Diamonds With A Story: New Designer Collections from Dawes Design, Sandy Leong, Suzanne Kalan, and Matthew Campbell Laurenza

Diamonds With A Story Sandy Leong Bangles

While I was in New York City recently, I had the opportunity to attend the
Diamonds can be polarizing. People love them, or they deeply distrust them. Where did this diamond come from? How do I know that no one was harmed in the mining and distribution of this gemstone? What about the environmental impact of mining in the communities they come from? These are just a few of the questions I get asked when people find out I am a jewelry/gemstone expert. These are also issues I care about deeply. It turns out that others in the jewelry industry care about this, too.

Rio Tinto, the mining company behind the Diamonds With A Story initiative, has a controlling interest in four diamond mines around the world. The diamonds for the Diamonds With A Story come specifically from the Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia. Diamonds from Argyle have a completely transparent path: environmental and human rights requirements are strictly adhered to, with workers paid competitively and given generous benefits. Argyle also produces some truly incredible diamonds of natural colors, ranging from pale silver and very light golden brown, to intense cognacs and sherries, to pretty pinks and lavenders.

Diamonds With A Story commissioned four designers to craft special capsule collections around the themes of Cutting Impact, Color My World, Shaped By Origin, and Mixed Medium. Each collection expresses the designer’s aesthetic, but using diamonds that are “not your Mother’s diamonds” (unless you Mom is utterly cool), and allows for beautiful–and surprisingly affordable–self expression.

Dawes Design, Cutting Impact

I love Jennifer Dawes of Dawes Design. She shines so brightly in her jewelry design, and has maintained a focus on sustainable jewelry since 2005–well before most people were remotely talking about “responsible sourcing” for jewelry. If Jennifer Dawes believes in DWAS enough to craft an entire collection around their diamonds, that is a huge testimony. This designer does her due diligence.

Diamonds With A Story Jennifer Dawes

Jennifer Dawes designed this bangle for her Diamonds With A Story collection using natural color rose cut and brilliant cut diamonds. Notice how she designed it brilliantly to wrap around the wrist bone.

I had so much fun trying on her jewelry! Jennifer already designs jewelry that is modern and fresh, with a slightly organic bent. For this project she was able to fully explore, through interesting shapes and truly lovely colors, the spectrum of diamonds from the Argyle mine. Her theme was Cutting Impact–how and where these diamonds are cut.

Jennifer Dawes Diamonds With A Story

Dawes Design earrings for Diamonds With A Story “Cutting Impact” collection.

The fact that the diamonds are certified from the mine was attractive to Jennifer, and–for the first time–she could actually trace the path of the rose-cut diamonds that she used throughout the collection. Normally the trail of a diamond’s journey, even from a responsible source, goes cold once it hits the cutting facilities scattered around the world. In this case, the diamonds have a completely transparent path from the mine, to cutting in India, to her studio in California. All of the gold she uses in the DWAS collection is recycled or Fairmined gold. How’s that for a wonderful story? From beginning to end, it is sparkling translucence.

Jennifer Dawes Diamonds With A Story

Dawes Design earrings with gorgeous color-change Csarite gemstones and Argyle diamonds.

Jennifer Dawes Diamonds With A Story

This necklace by Dawes Design really features the rose-cut diamonds that Jennifer was so excited about…

Suzanne Kalan, Color My World

It was a delight to speak to Suzanne Kalan, an award-winning industry superstar who has designed wearable, completely exceptional jewelry for nearly 25 years. Their business is a family affair in Los Angeles, with daughter Patile designing the KALAN 14kt gold line, and Suzanne designing her namesake 18kt gold jewelry. The Kalan’s DWAS collection was very well-developed, with designs I loved ranging from around $600 retail to several thousand dollars.

Suzanne Kalan Diamonds With A Story

This ring by Suzanne Kalan for Diamonds With a Story features her signature feature of the see-through structure, using gorgeous natural color diamonds.

Color My World focuses on the gorgeous spectrum of natural colors that come from the Argyle mine. From yellow to grey to brown to pinkish, all set into rose gold, the Kalans perfectly complemented the warm hues of the diamonds they selected. The rings, earrings and pendants were fun, modern designs that captured the nuances of the subtle colors of the diamonds. They felt special, but very wearable.

Suzanne Kalan Diamonds With A Story

I didn’t want to take this Suzanne Kalan ring off!

Suzanne Kalan Diamonds With A Story

Inspiration board as backdrop to Suzanne Kalan’s Color My World collection for Diamonds With A Story.

Their inspiration board was especially captivating: images of spectacular embellishment and bright bursts of sparkle on clothing, shoes, interiors, even fireworks! Suzanne explained that once she found her initial concept, she was off and running with ideas. There is literally no stopping her once the ideas have started! I could feel that energy in the jewelry. I didn’t want to take it off…

Suzanne Kalan Diamonds With A Story

Spectacular drop earrings showing the spectrum of natural colors from the Argyle Mine.

Sandy Leong, Shaped By Origin

This was my first time meeting fine jewelry designer Sandy Leong. Her collection had a very cohesive look, built around the theme of Shaped By Origin.

