Very little exists on its website, or anywhere else on the web, of the next-to-priceless jewels that make up the Stephen Russell collection. This wonderful curator of antique and fine jewelry is among the very few dealers whose devotion to discretion has helped retain their reputation as a cache of marvelous jewelry. To see the exemplary Stephen Russell collection, one must go about it the old-fashioned way: visit its brick-and-mortar shop in New York in person.
Situated on the corner of 76th Street and New York’s famed Madison Avenue, the luxury shopping strip with the world’s finest retail stores stacked one after another in the Upper East Side, the handsome tony shop of Stephen Russell houses some of the finest pieces of jewelry on earth. Since its establishment in 1984, countless extraordinary and important pieces by legendary jewelers, including Boivin, Boucheron, Cartier, Suzanne Belperron, and Van Cleef & Arpels, have passed through the hands of Stephen Russell’s visionary founders, Stephen Feuerman and Russell Zelenetz.
Between the two of them each possessing over 25 years of experience and their incalculable passion for superior antique jewelry, the dynamic duo pride their collection on the basis of their appreciation for and understanding of the fine craftsmanship, technical mastery and exquisite detail found in antique jewelry. Fastidious, well thought-out acquisitions of particular pieces from a wide variety of periods has formed a collection well worthy of its own museum exhibit. While the jewelry in the collection may be anywhere from several decades to even thousands of years old, every piece exudes a contemporary spirit, an important characteristic that keeps the collection consistently cohesive. Stephen Russell also boasts jewelry of its very own design, a refined contemporary collection inspired by antique cuts and settings as well as the classic lines of the Art Deco period with a subtle mix of modern style.
Notably, Stephen Russel jewelry has been featured at select museum exhibitions and in catalogs, including theBijou Art Deco Et Avant-Garde exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels at the Cooper-Hewitt, Nation Design Museum, in New York City. Stephen Russell also contributed to the recently published book Suzanne Belperron, by Sylvie Raulet and Olivier Baroin, which helped renew interest in the jeweler.
Images of some pieces in Stephen Russell’s collection of jewelry, both past and present.
A Magnificent Platinum & Diamond Art Deco Clip by Cartier, London, circa 1930.
This is the world’s 2nd largest known and most important gem quality natural Copper & Manganese Bearing Paraiba tourmaline with a record setting size.
The MUSEUM QUALITY “INVESTMENT GRADE” GIA CERTIFIED 62.12 carat estate cocktail ring features a beyond rare Internally Flawless Clarity Natural Paraiba Tourmaline.
The “Absolutely Stunning” 100% natural master cut gemstone offers the highly sought after VIVID Neon Greenish Blue Color weighing in at a GIANT 59.10 carats.
Not only is this one of the world’s largest, it is also one of the world’s best Paraiba Tourmalines that is privately owned by Hollywood royalty.
The important spectacular gemstone is set in solid platinum and surrounded by 192 Near Flawless VS/F-G sparkling accent diamonds totaling 3.02 carats.
There is one Paraiba Tourmaline mined for every 10,000 diamonds making it among the rarest of all gemstones in the world favored by connoisseur collectors worldwide. These cupriferous tourmalines from the Mina da Batalha in the Federal Brazilian State of Paraiba are small, rare and precious. Their spirited turquoise to green colors are such as are not found in any other gemstone in the world. The exclusiveness of this legendary find makes these rare gemstones real treasures.
Paraiba – the word has a particular fascination for the connoisseur, for it is the name of a gemstone with blue to green tones of extraordinary vividness. It was not discovered until very recently, that is to say in the 1980s. The world has one man and his unshakable belief to thank for the discovery of this unique gemstone: Heitor Dimas Barbosa. Tirelessly, he and his assistants spent years digging in the pegmatite galleries of some modest hills in the Federal Brazilian State of Paraiba.
Brazil is the classical country of tourmalines. Members of this splendid gemstone group come in practically all the colors of the rainbow. For a long time, however, a radiant turquoise was lacking – that is, until the discovery of that precious deposit in Paraiba.
Normally, iron, manganese, chrome and vanadium are the elements responsible for the beautiful coloring in tourmalines. The Paraiba tourmaline is different: it owes its splendid color to copper, an element which has never before been observed in a tourmaline. Indeed quite a fair proportion of its weight consists of copper. But scientists have discovered that it often also contains manganese.
