Monday, July 9, 2012

How to Buy Her Jewelry: Guy-to-Guy Tips from the Gifting Trenches

Buying jewelry gifts for women is about as enjoyable to most men as getting their eyebrows plucked while watching a Real Housewives marathon. It’s intimidating, annoying and – at times- a little painful.

You all know I’ve been blathering on for years about how easy it is to buy jewelry but (like most fellas I know) you listen better when it's one of your own doing the talking. Enter: Michele Giulietti, the Italian ‘Mr. Big’ in Beth Bernstein’s page-turner of a memoir, My Charmed Life.

Michele Giulietti and Beth Bernstein at the book party for My Charmed Life in NYC
A well-known jewelry industry writer/designer/editor, Bernstein writes beautifully of her many loves – her mother, her jewelry and…well…her men (not necessarily in that order) – and without giving away any of the juicy details of her relationship with Mr. Giulietti (go get the book – stat!), I’ll just say that after reading their story, he struck me as the perfect person to interview to get the best dude-friendly jewelry buying tips that guys will actually take to heart.

In short, he’s battled on the front lines of jewelry gifting for years, learned from one of the jewelry industry’s best -  and lived to tell the tale. Take notes, fellas. He's got some great tricks up his well-tailored sleeve.


JEWELRY INSIDER: "I take it you initially found buying jewelry for women to be an intimidating process. What 'scared' you about it at first?

MICHELE GIULIETTI: Let’s face it: Men know more about skirts, shirts and lacey underwear than jewelry - it’s elusive and adds something that is hard to pinpoint to a woman’s allure. It’s something a man (who doesn’t wear jewelry) finds hard to relate to.

My biggest fear was simply ‘failing’. Fear of failing is a dangerous enemy to good taste and success.

JI: What (or who) eventually made you feel comfortable buying jewelry? How did you learn and what mistakes did you make?

MG: I learned more about it by going out with Beth Bernstein - writer/jewelry expert -  and got intrigued by its history.

After being exposed to more and more jewelry, I realized that some of the shy attempts I made in the past were just plain bad purchases.

JI: What tips can you offer to help male shoppers avoid those ‘bad purchases’?

Tip #1: Shop with her. It doesn’t matter what you’re shopping for. You’ll learn how to interpret her taste. Every woman has a style: music, interior design, clothes…jewelry. They generally have something in common. Also, look at the flower she likes: yellow daisies or white roses? Could that provide a hint? I tend to think it does.

Tip #2: Learn a bit about what you’re buying: history, geography, who made it. It will show that when you purchased the gift, it was not just a plastic card operation.

Tip #3: Finally, buy something you like too - after putting yourself in her shoes.

JI. Lots of guys are afraid to buy jewelry because they fear women are expecting a ‘ring’ and anything less will be disappointing. In other words? They chicken out and get something safe like flowers and chocolate instead. What jewelry would you get to let women know they are special without going the distance with an engagement ring?

MG: I just would make her feel that I went out of my way in order to find that piece. Birthstones are a great option since they show her you are making a personal purchase. You are putting more thought into it than just getting her something shiny. Or find that piece that she can really wear - a nice watch, a pair of diamond studs. Something versatile and long-lasting.

JI: Is quality important, in your opinion? Or is it the thought that counts?

MG: Very few people know anything about that. If she sees effort behind the act of giving a gift, she should appreciate it.

JI: Finally, what are the three most important things guys should keep in mind when buying a jewelry gift?

MG: HER. HER. HER. Yes, because I suppose we know her, right? If we don’t, well, maybe then it’s too early to buy stones artistically intertwined with precious metals. You don’t buy jewelry to impress a woman. Never. You buy it because you know SHE will love it. Not because you will look good doing it.

And watch out about your budget! You should never regret having bought jewelry. You can find something meaningful and precious without overspending.


Wise words, indeed. You can find Beth Berstein's memoir, My Charmed Life, in bookstores now - or here on It's a great beach read - especially for jewelry hounds like yours truly - and her romance with Giulietti is quite the cliff hanger (fyi - she refers to him as 'Paolo' in the book). 

Intrigued? Read 'em and weep! And weigh in here with your rants and raves!

And guys? Those affordable-yet-meaningful jewelry gifts are just a click away on - birthstones, diamond earrings, and more! Go get 'em, fellas!
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Miley Cyrus Engagement Ring Details

Miley Cyrus got engaged, y'all. And I've got all the engagement ring details for your drooling pleasure.

