With more than 20 years of experience in the high-end jewelry business, Jenny O Calleri’s favorites are phenomenal gems.
That term is literal — they are gemstones created by a natural-occurring phenomenon. One example is a star sapphire–it displays a striking star-like pattern in the center of the gem. Another is a Cat's Eye Chrysoberyl, which has a slitted pattern (much like a cat’s eye.) Or even a color change alexandrite, which can exhibit an emerald hue by day and then shift to ruby red by night.
“This all happens naturally within the gem – it’s unbelievable. Our Earth creates this beauty naturally. It’s my mission to help people understand what they are looking at and how rare these materials are,” Jenny O shares emphatically.
But when it comes to accent stones, Calleri asserts confidently: diamonds are the best. “When it comes to diamonds, I’m a high-performance girl. Blue diamonds are my favorite.”
Assessing gemstones is one of her special talents. She’s had a hand in it all, from sourcing to designing. She’s worked for one of the top companies in the world that purchases diamonds from mines and then cuts the raw diamonds. In another role, she sold loose diamonds. And she has, of course, also sold finished jewelry to resellers all over the country.
“I have a keen eye for quality and design,” Jenny O explains. She’s held more diamonds than most people in the world over the course of her decades-long career.
Lucky for us, she took the time to share what qualities to look for in the perfect diamond.
How to Pick the Perfect Diamond:
1) Cut is key. For Jenny O, performance is more important than carat — here’s why. Carat measures the weight of the diamond, but the cut dictates how a diamond performs. It’s not about the shape, per se, but rather how the cut is tailored to show off the diamond itself. The perfect cut shows off how the diamond reflects light. In other words, how it shines. For Jenny O, the performance of a diamond is everything—and it’s her specialty.
2) Brighter, the better. Color might be the most obvious quality in a diamond — you can see right away when it’s yellow, black, pink, or blue. But when a diamond has the perfect cut, the color will appear even brighter and larger than its carat weight. That’s something to pay attention to.
3) Not all diamonds are equal. When investing in a diamond, it’s important to ensure that the diamond has been graded properly. While Jenny O’s trained eye is one of the top in the country, each diamond that she sells is accompanied by an independent grading report from one of the top institutions in the gemology industry. This verifies that the diamonds are, in fact, quality-assured.
4) Be cautious with surprises. While surprises can be romantic, jewelry is incredibly personal and taste-specific. When investing in jewelry for someone you love, Jenny O recommends keeping the surprises to a minimum. If you do want to surprise someone, she advises surprising your loved one with the choice of gemstone, for example, rather than the entire setting.
“I have so many amazing pieces in my store. When you come in, you really get to try on the best of the best,” Calleri shares.
And what’s more, if you spot something you like, Jenny O can help you to make it your own and design the perfect piece. That’s really what puts her above the rest when it comes to jewelry; she can make just about anything happen. Her designs feel practically limitless — and that creativity is what makes her love her job.
One of her favorite parts of owning Huntington Jewelers has been the chance to be a part of the most memorable moments in her customers’ lives. People always remember the place where they proposed, of course. But according to Jenny O, where they bought their engagement ring and how people made them feel in that process — that’s also something people never forget. Over the years, she’s heard of just about every proposal idea in the book: mountain tops, skywriting, jumbotrons. You name it, she’s heard it. (Her husband proposed to her at the top of Diamond Head crater, Hawaii’s famed volcano hike, for the record.)
She specializes in something she lovingly refers to as a “Jewelry Box Makeover.” Many people inherit jewelry from loved ones that have passed and never wear them. This jewelry can often be outdated — there could be a gorgeous gemstone in an old-fashioned brooch, let’s say. Or it could simply be something that isn’t your style. Jenny O will take the time to sift through her clients’ jewelry boxes and identify what’s worth keeping — what has either sentimental value or material value. From there, she gets to know her client’s taste and style and then reworks pieces into something beautiful, personalized, and wearable.
One of the most rewarding parts of this process is taking something that hasn’t been worn in decades and making it something that her clients can wear daily. After all, Jenny O doesn’t believe that gemstones belong shut away in the dark — they deserve to shine bright in the light of day. It’s what they were made for.
“Jewelry is an artifact of life that adorns people through generations, and that’s something I’m able to be a part of,” she shares.
Jewelry is an artifact of life that adorns people through generations.