In the Paraiba tourmaline, the interplay between these two elements gives rise to a variety of fascinatingly beautiful colors: emerald green, turquoise to sky blue, sapphire blue, indigo, bluish-violet, and purple. Certain proportions in the mixture of copper and manganese can also result in pale grey to violet-blue tones. Copper in high concentrations is responsible for the highly coveted radiant blue, turquoise and green hues, while violet and red tones are caused by manganese. By means of the burning technique, experienced cutters can eliminate the red color components, with the result that only a pure copper color remains.
However, the extraordinary vividness of the Paraiba tourmalines does not reveal itself until the stone has been cut. Faceted, they scintillate a really unusual ‘fire’ and appear to glow intensely even when there is very little light. That is why their color is often referred to as ‘electric’ or ‘neon’. The aura of these treasures of Nature is both fresh and spirited at the same time. The ‘swimming-pool-blue’ of a Paraiba tourmaline positively flashes with vivacity, and you don’t have to be an expert to see it.
This gemstone collector’s dream boasts an extra large 3.00 carat Top Gem Near Flawless VVS1 Clarity Spinel with the highly sought after vivid Pink color found only in the finest Unheated specimens of this extremely rare gemstone.
This one of a kind gem is surrounded by 68 hand cut and hand set SI1–I1 clarity colorless & near colorless F-G color accent diamonds totaling a generous .40 carats with superior sparkle and fire, all coming together in an elegant first class solid 14k gold setting.
Certified Jewelry’s gemologist also tested and verified every aspect of the Pink Spinel, Diamonds and Gold, giving it an AAA+ for its Exotic Vivid Color, no treatments, Near Flawless “VVS1 Clarity”, Jumbo size, excellent design, Colorless & Near Colorless SI/I Diamonds plus overall appeal. This stunning beauty is Brand New (never worn) and the lucky winner will have a rare treasure for the years to come.
When rays of light penetrate the sea, graduating hues are revealed.
For this bracelet, Tiffany designers and stone setters
arranged a blue spinel with sapphires and white diamonds to
evoke the colors of water at various depths.
Tiffany & Co. design director
Tiffany published its first Blue Book catalogue in 1845. This annual presentation of flawless craftsmanship and peerless design heralds the fall season with one of the most extensive and exquisite collections of couture jewelry on earth. These breathtaking masterpieces of exceedingly rare gems are eagerly anticipated by the world’s jewelry connoisseurs who flock to Tiffany to be the first to see and buy these one-of-a-kind treasures.
Since its founding, Tiffany has been at the forefront of the world’s greatest design movements. Its Japanesque silver won Tiffany the highest honors at the 1878 Paris World Exposition and at the turn of the twentieth century, Louis Comfort Tiffany emerged as an Art Nouveau leader. From glamorous, geometric Art Deco pieces and bold cocktail-style creations to the nature-inspired works of Jean Schlumberger and Elsa Peretti, Tiffany has broken new ground time and again with exceptional designs that remain relevant today.
Over the years, Tiffany & Co. has introduced the world to diamonds of breathtaking brilliance and a marvelous selection of previously unknown colored gemstones.Since the early twentieth century, the world has been enchanted with Tiffany glamour. In the 1961 Hollywood classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Audrey Hepburn® personified Tiffany style. First ladies, tastemakers and renowned photographers have also turned to Tiffany jewelry as the ultimate fashion accessory. Today, Tiffany’s exquisite designs continue to exude sophistication and elegance in magazines, in films and on the red carpet, adorning luminaries of popular culture like Kate Winslet, Angelina Jolie, Anne Hathaway and countless others.
Scales Blue Spinel, Sapphire and Diamond Bracelet in 18k gold by Tiffany and Co.
The very name aquamarine brings to mind the limpid, clear blue tint of the sea. Legend says that Neptune, the King of the Sea, gave aquamarine as gifts to the mermaids, and from then on, it has brought love to all who have owned it. Aquamarine was long thought to have a soothing influence on married couples, making it a good anniversary gift.
Aquamarines are found in a range of blue shades, from the palest pastel to greenish-blue to a deep blue. While the choice of color is largely a matter of taste, the deeper blue gemstones are more rare.
