DALLAS, March 4, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As primetime TV's reigning First Lady, actress Bellamy Young dazzles viewing audiences each week. Her compelling role as Mellie Grant, wife of a U.S. president on ABC's hit drama, Scandal, earned her the Critics Choice Award last year. But brilliantly navigating the twists and turns of the D.C.-centric series for four seasons is only part of Young's dazzle—she's also a celebrity spokeswoman for the 2015 AGTA Spectrum Awards™ Collection. Now in its 31st year and sponsored by the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), the annual Spectrum competition is North America's premier colored gemstone and cultured pearl fine jewelry design contest.
The accomplished actress' love affair with gemstones began during her childhood growing up in North Carolina. "When I was a kid, I panned for stones in the mountains nearby. A lot of times, we didn't find anything but, when we did, it was exciting! So, for as long as I can remember, I've been attracted to gemstones. They're energizing, yet also calming and constant."
Does she love jewelry? "Of course—I wear it off-camera as well as on—please, I'm Southern!
Two rings from the AGTA Spectrum Awards™Collection really caught her eye—perhaps because one featured a yellow gem and the other a blue stone; colors she favors in her personal wardrobe. The "Terra" ring by Laurence Bruyninckx of Laurence Bruyninckx, Antwerp, has a 0.80-carat golden beryl, accented with orange sapphire, citrine, and diamonds. Set in a mix of rose and white 18K gold, it won Manufacturing Honors in the Bridal Wear category. Another piece that inspired her was the 18K white gold "Astra" ring by Caroline Chartuni of Caroline C, a New York City-based brand. Spotlighting a 24.16-carat star sapphire and accented with diamonds (8.08 ctw.), it won the Gem Diva Award in Spectrum's Classical category.
"When visiting Jaipur, I found a star ruby cabochon and had it put in a very simple yellow gold ring setting." Fiery red corundums seem to find Young as often as she finds them. "For Christmas this year, my mom gave me a Roberto Coin necklace and bracelet set. I love the way the jewelry in that brand embeds a little ruby on the inside of every piece so that it touches the skin." Young also has a ruby ring, given to her by her great aunt.
Another of her gem favorites is citrine. "I have a huge sterling silver yellow citrine necklace. I bought the gem first, then had it set so the point of the stone touches my skin. I learned through exploring more about gems that citrine is a good stone for me to put on."
Recently, she tells us, "I've become enamored of London blue topaz. It's my new gem obsession. For years, a friend of mine, Meike Williams of Cake Jewelry, has been educating me on stones—their history, legend and lore, how different ones make you feel. So, for example, I'd heard how rose quartz heals the heart and, when I was in Nepal's Kathmandu, I bought rose quartz mala beads."
"As with everything in life—careers, places we visit, people—I feel you should always open up to the possibilities. There are so many different gemstones and jewelry designers." While the huge success of Scandal keeps Young very busy, when the show went on shooting hiatus she was able to embrace something else new: recording her first album. Scheduled for release this year, "It's not exactly country," she explains, "but the ten songs I sing are a nod to my Carolina roots. They tell stories and mean something."
Clearly, from career and travel, to gemstones and jewelry, this is a successful performer, who leads a colorful life. By Lorraine DePasque
For further information regarding the AGTA Spectrum AwardsTM, please call Trace Boyd at (800) 972-1162 or visit the AGTA website at www.agta.org.
The American Gem Trade Association is a not-for-profit Association serving the natural colored gemstone and cultured pearl industry since 1981. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, The AGTA serves the industry as "The Authority in Color."
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SOURCE American Gem Trade Association