Skip to Content

Jewelry Designers

Ooh La La in Paris

Every season the House of Givenchy joins the Paris Fashion Week for its ready-to-wear fashion show. This Fall, things got pretty interesting in the jewelry department. Ten-year Creative Director Riccardo Tisci caused quite a reaction when his models walked the runway wearing not only septum rings (a nose ring piercing between the nostrils) but an added assortment of gems glued up and down his models’ faces. The process took hours to set up, and the finished product included embellishments like pearls, emeralds, and rubies. To pay homage to his Victorian inspirations, Tisci also utilized an oft-used 19th century mineral to affect Victorian signs of mourning. Tisci specifically sought an over-the-top look with his gems; a couple of the nose rings were so large that they dipped down over the lips and around to the cheeks like a handlebar mustache, a shape mimicked by the models’ front bangs, slicked against the forehead.  For one model, the rest of the ensemble included almond-shaped black gems beneath the eyes and large round crystals on either side of her lips, as well as another small piece at the dimple of her chin and up and down either ear.  Another replaced her counterpart’s black stones with white pearls for a brighter, though equally innovative, look. Tisci calls the look “Victorian-chola”, a tribute to the 19th century and to the Latin American style he brought into his design. The many celebrities in the front row — including Amanda Seyfried and Katy Perry — seemed quite interested in what Tisci had to show, so perhaps we’ll see this new style emerging on the next red carpet!

You can see more here:


The new trend among earring wearers is something people are calling ‘Askew Crew’ — that is to say, mismatched jewelry on either side of your face.  This style takes various forms — from different colors to different sizes, even single-earring designs that leave one ear completely bare. Maybe the next time you lose an earring, instead of pocketing the other one, you can make your own statement by leaving it in!

Some of the most well-known designers have decided to get in on this action, like Louis Vuitton, Betsey Johnson, and Oscar de la Renta. Louis Vuitton has gone all out, with a whole array of single studs from the Monogram Idylle collection. They offer simple four-petaled flowers encased in a thin-rimmed circle, dangling from a single round diamond, a piece that comes in one of three shades of gold (white, yellow, or pink). This earring can be worn as one of a set, but it also is a great statement piece as a single earring or as a mismatched pair with one of the other golds. Another option is the asymmetrical Monogram Resille, with one thin-petaled flower inscribed inside a square while its partner, a round-petaled flower, is inscribed in a circle.

Betsey Johnson takes a more playful perspective, like their mismatched partners of the Ear Cuff with Arrow: one, a silver star-shaped stud with a single diamond core, and the other heart-tipped arrow that dangles, the entire head encrusted with ten small diamonds. Oscar de la Renta, meanwhile opts for a bolder imbalance with its Swarovski Crystal Ear Cuff. Created for only one ear, this three-piece set includes separate pieces for the upper and middle part of the ear, as well as a single pearl for the lobe. If none of these feel right for you, there’s plenty more where each one came from. After all, this new wave is just getting started!

You can see more here:

and here:

and here:



Last week marked the launch of Nikki Erwin’s new jewelry collection, Established.  Nikki Erwin, who until now was known for her extensive handbag brand Donatienne, has decided to branch out in the fashion market. The event was hosted by actresses Erin and Sara Foster at Soho House in West Hollywood.

Erwin’s collection is made up of 14 karat and 18 karat pieces that Erwin describes as a blend of “edgy and sexy”. Pieces include a diamond torpedo necklace, pyramid dagger earrings, a “Thug Life” chunky gold ring, and many others.  Some, like a necklace in the shape of a razor blade, are studded with diamonds. Others call on religious symbolism, like the evil-eye diamond bracelet.  Although this is Erwin’s first line, she has been designing jewelry on an individual basis for nearly a decade. The recent choice to come out with a complete collection wasn’t so much of a decision as it was a natural progression.  She found herself with a sudden “influx of creativity” that simply developed into a fully functional jewelry line.  The results of this influx — well, they speak for themselves.

You can see more here:

Joseff Hollywood, part 2

After Eugene Joseff’s untimely death in 1948, his wife Joan filled his role in all his companies (including Joseff Precision Metal Products, which built aircraft and missile parts) until her own passing only five years ago.  With almost ninety years in the film business, Joseff-Hollywood accrued quite a collection of jewelry… not to mention an equally boastful collection of anecdotes to match!

For a trio of thieves in 1942’s The Jungle Book, Joseff created a swirling red and gold armor breastplate with faux gold faces, all studded with rhinestones. Due to the considerable amount of jumping and wrestling during scenes, the colorful rhinestones would come loose, forcing the crew to pause several times a shoot just to replace them.  In 1963’s Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor had the famous snake belt designed for her — a thick gold rope clasped by a coiled snake with an emerald crown in its head constructed specifically to her body. Enough changed between the day of measurement and the fitting that by the time Joan Joseff returned with the belt, it was 2½ inches too small. Elizabeth Taylor insisted Joseff had measured incorrectly and although Joan knew the truth (after all, she was known for her meticulous cuts) she didn’t argue.

