblem on one side of the dial, and it sits on a navy blue silicone strap.”
“This piece from German jeweler Marcel Roelofs is an excellent example. With just a shard of opal, you have a view of the Earth from space: greens and blues and glimmering lights—a galaxy of life. The Australian boulder opal is traced in platinum, lending a horned silhouette to the pendant’s overall shape.”
“A trio of emerald-cut aquamarines is outlined in diamonds, a style that I can envision nestling along my finger quite nicely—the three-stone setting looks to wrap one’s digit in a snuggly warm hug.”
“It is spirited and shiny and positively rich in yellow gold—and available in rose, too. It’s the perfect little treat to welcome April in all its springy glory.”
“Branches of gold graze the surface of the pearl, their fingerlike lines curling at its top, descending from the bail, all dangling from a 28-inch chain. It’s fairy tale–esque to me, and with a collection name like Fireball, it conjures images of dragons and knights.”
“It’s got everything that would generally describe something as statement-making—five rows of beads; rich, saturated color; sparkling detail—but is condensed in a way that makes it just as natural-looking with a white oxford blouse and jeans as it would with a little black dress.”
“Where a spiral of rubies curls around a cascade of diamonds, I see dragons. Fiery, red dragons, stealthily curving their bodies around the spires of a tall building or tower that is constructed of glittering bricks, slick with rain or ice.”
“Clad in Le Vian’s signature Chocolate Diamonds and Vanilla Diamonds, and with a body done in its coined Forest Green Tsavorite, I couldn’t dream up a better, more bejeweled animal friend to tag along on a tropical vacation.”
“They’re made in 18k gold–plated brass and decorated with a descending line of round colored crystals, imparting a rainbow effect. And at just $199 suggested retail, they’ll hit the mark for those looking for a fun self-purchase or gift that won’t break the bank.”
“Featuring a combination of smaller gemstones aligned to form the image of budding flowers, it’s far from the massive gemstone-anchored styles I’ve come to recognize from VTse. But its one-of-a-kind make and shimmering, silvery presence has me nuts for it all the same.”
“I wouldn’t dare call this pair trendy—instantly classic, there is no expiration date to assign—but they do happen to be on trend. Long, linear drops have been making more and more appearances as of late, with mobile-style silhouettes headlining the pack (most recently at Cannes, as seen on Julianne Moore).”
“A rose-cut diamond center (so yummy), sapphire accents for that forever pop of blue, botanical detail that’s so sweet, and a matching wedding band that adds volume to the piece, while fitting with it perfectly.”
“At more than 111 carats, the black diamond heart positively glistens. Mind you, I picked this out from a showcase bursting with insane diamond jewels—a green diamond ring, incredible mega-high-carat bracelets, celebrity-status engagement rings. But this one called out to me, like the heart of the ocean. And there is your Titanic reference, movie buffs.”
“At its center, a Burmese sapphire, unheated, in the most wonderful shade of blue-green (or is it green-blue?), surrounded by a bouquet of multicolor sapphire briolettes, an explosion of confetti color. The baguette diamonds running down the ring’s band are a nice touch, too.”
“They’re opulent, juicy, and have plenty of sparkle—just right for that time of year when it’s too warm in most places to go full-on fall attire, but you still want to dress the part. That ruby red is always a hit when the weather begins to cool (rubies are vibrant in winter, too) and for your customers shopping for their own special events, well, look no further.”
“In shades of green and blue, these sapphires—though they possess that boldness often associated with the designer’s creations—take on a serene delicacy, traveling up and around the pagoda bodies like a trail of flowers, placed with intention and purpose. And don’t miss the pearls dangling from the lowest point of the pagodas, a picture of repose.”
Bee Loved Earrings by Evangeline London
“Honeycomb shapes set with sparkling diamonds line up in descending order from top to bottom, giving way to—my favorite part of the pair—a dangling baguette diamond at the anchor. Its diminutive presence adds a playful—but no less luxurious—touch to this design and, while a small detail, is truly what makes these earrings stand apart.”
“Though made of metal, their delicate construction makes them appear as if they can float, like a jellyfish through the deep blue sea or the parachute-buoyed seeds of a dandelion blown in the wind.”
“It’s this versatility that causes styles like these to grow in popularity, as shoppers seek to spend their dollars on pieces that will stand the test of time—and the test of their ever-changing style preferences, too. Sometimes you just want your jewels to do more, and that’s precisely what this is.”
“That the piece contains more than 84 carats of Ethiopian opals and blue sapphires—and retails for $16,250—means it’s not quite the casual throw-on-and-go that those layers of pendants could be. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be worn every day (for those splurging on a purchase like this, everyday wear may be the justification).”
“From the brand’s line of Shield rings, this version features a special-cut peridot in a setting of white enamel, all in 14k gold. The gemstone serves as the door that opens to reveal an interior of white enamel, mirroring the shape of the shield, and set with a single diamond at its center, the precious treasure tucked away inside.”
“With simple, dreamy silhouettes and colored gemstone and diamond accents, any one of these pendants would make the perfect addition to that neck party—though they’re strong swimmers as stand-alone styles, too.”