Remember that Aquamarine is a pastel gemstone, and while color can be quite intense in larger gemstones, the smaller aquamarines are often less vivid.
We aren’t hurting for aquamarine/sapphire combinations because the complementing gemstones look so darn good together. But it’s the design of this ring that makes it so sensationally different from all the rest. This piece was created in collaboration with the über-talented Rémy Rotenier, and sleek metal adds to the shape here, finishing the halo that the top and bottom arches of sapphires started. The designer brand’s partnership with Rotenier has brought more instances of glossy, unadorned metal detail to its lineup, and I think it brilliantly provides a sleek, modern addition to its growing line of coveted jewels. This one gets an ample boost of sparkle thanks to its diamond-lined split shank, balancing out the ring’s curves. Put simply, I love this ring because it’s so good-looking. It isn’t over the top, but it has that certain je ne sais quoi that promises to keep the lady who has the honor of wearing it smitten for a lifetime. Serenity, you have met your match.
This elegant colored gemstone is the birthstone of March and is the symbol of youth, hope, health and fidelity. Aquamarine was long thought to have a soothing influence on married couples, making it a good anniversary gift. Aquamarines are mined in a number of exotic places including Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan and Mozambique, but most of the gemstones available today come from Brazil.
Many aquamarines are greenish when mined and cut. For those who prefer a purer blue, these gemstones are heated to enhance their blue color permanently. Some aquamarine fanciers prefer the greenish hues, saying the greener tones remind them more of the sea. The color tones of aquamarine are subtle and varied. Their soft luster is a wonderful addition to any natural colored gemstone jewelry collection.
Tremendous Size Collector’s 60.46 Carat GIA Certified Unheated & Untreated Aquamarine & Diamond Solid Platinum Cocktail Ring. This Absolutely MASSIVE Brazilian Aquamarine features “Internally Flawless” Clarity and a rich and stunning solid blue color without any secondary color. With Aquamarine, it is all about the color and this rare gemstone is not only one of the world’s largest TOP GEM unheated specimens we have ever seen, but also has the extremely rare and highly sought after color that has made top quality aquamarines a gemstone connoisseur’s dream. The heavy solid Platinum setting is elegantly set with an impressive 26 extra large colorless near flawless VS clarity diamonds making this one of a kind designer beauty a true estate heirloom treasure. This would be the flagship ring to any high end fine jewelry collection!
This is a handcrafted 18k white gold aquamarine and diamond ring. This elegant ring features one exquisite quality honeycomb oval cut aquamarine, of excellent cut and brilliance weighing 8.37 carats total, with round brilliant cut micro pave set diamonds, weighing 1.50 carats total of F color, VS2 clarity. The eye soothing aquamarine is perfectly accented by the beautifully set diamonds, creating a look unlike any aquamarine ring you’ve seen before.
Jumbo Size 2.88 Carat Aquamarine & Diamond Solid 14k White Gold Cocktail Ring.
This Aquamarine features “SI” Clarity and a rich and stunning blue color.
This jaw dropping estate treasure features a solid 14k white gold setting that is elegantly adorned with an impressive 85 near colorless SI1-I1 clarity diamonds, accenting the entire crown surface as well as 50% of the shank of this eye caching contemporary custom made estate ring.
We as consumers of jewelry are getting pickier and pickier. We want hand-crafted, rare and unique metals, one-of-a-kind gemstones and we want all these, plus a cool, eco-friendly designer to be the one we can trust to provide all this. In walks Kassandra Nicholson who can give you all these and more.
You say you like hand-crafted? Well, Kassandra makes all her jewelry in a studio located in Brooklyn, NY where each piece is individually made. She has been designing jewelry for thirteen years, with custom creations being her specialty.
Are rare and unique metals something that strike your fancy? Kassandra designs with palladium, brown gold and green gold. An intentional heft is something that sets her jewels apart from the rest–like lightweight, manufactured pieces. After wearing some of her designs myself, the density of the jewelry becomes a part of you and it feels good to wear–when I take the jewelry off, it is like I’m missing a part of me. It is an interesting concept and one might not grasp it until they wear a piece like this.
