Opinion

Part II of II: 21 Jewels I Fell For at the 2019 AGTA Spectrum Awards Media Preview

New York City. Aug. 22, 2019. Here are the rest of the jewels I loved from this year’s American Gem Trade Association’s (AGTA) Spectrum & Cutting Edge Awards. I wish I could own them all! Since that’s not possible on a writer’s salary, these shall remain on my permanent wish list.

A Star Is Born ring in 18k white gold with a 10.5 ct. Sri Lankan blue sapphire and 2.73 cts. t.w. diamonds by Benny Hayoun of B & V Diamonds, Inc.
A Star Is Born ring in 18k white gold with a 10.5 ct. Sri Lankan blue sapphire and 2.73 cts. t.w. diamonds by Benny Hayoun of B & V Diamonds, Inc.

A Star Is Born ring in 18k white gold with a 10.5 ct. Sri Lankan blue sapphire and 2.73 cts. t.w. diamonds by Benny Hayoun of B & V Diamonds, Inc., entered into Evening Wear

I’m not a blue person, but it’s hard not to love this giant star-inspired ring! It’s a whimsical design with a soft blue shade that would make a perfect cocktail ring.

Ring in platinum with a 4.2 ct. black opal with emeralds and diamonds by Joel Price

Ring in platinum with a 4.2 ct. black opal with emeralds and diamonds by Joel Price, entered into Business/Day Wear

This opal—OMG!! It packs a visual punch that’s not often seen. I often fall in love with specific stones, and this is definitely one of my new faves.

Pendant necklace in 18k yellow gold with a 20.9 ct. black opal, 1.21 cts. t.w. diamonds, and 0.77 ct. t.w. sapphires by Michael Hezar of Michael John Jewelry

Pendant necklace in 18k yellow gold with a 20.9 ct. black opal, 1.21 cts. t.w. diamonds, and 0.77 ct. t.w. sapphires by Michael Hezar of Michael John Jewelry, entered into Evening Wear

I love the blue-purple colors in this funky pendant piece. It’s got a somewhat 1970s vibe that I would happily groove to often if part of my wardrobe.

Little Lilac ring in platinum with a 1.85 ct. star sapphire and 2.36 cts. t.w. diamonds by Michael Endlich of Pave Fine Jewelry

Little Lilac ring in platinum with a 1.85 ct. star sapphire and 2.36 cts. t.w. diamonds by Michael Endlich of Pave Fine Jewelry, entered into the Classical division and took the Entry Platinum Innovation award in that category This little cutie would make a sweet addition to anyone’s jewelry box! While the star effect is subtle, the almost purple color of the stone makes it intriguing. I’ll take it!

Necklace in 14k yellow gold with 6–13 mm cultured Tahitian pearls with 9 cts. t.w. of black diamonds set into the pearls as geodes by Hisano Shepherd of little h.

Necklace in 14k yellow gold with 6–13 mm cultured Tahitian pearls with 9 cts. t.w. of black diamonds set into the pearls as geodes by Hisano Shepherd of little h., entered into Business/Day Wear

This necklace is incredible! It was hard for me to capture on an iPhone, but Hisano’s professional shot does a fine job. She has a matching pair of earrings that took a Gem Diva award in this category, but I appreciate this necklace for the look and the time it took to create.

Earrings in 18k and 18.5k yellow gold with 12.5 grams of coral and 7.8 grams of turquoise by Sean Gilson for Assael

Earrings in 18k and 18.5k yellow gold with 12.5 grams of coral and 7.8 grams of turquoise by Sean Gilson for Assael, entered into Business/Day Wear and took the Editor’s Choice award Can you say G-R-A-P-H-I-C? These killer fun earrings from the pearl and coral house are beyond covetable! I could see a wide range of generations wanting to own these, all with the commonality of superb taste.

Drop earrings in 14k white and yellow gold with 17.62 cts. t.w. green tourmalines, 3.62 cts. t.w. rainbow moonstones, and blue druzy agate cutouts by Mark Loren

Drop earrings in 14k white and yellow gold with 17.62 cts. t.w. green tourmalines, 3.62 cts. t.w. rainbow moonstones, and blue druzy agate cutouts by Mark Loren, entered into Business/Day Wear

I clearly have a thing for Mark Loren designs and druzy! I just love the understated sparkle of druzy, and I appreciate the long gem silhouettes with which Mark often works.

