Discover the Crown Jewel of Studio D Jewelers


You may know Studio D Jewelers from their wide selection of premium jewelry. Perfect for every one of life’s events and stages. But while Studio D has all the personal service visitors have come to know and love from this decades-established business, it also has the custom capabilities that go above and beyond other jewelry stores. The proof? The crown jewel of Studio D.

“Everyone in the store calls it ‘The Aqua,’ but I call it ‘My Baby,’” says Studio D Jewelers co-owner Bret Dougherty. “I still vividly remember first seeing and purchasing the gem. We were about 2/3 of the way through a three-week gem buying trip”. 

Bret and Tom Dougherty (founder of Studio D Jewelers) discovered the jewel while at an open-air market in Antananarivo, Madagascar. It was a beautiful, 39ct natural unheated aquamarine. 

Designed From Scratch

After they acquired the gemstone, they brought it back to Studio D Jewelers in Woodstock, Illinois. Once back, they shifted their focus toward brainstorming what the best use was for such a magnificent gem. “Our CAD designer and I decided to create a red-carpet piece, something that really shows that we can do anything,” recalls Bret. “We worked together and came up with a classic design, something that doesn’t detract from the 39ct aquamarine but would enhance its beauty”. 

The outcome was a double halo design with a diamond-laced hourglass shape. This design created a basket to protect the backside of The Aqua while stabilizing the piece on the neck. 

But the jewel still needed to be cleaned up before it could become the piece it is today. That was where graduate gemologist and award-winning gemstone cutter Richard Homer offered his assistance. 

Crafted Between Mentor and Apprentice

Richard has worked with Studio D Jewelers on their annual Gemstone Roundtable Event and is one of Bret’s closest mentors. When Bret showed him a model of what the piece will look like, Richard said, “This is going to be a beautiful piece when it is done … Do you want it to be amazing?” Bret accepted his offer and gave him the aquamarine to remodel its shape for the design.

Richard took the gem back to his studio and cut 4.5cts off the bottom, giving it his signature concaved faceted look that you see today. Once completed, Richard returned the gemstone to Bret for the final step. Bret polished the palladium mounting and set the 34.5 ct aquamarine plus the 197 diamonds to create The Aqua, as it is known today.

An Icon is Born

From start to finish, the team spent over ten hours creating the piece. They put six hours into the design and CAD process and over four hours into setting and polishing. But all that time was worth it. Today, The Aqua has been in over 40 weddings and remains the crown jewel of Studio D Jewelers. 

Come and see the beauty of The Aqua and the rest of the fantastic pieces crafted by the Studio D Jewelers team in-store today. The store is now located on the historic Woodstock Square at 118 N. Benton Street, Woodstock, Illinois 60098. To learn more about how Studio D Jewelers can create your perfect piece, call (815) 337-2015 or visit for more information.