I'm happy to say that her Aussie fiance (Hunger Games star, Liam Hemsworth), did himself proud by pairing up with Hollywood's uber jeweler, Neil Lane, according to

The result is a whopping 3.5-carat cushion-cut diamond ring, handcrafted in 18-karat gold with intricately carved diamond floral motifs in an art nouveau pattern with a stone dating back to the late 19th century.

“It was hand-cut around 1880 or 1890 and it’s unique and in its original form,” Lane told People. “At that time no two diamonds were alike, as they were all hand-cut, so it’s fascinating to look at because it hasn’t been re-cut to look contemporary over the years. I find that really romantic.”

I do too, Neil. And Miss Miley apparently approved as well tweeting today,

“Thank you for all the love today. I’m happy to share this news with you all. I feel like all my dreams are coming true.”

She's rich. She's famous. She's got 3.5 carats. Who needs a Jonas when you've got Gale from the Hunger Games! Time to party in the USA! Although she is only 19 to his 22. Pregnancy rumors are already flying around the blogosphere. Hmmmmmm.....

What do you guys think of her rock? Her impending nuptials? Too young? Or true love conquers all?

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Diamond Jubilee Dish: Carats, Crowns and The Culinan

Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations are in full swing with Derby dalliances, flotilla festivities and Sirs Elton and Paul waiting in the wings (pun intended) somewhere in the rain to honor Her Majesty's 60th year on the throne (click here for the full schedule of Jubilee fun).

Even though everyone really wants to see what flotilla fashion Duchess Kate will wear (or wear again) on the Thames today, a jewelry hound like myself is going in search of the crown jewels. With a name like DIAMOND Jubilee, how can I resist, right?

First? I have to feature this hip new portrait of Her Majesty by artist Chris Levine, which highlights a new diadem created by royal jewelers, Asprey, just for the Diamond Jubilee celebration. The headpiece is a re-creation of the original worn by The Queen to her coronation in 1953 and features 1,000 white, brilliant-cut diamonds, 25 pearls and a rare yellow diamond centerpiece.

Jewelry made from the Culinan Diamond
Next? Some major bling at Buckingham is going on display under the moniker: "Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration". According to their official website, "an unprecedented number of the Queen's personal jewels will go on display," including treasures made from the largest diamond in the WORLD, folks - The Culinan Diamond.

Queen Victoria's diamond crown worn to her Diamond Jubilee - the only other Queen to reign for 60 years

For the uninitiated, The Culinan, was discovered in 1905 at the Culinan Diamond Mine in South Africa and weighed in at (wait for it.....) 3,000 carats! They even threw it away at first thinking it had to be a lowly crystal.

Royal Sceptre featuring the Culinan I or Star of David (530 carats!)

But those wily Brits got major mileage out of the rock, and the Queen now has several significant pieces made from the Culinan - including the Royal Sceptre which features the Culinan I (or Star of Africa), which as the largest colorless white cut diamond in the world weighs in at 530 carats.

How's THAT for a diamond jubilee?

And just to make us even more drunk with diamond glee, I convinced the higher-ups at to give us 20% Off any diamond not already on sale through Tuesday in honor of the celebrations.

Just use code 20JUBILEE at checkout, jewelry hounds. And be sure check out our What's Hot section for our personally curated collection of royal-inspired rocks.

I'm getting more 'jubilant' by the minute....

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Jessica Simpson: A Star is Born on

Big diamond news, jewelry hounds.

Giving birth to baby Maxwell isn’t the only new development in uber-celeb Jessica Simpson's life these days. The singer/reality star/tv host/fashion mogul/celebrity mom just partnered with my Sugar Momma,, to launch an exclusive boutique offering her fine diamond jewelry for we huddled masses yearning to bling free.

The collection is aptly called, Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend (don’t we know it, sister), and the pieces feature diamonds, gold and sterling silver in versatile ring, earring, necklace and pendant designs.

What I like about Jessica’s diamond jewelry collection (aside from the budget-friendly price points – thanks, Jess!) are the personalized elements she brings to each piece – a hot trend these days showing up in designer lines I’ve been tracking for the upcoming season.

Also hot? Her affordable price points ranging from $69 - $899. 

"Jewelry is a very personal expression that celebrates who you are and this collection is very much a reflection of who I am," said Simpson in a release.