Pendant in 18k yellow gold with a 5.24 ct. Paraiba tourmaline, 2.24 cts. t.w. diamonds, and 0.88 ct. t.w. Paraiba tourmalines by Erica Courtney

Pendant in 18k yellow gold with a 5.24 ct. Paraiba tourmaline, 2.24 cts. t.w. diamonds, and 0.88 ct. t.w. Paraiba tourmalines by Erica Courtney, entered into Bridal Wear

Erica nabbed two awards in other categories, but this piece was my fave of her entries. Paraiba is so hard to obtain now, so these little cabs are downright yummy and rare.

Earrings in 18k white gold with 70.61 cts. t.w. colorless topaz, 4.81 cts. Paraiba tourmaline, and 1.55 cts. t.w. diamonds by Nin Zaridze of NZR Jewelry

Earrings in 18k white gold with 70.61 cts. t.w. colorless topaz, 4.81 cts. Paraiba tourmaline, and 1.55 cts. t.w. diamonds by Nin Zaridze of NZR Jewelry, Inc., entered into Business/Day Wear

These massive earrings are delish! I love the pairing of topaz, a common stone, with Paraiba, a rare and super-precious one!

Pendant necklace in 18k white gold with a 49.80 ct. boulder opal, 3.77 cts. t.w. blue sapphires, 3.11 cts. t.w. tsavorite garnets, and 1.12 cts. t.w. diamonds by Tanja Schuetz of DuftyWeis Opals, Inc.

Pendant necklace in 18k white gold with a 49.80 ct. boulder opal, 3.77 cts. t.w. blue sapphires, 3.11 cts. t.w. tsavorite garnets, and 1.12 cts. t.w. diamonds by Tanja Schuetz of DuftyWeis Opals, Inc., entered into Evening Wear and took First Place in that division

Drop. Dead. Gorgeous!!! The opal is phenomenal, so the design needn’t be complicated. I love the feather motif; it gracefully celebrates the beauty of the center stone.


This content is copyright protected and may not be reproduced.

Opinion

Part I of II: 21 Jewels I Fell For at the 2019 AGTA Spectrum Awards Media Preview

New York City. Aug. 21, 2019. So many of the jewels at this year’s American Gem Trade Association’s (AGTA) Spectrum & Cutting Edge Awards were off-the-charts stunning! While the official winners were certainly worthy, I often find many of the non-winning pieces to be equally compelling. Here are 21 (clearly I had a hard time narrowing it down) jewels that may or may not be official winners, but they are style champions in my mind. Some of them are made by retailers’ own custom departments. Check back tomorrow for Part II.

Ring in 18k white gold with black rhodium and a 17.8 ct. tanzanite and 0.91 ct. t.w. diamonds by Marcia Budet
Ring in 18k white gold with black rhodium and a 17.8 ct. tanzanite and 0.91 ct. t.w. diamonds by Marcia Budet

Ring in 18k white gold with black rhodium and a 17.8 ct. tanzanite and 0.91 ct. t.w. diamonds by Marcia Budet, entered into Evening Wear

Purple is my favorite color, so it’s not surprising that I love this beauty! The cut is so bold and fun.

Necklace in 18k white gold with untreated jadeite cabochons and a removable yellow sapphire and 2.32 cts. t.w. rose-cut and brilliant-cut diamonds by T. Foster & Co.

Necklace in 18k white gold with untreated jadeite cabochons and a removable yellow sapphire and 2.32 cts. t.w. rose-cut and brilliant-cut diamonds by T. Foster & Co. , entered into Business/Day Wear

I love this little cutie for the color combo and how it celebrates jadeite, a stone not so commonly seen here in the States.

