It’s hard to describe Jewelry Market Week to the uninitiated. I’m sorry, but the JCK Vegas Show and the Couture Event are just NOT the same as a trade show for…soap, or office products. How to articulate the sparkle, the catch in the throat? How to describe the singular euphoria of seeing emerging designers alongside jewelry icons? How to communicate the contact high from seeing your favorite people in the world for a few blissful days? And all of this visual overload and emotional pitch set against the backdrop of the surreal Las Vegas?
A cuff by Coomi with blue and white slice diamonds and spectacularly textured gold.
It can only be described as a spell, cast by jewelry and the beautiful people who design, make, and support the industry. The energy I felt in the hallways and the salons was palpable, and propelled me through four plus days of sprinting through ballrooms, snapping, and chatting.
I saw some incredible jewelry. Jewelry that confounded me: how did someone match 58 Paraiba tourmalines? I saw jewelry that stretched my perception of what adornment can do.
Clever jewelry with a sense of humour by master craftsman Arman Sarkisyan: this “Instant Saint” pendant can convert any scaled photograph into an Iconic Saint, thanks to a backdrop of luxurious lapis lazuli and built-in golden halo. Sainthood currently occupied by Arman’s Aunt.
It’s hard to use the word TREND in jewelry. At its best, fine jewelry should transcend fleeting ideas of current inclinations or proclivities in fashion. If you invest in a piece of fine jewelry, it should MOVE you, to the point of breathlessness. If that happens, you are probably still going to love it twenty years from now.
So while I hesitate to use the word trend as it might apply to Forever 21, there are definite directions in jewelry design. There is burgeoning creativity the likes of which I have never seen in a couple of decades of being in the industry. In 2014, I feel that the ideas I saw taking root last year have grown and expanded into full-fledged movements that I would describe as The Midas Touch (lots of warm, lustrous gold); One-of-a-Kinds (celebrating rarity and self-expression); The Blues (Tanzanites, Opals, Paraibas and…my favorite…Indicolite Tourmalines); Acute Angles (jewelry with a geometric bent); and Body Jewelry.
Colette Jewelry does it again: her latest foray into hand jewelry, a white gold mesh ornament that moved and fit like fabric.
Trying to pick one favorite designer or favorite piece is impossible. Instead let me show you jewelry that moved me somehow, jewelry with thought in the design, and love in the details.
Designer Fernando Jorge travelled with Stephen Webster to Couture. His designs were everything: inventive interpretations of high jewelry. This is a pink opal cuff in rose gold.
John Brevard combines architecture, sculpture and fractals in the smartest jewelry I saw at the shows.
SYNA’s one-of-a-kind designs represent organic with their hand-carved fossilized mammoth pendant with spontaneous diamonds set around the edge.
I love making new discoveries at the jewelry shows, and this emerging designer I met at the Couture Design Awards carves incredible multi-finger rings from single agate druzies. Sanni Falkenberg is one to watch!
Suzy Landa’s incomparable indicolite earrings: the bottom stones graduate in color, and the top stones match the adjacent shade perfectly.
New Todd Reed: rare Octahedron diamond crystals meet their worthy foil in gorgeous gold settings with accent diamonds.
Vicente Agor and Michael Pfeffer design some truly gorgeous jewels. Inspiration for this rose gold and labradorite ring: Kim Novak from Vertigo, Henry Miller and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Spectacular color was everywhere. Color savant Erica Courtney combines the unexpected in this series of earrings.
Gorgeous gold: Gumuchian B Collection cuff bracelet. A portion of each sale from this collection benefits HoneyLove.org!
A handful of Just Jules brand new engagement rings and wedding bands: all feature fancy colored rose-cut diamonds and actual vintage details, like bands made from antique stickpins.
I just profiled Pamela Huizenga, so I was thrilled to see her work in person, like this gorgeous bracelet!
Michael John Jewelry introduced their Portofino Collection: it’s easy to get lost in the azure depths of the gemstones. The designer literally lit up when he was talking about the inspiration of Italy.
Couture award winner Nam Cho uses colored gemstones and diamonds in inventive ways: geometric and tribal, somehow simultaneously.
Mark Schneider designed these enchanting cufflinks. Is this the first time that cufflinks HAVE cufflinks? And note the diamond ring on the left hand!
You can check out my Instagram feed for more jewelry treasures I found at the show. Next up: Jewelry Week 2014, the People Edition.