As a principal ballerina in New York’s prestigious American Ballet Theater (ABT), Isabella Boylston has shined in the lead roles of Romeo and Juliet, Giselle and Swan Lake. Offstage, too, she sparkles—here, in diamond jewelry that’s anything but ordinary.
Whether gifts or baubles she purchased for herself, each of Isabella’s jewels symbolizes a different milestone or a connection to family and friends;she considers her collection at-large a reflection of her long, hard-earned journey from her native Sun Valley, Idaho to center stage at New York City’s Lincoln Center.
After all, Boylston started dancing at age three and hasn’t stopped since. In 2007, she joined the ABT, and seven years later was named a principal dancer. She is also an artistic director and curator, bringing performances to her hometown of Sun Valley, Idaho.
When she isn’t training, the 33-year-old likes to explore New York with her husband of six years.
Here, Boylston shares her treasured jewels with us and reveals why ballerinas make good jewelry designers.
What’s your most precious diamond jewel? My engagement ring. My husband picked it out at Catherine Angiel, a jeweler in the West Village, and it’s the perfect ring for me. It’s an old mine cut diamond on a delicate rose gold band with tiny leaves around the stone. It reminds me of a fairytale ring. The only time I take it off is when I’m performing on stage. Right before I go on stage, I always give my rings to the head of wardrobe at ABT to hold. It’s my pre-show ritual.
What was your first jewelry purchase? When I was 21 years old and performing eight shows a week during ABT’s season (which is like our play-off season), I saved all the money I made from working overtime and bought an antique rose gold Victorian locket with a diamond from a little shop on the Upper West side. I still wear it.
What’s the most meaningful diamond jewelry gift you have received? When I made my debut in Swan Lake, my family bought me a Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti® Diamonds by the Yard® necklace. It was such a momentous day in my career, and I love that necklace because it’s a reminder of that achievement and my family.
Do you have a favorite designer? I’ve bought several pieces from my friend and former ballerina, Jamie Wolf. I love the elegance of her designs. My favorite are these little moonstone earrings surrounded by black diamonds, which I’ve worn in performances. I also love Grietgst, an old Danish brand that my friend, also a ballerina, is running now. Their designs are like little works of art. She gave me a sculptural spiral gold ring with diamonds that I wear all the time. I also love vintage jewelry and vintage-inspired designs.
“Diamonds make me feel special. They elevate a look whether you are wearing sweatpants or a gown.”
Why do you think ballerinas make good jewelry designers? As ballerinas, we are accustomed to looking at things in terms of line and harmony, and that lends itself really well to designing jewelry. Ballet is such an aesthetic art form and it requires creativity, artistry and discipline, and you have to be incredibly tough. Starting a jewelry business also requires creativity and the same grit and focus.
How do diamonds make you feel when you put them on? Diamonds make me feel special. They elevate a look whether you are wearing sweatpants or a gown. When I wear my diamond rings, I feel like they bring me positive energy, especially on the day of a show, and they make me feel close to my loved ones.
What is your dream diamond jewel that you want to own one day? I would love to have more jewelry by Grietgst. I love astronomy and stargazing and their designs remind me of the stars, the universe and the Milky Way.