Brides Rock earrings in 18k yellow gold with 33.20 cts. t.w. aquamarines, 20.74 cts. t.w. morganites, 1.57 cts. t.w. tanzanites, and 0.08 ct. t.w. diamonds by Heath London Jewelry

Brides Rock earrings in 18k yellow gold with 33.20 cts. t.w. aquamarines, 20.74 cts. t.w. morganites, 1.57 cts. t.w. tanzanites, and 0.08 ct. t.w. diamonds by Heath London Jewelry, entered into Bridal Wear

I adore the random faceting on these!! The understated sparkle on such large gems creates a bold look that I would wear often.

Acrylic glasses with platinum and spinel, tourmalines, aquamarines, opal, garnets, sapphires, tanzanite, and diamonds by Deirdre Featherstone
Acrylic glasses with platinum and spinel, tourmalines, aquamarines, opal, garnets, sapphires, tanzanite, and diamonds by Deirdre Featherstone

Acrylic glasses with platinum and spinel, tourmalines, aquamarines, opal, garnets, sapphires, tanzanite, and diamonds by Deirdre Featherstone, entered into Business/Day Wear

The glasses—how could this four-eyed editor not love them? Since I wear glasses all the time, it’s not surprising how much I love this pair.

Necklace in 18k white gold with 123.64 cts. t.w. pear-shape pink opal cabochons with 21.62 cts. t.w. round and baguette-cut diamonds by Steven Weintraub

Necklace in 18k white gold with 123.64 cts. t.w. pear-shape pink opal cabochons with 21.62 cts. t.w. round and baguette-cut diamonds by Steven Weintraub of Gold & Diamond Source, entered in Evening Wear

This statement necklace is a stunner that I would dress down in a tennis skirt (my uniform when I’m working from home) or up in a gown. Plus, the pink opals remind me of conch pearls, which are also bubblegum pink but rarer.

Oversize drop earrings in 18k white gold with 38.25 cts. t.w. emerald cabochons and 6.11 cts. t.w. diamonds by Muzo Emeralds

Oversize drop earrings in 18k white gold with 38.25 cts. t.w. emerald cabochons and 6.11 cts. t.w. diamonds by Muzo Emeralds, entered in Evening Wear

I love all of the fun Muzo’s collaborations with designers that I see in the market, so I’m for sure in love with this bold pair of earrings from the mining house whose rocks originate in Colombia. Big earrings are still trending in the market, so this pair fits right in.

Brooch in platinum with a 56.18 ct. hexagonal-cut aquamarine cabochon with 27.87 cts. t.w. kunzite and 0.84 ct. t.w. diamonds by Myles Mindham

Brooch in platinum with a 56.18 ct. hexagonal-cut aquamarine cabochon with 27.87 cts. t.w. kunzite and 0.84 ct. t.w. diamonds by Myles Mindham, entered into Business/Day Wear

OMG—I could not adore this piece more! I love the color combo, the unusual cuts, and I love brooches for their versatility. I would wear this every day! This piece took an Entry Platinum Innovation Award in the Business/Day Wear category.

Temple ring in platinum with a 0.95 ct. brown diamond by Michael Endlich of Pave Fine Jewelry

Temple ring in platinum with a 0.95 ct. brown diamond by Michael Endlich of Pavé Fine Jewelry, entered into Bridal Wear

This piece took an Entry Platinum Innovation award from the Platinum Guild International for its petite status, which makes it affordable. I love the checkerboard cuts on the brown diamond, too, which makes it look super cool and contemporary. And who doesn’t want platinum, the rarest metal on the planet? #bebest #beplatinum

Dreamcatcher pendant necklace in 20k yellow gold with a 42.52 ct. cinnamon-color, cushion-cut zircon with white and gray enamel and diamonds by Buddha Mama

Dreamcatcher pendant necklace in 20k yellow gold with a 42.52 ct. cinnamon-color, cushion-cut zircon with white and gray enamel and diamonds by Buddha Mama, entered in Evening Wear and took a Gem Diva Award in Evening Wear courtesy of the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA)

Buddha Mama has outdone itself with this masterpiece! I saw this at the Couture show in Las Vegas this year and was blown away. Still am! It’s massive and requires a big personality to wear it. Could it be you?