Like her husband, who crafted heavily ornate jewelry for 67 royal children in Anna and the King of Siam as well as thousands of pieces for a treasure trove in The Jungle Book, Joan enjoyed the hard work for its own sake. Their devotion and determination to their trade are likely what carried Joseff-Hollywood to the top during Hollywood’s Golden Age of film. They left behind quite a legacy and a wealth of ornaments, each with its own glittering history.


Joseff Hollywood

In the twenties and thirties, one of the most prominent Hollywood jewelry suppliers was a designer named Eugene Joseff, founder and president of Joseff-Hollywood. In fact, over a span of 28 years (from 1921 to 1949), he worked on costumes and wardrobes for many films, and his company, which continued after his death, supplied jewelry for over one thousand movies, including classics like Casablanca and Some Like it Hot as well as a few television sitcoms.

Joseff’s popularity rose in part because of his innovative techniques, which were particularly useful for the big screen.  One major asset was his development of a visually effective substitute for gold, called Russian gold plating.  Real gold creates an over-reflective surface causing a glare on film, but with Russian gold plating’s semi-matte copper-gold finish, the unwelcome glare was significantly minimized.

But a clever scientific approach was not the only feature that guaranteed him a spot at the top of Hollywood’s costume hierarchy. His creations are also undeniably exquisite, ostentatious in a way only the early 20th century could manage.  For Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind, he created a stunning diamond and amethyst necklace along two thin chains — both studded with round diamonds — that joined with large amethyst gems at three equidistant points. Leigh’s costar, Clark Gable, carried a gold and silver cigar case that is known as such an irreplaceable part of film history that it can never leave the studio.  More on Joseff’s legacy in posts to come!

Stuff of the Future

Sometimes, jewelry goes beyond contemporary; in collections like NN by Nghi Nguyen, the style appears downright futuristic. Vietnamese designer Nguyen lives according to the mission statement of creating highly conceptual jewelry, an idea that manifests itself in a distinctly sci­fi imprint on all his jewelry. His design goal is to produce pieces that resemble museum artifacts one might find on an alien planet, a blend of ancient historical traits with postmodern foreign ones.

This vision is perfectly exemplified in his Hephaestus Ring, created as homage to the Greek god of metal ­smiths. Set perpendicular to the silver band is a crescent shape that is studded with reverse-set diamonds. Hovering inside the crescent is a thin disc of 150­karat rock crystal.

One of Nguyen’s many talents lies in his ability to mold familiar materials into unique textures and styles, which he demonstrates often by using heavy metals to create intricate fine lace designs. He establishes this in pieces like the Lace Armor Ring, a bronze ring, thin but wide, that wraps across the entire bottom half of the finger in elaborate four­petaled flowers. Others like this are the Armor Cuff, which envelops half of the forearm, and the Torn Armor Gorget, which is made with a combination of bronze, silver, and gunmetal.

These pieces debuted in a collection inspired by a combination of Joan of Arc’s medieval attire and traces of advanced robotics. This blend embodies the common thread found in all of Nguyen’s jewelry – consistently pushing the limits and finding new ways to captivate his fans.  You can see more on his website:

Avant Garden

Fashion designer Kendra Scott, CEO and founder of the eponymous Kendra Scott Design, Inc., has a new jewelry line out for Spring of 2015. The collection, cleverly titled Avant Garden, blends a modern style (“Avant”) with natural, elemental beauty (“Garden”). The result is a slew of soft, pastel hues like rose quartz, rose gold druzy, blue lace agate, and plenty of others. These natural tones combine beautifully with the sleek, modern cuts and designs, as seen in the Billie Ear Climbers; inspired by organic crystal spears found along rocky cavewalls, this striking piece is designed with three spear­shaped cylinders that get progressively taller as they climb up the earlobe. The middle spear attaches to the ear, while the upper and lower give the appearance of the “ear climbing” reflected in the name.  These earrings come in one of three soft color options: rose gold, rhodium, or gold.

Within the Avant Garden collection are a number of colorful cuffs, a piece that is pretty popular in today’s market, ranging from lilac to mint to iridescent white.  There is also the bold Yasmin Hand Bracelet, a bracelet that is worn over the whole hand, though it maintains a simple, elegant appearance. The gold­ plated cuff on the wrist is attached to a thin chain that loops over the back of the hand to fit around any finger, giving the piece somewhat of a middle eastern feel.

Every bracelet, ring, and necklace pushes the limits of creativity and innovation, so be sure to check out the rest at:­designer­jewelry/new­and­now/avant­garden

« Previous Entries Next Entries »