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November 14, 2010

Earthy Delights

Cathy Waterman

Yesterday, I was driving up the Palisades Parkway where the leaves were ablaze with the colors of fall. I’d been working inside quite often since September and I was relieved I hadn’t missed it. I was with my stepfather and we reminisced about how my mother loved taking this ride. She’d call me every year to join her, when she was still alive. We were both in awe of this wonder of nature–the leaves changing to rich olivine, golden ochre and my favorites, paprika and persimmon, berry and crimson reds.

We also were impressed that every few years or so, fashion designers kept trying to work these autumnal hues into their collections. At the time, my mother was a VP for an established ready-to-wear company and I was a fashion stylist and editor for woman’s magazines. There were the inspirations of Perry Ellis, Anne Klein and Ralph Lauren and other well-known houses who would cleverly mix these vibrant hues of the majestic trees. Problem was that if woman tried to combine these colors –we started to look exactly–like a tree.

Even if you’d choose, say, a brown background with a bit of tonal ochre or olivine thrown in a shawl or a sweater, even if you selected a silk scarf in a fabulous print or a tweed with just flecks of these shades, you were not making a fashion statement. No. You wound up looking like the landscape driving to upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Maine or Vermont. Take your pick.
I remember quite clearly, one Perry Ellis sweater both my mother and I had to own in the ’80s. It was a wool tweed with a peplum waist and small puffed sleeves in the most well thought out tiny flecks of color I’d ever seen. It looks simply gorgeous on the hanger, on the 50% off rack at Bergdorf’s and in our closets for years. Neither one of us were willing to part with it until my mother had a paint job and I moved apartments. And, so we went on to wear basic black and took in autumn’s vivid palette during long car rides, in between conversations and laughs at our fashion faux pas.

What does this have to do with jewelry? I realized yesterday that I have been wearing those same autumnal hues for years in gemstones and I’ve never  looked like the leaf it might be set into or the branch that might wind around it. Jewelry is forgiving that way. The inherent beauty and effects of nature make for a variety of easy to wear and versatile styles in pendants, earrings and rings.

Currently, when rough and raw diamonds are so prevalent as are rose cut sapphires, and a range of quartz colors as well as strong tones such as madeira citrine, hessonite garnet, spinel, rhodolite garnet and a host of geodes and minerals, this is the season to find a tone that suits your complexion or mix and match and have fun playing with all these deep, rustic colors. For the best in these looks, check out Mallary Marks for her brilliant color mixing in faceted and briolette stones, Cathy Waterman for her new use of rough diamonds with her signature delicate and feminine inspired motifs, Todd Reed for his artful mixing and pioneering the way for rough and raw cuts in diamonds, Vibes for her unbridled creativity in her natural and magical collection using rough and rose cut diamonds, Megan Thorne for her new addition of rose cut sapphires in tints that range from greens to burnt oranges and Marie-Helene de Taillac for her simple settings that allow her mesmerizing gemstones to take your breath away, much like the change of seasons, itself.

Todd Reed

Mallary Marks


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  1. ♥ your post Beth. We are drenched in these colors from Cathy, and Todd is arriving Friday. Treasuring a 23 year old Kenzo coat which all of your picks would go with. Best ~ joanne

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