When Stellene Volandes walks into a room, the first thing you notice are her signature jewels. There’s usually a showstopping necklace and a stack of bracelets. Sometimes she wears bold gold diamond earrings or a statement ring, but always in the mix is a sentimental piece and something by a Greek jeweler, a nod to her heritage. As the Editor in Chief of Town & Country, the oldest continually published general interest magazine in America, and the editorial director of Elle Decor, Stellene is an expert in design, style, culture, and travel. But anyone who knows the native New Yorker, knows that her great passion is jewelry.
Stellene is an authority on the topic. Her second book, Jewels That Made History: 101 Stones, Myths, and Legends, comes out in October, and she frequently hosts Jewelry Talks at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. Her impressive personal jewelry collection combines meaningful pieces by jewelers and brands she loves, striking designs, and period jewelry. Natural diamonds are also a favorite. Here, Stellene offers insight into her most beloved diamond jewels.
“Diamond is a symbol of both incredible strength and incredible natural beauty.”
Why does diamond jewelry remain such a significant item for most women? I’m not sure if we are even aware of it, but the diamond is a symbol of both incredible strength and incredible natural beauty. That is a powerful and eternal combination.
What’s one of your most meaningful diamond jewels? A pair of vintage diamond chandelier earrings that I bought for myself at the old Fortunoff store on Fifth Avenue. If I had known then what I know now, I would have bought more!
What jewelry pieces do you wear to feel either protected or empowered? It’s a rare day when I don’t have a piece of Lalaounis jewelry on. Greeks are superstitious … so gold, especially a pair of mesh earrings with a few diamonds woven in, makes me feel protected.
What self-purchase has the most meaning to you? The Verdura Maltese cross pendant I bought when I became editor of Town & Country.
What is the key diamond piece every woman should own? Diamond studs or a simple diamond drop on a French hook. A diamond near the face is the best Instagram filter money can buy.
If you are buying one investment piece, what should it be and why? A signed one. [A “signed” piece of jewelry bears the markings or signature of a jewelry house or designer and authenticates the jewel]
What’s your dream diamond jewel that you want to own day? A vintage diamond rivière.