Do you like one-of-a-kind gemstones? You’re in luck because not only does Kassandra design with unique gems but she is also a Graduate Gemologist–a somewhat rare occurrence in the field of jewelry designers. Fully trained by GIA in both NY and Carlsbad, Kassandra is able to hone her gemstone knowledge and creativity as a designer into one. She says, “Stone cutting itself is a work of art, and in becoming a Gemologist I became fascinated with the history of diamond cutting. I knew I wanted my designs to include antique old mine and rosecut diamonds, which sparkle in candlelight, and have a mystery to them in their imperfection. In Gemology, you also start to appreciate the way nature cuts its own stones, and I chose uncut diamonds in my designs, as well as raw diamonds that have so much character, they make each piece unique. My designs contain mostly diamonds and rubies for their durability, since the jewelry is meant to be worn on all its wearer’s adventures.”
Kassandra Nicholson Jewelry has an edgy, nature-inspired theme to it–with her Wild Collection setting off some big love for your inner spirit animal. With animals like a snake, raven, elephant and wolf, it is evident that Kassandra feels a connection with animals. She says, “I wanted my jewelry to serve as a personal talisman, where people could choose an animal with qualities that they see or desire in themselves. I like jewelry to have an open-ended symbolism, to leave room for the wearer to make it her own. I started the collection with creatures that represent a different wild spirit, and I hand-carved the designs intending to show the core of the animal, such as the wolf mid-howl.”
Other collections include the New York Collection and the California Collection, both named after Kassandra’s two places within her life where she felt most at home. The juxtaposing east-coast, west-coast vibes are apparent in both collections. The restlessness and edginess of Brooklyn is seen in her New York Collection, featuring a Spike Ring done in palladium with rough diamond octahedron crystals set in the open ring design, a Skull Ring featuring an uncut diamond in palladium, and a dog tag-inspired pendant in oxidized brown gold–an ode to toughness and resolution. A peaceful and free-spirited feel is what her California Collection gives off, featuring long threader earrings in 14k yellow gold and tear-drop diamonds or rubies, a navette ring with clean, open lines set with one unique macle crystal rough diamond, and two stacking surf and sand bands done in 14k pink gold.
When worn together, all three collections by Kassandra Nicholson Jewelry really complement each other. I had an awesome time shooting the Jewels at my Doorstep feature, and hope to meet Kassandra in person one day!
You can shop all her designs right from her website:
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Spectacular Padparadscha Orangish Pink Color, GIA Certified Pink Sapphire & Diamond Cocktail Engagement Ring.
As noted in the GIA Certification, this world class sapphire specimen has the coveted Orangish Pink color found only in the finest of genuine sapphires.
This exceptionally rare Ceylon sapphire is among the most prized sapphires in the world.
The gemstone is set with a generous 1.94 carats of fine quality round brilliant diamonds boasting VS1-SI2 clarity & colorless to near colorless F-G color all set in a gorgeous heavy solid 18k white gold custom made designer setting.
Superb quality and sublime elegance.
He is recognized for his contributions to fair trade in the U.K., East Africa, and Colombia
Jewelry is worn to beautify. There is no beauty in exploitation. —Greg Valerio
The radiance of the tulip setting allows light to refract beautifully throughout this ring. A balanced tapered daylight court setting enables the 1/2 carat of diamonds to show off their natural beauty. A joy to wear and a joy to behold. Set in certified Fairtrade 18ct white, yellow or rose gold.
Greg Valerio has been named a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), an honor bestowed by the Queen of England.
He is recognized “for services to the U.K. and fair trade gold sectors in Colombia and East Africa,” according to the official release.
Valerio founded Cred Jewellery, the first company n the U.K. and Europe to sell fair trade gold and platinum jewelry. He sold the business in 2010 to focus on campaigning for fair trade and transparency in the jewelry industry.
“In agreeing to accept this award, I do so in the knowledge that there is a long list of people, too many to mention here, whom I am greatly indebted to,” Valerio wrote in a statement.
“Jewelry and justice are not incompatible and lost to each other,” he said. “The great challenge we now face is to forge a new luxury jewelry narrative that connects the aspirational emotion of the purchase with the dignity of the source. This is true luxury jewelry, a legacy of peace, justice and prosperity for the communities at the source and a continued celebration of design, creativity and love in the gift that is given.”