Sandy Leong Diamonds With A Story

Sculptural waves form the basis of Sandy Leong’s Rain Collection.

Sandy Leong Diamonds With A Story

A simple but perfect lariat designed by Sandy Leong for Shaped By Origin for Diamonds With A Story.

All of the diamonds, being from the Argyle Diamond Mine, share the benefit of pinpointing their exact source. Sandy used these diamonds with a provenance, from slightly polished diamonds set as beads, articulated in a ring ($550 retail in 18kt gold), to round brilliant diamonds set into her sinuous “Rain” collection cuffs, rings, earrings and necklaces. There was a weight and heft to the 18kt gold, with negative space to perfectly balance the designs. Sandy painstakingly carves all of the original wax models, which accounts for their sculptural feel. With the silky finish of the gold, and the feel of the curves, this was jewelry that felt wonderful to try on.

Sandy Leong Diamonds With A Story

Shape, texture, movement, sparkle: Sandy Leong “Rain” earrings in 18kt gold.

Matthew Campbell Lauranza, Mixed Medium

The very charming–and talented–Matthew Campbell Laurenza took me for a spin through his Mixed Medium collection. This category is meant to give jewelry designers some freedom to play with the materials used: traditional precious materials and approach need not apply. Matthew’s inspiration for the collection was armor and weaponry, which I could see abstractly in certain points and shields that wrapped in various ways around the body.
Matthew Cambell Laurenza Diamonds With A Story
Matthew’s intention with this DWAS jewelry, which is priced very attractively due to the natural colored diamonds from Argyle’s mine, is to foster collectors. Matthew believes that there are people who want to build jewelry collections, not just as an investment, but as an expression of personal style. He designed around this idea, so that you can play with initial pieces, and add more each season. Matthew will continually create more jewelry in this collection each season to stack, layer, and work with existing designs.

Matthew Campbell Laurenza Diamonds With A Story

Matthew’s collection allows for freedom and expression–stack it up!

He had a particularly intriguing group of pendants, with different colored metals on the front versus back, and 15 varieties of custom-cut gemstones. Through an ingenuous mechanism, the pendants open and allow for interchanging gemstones. He even has an App coming out soon that will allow you to take an image, upload it, and apply that image through an enameling process directly into a gemstone. It’s the ultimate form of personalization, capturing a moment in time that can be layered and combined with other elements into something uniquely–and preciously–yours.

Matthew Campbell Laurenza Diamonds With A Story

A Matthew Campbell Laurenza ring, featuring the color spectrum of the Argyle mine, in an intriguing concave, negative space design.

All of the collections had a story to tell. As Matthew said, “it’s important to see the designer’s hand in capsule collections, but this opens it up into a different aesthetic.” The jewelry I saw at the Diamonds With A Story event allows people who are concerned about the origin of their jewelry to play, collect, build and expand their jewelry relatively affordably. I saw cohesive jewelry assortments that represent each designer’s core aesthetic, but allowed some foray into inventiveness. Jewelry is intimate: you live in it, it becomes part of you. This jewelry could become part of your story.

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Radish and Roasted Asparagus Sorghum Salad

Radish and Roasted Asparagus Sorghum Salad | @naturallyella

I’ve started a new Saturday morning routine that involves coffee, pastries, and the farmers’ market. While Sacramento has a handful of farmers’ markets, the one of Saturday morning has morphed into a family-friendly market that showcases local produce, artist, and a couple food vendors (including a waffle vendor that looks absolutely amazing). I pop down there, grab what I can, and then head home to plan the week’s meals.

With spring produce in full swing, I let whatever I pick up at the market inspire my meals. This salad used up the last bit of remaining radishes (the very same ones featured on Tuesday’s radish toast) and accompanied one of my favorite spring treats: grilled asparagus. Tossing the sliced radishes with a bit of lemon juice also creates a bit of pickle-like texture.

As for the grain, I currently have a big batch of cooked sorghum sitting in the refrigerator but really any grain would do (because it’s less about the grain and more about the fresh produce!) And if you want to keep this salad vegan, just ditch the feta cheese!
See the Recipe.

The post Radish and Roasted Asparagus Sorghum Salad appeared first on Naturally Ella.


3 mistakes we made in our first year of business

Life is about making mistakes, right? The key is learn and grow from them, which we have…a lot. Each day we learn more. Each day we get better and better. It’s so exciting. We have learned a lot about running an online business and sharing some key things that we wished we knew (or did…

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Tart Cherry, Kale, and Feta Stuffed Chicken

cherry stuffed chicken

Guys, I am PUMPED about this stuffed chicken recipe. It’s easy to make, healthy but absolutely delicious, and “fancy” looking enough to enjoy when guests are over, too. Total win in my book! Introducing: Tart Cherry, Kale, and Feta Stuffed Chicken.

