Holiday season interviews are always fun and this session with GEMOLOGUE’s Liza Urla does not disappoint. Urla, a trained gemologist who has a flair for dramatic looks, shared her thoughts on celebrating the holidays in style, jewelry trends in 2016 and beyond, and what’s up next for the mega-influencer.
LL: The Holiday season is such a festive time—What are some of your favorite party jewels (from your own personal collection)?
LU: Following the completion of my GIA gemology degree in NYC, I launched GEMOLOGUE in 2009. Back then jewelry designers did not allow to photograph their pieces as the digital world was still unchartered territories for them. Consequently, I started sharing my love for jewelry with street style, often featuring jewelry worn at events during festive seasons across the globe.
I feel jewelry is worn for sentimental reasons as well as to celebrate an achievement or love at any time of the year. I would love to see more of rubies, emeralds and sapphires during the festive seasons (preferably ethically mined, for example by Gemfields). I am very much a sapphire person myself, and I am always on a lookout to add another piece to my collection! In anticipation of last Christmas, I created an event called #GEMIFY to unite jewelry lovers around the world. We took to Sloane Square in London to spread some kindness and good cheer…and gold dust! I always travel for Christmas, so during the upcoming festive season I will be wearing local jewelry designers wherever I am! Last year I was in Malaysia, and the year before in Brazil. I find jewelry everywhere I go: either in a museum shop, airports, local markets, as well as online shops and auctions.
LL: What types of pieces would you recommend others invest in or polish off for a season of parties?
LU: You might remember that I arrived in JCK dressed in full pearl headgear, just like the Queen of the Desert herself! Who doesn’t love pearls? Since the dawn of time, pearls have stood as a symbol for life itself, and for love, virtue and wisdom. This look I chose for JCK LUXURY was a result of two ideas colliding, where my pearl #JewelleryFace (à la Givenchy) meets the Kokoshnik, a traditional Russian headpiece. I was inspired by Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
During the season of parties, I think it would be a brilliant idea to consider investing into natural pearls from Bahrain by jewelers like Mattar Jewelers and Al Mahmood Pearls! Natural pearls are en vogue and are sure to gain momentum next year. Imagine that during a candlelit dinner you are wearing pearl jewelry – your face will simply glow! My aim is to raise awareness about pearls and to change their universal perception in the hope that I can help pearl brands worldwide to thrive, and to give pearls the recognition they deserve. A pearl isn’t a gem only reserved for the elderly women from another era. It is time to bring pearls back into the spotlight and showcase them for the natural wonders they truly are!
LL: What are the best (jewelry) gifts this year for a) the trendsetter b) the traditionalist c) the minimalist and d) the dapper gentleman?
LU: For the trendsetter it is a choker; for the traditionalist it is a diamond or emerald ring; and as for the minimalist it is time to reconsider one’s jewelry style and embrace something more opulent, as we all tired of tiny pieces! For a dapper gentleman, I would gift a baroque pearl pin or cufflinks by Assael, or a vintage watch.
LL: Do you have any fun plans lined up for the Holiday season?
LU: I have an upcoming collaboration with Van Cleef & Arpels High Jewellery collection. Van Cleef & Arpels has also invited me to mark the beginning of Christmas season with a premiere of an enchanting ballet, the Sleeping Beauty at the Royal Opera House in London. In addition, India is on the cards for me this year. However, being based in Europe, I am never 100% sure about my travel plans as there are also many places to escape to in Africa or the Middle East! I would love to wake up in Zanzibar, Sri Lanka or, if I am very lucky, in the Maldives. I also have a skiing trip in Italy planned in January, as there is nothing better that the mountain air and delicious food on the slopes!
LL: What was your favorite (jewelry) trend from 2016?
LU: Ear cuffs with pearls and diamonds as well as costume jewelry pieces.
LL: What do you foresee being ‘big’ in 2017?
LU: I feel that chokers are gaining momentum again! Fine jewelry chokers are appealing to younger audience, and we are surrounded by velvet chokers already with precious elements. Costume jewelry is also very much en vogue nowadays and it is perfect to upgrade your look from day to night- it is not about changing your clothes, it is about a pair of shoes and a statement piece of jewelry to transform your look.
LL: What’s in-store for the blog in the coming months, any new features you’ll be introducing or interesting work-related travel plans?
LU: Through GEMOLOGUE, I have been sharing my jewelry journey through many cultures around the world with my audience over the last 7 years. 2016 has been a very exciting year for me: I have travelled to Asia, South and North America as well as Europe and the Middle East, crossing many borders and sharing my jewelry journey both in fashion and traveling context with my favorite people, jewelry lovers worldwide. I am very fortunate to have such a loyal fan base! I have just come back from Bahrain Jewellery Arabia fair where I indulged myself with natural pearls. Also I am happy to announce that am working on my first jewelry book! This book will be a beautiful anthology of my favorite images. It includes photographs of people whose jewelry demanded a closer look, juxtaposed against my jewelry styling in collaboration with various designers either in the jungle of Brazil, on the beaches of Mexico or in the streets of London, LA, NYC, Paris, Milan or Moscow. The purpose of this book to inspire women jewelry style and to expand their horizons on what jewelry is. Also I am in the jury to choose the best Italian Jewellers at Artisan Jewels 2017, an annual event that promotes contemporary jewelry design. In addition, pearl farm and diamonds mine visits are calling next year and, of course, I am looking forward to attending LUXURY and JCK in 2017!