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Photography by Robert Benson

Gem Fatale

by Shelby Stanger | Riviera San Diego magazine | October 21, 2011

Black diamonds and black jade on black rhodium-plated gold? Yes, please. At least that’s what some of Hollywood’s hottest celebs are saying about La Jollan Lauren Russell’s new company, Lyon Fine Jewelry (lyonfinejewelry.‌com). “I wanted something I would actually wear, and there wasn’t anything edgy on the market,” says Russell, whose daily uniform includes Alexander McQueen pumps, fitted black jeans and a black vest by Alexander Wang. It’s not exactly something that would work with a Tiffany pendant. Russell is from some serious San Diego royalty: Her father, Richard Russell, is the famous investment analyst behind the Dow Theory Letters and stepdad George Hauer is the man behind celebrated restaurant George’s at the Cove. Russell earned her bauble chops working at top Beverly Hills jeweler XIV Karats, designing pieces for Nicole Richie and Justin Timberlake. She then went on to run Ivanka Trump’s jewelry store on Madison Avenue. “I just started drawing sketches on the side,” she says. The graduate of the GIA in Carlsbad now splits her time between S.D. and West Hollywood. Her industrial glam collection—all made in the U.S. from conflict-free gemstones—comes with a message: 20 percent of proceeds from her Equality Bracelet ($95 for the leather and $495 with diamonds) go to Friend Factor, an organization that benefits gay rights. “If I can make expressive jewelry for all genders while at the same time designing pieces that give back, it’s the perfect job,” says Russell, rocking a new pink hairdo and an armful of bracelets on her forearm inked with the acronym “L.I.M.” for “Live in the Moment.” And her moment is now.

Russell’s Hots
Broken English jewelry store in L.A.; equal rights; deconstructed fish tacos at George’s; vegan cookies ’n’ cream cupcake at Cups Organic La Jolla; Helmut Lang; vintage boots and leather jackets; charities like Friend Factor, Free the Slaves and Adaptive Action Sports

Russell’s Nots
Red meat; sunbathing; nightclubs; Sarah Palin; Michele Bachmann; jewelry made in China