Bring out the big gems!

November 28, 1990|By Los Angeles Daily News

Gems like this you've never seen, not even in dreams.

For her 10th anniversary as a jewelry designer with Tiffany and Co., Paloma Picasso has introduced 10 special suites of jewelry that showcase her talent for simple yet stunning jewelry.

The simple part comes from the use of her signature "X" as a design element. The stunning part comes from the size of the gems selected for some of the pieces.

Imagine wearing a 715-carat kunzite, a light pink stone named for George Frederick Kunz, a Tiffany executive and gemologist. A blue topaz of nearly 75 carats combines with a citrine of 131 carats. It took the designer more than a year and a half to gather the special gems.

"Finding all those stones was not so easy," she said. Gem dealers were alerted to her quest for exceptional stones. "I don't go into the mines with my little hammer," she joked.

Picasso's jewelry designs are in the permanent collections of two museums, a type of recognition she appreciates.

"I think it is also nice that people wear them. The best part for me is when I go to a party and I see someone wearing them," she said. "Actually, the best part is when I wear them!"

The stones she uses morganite, citrine, peridot and aquamarine are considered semiprecious, even though they are priceless. This collection of 10 necklaces, one pair of earrings and a brooch has a starting price of $16,000 and a peak that nears $250,000.

Picasso, the daughter of Pablo Picasso and Francoise Gilot (now married to Jonas Salk), requested that her launch be tied in with an AIDS-related organization. Picasso said her stepfather is optimistic about his work on an AIDS vaccine.

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