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The Heart of Diamonds

Actress-painter Heart Evangelista shares her life-long passion for precious jewelry, including a few tips on buying and investing in the right pieces

Portrait by Noel Pabalate

It’s easy to understand why Heart Evangelista loves to keep it simple when it comes to her earrings. Blessed with a lovely face, the actress-painter, who takes after her parents in her fascination with diamonds, doesn’t need anything more than a pair of diamond stud earrings to draw attention to her prized asset.

Actress-painter Heart Evangelista

Actress-painter Heart Evangelista

But Evangelista never thinks of it that way. It’s simply her personal style, she said, to downplay her earrings and play up her rings by sometimes wearing as many as eight “lucky” rings stacked around her dainty fingers. And she knows her diamonds, which makes her an ideal endorser for My Diamond’s new Diamond Dream collection.

“What’s nice about diamond jewelry is you don’t have to really go wild by buying everything,” she said during the recent Diamond Dream collection launch at My Diamond’s Greenbelt 3 boutique. “You can start by going for nice classic pieces. They’re precious things you can get and invest in. They go a long way.”

A TOUCH OF ELEGANCE Heart Evangelista, an avid jewelry collector since she was a teenager, shows off how she plays down her earrings and rings from My Diamond's dream collection

A TOUCH OF ELEGANCE Heart Evangelista, an avid jewelry collector since she was a teenager, shows off how she plays down her earrings and rings from My Diamond’s dream collection

Although she had no hand in designing it, the Dream collection mirrors Evangelista’s wise, practical approach when it comes to investing in jewelry. It consists of rings, pendants, and earrings, which, apart from their timeless elegance, follow a meticulously arranged setting that lends the diamonds the illusion of being one solid stone.

Evangelista has been endorsing My Diamond even before she married Sen. Chiz Escudero almost two years ago. She vouches for the quality of its pieces. For one, the stones they use aren’t what her exacting mother calls kulatsang or cloudy and lackluster. My Diamond is really known in the business for choosing only the perfect stones, she said. Its seasoned designers and craftsmen manage to produce chic but classic pieces in every collection they unveil.

Evangelista was introduced early on to real diamonds when her mom gifted her with a pair of two-carat heart-shaped diamond stud earrings on her 12th birthday. When she turned 18, it was her dad’s turn to give her a three-carat diamond ring.

“My dad said that with that ring, I would be forever engaged to him,” Evangelista, who was wearing as many as seven rings during the My Diamond launch, including her wedding band and an eternity ring, shared. “I still have those pieces with me.”

In fact, it’s her dad more than her mom who loves diamonds. Her parents also used to buy loose stones during their travels abroad. With the help of their favorite jeweler, they have the stones set based partly on their designs. Evangelista inherited not only her parents’ eye for jewelry, but also their knack for designing them. She and her mom also share a love for pearls.

“My mom and dad are very meticulous when choosing stones,” she said. “They really love diamonds. They were never into colored stones. They taught me about the importance of clarity. But whenever I consider buying a stone, I still call my mom for advice or approval. I would send her the picture and certificate.”

If you ask her to create her own collection next time, Evangelista thinks she’d go crazy. Next to acting and painting, she loves to redesign old jewelry pieces, which she has outgrown. These reworked pieces never escape her mom’s sharp eyes whenever Evangelista wears something “new.”

“It has become like a joke around the house,” she said. “When she sees me wearing something she hasn’t seen before, she’d ask if it’s new. I’d say no. I just had an old ring reset. I love rearranging old earrings, rings, and bracelets.”

In keeping with her preference for simple jewelry, majority of Evangelista’s more recent purchases are classic pieces. She sometimes buys trendy items, but mostly to accessorize an older, bigger, and more basic piece. Lately, for instance, she has been collecting clutches (pakaw) with dangling details in various styles to draw attention to her more sedate pair of diamond studs.

“I sometimes go for trendy pieces because I already have the basics,” she said.“But it’s not advisable to go too trendy when it comes to buying jewelry. Quirky pieces tend to look dated in 10 years time.”

Instead, she advises the ladies to go with pieces they’re “comfortable” wearing. Although wearing jewelry can be a fashion statement, they’re not like a trendy pair of shoes or dress you can discard when they’re no longer the rage. For Evangelista, everything starts with knowing yourself well.

“It starts with what I feel like wearing, with what I’m comfortable wearing,” she said. “I’m shy about certain areas of my body. I just know myself well that when I see a certain style, whether it’s a dress or a piece of jewelry, I already know whether or not it would suit me.”

Evangelista also believes in jewelry as an ideal investment. She insists that buying the right pieces is always money well spent, especially during times of uncertainty. But instead of treating them as mere instruments to put her excess money in, she views them as precious items you could bequeath someday to your daughters and daughters-in-law.

She’s also the type who rewards herself with a jewelry piece or two, especially after achieving a major accomplishment or arriving at a milestone in her life, including, perhaps, their first baby. She and the hubby plan to seriously start working on it early next year in time for their second wedding anniversary.