Each year the Couture jewelry show welcomes a mix of new brands into the fold, helping to link them up with the creatives, buyers and executives who walk the show.
The 2021 edition is no exception, once again shinning a light on some newer talents as well as brands just new to the trade show. Here WWD looks at five brands in the 2021 Design Atelier, the show’s incubator for fresh jewelry talent.
Brand name: Dale Hernsdorf, designed by Dale Hernsdorf; launched three years ago.
Price range: $2,000 to $85,000
Describe your brand’s aesthetic: Dale Hernsdorf’s meticulously crafted jewels are inspired by the raw materials themselves: the natural world’s most precious, spiritually charged elements. Twenty-two-karat gold is alloyed by hand, and each gemstone, is selected for its own exceptional beauty. Favorite stones include Paraiba tourmaline, rubellite, mandarin garnet, and aquamarine, most often in cabochon cut. Every link of chain, bezel and twist of wire is then fully hand-wrought in our Los Angeles studio. The line explores the strength of simple forms from a bold, yet timeless perspective. Each heirloom-quality jewel bears exquisite details, artful proportions, and impeccable craftsmanship, evoking a blend of sophistication and subtle irreverence.
What are some signature pieces to the brand? Goddess rings, gorget necklaces.
What are you looking forward to about attending Couture? Showing my collection to discerning jewelry lovers.
How has the pandemic changed how you create? It’s just given me personally a chance to reflect on the importance of authenticity in every piece I make.
Brand name: Milamore Fine Jewelry, designed by George Inaki Root; launched in April 2019.
Price range: $600 to $22,000
Describe your brand’s aesthetic: Milamore is designed in New York and handcrafted in Japan by elevating daily wear fine jewelry. The aesthetic reminds you of classic and vintage forms with edge. Story is incorporated in each piece to add significance and serve as subtle reminders to keep you empowered. Kintsugi is our signature collection; it is about finding beauty in the flaw, and celebrating your story.
What are some signature pieces to the brand? Kintsugi is incorporated seamlessly throughout our other collections, to represent the brand’s identity. We use solid 18-karat yellow gold, solid 18-karat white gold, and precious stones such as emeralds and sapphires.
What are you looking forward to about attending Couture? I am looking forward to meeting press and buyers in person. This is something we haven’t done before, and it’s our first time at Couture. I can’t wait to present my jewelry and tell my stories to everyone.
How has the pandemic changed how you create? During the pandemic, I focused on creating the brand’s identity and defining our true voice. On the business side, I learned about the different markets, in Japan, in the USA, and internationally. Learning about the different markets in a pandemic helped me prepare our brand to be what it is now. I am proud of what we have accomplished.
Brand name: Walters Faith, designed by Mollie Faith Good and Stephanie Walters Abramow; launched in 2013.
Price range: $155 to $68,750
Describe your brand’s aesthetic: We work primarily in 18-karat rose gold and diamonds. Our collection is influenced by the classic and interested in the now. We strive to create wearable fine jewelry for the modern woman that can be layered amongst the other jewels in her wardrobe.
What are some signature pieces for the brand? Our Clive fluted rings and Saxon chains are what we are best known for.
What are you looking forward to about attending Couture? We are thrilled to be amongst all the amazing designers, retailers, editors and industry professionals who make up our amazing jewelry community and present our collection for the first time.
How has the pandemic changed how you create? During the pandemic, we spent a great deal of time creating line extensions that we can add to our current assortment. We have seen how our customers still purchase jewelry to make special occasions and maybe now more than ever. Our manufacturing has been slowed so we are working on designing pieces six to eight months in advance of launching a new collection.
Brand name: Renna, designed by Renna Brown-Taher; launched in summer 2018.
Price range: $350 to $25,000
Describe your brand’s aesthetic: I think of Renna as soft and meditative with a whimsical edge. I design for myself, and dedicate myself to creating and curating timeless, elegant and unique pieces. We’ve always used recycled gold and ethically sourced diamonds. We source our aquamarines from the all-women’s Zimbaqua mine in Zimbabwe and our emeralds from mine-to-market Muzo Emerald Colombia. At Couture, we’re introducing hand-carved gemstone charms in the likeness of some of my favorite shells.
What are some signature pieces for the brand? Our coffee bean shell pieces are the core of our collection. My mother and I found the shells on the shores of Laguna Beach when I was nine years old. She kept them in her safe deposit box and presented me with a bracelet made of the shells cast in 18-karat gold when I graduated from university. I began my career in jewelry over a decade ago and always wore the bracelet. It was obvious to me when I started my own line that I would look to these shells as the DNA of the brand.
What are you looking forward to about attending Couture? We were supposed to debut at Couture in 2020 so it feels like it has been a long time coming. I can’t believe it’s finally happening! Despite not showing in person last year, I already feel like we are a part of the Couture community. We have met a number of fellow brands and retailers through Instagram and from introductions facilitated by Couture. I already feel like I am a part of the community and I am excited to meet everyone in person.
How has the pandemic changed your brand or how you create? I am incredibly excited to debut our new collection — “Through the Looking Glass.” I designed this collection to remind myself to find beauty in the small details all around us. The pandemic helped me pause and embrace the whimsy of the world. We really wanted to incorporate bespoke features as a subtle nod to the wearer, such as the engravings on the Looking Glass ring and Octogram spin ring.
Brand name: Ark Fine Jewelry, designed by Ann Korman; launched in 2017.
Price range: $550 to $20,000
Describe your brand’s aesthetic and the prime materials you use: We make personal, protective talismans using 18-karat gold, diamonds, gemstones and introducing Plique-à-jour enamel. We aim to bring to life ancient symbols embedded with spiritual meaning that communicate an empowering energy to its wearer. We hope our jewelry stimulates a higher consciousness and brings abundance into life.
What are some signature pieces for the brand? I have redesigned the entire collection for Couture this year. My most signature piece, formerly called the Quantum ring, has been updated and now represents an infinity sign that wraps around the finger. We expect that our Dreamweaver Hoops will become our new signature earring; they make a statement, but are incredibly lightweight.
What are you looking forward to about attending Couture? We’ve been working on our new collection for the past year and a half and are looking forward to the opportunity to show everything in person at Couture. Our special introduction is Plique-à-jour, where we’ve enhanced certain pieces with an enameling technique applied to empty spaces so light can shine through. We’re also excited to see people in the jewelry community that we have missed. It will truly be a celebration to be together once again.
How has the pandemic changed your brand or how you create? The pandemic reinforced my belief that people need meaningful talismans to give them strength and joy. I think that having something tangible with positive energy can be a powerful tool. “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in” is a Leonard Cohen quote that is in my mind right now and seems as timely as ever. The pandemic has been a challenging time, but gave me the opportunity to practice what I preach and find the light in every moment, even when things feel uncomfortable. I was inspired by my meditations and from my study of consciousness as I started to redesign my entire collection. I began to take traditional mandalas and abstract them to make them my own and then amplifying pieces with exciting color combinations.
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