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Three established local jewelry designers who usually work in silver have gone luxe, adding collections that feature diamonds and gold.
This story first appeared in the July 31, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Dian Malouf never really cared for diamonds, preferring to design and wear chunky sterling and gold jewelry. But Brooke Malouf, who manages her mother’s 17-year-old designer jewelry business, had other ideas.
Brooke started sprinkling tiny diamonds in some of the best-selling rings, and the consumer response was immediate.
“It’s really taken off, and it’s the last thing in the world I ever expected,” Dian Malouf said. “But they are not so obnoxious that you can’t wear them every day, and they don’t break the bank. I guess the word is practical.”
Malouf is now expanding the diamond line along with another new group that has been a hit this year: men’s commitment rings, including a band inscribed “Hitched.” (For those wanting to send another message, “Unhitched” is available, too.)
Malouf’s work is distinctive, epitomized by large pieces featuring layered shapes and blackened incisions. Everything is hand-carved and cast, and nothing is plated.
“I don’t want perfect,” she declared. “I think perfect is boring. You can have a machine do it. Nothing can compare with the human hand.”
Malouf’s top accounts are Saks Fifth Avenue, New York, and Packard’s, Santa Fe, N.M.
Lynette Miller’s whimsical sterling fairy-themed jewelry, including wand charms and a frog prince ring, has an almost cultish following via boutiques and her Web site, faeirerings.com.
But Miller, who is also a painter and sculptor, has long been drawn to high-karat gold and precious stones.
“It’s been a natural progression for me to move into 18- to 24-karat gold and platinum as Americans have become more aware and demanding of higher-karat gold,” she said. “There is a desire for that quality and rarity in metals because of the beautiful color and because it is timeless.”
Inspired by ancient painting and sculpture, Miller aims for “elegant and timeless” style as she crafts wedding rings and unique pieces made with handpicked stones, including diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald, blue Peruvian opal, green garnet, tanzanite, moonstone and peacock labradorite.
“I want to have a piece that can go from formal to casual, day to evening — something a client just wants to wear,” she said.
Miller’s fine jewelry is carried by Craig Lawrence Jewelers in Dallas.
Elizabeth Showers made a name for herself with beaded sterling and vermeil jewelry over the last decade, but last year, she said she realized, “I had to progress.” And has she.
Showers this year unveiled an extensive collection of 18-karat gold jewelry accented with diamonds, turquoise, lapis and green amethyst. The Maltese cross is a recurring, best-selling shape in earrings, pendants and eternity bands studded with colorful stones.
“I feel more proud about my jewelry than I ever have,” Showers said. “It’s real stuff.”
A recovered anorexic, Showers says the intent of her work is to make women feel beautiful. “It’s to feel good about yourself now — not when you lose five pounds, not when you get that man.”
She created a signature “star of hope” that dots her logo and many of her jewels. Certain pieces, such as the “star of hope” necklace, also benefit charities that fight anorexia.
Among Showers’ accounts are Fiskin & Fiskin in Southern Pines, N.C., Jamie’s in Nashville and Elliott Yeary in Aspen, Colo.