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Two alumnae of Judith Ripka are going out on their own.
This story first appeared in the October 13, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Stephanie Sheikowitz and Jenny Klatt, who met while working for Ripka, have branched out with a fine jewelry line dubbed Jemma Wynne.
The collection is young in spirit, with a prismatic color scheme using color-saturated tourmalines, rubellites, kunzites and yellow beryls. Styles range from open-ended gold bangles with finials of watermelon tourmaline or a cluster of diamonds to bold gold and pavé diamond cocktail rings with large gemstones. Other notable looks include bold black diamond and green tourmaline pendant earrings and a charm bracelet featuring rippled gold discs with diamonds and colored gemstones. Prices range from $1,000 to $20,000 at retail.
There are plans to distribute the line at select specialty retailers and independent boutiques. The designers also want to open their own stores in New York and Los Angeles in a few years. Neither would comment on sales projections.
While the duo met at Ripka, they have more in common than that. Both designers began creating jewelry for themselves while attending college, which amounted to little enterprises. Klatt and Sheikowitz each came to New York to hone their craft. Klatt ended up in product development and was production coordinator for Ripka, and Sheikowitz, who studied graphic design, was a design assistant at the jewelry house.
“After being at Judith Ripka for a few years, we both felt that we learned a lot but had so many ideas that didn’t lend themselves to the jewelry that Judith made,” said Sheikowitz, 26, a native of Goshen, N.Y. “We have younger taste. It’s a funkier feel. We have a really good feel for what a girl under 30 would wear.”
The duo, whose brand name is an amalgam of their first and middle names, began the project after leaving Ripka a year ago.
“We have such similar tastes, but come at it from very different angles,” said Klatt, 24, who hails from Livingston, N.J. “Our jewelry is a combination of my bohemian aesthetic and Stephanie’s more tailored, polished look.”