Jessica Simpson Butterfly Necklace in 10K Pink Gold with Diamonds
Exhibit A – Check out this butterfly pendant that uses the famous ‘J’ in Jess’s signature to make those perfectly pink gold butterfly wings flutter like a pair of Daisy Dukes on a windy day.

Jessica Simpson Stackable Ring in 10K Tri-Tone Gold with Diamonds
I also like that she creates versatile pieces you can mix and match like this super sweet stackable ring set featuring all three of her signature silhouettes – the butterfly, the heart and the cross .

And there are many more to choose from - from creative cross necklaces to locket looks to drop earrings and then some. All timeless and trendy. Just like our Jess.

So. What have we learned, jewelry hounds? When it comes to identifying the proper food group for tuna, our beloved Jessica might be a bit (ahem) 'slow on the uptake'. But this recent Forbes article putting her on the Celebrity 100 Ones to Watch list proves she’s the sharpest tack in the drawer when it comes to bringing her unique fashion sense to America. Ba-ling!

And (shameless plug alert) her taste in partners - birthing and business - is impeccable.

So let's go boutiquing! Shop Jessica Simpson’s entire Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend Collection right here on and let me know what you think. Welcome to our bling-lovin’ family, J-Simp!

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Cannes Jewelry 2012: Delightful, Delicious, de GRISOGONO,

Jewelry hunting at the Cannes Film Festival is like shooting fish in a barrel. With Chopard as a sponsor and the Geneva-based couture jewelry house, de GRISOGONO throwing celebrity-studded fetes left and right, the red carpets are full of Elizabeth Taylor-worthy jewels that will keep this jewelry hound drooling long into June.

While Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman represented the A-list with their delicate diamonds (lovely, but been there done that) and Angelina Jolie didn't even show up to disappoint me with her snore-worthy studs, de Grisogono's jewels was where the real action was. Meow!

As if model, Irine Shayk, isn't enviable enough for her soccer stud boyfriend (Ronaldo, anyone?) she'salso the red carpet muse for the 'best of' from the de GRISOGONO vault.


We know you're looking at her earrings. Right? The earrings....

de GRISOGONO "ANELLI" earrings in pink gold set with 1128 white diamonds

de GRISOGONO flower braceletin in pink gold set with 2 white diamonds of 2.60 cts and 2663 white diamonds

Angelina Jolie? Now THESE are emerald earrings!

White gold earrings with emerald and white diamond briolettes

200 white diamonds, 60 briolette diamonds and 198 yellow diamonds worth nearly $1m.

That's about $6 million worth of minerals there, jewelry hounds. Big. Deep. Breath.

45-carat yellow diamond ring with 407 emeralds! Did I mention 45 carats? Worth $5 mil.

While the Oscars may be the gold standard for jewelry gawking, I am hear to tell you my fellow jewelry hounds. Cannes blows our A-listers out of the water in terms of unbridled, passionate, bring-out-the best-you've-got bauble gawking. It's tailor-made for jewelry dreamers like me.

THANK YOU de GRISOGONO. THANK YOU Ronoldo-loving Russian models. Vive la joaillerie!

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cannes Jewelry 2012: Jane Fonda Rocks it in Red

Jane Fonda's Chopard jewelry at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival is red hot and rockin' my world. Her most recent appearance was at the premiere for “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” in a custom-made Roberto Cavali Wizard-of-Oz red sequined number. Dorothy, eat your heart out.

This woman is 74, people. Wowzers.

But let's get to the jewels, shall we. Chopard couture is makin me crazy again with a pair of 60-carat rubellite and black and white diamond drop earrings that matched her pear-shape 50-carat (!) rubellite tourmaline ring set in ruby and white diamond pave.

It's red carpet couture on crack, jewelry hounds. Cannes always brings it.

And for one more jaw-dropper before I sign off - behold my favorite Cannes jewelry star, Israeli TV Host Hofit Golan, with this stunning butterfly bling by de GRISOGONO. We're talking white and pink gold sparkling with emeralds and amethysts.

Big. Deep. Breath.

But this is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more couture craziness from the Croisette! What's next? In a word: Brangelina.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Charlize Theron's Emerald Elegance

What's better than Charlize Theron in Dior? Charlize Theron in Dior dripping in emerald jewelry.

