Fine jewelry is on the rise. With Beyonce and Jay Z dripping in diamonds in Tiffany commercials and Megan Fox’s emerald and diamond ring breaking the internet, you might be looking for ways to update your own jewelry look. But, for the uninitiated, where to start? Jewelry can be intimidating. It is a financial investment that requires careful thought and a fundamental knowledge of stones and metals. While the Cartiers and Bulgaris of the world are still great (albeit expensive) foundations, there are also plenty of up-and-coming jewelry designers to explore.
Take Polite Worldwide, who reinvented the pearl necklace into a gender-neutral choker suitable for Justin Bieber and all the men who aspire to dress like him. Or Rachel Quinn, who handcrafts wearable and affordable surreal art. Marisa Klass takes natural stones and mixes them into fun rainbow-hued charm necklaces for the hippie-chic crowd. While Almasika’s elegant restraint is reflected in its use of yellow gold and diamonds only to create exciting and fresh everyday products. And Uniform Object’s heavy metal collection is so modern and well-proportioned that it has found fans in both male and female customers.
With the discovery of new talents, we find the cradle of emerging trends in jewelry. TZR shed light on these emerging designers who are the next wave of designers pushing jewelry design forward and influencing the way we all accessorize – one earring at a time. Each of these designers’ views are very different, so scroll through to find the one that best suits your personal style.
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A mother of three, Marisa Klass began designing jewelry at the age of nine, with colorful beads and camp jumbles. That playfulness stuck, as did her eye for color. Her signature style for her eponymous brand includes seashells and a rainbow of tourmalines, usually as pendants dangling from chakra bead necklaces. When it comes to finding pieces for his designs, Klass notes to TZR, “I’m drawn to gemstones with inclusions; they make the play more interesting – I like the rawness of it all. In its true form, its new collection of rings celebrates the imperfection of nature.
David Farrugia eschews the word unisex to describe his jewelry brand Uniform Object. “I don’t aspire to make feminine or masculine pieces, just jewelry that I love.” One look at his collection, it is evident that Farrugia’s subversive take on classics, such as the tennis bracelet, challenges the notion of high jewelry as precious and delicate objects. His designs are aggressive staples, like heavy chain necklaces that can be worn multiple ways and oversized cuff rings that look like finger armor bound to a laptop. And it turns out that the clean design appeals to both genders, even in one’s own home. “My girlfriend and I share all of our pieces, except the earrings, I don’t have my ears pierced,” says Farrugia.
A keshi pearl shaped like a cloud with golden lightning bolts and white topaz raindrops – this quirky and fun design is the vision of jeweler Rachel Quinn who describes its aesthetic as “whimsical and playful, rooted in romantic surrealism” . Having started her career as a bench jeweler, Quinn crafts each piece by hand, all invoked with a sense of humor. Hearts are a major theme, with one of her favorites being her puffy, pincushion-shaped heart earrings studded with pearls. Liberty of London recently revived their line and Billie Eilish is known to wear the brand.
Polished around the world
2021 was the year of the pearl men as stars like Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith and even MLB player Joc Pederson embraced the style. Polite Worldwide has a lot to do with it. With pink, gray and black beads aligned on silver ball chains and adorned with charms, the designs are part candy raver beads, part surfer puka shells and not part grandma . In his own words, Polite Worldwide has created a “new jewelry culture where men are now wearing more feminine and expressive pieces.” And the brand is exploding, seen on countless male influencers and stocked in stores like Mr Porter, Saks and Selfridges.
If you saw former First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent appearance on ABC Blackish, you already know the Almasika jewelry brand. You couldn’t miss Mrs. Obama’s large circular gold pendant and hoop earrings. Reese Witherspoon and Issa Rae have also been spotted in bold gold jewelry, the work of London-born, Paris-raised, Chicago-based designer Catherine Sarr. The designer’s Parisian upbringing influenced her style and explains that her aim is “simple and refined, timeless and effortless basics”.