Returning to Romance with World-Class Jeweler Ricardo Basta

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The buzz surrounding world-class jeweler Ricardo Basta is resonating-and there’s certainly reason for it. Gem associations honor him. Museums reverently exhibit his work; Hollywood celebrities fawn over his sophisticated and classic designs. They don’t call him the “Jewelers’ Jeweler” for nothing.

By Jade Wollman

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His creations are so superb that even museums are clamoring for his works of art.

Perusing through Ricardo Basta’s exquisite jewelry line, one may wonder, “How can one man handcraft such exquisite and detailed pieces?” Well, for one thing, the third-generation designer has been handcrafting jewelry for more than three decades. He also apprenticed under exceptional European trained jewelers who instilled in him the technique, virtuosity, and passion of a true artisan. But beneath all of his innate talent and honed craftsmanship rests something more, something that keeps Basta’s pieces both timeless and bewitching, leaving Hollywood’s glitterati clamoring for more. In short, it’s in the romance, which Basta flawlessly combines with striking, bold colors and a sophisticated modern design. Basta showcases his profound artistic talent through his extravagant jewelry collection, whose classic yet contemporary designs fall nothing short of amorous.

The Argentinean-born Basta is undoubtedly a connoisseur of romance. He is enamored with the romantic styles of bygone eras, when artisans crafted their wares in the image of queens, and women asserted newfound independence through flamboyant, bold designs. Basta’s designs evoke sentiments of the old-world jewelry that graced Queen Victoria’s décolletage or dangled wildly from the lobes of 1920s flappers, yet his pieces are infused with a modern twist that brings them to the here-and-now. As such, Basta’s jewelry immediately becomes heirlooms of the future.

Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Deco styles have inspired Basta’s one-of-a-kind creations since he began to restore antique estate jewelry in the late 1970s. Working meticulously alongside classic jeweler Francis Klein in her Rodeo Drive studio, Basta began breathing life back into the stunningly intricate brooches, pendants, tiaras, and necklaces of earlier periods. Restoring such exquisite pieces kindled his passion for classic, romantic jewelry, and its influence on his own designs has become conspicuous, to say the least.

Basta’s signature line, which first debuted in 2004, incorporates an abundance of platinum, diamonds, and gemstones into natural themes prevalent in the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Brooches were once all the rage, and Basta maintains this tradition by creating intricate gem-clad brooches in sundry animal motifs. He’ll make a panda bear brooch heirloom-worthy by setting it with 1,800 individually cut black and white diamonds; he’ll splash an ornate diamond seahorse brooch with coral and spessartite garnets; or he’ll dazzle a breathtaking zebra brooch with black and white diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and tsavorite garnets. Basta’s Deco savvy is equally salient; one look at his shimmering “Pear” brooch will keep any contemporary aficionado transfixed.

His signature line is not, however, just old-world style, which is why A-list celebs and jewelry connoisseurs flock to Ricardo Basta – Jewels by Bernier, his prestigious Beverly Hills salon, as do those in search of custom-designed engagement rings and eternity bands. The man has a flair for contemporary elegance, and his cutting-edge know-how is setting the toniest couture trends in jewelry to date. He has become one of the country’s premier platinum jewelers; as such, he has titillated many young brides with his signature platinum rings, often entailing with exquisite colored diamonds. He designed more than 60 pieces of jewelry for the fall ad campaign of America’s Next Top Model, adorning all its beautiful contestants with equally exquisite jewels. He infuses unusual colors with bold designs, thus producing one-of-a-kind pieces like his jade suit necklace design, replete with rubies, diamonds, and platinum, or a breathtaking “Peacock” ring set with rubies, garnets, and round diamonds. Though the pieces may seem capricious in nature (doesn’t a “Peacock” ring just sound fabulously whimsical?), some of his pieces take upwards of two years to complete. This is because Basta assiduously hand crafts each individual piece with a traditional bench fabrication method forgone by many in the industry.

Besides the acclaim awarded to him by A-lister Basta-zealots like Helen Mirren, Stockard Channing, Gladys Knight, Nia Long, and Zooey Deschanel, the jeweler has received accolades from members of his own industry. Basta has walked away from The American Gem Trade Association’s popular Spectrum Awards with several victories, including first place in the 2008 Award’s Evening Division. AGTA,
a pivotal voice for the colored gemstone industry, recognizes America’s hottest jewelry designs with its Spectrum Awards, and Basta has received platinum honors
several times since 2000.

In fact, his creations are so superb that even museums are clamoring for his works of art. Ricardo’s jewelry was on exhibit in 2007 at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in the Wertz Gallery. Also the Gemological Institute of America Museum in Carlsbad, California, recently exhibited 11 brooches, including his renowned Dragon Brooch, an artistic masterpiece comprised of green sapphire, fire opal, platinum, diamonds, gold, mother-of-pearl, ivory, and-if you can imagine it-actual elephant hair. This recognition pleases the artist to no end, considering his wholehearted belief that jewelry making is a brilliant art form. Indeed, that which his mind conjures and hands breed is undeniably art.

Basta’s formula for merging old with new has landed him both a strong reputation and a following of discerning clientele. Indeed, his clients are collectors with a keen sense of the aesthetic, a sophisticated sense of style, and a proclivity for the world of fine art. Basta’s bright, innovative, and enchanting designs deliver diamond-clad fantasies of which women often only dream. Ricardo Basta’s museum-quality jewelry is priceless, allowing the exquisite array of colored diamonds to become a girl’s new best friend.

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