As you guys know, I’m a huge tart cherry fan, and this recipe is the latest creation for my partnership with the Cherry Marketing Institute. Not only are tart cherries packed with anthocyanins, which help fight inflammation (making them great for athletes), but I have a new fun fact for you guys: they also contain melatonin! Interesting, right? This means that they also might help to increase your overall sleep efficiency, aka the quality of your sleep: the amount of time you spend actually sleeping vs. tossing and turning.

stuffed chicken 5

So, moral of the story: tart cherries are both delicious and functional, and you need to make this recipe immediately. :)

stuffed chicken 1

Stuffed chicken is always something I thought was more complicated than it apparently actually is. Sweet and savory at the same time, this stuffed chicken would make a great fast weeknight meal, or, like I mentioned, a nice meal to impress guests with! I whipped it up this past weekend for some family and everyone gave it two big thumbs up.

Feel free to pair it with whatever you like – you guys know I really love string beans, but any veggie or salad will do. Some rice or sweet potato would be good on the side, too, depending how hungry you are.

stuffed chicken 3

Making this recipe is easy. The only thing you need to make sure you have on hand that you might not already is some toothpicks, to hold the chicken around the stuffing! If you’re not an onion fan, you can also feel free to make this without the onions – up to you.

stuffed chicken ingredients

First up: sauté the onion (the regular one, not the green onion yet) in olive oil (virgin or extra light, remember?) for a few minutes until softened and browned. Then, you add in the kale and dried tart cherries, and once the kale is softened, remove it all to a bowl and allow to cool a bit.

stuffed chicken saute

Once the mixture is nearly cool, add in your feta, thyme, and green onion, plus a little salt and pepper to taste.

stuffed chicken filling

Then you are ready to stuff the chicken! This would also work with another meat, like pork tenderloin. I’m going to try that next time!

Simply divide the filling evenly between your 4 chicken cutlets (which is a fancy word for a chicken breast sliced thinly), and roll the chicken around the filling, securing it with toothpicks. Just don’t forget to remove these toothpicks later before digging in. ;)

stuffed chicken process

Then, you cook! Sear the chicken first in a pan so the both sides are nicely browned.

stuffed chicken step 9

And then pop it in the oven! If you are using an oven safe pan, you can just put the whole pan in the oven; if not, just move the chicken to a baking pan.

15 minutes later, and it’s ready!

stuffed chicken finished

Now all you need to do is enjoy – and remove those toothpicks! :)

cherry stuffed chicken-001

Here’s the full recipe. Let me know how you like it! :)

Tart Cherry, Kale, and Feta Stuffed Chicken

by fANNEtastic food

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: pan sear bake entree gluten-free chicken


Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 packed cup finely chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • ~1 pound (or 4) chicken cutlets (thinly sliced chicken breasts)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, until softened and lightly browned.
  • Add the kale and dried tart cherries and cook until the kale is wilted. Place in a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  • Add the feta, thyme, and green onion to the kale/tart cherry mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Place 1/4 of the filling in in the center of a chicken cutlet. Roll the chicken around the filling and secure with toothpicks. Repeat with the remaining chicken and all the filling.
  • Heat a large pan over high heat with another drizzle of olive oil. Add the chicken and sear until lightly browned on all sides.
  • If using an oven-safe pan, place the entire pan with the chicken in it into the oven, then bake for 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. If your pan isn’t oven-safe, move the chicken to a baking sheet instead.
  • Enjoy!
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Looking for more tart cherry awesomeness? Check out my Tart Cherry Pie Snack Balls!

Thank you to the Cherry Marketing Institute for sponsoring this post!

Tart Cherry, Kale, and Feta Stuffed Chicken originally appeared on fANNEtastic food | Washington D.C. area Registered Dietitian | Recipes + Healthy Living + Fitness on March 26, 2015.

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Is breakfast necessary?

With apologies for how silly this question might sound, Whitney Kimball of Hopes&Fears asked, “Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?”

Here’s what I told her:

The question isn’t silly at all, although I always laugh when I hear it. That is because I am publicly outed as not a breakfast eater—at least not first thing in the morning. I don’t usually start getting hungry until 11 or so and rarely eat before then. Coffee, yes. Solid food, later please. The idea that early eating is essential makes perfect sense for farm laborers and small children. Whether it matters for normal, sedentary adults is a different question.

Many—if not most—studies demonstrating that breakfast eaters are healthier and manage weight better than non-breakfast eaters were sponsored by Kellogg or other breakfast cereal companies whose businesses depend on people believing that breakfast means ready-to-eat cereal. Independently funded studies tend to show that any eating pattern can promote health if it provides vegetables and fruits, balances calories, and does not include much junk food. For most people, when you eat matters far less than how much you eat. If you wake up starving, by all means eat an early breakfast. If not, eat when you are hungry and don’t worry about it. Kids who won’t have access to decent food in school may well be better off fed breakfast at home and surely will learn better if their stomachs aren’t growling.


Spring Citrus Kale Salad

Whip together a delicious citrus vinaigrette and make this Spring citrus kale salad made with dates, feta, apple, and walnuts!

Whip together a delicious citrus vinaigrette and make this spring citrus kale salad made with dates, feta, apple, and walnuts! Cheese cheese cheese, I love cheese. There was a point in my life when I was really restrictive on the types of food I would allow myself to eat. Pretty much anything that was…

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