This Trinity engagement ring is set with a emerald cut centre and round cut outer traceable diamonds. The tapered daylight shoulder and Fairtrade 18ct Gold court band is designed to maximise the natural beauty of the stones with a comfortable fit. Available in white, yellow and rose gold. Total carat weight 0.55pts.
Valerio Jewellery ethically sourced emerald and diamond cluster engagement ring. The vivacious colour of this Brazilian stone is a treasure to delight over. The tapered daylight shoulder shank is available in 18ct. Fairtrade yellow, white and rose gold. This 0.75 ct. centre stone can be changed to match the birth stone of the wearer.
Oval blue sapphire and diamond cluster engagement ring. This exceptionally cut blue sapphire is surrounded by traceable conflict free diamonds. The tapered daylight shoulder shank is available in 18ct. Fairtrade yellow, white or rose gold.
This diamond solitaire engagement ring is pure simplicity with a twist. Set in certified 18ct Fairtrade white, yellow or rose gold, the beautifully proportioned princess cut diamond sits on the diamond aspect in a sweeping organic four claw setting.
From Greg Valerio’s very early jewelry steps in India, Ethiopia and Tanzania, he has always been deeply moved to see the raw talent and craftsmanship that the hands and heart of humanity pours into its adornment. Greg Valerio loves creativity, design and natural beauty and nothing blends the best of the earths treasures with human creativity, than the art and craft of jewelry. Valerio Jewellery is his latest attempt to continue the adventure in discovering the simple beauty of jewelry.
Greg Valerio has been so fortunate over the years to work with some of the most inspirational people in the business. From the jungles of Colombia, where he was introduced to the art of ecological chemical free alluvial gold mining, the ruby mountains of Greenland’s arctic wilderness, to the high deserts of southern Peru and my beloved Africa where men and women have sweated hope in the desire to become Africa’s first certified Fairtrade Gold miners. These wonderful people are my inspiration and the inspiration behind Valerio Jewellery.
Greg Valerio’s desire is to use my new jewelry brand to celebrate the diversity of life, the grandeur of creation’s natural minerals and to work towards a jewelry profession that is pure in heart. He cannot ignore that my trade is far from clean, honest or integrous. Our supply chain is rife with human rights abuses, environmental devastation, racism, political corruption and conflict. Change cannot happen if we santise truth with clever marketing, He must be honest and strive with willing and good hearted people to be the change. This is not easy, but if my original work in catalyzing and calling for Fairtrade Gold has taught me anything, it has taught me that everything is possible if you can dream of a better way.
Valerio Jewellery is about hope and relational integrity. Hope for those who anoint our materials with the sweat of their muscles and integrity for my customers and supporters who buy a piece of Valerio Jewellery. The jewel they are buying has come from the hands of communities who have not been exploited and have received a decent and fair price for their work.
The writhing serpents in Sylvie Corbelin’s wildly imaginative Pythie ring recall the extraordinary hair ornament from Southern India, on display as part of the Bejeweled Treasures Al Thani exhibition at the V&A, in which diamond-encrusted serpents, representing procreation and fertility, wrap themselves around a central ruby, before spilling down a woman’s braid in diamond leaves and pearls. Here, Sylvie’s sparkling serpents encircle a black opal and tourmaline in a figure of eight – the rainbow-inflected depths of the opal reflected in Indian-summer-bright peridots and pink sapphire.
A former antiques dealer, Sylvie’s fascination with precious objects and colored gemstones led her to train as a gemologist. She launched her eponymous fine jewelry brand in 2007 and today works out of her studio in the Le Marais district of Paris. Her unique creations have a mystical and poetic quality and often feature antique stones set in gold or patinated silver.
Snake Ring “Adamante”
“Initiés” Sylvie’s first design is a ring in the shape of a snake. Beyond the representation of the animal, Sylvie sees it as the precious link between human beings. It is the signature piece of the brand.
Tel l’Arc en Ciel entre Les Cieux et les Hommes, l’Alliance rappelle le Pacte qui uni ceux qui partage l’Amour.
Short Necklace ” Précieux Entrecroisement”, Silver.
Light game for a precious work of interlacings.
1977 sees Sylvie Corbelin as a punk rocker in London and as such, her favourite accessory is the Safety Pin. Loyal to her first love, Sylvie kept the pin and embellished it with gold and diamonds. Being both decorative and functional, the London is de facto the staple of every woman or man wardrobe.