There was no shortage of fine jewelry design talent in 2017, but a few designers managed to make their voices heard above the others in a very saturated market.
The below eight up-and-coming brands are particularly poised to make an impression in the year ahead.
Brent Neale Jewelry
Brent Neale launched her line last year with a polish and confidence attributable to having spent eight years at Kara Ross. The New Yorker favors bold, colorful design that doesn’t get lost in a sea of other jewelers. Neale’s rainbow and unicorn pieces are more sophisticated than their inspiration would imply, but her new inlay door pieces are the most timeless of her oeuvre I’ve seen so far.
Karma El Khalil
Karma El Khalil has been building her career for the last several years but the decidedly global designer continues to expand her abilities. Her latest collection, Linea, explores the idea of fluidity that El Khalil has tinkered with before, with jewelry that lies on the body like (comfortable) armor.
Qiu Fine Jewelry
Chaoqiu He is in the early stages of launching her Qiu Fine Jewelry line—her one-of-a-kind pieces have been sold privately to her clients in the past—but is doing so with considerable aplomb. The art collector and style ambassador’s Shanghai/Shanghai collection launched in collaboration with Muzo Emeralds last year and puts the designer in the ranks of the world’s greatest high jewelers. He’s exquisite creations redefine what it means to be “made in China.”
Designer Yuta Ishihara has developed a successful venture with brand Shihara in his native Japan, but recently made a push into the U.S. market. The thoughtful designer, who takes a conceptual approach to his craft, is creating pieces unlike anyone in America, re-thinking basic settings, techniques and closures. Expect to see much more of Shihara’s minimal, engineer-like aesthetic in the future.
Santo by Zani
It’s not uncommon for a socialite to try her hand at jewelry design—the medium is, after all, an expensive one—but Santo by Zani, designed by Zani Gugelmann, exhibits a touch of brilliance deserving of buzz. Based on the concept of unfolding, and opening and closing, Gugelmann’s ceramic and gemstone-accented pendants bring geometric design to the next level.
Fresh off a win in the high jewelry category of the DDFC/Vogue Arabia Fashion Prize, Nadine Ghosn’s cheeky, joyful line of jewels is becoming more well-known by the minute. Ghosn is the designer of the hamburger ring, which she followed up with a playful assortment of sushi-inspired jewelry. It would be hard to top the year Nadine Ghosn had in 2017 (she also took home a prize at the Couture Design Awards), but I can’t wait to see the direction Ghosn goes next.
Speaking of jewelry imitating food, Swedish brand All Blues garnered attention for its “Ruined Omelette” series of costume jewelry, an abstract take on egg shells, whites and yolks. All Blues designs pieces for both women and men in silver and 18-karat gold vermeil, and continually pushes the design envelope, as in their latest earrings made of fabric.
German-born Alina Abegg exploits the camp of outer space motifs in her namesake line. Her alien pinky rings are a signature, while less-explicit styles like her UFO studs are surprisingly wearable.