Summer 2020 Must-Haves
Summer is finally here, with the promise of beach days, glorious sunsets, and temperate evenings sitting outside on the patio. Everything sparkles, from the rays of the sun to the ocean waves to a glittering piece of jewelry.
What I’ve always loved about summer are the impromptu moments of relaxation as well as a busy social calendar—weekend brunch with your favorite friends, poolside soirees, celebrating the 4th of July, dining on a terrace with some incredible wine and cuisine, bridal showers, and a sea of weddings to attend. And of course, summer holidays whether that means traveling somewhere exotic or having a “staycation.” And even though we are going through unprecedented times, being fashionable and looking great can still be achieved with some simple common sense! The best thing is that during the summer, you don’t need much to look beautiful—even just a few style details are magical.
Sundresses or strapless numbers are ever-so-sweet and elegant when paired with an up-do, bright lipstick, just enough of a suntan to give you a glow with some shimmer powder on your cheekbones, and sparkling earrings and necklaces to pull the entire look together.
Here are the “Summer Must-Haves” that are inspiring me right now.
MJJ Brilliant Inc.
Let’s start with MJJ Brilliant, which is one of my all-time favorite brands. MJJ is an industry leader in fashion jewelry, founded by respected CEO & Creative Director Nicky Yakubovich in 1982.
Nicky has over 35 years’ experience in the fine jewelry industry, and he is so talented that he’s even invented several uniquely patented jewelry-locking mechanisms.
MJJ is all about creating unique fine diamond and gemstone jewelry for major jewelry retailers, as well as spearheading custom designs and repairs. MJJ produces 700K+ pieces annually, creating, packaging, and shipping thousands of pieces per day.
These include earrings, rings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, and gentlemen’s jewelry in gold-diamond, silver-diamond, and various featured gemstones.
The MJJ Brilliant 100% owned facility enables flexibility, exclusive designs, and speed to market to develop value driven, and exclusive fashion styling. They have owned their own manufacturing process from start to finish for almost 40 years to ensure the quality and efficiency of their service. They use ethical practices, guaranteeing that all of their diamonds are conflict free and their jewelry is compliant with all industry regulations and laws.
MJJ is proud of their product development team that is consistently ahead of the curve in forecasting the trends to create the “collections,” “exclusives,” “brands,” and “items” requested by their retail accounts.
The jewelry is delicate, timeless, and subtly dramatic, like something you would see a classic Hollywood screen siren wearing on the red carpet. It provides just enough drama to stand out, and yet it doesn’t overpower it’s wearer. MJJ offers a tremendous look and value for the price, making them a substantial player in the marketplace. Their dedication to service, quality, and professionalism have anchored them as a leader in Fashion Jewelry.
From their various Collections, including “Wrapped in Love,” “Donatella,” YellOra,” and “MikiJane,” MJJ has offered a truly new perspective that has helped resonate with their clients. They realize that earning the respect and confidence of consumers, as well as their business partners, will help to continue to grow their business into the future. MJJ’s talented team of International designers has propelled them forward, utilizing quality production facilities while sourcing ethically sourced gems from around the world. With more than 1,000 new product concepts and 500 new samples every month, MJJ is poised to continue to grow into the future, ensuring the proper assortment of Collections for each of its clients.
Le Vian is another brand that speaks to me—a family-owned jewelry company led by CEO Eddie Le Vian, with a rich history that dates all the way back to the 15th century. As purveyors of fine jewelry, Le Vian had gained such a reputation that in 1746, Nadir Shah, one Persia’s most powerful rulers, chose them to safeguard the collection of jewels he had amassed—including the famous Kooh-i-Noor diamond.
In 2000, Le Vian introduced its trademarked Chocolate Diamonds concept and a whole gem vernacular was born. From Strawberry Gold, which refers to a warmer tone of pink gold, to Neopolitan Opal, a lustrous type of Ethiopian opal, the language associated with Le Vian’s jewels always conjures up something delectable.
Le Vian remains at the forefront of creating the most exquisite natural fancy-color diamond and gemstone jewelry. Le Vian is known for its love of reinventing several categories of fine jewelry through beautiful color combinations of diamonds, gems, and gold to create the various collections.
Because of all of those decadent Chocolate Diamonds, Le Vian’s jewelry tends to run towards the warm gold tones, which look especially gorgeous when you want to wear something dramatic to complement your summer glow. They also manufacture handbags and Swiss made timepieces, so if you love the brand, there are additional style options for you to consider.
Le Vian insists on having every design start with an original idea that is sketched out by hand with pencil and paper. This time and effort spent in new designs has led to an estimated 100,000 original designs created by Le Vian over the years. Staying ahead of the curve, Le Vian is admired for their trend forecasting of certain color palettes and styles, creating trends.
