Two of Donna Karan’s “babies” are growing up. Mark Kroeker, who helped launch Karan’s Urban Zen line and served as its design director, and Isabel Encinias, who was design director of jewelry at Donna Karan Urban Zen and director of the Haiti Artisan Project, are slowly growing their fine jewelry line Tejen.
After debuting the brand in January and showing it at the Couture jewelry show in Las Vegas in June, the duo is expanding their wholesale presence to Browns in London, Tiny Jewel Box in Washington, D.C., and Grange Hall in Dallas. The line will also sell in the forthcoming boutique Artoriz in Shanghai, and possibly at a top boutique in Los Angeles.
Made from 18-karat Fairmined gold from South America and white diamonds certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council and The Kimberley Process, the line is based on ancient shapes — Tejen means obelisk in Egyptian — and motifs. The signature diamond setting is an inverted princess cut surrounded by a cage of baguettes. Retail prices for the core collection range from $715 for geometric gold studs to $8,455 for a gold and diamond choker. The most popular piece in the collection is a pair of fluted capstone arc earrings.
“Customers say they haven’t seen other lines like it,” said Kroeker. “The idea was ancient/modern, an aesthetic that would be at the Met or at a fine jewelry boutique.”
Recently Tejen added a collection of sterling silver pendants on black cords for men, and it plans to branch into colored designs for next season. “Colored gemstones are harder to guarantee in terms of their ethical origins,” said Encinias, although she’s playing with enameling as a way to bring color into the line. Mines such as Gemfields have recently begun to regulate the origins emeralds and rubies, so those stones could soon also be appearing in the line, she said.