Yup, my favorite style star has done it again with one of the most jaw-dropping red carpet looks I've seen lately at the World Premiere of her latest film Snow White and the Huntsman. To die.

Let's face it. We've all 'been there and done that' with the basic black/emerald combo on the red carpet from Angelina Jolie to Reese Witherspoon to Julianne Moore and back again.

But these stunning jewels by Solange Azagury-Partridge put Theron's latest look in the red carpet record books as far as I'm concerned.

Let's break it down, shall we:

We have the disco ball drop emerald earrings in 18K blackened gold.

We have this crazy couture cup ring in blackened and white 18K gold with emeralds.

And (big, deep, breath) she finished the ensemble with this sensational step cuff featuring a (wait for it....) 74 ct cabochon emerald with pave set green beauties surrounding it - all in 18K blackened white gold.

The Dior dress has some bloggers crying foul for the 'unflattering fit', but I'm blown away by it. It puts an elegant, sexy spin on what could have been an Angelina-Jolie-esque basic black snorefest.

What do you guys think? Do you dare dish the diva in black? Or are you worshiping at her Dior-clad feet like me? Weigh in! And is offering 20% or more on ALL emeralds right now for May's birthstone blow out! Go get em!

Up next? Stay tuned for my crazy Cannes coverage of all those couture jewels from the croisette! Diane Kruger is a juror this year and is sure to wow with some stunning Chopard ice!

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top 5 Mother's Day Jewelry Gifts - Bling Over Bathrobes!

Coming up with a thoughtful gift for Mother's Day isn't rocket science, but who has time to think these days? Well save your brain cells, here's a little hint:

Get her jewelry instead of geraniums. Get her diamonds instead of dishes. Get her bling instead of bathrobes. Duh!

Yes, it's my business to talk up the jewelry world, and yes - I often blather on about how jewelry is a better gift than sweater sets and overpriced smelly candles. But, darn it! I'm right! Jewelry is a lifetime treasure that just means more than a vase full of petals, people (no offense to flowers - you're lovely creatures - all of you).

So. What kind of jewelry is a sure-fire winner? Here are five classic options ranging from budget-friendly to BA-ling. Trust me. Gift momma one of these beauties, and you'll be her favorite until your older brother finally moves out the basement.

1. Birthstone Baubles

A double dose of dazzle, birthstone jewelry shows mom you not only remembered her on Mother's Day - you remembered her birthday to boot (you over-achiever, you). May's birthstone is emerald, and here's a really swell deal on for starters.

 Or click here for their birthstone page with elegant options in every price point.

2. It's the "Journey" Not the Procrastination

Don't dilly dally on this tear-jerker of a jewelry gift. Journey jewelry features an escalating row of diamonds representing the milestones of a relationship - child to mother, grandchild to grandmother, niece to aunt, friend to friend. Awwwww. Super sweet, right?

And for something even sweeter? Enter's "Mom and Me Diamond Sweeps" for your chance to win TWO diamond journey pendants (one for you, one for mom). After you've played the odds, here's a link to many other options that won't leave a dry eye in the house.

3. Signature Style

It's easy to give mom that piece that she'll be able to wear as her jewelry calling card. Heart pendants are perfect for this. Anything floral. Anything whimsical.

If mom's a cat lover, get a load of this meow-worthy metal. Affordable options abound in this jewelry category - and here is a link to many more.

4. Pearls of Wisdom

Every woman should have a pearl piece in their jewelry collection - and if your mom already has the proverbial pearl strand, there are many alternative options to round out her wardrobe.

Black pearls, earrings, a ring - all in affordable price points that leave room in the budget for that framed picture of yourself ten pounds ago for her nightstand.

5. Diamonds. 'Nuff Said.

You're going to score points every time with a diamond, sparky, and here's how you can win mom over with big carat-weight pieces that won't break the bank.  If you want to wow with a one-carat wonder? Look for pieces in sterling silver instead of carat gold, like this elegant creature on for only $200.

This Mom and Child pendant sparkles with 1/4 ct for only $69.

Or you can find fashion pieces in carat gold that often offer lower prices - like this statement piece - a 3/8ct diamond beauty in 14K White Gold - for only $175.

So are you ready to score some major points this year? It’s your mom, people. She birthed you, put up with your awkward teen years and has embarrassing photos of you during your 'orthodontic' phase she can put on Facebook after she's done 'liking' the status updates of all your old high school friends.

Probably best to stay on her good side.
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