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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Stone Sourcing With Jeweler Steven Lagos

In a world of ruby, turquoise, and fordite galore, how do you know which is the best for you? Enter: Steven Lagos—the visionary behind the caviar-crusted bijou we have all come to know and love, LAGOS—who shares his expertise for finding the perfect stones.


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In 1977, a barely 20-year-old Steven Lagos moved out and opened a jewelry repair shop in Philadelphia. Lagos, forever the creative, may not have known it then, but his humble Jewelers Row venture would soon become the birthplace of his eponymous fine jewelry brand. It was upon completing a hematite torsade necklace that inspired Lagos to recreate a similar texture––the brand’s now signature sterling silver-and-18K-gold-caviar design. His affinity toward raw materials, however, still fuels his designs 42 years later. “Stones have a super unique energy to them,” said the designer. “They’re natural material. They don’t have to be cut. They don’t have to be put in a piece of jewelry. They’re just nature’s treasure.”

Here, Lagos opens up his gem-filled world––he shares how to source stones, why turquoise is the stone for this spring, what the next “big” stone is, how to style stones, and how to find the right stone for each person.

On sourcing stones…

"I do it different ways. Gem shows (like in Tucson) are so inspirational that you can catch your inspiration there, or sometimes I have an idea that I’ve been working on for a while and I'm seeking something in particular. We’re working pretty far out when we’re designing. It takes a pretty long time to bring a product to market so what I’m shopping for this spring is for next spring."

On turquoise for spring…

"Turquoise for spring is such a great color. The spring season really starts right now, and I think everyone gets so inspired by the blue in the sky and the water––and just the idea of not being in the snow! It’s interesting because it’s a cool color but it’s associated with warmth."

On the next “big” stone…

"I’m really into the warmer colors––the reds, the garnet, the rhodolite garnet. I also love ruby right now and I really think that’s going to be something I’m going to be working with––even like ruby and amethyst, but not the pale Brazilian amethyst, the real deep royal kind of purple color. It’s about deep rich color next fall; that’s what we’re really going to be focusing on."

On how to style stones…

"It’s always fun as a designer to get a bunch of colors and put them together but while it’s visually appealing, it can be hard to wear. Monochromatic is definitely so much easier. The trick is shades of color as opposed to all of the same. It’s fun to wear sapphires with turquoise, or tanzanite with turquoise, so you’re playing around with a palate of blues, or even to take blues and greens. But it doesn’t just have to be about the way the jewelry all comes together. It could be the jewelry accented by other blues (as an example) in your clothes and other blues in your accessories. I think that’s the fun of using color."

On finding the right stone for you…

"There’s no one stone that’s right for everybody. It’s just like everything that we do. It’s really about a woman putting together her own personal style. It can be based on her skin color, her hair color, her eye color, sometimes it’s based on what clothing they like to wear. Some people are super comfortable wearing red, other people just can’t see themselves in that."


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