A blizzard put a serious damper on this year’s JA New York Spring show, ending it a day early, which was a shame considering the strength of its New Designer Gallery.
Normally relegated to the summer edition, this was the first time that spring show-goers had a chance to experience the gallery, which was comprised of eight up-and-coming fine jewelry brands.
Baker & Black’s 10-karat yellow gold geometric drop earrings with black onyx, lapis lazuli and malachite ($1,100)
Baker & Black, from Brooklyn, New York designer Megan Baker, launched in 2013 and is gaining traction with its colorful range of mobile-like earrings and gem-centric cocktail rings.
Baker experiments with color, mixing gemstones like lapis, malachite and onyx in a single pair of earrings, or a green tourmaline with vibrant orange sapphires for an unexpectedly eye-catching statement ring. She also ventures into neutrals with pearls, though color is her strong suit.
Larisa Laivins’ 18-karat gold Eden ring with rose-cut labradorite and diamonds ($2,500)
Larisa Laivins’ eponymous line of fine jewelry also launched in 2013.
The Los Angeles designer’s creations form a cohesive narrative of a woman both urban and natural, New Age and classically romantic.
“Campo Frio” turquoise sourced from Sonora, Mexico features heavily in Laivins’ recent work. The stone’s calming green hue, dramatically different from typical blue shades of turquoise or the rarely embraced bright neon green variation, seems to be something of what I hope is a signature.
Mia Chicco’s 9-carat yellow gold Bronzina ring with white diamonds (approximately $1,608.80 at current exchange rates)
Mia Chicco is the sole designer of the New Designer Gallery located outside of Los Angeles or New York; she creates her line of rustic, antique-inspired jewelry in Sydney, Australia.
Chicco’s training with master jewelers in Florence shows in her romantic line, which could have been unearthed from some ancient jewelry box.
Deliberately rendered to look imperfect and exhibit the touch of its maker, Chicco’s bridal offerings are of particular interest for the growing sector of brides looking for variation and uniqueness.
Ark Jems’ 18-karat yellow gold Blue Saturn ring with custom faceted Ceylon sapphires ($13,156)
Ark Jems made its official brand launch at JA New York following a few years in development. The intentionality and thoughtfulness showed at L.A.-based designer Ann R. Korman’s booth.
Featuring sacred geometry motifs, moonstones and a smattering of old-cut and Herkimer diamonds, Ark Jems embodies an aura of otherworldly luminescence. Korman’s varied background, which runs the gamut from fashion and art to yoga and Kabbalah, feels wholly represented in her work.
A highlight is a spinning gold pendant representing male and female energies, with the crown of a white diamond featured on one side and its pavilion on the other.
Amyn’s 18-karat yellow gold DeLis Drop earrings with black onyx ($2,200)
Amyn Rahimtoola has been in the jewelry industry since he was 13 and has his own store, Amyn The Jeweler, where he sells his rose-cut diamond designs in Santa Monica.
Last year he launched Amyn, a more delicate counterpart to his established brand. Amyn is comprised of granulated, filigree gold jewelry, a modern interpretation of ancient Indian jewelry.
Amyn is mature and elegant, with trend-focused pieces incorporated here and there, like a hand bracelet Rahimtoola created just before the show at his daughter’s suggestion.
Nataly Aponte’s 18-karat green gold “Sparks Are Flying” necklace with various shades of pink tourmaline ($9,500)
Nataly Aponte has created a pop-art-meets-fine-jewelry signature with her line of matchstick-inspired necklaces, earrings and “badges” (a term Aponte prefers to “brooch” because it indicates a “badge of honor,” she explained).
The Brooklyn, New York-located designer’s tongue-in-cheek collection, which is abstract enough to work aesthetically without the literal allusion, is delightful to see in a variety of colors and forms.
Aponte sported the above “Sparks are Flying” necklace at the show, and her simple, single matchstick pendants are great everyday pieces.
Kristi Sword’s sterling silver Fragment Chandelier earrings ($458)
Kristi Sword showed her namesake range of industrial-meets-tribal jewelry, rendered in sterling silver and 18-karat yellow gold.
Originally hailing from Iowa, Sword earned a master’s degree in metalsmithing and jewelry at the State University of New York New Paltz and now creates each of her pieces by hand at Brooklyn Metal Works.
Rachel Atherley’s ammolite pendants in silver ($125), 14-karat yellow gold ($900) and oxidized silver ($200)
Fellow SUNY New Paltz metalsmithing alumni Rachel Atherley explores motifs plucked straight from nature in her eponymous line.
From snakeskin patterns to nautilus shapes, Atherley puts her own spin on natural textures in her sterling silver, gold and gemstone jewelry, which she crafts by hand in the Hudson Valley in New York.
Atherley’s ammonite-shaped pieces are particularly strong.