“What I like best is the arrangement of the baguettes in the line: Some are set in the more traditional north-south and others are east-west, for a hint of wabi-sabi style that makes this version more visually interesting than your typical, shipshape diamond statement piece.”
The Ruth Diamond Ring by Single Stone
“It’s hard to choose the best part of this ring, between the shine of the voluptuous gold band and the marvelous setting, but the vintage diamonds certainly have their say. And this is where Single Stone excels, specializing in new designs that feature antique diamonds.”
“Some may see something more galactic, others still may find this creation more akin to a painting. Those who don’t imagine themselves shrinking down to the size of an ant and taking residence inside the ring’s scene may just see the ring for what it is—good-looking, worthy of daily wear, and totally compliment-catching.”
“…whimsical design that spotlights our gemstone du mois—September’s sapphire—this comprises two sapphires, an aquamarine, and a diamond in one asymmetrical beauty.”
“Star that it is, that center is wearing a feathered and fringed headdress, comprising tapered baguette and marquise-shape diamonds, details that make this ring next-level good. Its name, Lash, implies that of an eye, though to me, it reads more as a crowned beauty than an orb. The overall style evokes the free-spirited vibe found throughout Jacquie Aiche’s collections, this particular one being one of my recent favorite examples.”
“Their carvings say 1970s—maybe because I’m seeing a somewhat paisley-ish look?—and I’m hopelessly inclined to pair them with corduroy jumpsuits (anyone know where I can get one of those?), and, in winter, crushed velvet.”
“The earrings are flawless any time of year, and I think they perfectly represent that bridge between summer and fall. It’s that line we’re still straddling, one foot planted firmly in the memories of summer, the other shuffling toward the new season. These make that transition a bit easier, as they seem to say, ‘Don’t worry, summer is always with you.’ ”
“Featuring pear-shape, lab-grown paraiba tourmaline drops that anchor the glittering veins of diamond vines (which are also man-made), the Citrus Vine earrings bloom with marquise-shape paraiba, blue sapphires, and blue topaz.”
“Brought together by the aid of a skilled artisan’s hands, the fancy diamonds (actually, they are literally fancy) and rustic wood (as rough-and-tumble as palm wood can be, anyway) provide for one of the most beautiful jewelry creations you’d ever hope to see, with enough autumn spirit to rival your pumpkin spice latte.”
“You can’t talk about this ring without first mentioning its diamonds: With a color scheme reminiscent of autumn leaves, they’re wonderfully festive and also very versatile. Natural in color and showcasing honeyed hues as well as cognac and coffee ones too, they’ll keep sparkling year-round alongside any sweater or sundress.”
“While it does stand out for being relatively different from its medallion-style counterparts, Zamore’s Eight Point heart, with an image of the star at its center, coexists with other pendants very well. The designer’s website shows it worn with similar pieces from her collection—one round, the other, an oval—and it looks better than good.”
Citrine and Sapphire Emilia Pendant by Marina B
“The black spinel is a nice touch—it serves up a smokiness that has the orange, red, and yellow color scheme feeling heartier than a willowy gathering of leaves. It isn’t overflowing with black spinel, but the addition of the stone makes the pendant appear rooted in it, and it’s more powerful because of it.”
Shooting Star Cuff by Adel Chefridi
“And so Chefridi’s cuff bracelet sets the scene of a peaceful winter evening, glittering with snow. Of icicles gently forming from rooftops, shining with the crystallized drops of winter water as they begin to drip and instantly freeze, turning into sparkling unicorn horns of nature.”
Power of Light Ring by Nada G Fine Jewelry
“Its floral origins give the collection the versatility to stay in bloom year-round, though with an eye toward the holidays I see a starlit ornament, like something that shines brightly at the top of a Christmas tree. How could you not just look at this piece and smile, feeling a sense of warmth and excitement for all that the season may possibly bring?”
The Summer Solstice Ring by Theo Fennell
“…with this ring, Fennel gives us a bird’s-eye view of Stonehenge through his miniature to-scale version handcrafted in gold. To explore this little land, one needs to open the ring’s roof, a bulbous blue topaz reminiscent of the sky, dotted with diamonds that represent the smattering of stars that remain as night turns to dawn.”
“It’s a big look—bright color aside, this most certainly earns the name cocktail ring—and if you look at it and think, “that’s fun!” then you’re picking up on what this particular collection is all about.”
“I see brushstrokes and raging white waters in an icy river of blue, but I also get a sense of comfort from the stone’s patchwork-like qualities—it reminds me of a blanket to wrap yourself in all winter long.”
“The inspiration for the characterization of the moon comes from 19th-century illustrations, particularly the works of Maxfield Parrish, N. C. Wyeth, and Winsor McCay, all American artists known for their vibrant and imaginative works.”
“Its diamond pavé petals, with Art Deco flair, have a bit of a shell look to them, infusing seaside vibes into the decadent creation. Its smattering of rubellite—and complementing rows of rubies—looks juicy enough to eat, like summer (or winter!) berries.