When Kelly Rowland lays down a track, don’t expect to find her in sweatpants and a T-shirt. “I have to feel very fly in the studio,” says the singer, who as a solo artist has won two Billboard awards and a Grammy and is currently recording her fifth album. So she adorns herself with gold hoops (a Valentine’s Day gift from her husband and manager, Tim Witherspoon), a wristful of colorful bracelets, several rings, and of course her cushion-cut diamond sparkler on that finger. “The ring is gorgeous, but it’s the love that matters,” says Rowland. “That’s worth more than any ring.” She also likes to add an unexpected touch, like a big, bold watch. “I love the look of a masculine watch on my wrist,” says Rowland, who is designing a range of timepieces for TW Steel, a Dutch watch company that specializes in oversize men’s designs. The watches work well with her eclectic no-rules-allowed collection of baubles.

Kelly Rowland

Douglas Friedman

Who inspired your passion for jewelry?
My mother loved jewelry. I remember being a kid and watching my mama put tons of rings on her fingers. I got that idea from her. She does that to this day.

Diamonds are definitely your best friend—you wear them everywhere, even when working out with your trainer. Why dress up for the gym?
When you’re sweating, it’s nice to have on some sparkle to keep you motivated—and there is a mirror in front of you!

Tell us about the diamond engagement ring Tim gave you.
He designed it. It’s beautiful, but I don’t always wear it. What’s more meaningful to me are our tattoos [a small, simple line design]. We have matching ones on our ring fingers. They symbolize our love for each other.

How would you define your overall style?
I dress according to my moods. I change my look all the time and will go from diamonds to costume jewels. I don’t think there should be restrictions about how to dress.

So when did you decide to get edgy and have a tragus piercing?
(The tragus is the part of the ear above the lobe and in front of the canal.) Almost 10 years ago. It was totally spur of the moment. The stud I wear in it is by (piercing specialist and jewelry designer) Maria Tash.

Who are some other designers you love?
For high-fashion pieces I prefer Céline and GivenchyLorraine Schwartz and her sister Ofira for fine jewelry. I also like Jennifer Fisher’s trendy designs.

Kelly Rowland

Douglas Friedman

What are your favorite gemstones?
Rubies, because of my aunt Lillian. When she passed away, her daughter gave me a ring Lillian had worn forever. I had a ruby put into it with diamonds surrounding it. The design, shining stones around a single red heart, represents our family.

Do you like giving jewelry as a gift?
I do. My friend La La Anthony and I always buy each other little diamond baubles for our birthdays. The last time I went shopping for her, I bought her a ring at Barneys.

What draws you to a piece of jewelry when you see it?
The design has to be something I will wear forever. It has to be timeless, so I know I’ll be able to give it to my children and that they can in turn give it to their children.

Anything you’re lusting after?
Yes! I want this gorgeous Lorraine Schwartz canary-yellow diamond ring with white, yellow, and black diamond embellishments on the sides and along the finger. I love how big it is and all the detailing in the design.

Where does your love of watches fit into your collection?
When I think about timepieces, I think class. A watch is a fine piece of jewelry on your wrist—an extra bracelet with numbers on it. And a big watch makes me feel powerful!

Want more stunning jewels? Shop 40 fabulous engagement rings in our gallery!