Aria earrings in purple titanium, 14k white and green VeraGold with 41.45 cts. t.w. indicolite tourmalines, 3.34 cts. t.w. tsavorite garnets, and 2.42 cts. t.w. diamonds by Adam Neeley
Aria earrings in purple titanium, 14k white and green VeraGold with 41.45 cts. t.w. indicolite tourmalines, 3.34 cts. t.w. tsavorite garnets, and 2.42 cts. t.w. diamonds by Adam Neeley

Aria earrings in purple titanium, 14k white and green VeraGold with 41.45 cts. t.w. indicolite tourmalines, 3.34 cts. t.w. tsavorite garnets, and 2.42 cts. t.w. diamonds by Adam Neeley, entered into Evening Wear and took the Fashion Forward award

Adam Neeley doesn’t need to enter more than one piece in any awards competition because each piece he enters is a winner. He is virtually guaranteed to win any contest he enters. Why? He’s just that good. Adam doesn’t mess around. I bet even his earliest jewelry efforts are award-winning in some capacity. I had to try on this pair, which are perfect for long necks.

Magnetic earrings in 14k yellow and white gold with marquise-shape aquamarines and morganites, cultured golden South Sea and akoya pearls, pink sapphires, and blue and colorless diamond briolettes by Mark Loren

Magnetic earrings in 14k yellow and white gold with marquise-shape aquamarines and morganites, cultured golden South Sea and akoya pearls, pink sapphires, and blue and colorless diamond briolettes by Mark Loren, entered into Bridal Wear

I adore these earrings! With all the different harmonious colors, if this pair of earrings were a dress they would be a fun print!


This content is copyright protected and may not be reproduced.

Opinion

Destination, Sarajevo IV: Goodbye to Sarajevo, a Sleepover in Germany, and Touching Down in the States

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. June 28, 2019. On Tuesday morning, Milena picked me up at the hotel at 5:30 a.m. with Elsie in tow. It was time to depart Sarajevo! We crammed my big suitcase into her station wagon already packed with the big airline-approved crate for flight and all 100-plus pounds of Elsie, and then I climbed into the front seat. Milena was understandably emotional this morning as she was saying goodbye to this beautiful dog that she rescued in the fall of 2018. While Milena routinely picks up street dogs—of which Sarajevo had plenty—Elsie had actually been somebody’s “pet.”

Facebook posts from Milena in the fall 2018, when she rescued Elsa

Elsie had lived on the property of an old man who resided on the mountaintop where Milena’s kennels were located. He had her chained for her entire life in the outdoors with no shelter of any kind and no food or clean water. Occasionally, he would toss her scraps of some sort, and she had a bucket of filthy, fly-infested water to drink. People consistently reach out to Milena with requests to save dogs living in filth or harmful conditions, and Elsie was one of those cases. Milena pleaded with the man to relinquish her, and after a bit of coaxing, he did so. Thank heavens!

Milena at the airport saying goodbye to us

Milena at the airport saying goodbye to us

Me putting the wheels on the kennel at the airport

Me putting the wheels on the kennel at the airport

At the airport, the Air Austria staff was wonderful and eager to get Elsie ready for flight. There were lots of photos being taken, oohing and aahing over her, and a tearful hug and goodbye with Milena. She had saved this dog’s life. I had the easy part of flying her home and loving her for the rest of her days.

An Air Austria staffer. Air Austria was wonderful!

An Air Austria staffer. Air Austria was wonderful!

Elsie and I had to fly from Sarajevo to Vienna, and then make a connection to Frankfurt. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t make a final connection to the U.S. in time, so I booked a night at a pet-friendly hotel. I had called them weeks ahead of time to be sure they knew I was traveling with a huge dog, and they were accepting.

Saving Suffering Sarajevo Strays

In Frankfurt, we took a shuttle bus to the NH Collection Hotel near the airport. This was the first time Elsie and I were alone, and to keep her calm, I took her out for seven walks that day. From my experience with big dogs—my husband, Jeff, and I have always adopted high-energy male labs and lab mixes—a tired dog is a well-behaved dog. If she were tired from walks, there would be much less opportunity to misbehave or feel stressed. It worked! Thankfully, she loves to walk, which is why we adopt big dogs in the first place. I love to exercise outside.