Part of Le Vain’s mandate is to make fine jewelry affordable. One of the ways they do this is to find a highly available gem during the peak of its production while it is still under-priced. Le Vian then incorporates these gems into stunning jewelry that’s more readily affordable due to the gems being less coveted by collectors at the time. Later, as the mine runs out and the supply of the gems becomes limited, the value of the jewelry rises, giving early buyers a significant gain in value.
Le Vian is also passionate about giving back, donating10% of before-tax profits to charity and being involved in a variety of causes, so you can feel great about supporting the brand.
Le Vian’s lush and rich history, coupled with its values as a family owned business, and seeing themselves as “guardians of the jewels” has allowed them to develop policies and strategies that are innovative and valuable in an ever changing marketplace.
Through their rich heritage and ethics, Le Vian continues to reinvent fine jewelry, investing in innovation and the cultivation of their unique Collections.
Chanel is one of my all-time favorites. The brand’s latest slogan is, “The vocabulary of style,” and this feels completely appropriate, as their romantic jewelry seems to almost speak to us in the voice of founder Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.
It was in the 1920s when the very first pieces of Chanel costume jewelry were created. “Costume jewelry isn’t made to provoke desire, just astonishment at most. It must remain an ornament and an amusement,” Gabrielle Chanel would say.
Chanel was originally notorious for layering on ropes of faux-pearls and necklaces that contrasted beautifully against her minimalist designs and the buttons on her tailored tweed suits were themselves bejeweled.
Besides marrying faux pearls with precious metals, Chanel designed jewelry that altered the look of certain garments, such as cuff bracelets that take the place of a shirt cuff, or a strategically brooch placed in a way that altered contours of a dress.
The brand’s jewelry gradually evolved into Chanel Fine Jewelry, becoming a force to be reckoned with. In 1932, Gabrielle Chanel presented the Maison’s first high jewelry collection entitled Bijoux de Diamants, inspired by her love of stars, comets, and suns.
When designer Karl Lagerfeld took over to follow in her footsteps, he made sure that the double C was still the mainstay of each season’s collection, cropping up as a charm on earrings, cuffs, and stacked necklaces. There is a certain pride that comes with owning Chanel jewelry, as it always holds its classic value.
A major part of jewelry production is entrusted to Desrues. The costume jewelry and accessories maker has been a supplier to Chanel since 1965, and a part of the House since 1985.
Bvlgari was founded in Rome in 1884 by the talented Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari (a.k.a. Voulgaris). He Italianized his name to Bulgari, which was the phonetic version of his Greek family name, and this evolved into Bvlgari, although both spellings of the name are used.
Sotirio’s family were silversmiths specializing in unique silver earrings, belt buckles, and sword sheaths. Although he was trained in his ancestors’ craft, he distinguished himself as a jewelry artist and entrepreneur who built Bvlgari into something special.
Bvlgari is a classic Italian luxury brand known for exquisite craftsmanship of its jewelry with show-stopping gemstones, watches, fragrances, accessories, and leather goods.
Over the decades, the beauties of Rome have been translated into Bvlgari’s unmistakable jewelry codes, indelibly shaping the brand’s identity.
In the 50s, some of Bvlgari’s famous clients included stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman, and Gina Lollobrigida as Rome earned a reputation as “Hollywood on the Tiber” with the Cinecittà studios.
At the end of the 50s, Bulgari began to establish its signature motifs, introducing structured, symmetrical shapes in yellow gold set with brilliant gems which were chosen for their color rather than their intrinsic value. Among these multi-hued jewels, cabochon cuts were another innovation. These new pieces were a significant departure from classical Parisian design.
In 2011, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH) acquired the family-controlled Bvlgari/Bulgari company for approximately $6 billion USD, the highest amount LVMH had previously offered for any other company.
As we get used to the “new normal,” this summer may be different than what we’re used to—but this does not have to change our love for fashion and jewelry! I encourage everyone to rock your style and have an amazing, beautiful summer.
About The Author
Debbie Azar is the Co-Founder and President of Gemological Science International (GSI), one of the largest gemological organizations in the world, and a distinguished leader in the global diamond and jewelry industry. As an executive with extensive knowledge of the jewelry and gem lab industries, her entrepreneurial skills and vision have helped GSI achieve rapid and continuous growth worldwide, establishing 13 leading-edge gemological facilities on four continents. She currently serves on the boards of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Responsible Jewellery Council, and Jewelers for Children, and is a member of the 24 Carat Club of New York. She has been featured in Forbes, Daily Mail, Good Morning America, Bloomberg, Bloomberg Businessweek, Fox Business, Fox5, CBS2, BOLDTV, Varney&Co, The Street, and NASDAQ, among others.