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Christine Marzano Discusses Favorite Gemstones, Jewelry Pieces

Aug 14, 2013 4:08 PM   By AGTA
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Press Release: To say that Christine Marzano has an eclectic list of accomplishments is, to be sure, an understatement. The talented young actress is a Princeton University graduate, a former print and runway fashion model and an alumnus of London's Shakespeare Conservatory, parlaying that study into roles for live theatre productions in New York, followed by film performances with marquee names such as Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and Liam Hemsworth. But one of Marzano's most recent gigs is certainly something she'd never thought about until approached with the opportunity: a celebrity muse for the winning jewelry designs of the 2013 AGTA Spectrum Awards™ Collection.marzano 

The competition, now in its 29th year and sponsored by the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), is considered North America's premier natural colored gemstone and cultured pearl jewelry design contest.

Although the Brooklyn-born beauty is accustomed to taking on new challenges,  Marzano said she typically has a studied understanding of the genre of those projects—for example, her movie roles in ''Paranoia'' (due for release this Friday), ''Byzantium'' (scheduled to premiere in spring/summer), ''Seven Psychopaths'' (now on DVD) and the 2010 romantic dramedy, ''Working It Out.''

But as a celebrity face of the 2013 AGTA Spectrum Collections, Marzano says modeling such jewelry opened her eyes to a whole different kind of creativity and art form. "Many people, especially women, like jewelry. Yet, like me, I think many of them don't have any idea of the inspiring breadth of innovation in natural colored stone and cultured pearl jewelry that's actually being produced today." Nevertheless, Marzano says her previous career in modeling helped her to develop a keen eye for recognizing high-quality jewelry and gemstones. "Because I've worn many different clothes and jewelry in shoots and on the runways, I find I almost immediately am able to tell what's well-made and what isn't. And this jewelry from the Spectrum Awards Collection certainly is among the very best. It's so incredibly artistic."

Did anything particular catch her eye? There were at least half a dozen pieces of jewelry she "wouldn't mind owning," Marzano admits. "Especially those that were classic with a modern edge, because that's typically how I like to accessorize. I really loved a green and blue gemstone necklace I wore in the photo shoot — again because it was traditional but with a little contemporary twist." It's a multi-length 18-karat yellow gold necklace by Jennifer Dawes of Dawes Design of Santa Rosa, California, with 14.45 carats of aquamarine, 7.45 carats of emeralds and 1 carat of white diamond accents. The aquamarine gem cut in freeform, in fact, is a silhouette often used by Dawes to impart a bit of that bohemian flavor Marzano says she gravitates toward.

"During the photo shoot, I also wore a black pearl necklace with colored stones that I thought was beautiful. It had a lot of versatility because the pendant could be detached and worn as a brooch, and also because you could wear it for day or night. I like fashionable jewelry that's multi-functional." Creating unusual jewelry that easily adapts to busy lifestyles of contemporary women is a trademark of multi-award-winning artist, Alishan Halebian. The Irvine, California designer made this particular platinum showstopper with a 12.5 millimeter Tahitian pearl, 2.40 carats of green chrome diopside cabochons and 0.60 carats of white diamonds.

The Alishan neck piece brought to mind a necklace that Marzano was given as a gift, she said, "a piece I wear almost all the time with casual clothes. It's just a delicate gold chain with a simple black pearl on it, but it's not boring. I wish more women —young women especially-- would realize that there's a lot of interesting pearl jewelry today, way beyond the simple single strand of white pearls."

Slate and charcoal hues, as in Marzano's own heirloom piece and Alishan's Spectrum jewelry design, are colors the actress frequently wears for her off-camera life. "I have a lot of gray and black clothes and I just like the way gems in those tones work with them." Marzano's closet is also filled with a palette of browns, from coffee and chocolate to taupe and tan. "But because I tend to wear neutrals, that also gives me a lot of flexibility to add bright and bold gemstone jewelry. Sometimes putting on a necklace or ring that has a phenomenal gem color is just what I need to liven up something clean and classic that I'm wearing."

One gemstone that the September-born actress often wears "to liven things up" is blue sapphire. "Sapphire is my birthstone, so since I was a child, people have given me sapphire jewelry as a gift for my birthday and special occasions like that. I've always appreciated getting it, particularly because my eyes are blue." And because Marzano's personal style is what she self-describes as "classic with an edge," she adds, "I may even consider an engagement ring with a blue sapphire center stone—some day, whenever I get married, that is."

Still, she loved learning that her birthstone comes in many colors beyond blue. "Until becoming one of this year's AGTA Spectrum jewelry spokesmodels, I had no idea that sapphires come in a whole spectrum of shades! I loved this one particular ring I wore that had a rich purple center stone. I thought it was a colored diamond until someone from AGTA told me it was a fancy colored natural sapphire—a gem even rarer than a colored diamond."

Leon Mege of Leon Mege Inc. in New York City, who specializes in platinum fabrication, designed the platinum ring, which highlights the 13.67-carat purple sapphire. It's accented with a 0.10-carat ruby cabochon and 3.35 carats of diamonds.

"Another ring I really liked also had a purply center stone, but it was an alexandrite. I was drawn to it because of the unusual color and the ring's antique shape -- I tend to like the details often carved into vintag-y looks," she said.

The platinum ring, designed by Maria Canale of Richard Krementz Gemstones of Springfield, New Jersey, features a 3.22-carat antique-cut alexandrite, encircled by 2.91 carats of small diamonds. Alexandrite is, in fact, one of those intriguing color-change gems that takes on different hues when viewed in different lighting. 

"Again," Marzano emphasizes, "there are amazing stones out there that you may never even have heard about, let alone seen. People shouldn't only stick with what they've always bought or worn—like I'd always done with blue sapphire. If someone happens to like red stones and always looks for rubies, they should ask their jeweler to show them jewelry with other natural red gemstones, too. You want something unique that not everyone else is going to have."

Good advice from an actress who says, "My whole life has been about looking for new opportunities and exploring new things—it's part of what makes life interesting."

American Gem Trade Association


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Tags: AGTA, awards, designer, gemstones, Jewelry, pearls
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