Elsa on the shuttle bus to the hotel. She was so well behaved!

Elsa on the shuttle bus to the hotel. She was so well behaved!

Elsa in the bathroom at the airport hotel. She loves cold tile floors and ice water. Toys? Not so much--yet.

Elsa in the bathroom at the airport hotel. She loves cold tile floors and ice water. Toys? Not so much–yet.

Somebody felt comfortable enough to jump up on the bed!

Somebody felt comfortable enough to jump up on the bed!

That night, she hopped up on the bed with me, another sign that she was comfortable. The next morning, we took three separate 20-minute walks before leaving for the airport. She was feeling calm and seemed happy, which was great, because the Lufthansa staff was about to eradicate my good mood.

At the Frankfurt airport, the staff couldn’t find my flight reservation. They said it had been canceled, even though I called and booked it over the phone—because you need to secure space for the dog to fly—and I even called them again to double verify that everything was set and there would be no issues on the day of flight. Wrong! The first Lufthansa staffer was kind, but the one she sent me to in ticketing was bad-tempered and uncaring, delivering blunt responses with not a shred of empathy. And I wasn’t unpleasant!! After that ordeal, which finally resulted in a new ticket for me and Elsie, I returned to address the dog’s kennel and get my boarding pass. A new Lufthansa staffer was assisting us, and she told me my kennel was not big enough for flight. Wait, what?

“I just two flew Air Austria planes and they had no issue with this kennel,” I said. The woman’s reply: “That was for an hour apiece, but this flight is much longer. The dog needs to be able to stand up completely to stretch. The dog’s head exceeds the height of the kennel.”

I stood in disbelief, muttering to myself, “This can’t be happening.” Yet it was, and what the heck was I supposed to do?

The employee directed me to a Lufthansa office where I could buy luggage and dog kennels. I had just spent over $100 on the kennel she flew to Germany in, and now I had to drop another $100-plus? There was nothing I could do, I had to get her home, and this lady was dictating how I would do so. I had to buy the bigger kennel. Great. This was turning into an expensive volunteer vacation.

I purchased the kennel and brought it back upstairs with the assistance of a kind man who only spoke German. In that time, the difficult lady had softened her tone and seemed to adjust her attitude; I understand that people have jobs to do, but you have to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Would you like it if someone delivered unpleasant news to you in an aggressive manner? No, you would not, and it’s not necessary.

Saving Suffering Sarajevo Strays helps street dogs

So, with the dog finally ready for flight, I jetted off myself to my gate. The plane was boarding.

The flight was uneventful—thank God—and we landed without incident in Philadelphia, where Jeff and I live. I hired a driver with a large SUV to pick us up. Oh, and now I had two—not one—airline kennels to cram into the car. Lufthansa shipped my “smaller one” home at no charge.

Doesn't everyone have two massive airline kennels for dogs?

Doesn’t everyone have two massive airline kennels for dogs?

At home, a neighbor came over to assist my mother-in-law and me with the introduction of Elsie—who we will now call Elsa—to our golden retriever, named Emma. There was some initial growling, but I know that will dissipate with time and training (we have an appointment with a dog trainer next week). Elsa seemed in awe of her new yard and her new big house, and she loves all the people in her new pack. Oh, and she’s a super big fan of central air and ice water!

She doesn’t completely understand dog toys yet, but within a day, she had picked up several Nylabones and started chewing! I want to encourage this budding behavior because it really does keep a dog’s teeth clean. Hers are a mess from years of neglect, poor nutrition, and fighting off wolves. Really. There were wolves looking for easy prey where she lived, and she has scars to prove she valiantly fought them off. Crazy to think about now, given how cushy her new life will be, but that’s one of the sad realities of a neglected dog in Sarajevo. I’ve been sending Milena updates about Elsa, and every day she gets more comfortable with Emma and settles more into her new routine. It includes twice-a-day walks and feedings, unlimited snuggles, a mountain of toys to choose from, a dog-approved sofa in the den to lounge on, and a massive orthopedic dog bed to sleep on at night. For sure, the Heebner house is a great place for a dog to live.

Emma, our golden retriever, and Elsa in our yard at home.

Emma, our golden retriever, and Elsa in our yard at home.

My husband, Jeff, and mother-in-law, Gretchen

My husband, Jeff, and mother-in-law, Gretchen

Elsa relaxing on the kitchen floor on her first night in her new home

Elsa relaxing on the kitchen floor on her first night in her new home

If you have questions about how you, too, can adopt a dog from Sarajevo or participate in your own volunteer vacation, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Jennifer@jenniferheebner.com. You can also adopt a dog from Sarajevo without traveling there; again, please reach out with any questions. Meanwhile, my fundraiser for Milena’s efforts continues through early July. Click here or on any of the banner ads in this post to make a donation.

Thank you for reading along in this departure from regularly scheduled jewelry posts! My goal was to do a good deed for someone who always chooses to do the right thing when no one is looking and to cast awareness on a sad part of the world, in addition to adopting a new family dog. What do you think—goals accomplished?


This content is copyright protected and may not be reproduced.

Opinion

Destination, Sarajevo III: Scooping Poop and Securing Paperwork and a Dog Passport

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. June 26, 2019. The next day, I got a late start and Milena was visibly displeased. (I work best with deadlines, and since one had not been established, I didn’t think there was a definitive start time.) Anyway, we got past that hiccup, though it did mean that I wouldn’t be able to meet the other dog I was considering for adoption. For space reasons, Ivo was located in a friend’s kennel that was some distance away. But after meeting Elsie and knowing how important it was to Milena that we take her, I had pretty much decided that Elsie was our new dog.

Saving Suffering Sarajevo Strays

So, we had to go to the pet store to buy her airline kennel. The biggest one lacked wheels so we went down a size and she fit fine. Success! Then we had to return to the kennels. I never scooped so much poop in my life! Hopefully that made up for oversleeping that morning. I shoveled three mighty bags of poop while Milena fed the dogs. Then it started to rain. No problem—I keep working. Then thunder with a touch of lightning arrives. I keep working, it’s a brief storm, I tell myself. Then Hershey’s Kisses-size hail starts falling. This volunteer vacation is turning into a dark comedy. “Oh, Lord,” I mutter, “please just let the hail stop.” Within a second it does. Not kidding. It was kind of amazing.

Elsa's airline kennel for flight

Elsa’s airline kennel for flight

Then Milena and I both finished our chores and headed back to the car—which had a flat tire. Really? Yes, a flat. Thank God the employee of an adjacent kennel was present; normally, no one else is out there in the middle of the forest. And it was a Sunday in Sarajevo—ain’t no AAA or Just Tires open for service. A young man named Roky fixed the flat, which was caused, ironically, by a rock. Amazingly, we made it back to Sarajevo without incident.

We got a flat at the kennels! Thank heavens Roky was there to help.

We got a flat at the kennels! Thank heavens Roky was there to help.

The next day we secured Elsie’s flight documents and dog passport and got a document of permission from the local government to let me adopt her. It was finalized! On paper, I was her new owner. In real life, it will take some time for her to recognize me as her new mum. She knows Milena took her in—Elsie doesn’t let Milena out of her sight! And Elsie likes to plant her tush on the ground in defiance when I want to continue walking away from Milena. Yeah, as loving as she is, this will be a process with her. And for Milena.

Saving Suffering Sarajevo Strays helps street dogs

Every time we talk about me adopting her, Milena tears up. She really loves this dog. Milena also knows that the dog has no life here in her flat, and that Jeff and I will put her at the center of our human-child-free world. Now I just have to get Elsie on the plane—three planes, actually. We must take two flights to reach Frankfurt, from where our plane to the U.S. departs. We also can’t make all of our connections in one day, so Elsie and I are staying overnight in an airport hotel in Germany. Fingers crossed she’s a willing participant in this big international adventure.

The author and her giant new baby

The author and her giant new baby

Stop back tomorrow for Part IV.


This content is copyright protected and may not be reproduced.