Last week after months of planning, JA New York took place. I curated the New Designer Gallery, which had previously been done by Cindy Edelstein. I don't think I'll ever be able to recount an experience putting together this gallery or helping a new designer without remembering Cindy - she passed away suddenly in February. I was lucky enough to have had Cindy as a mentor and while I didn't get nearly enough time with her, I am grateful for everything I learned.
Planning and executing the New Designer Gallery taught me so much about Cindy. I heard story after story about the positive change and incredible support that she provided to new designers. I hope that I can live up to her legacy.
The show was more successful than imagined. The designers, their collections and the collaborative energy was amazing.
Elisa Solomon has a darling collection of 60s & 70s inspired jewelry. Each piece is colorful, fun and very well-made. She also has beautifully refined and unique bridal rings. I love the dreamy quality and hippie vibe of Elisa's designs.
Hannah Blount showed off her unique take on gemstone jewelry. She sets many of her stones using prongs in a way I have never seen before. Her one-of-a-kind beauties also look stunning when paired with her hand-crafted face designs, that she calls her ladies.
Santi Rom's collection, inspired by ancient patterns, is more stunning than expected, and I expected quite a bit. Roman, the designer behind the line, is one of the most passionate designers I have ever met and you can see it in his designs.
Emilie Shapiro has been a favorite designer of mine for years, so is felt amazing to have her at the show. This was the first time Emilie displayed her full fine line and it's so incredible - high quality, beautiful and one-of-a-kind. The stones she chooses to pair together are unexpected perfection.
Acanthus really impressed me. I had no idea just how amazing the designs she was working on leading up to the show would be. Nichole debuted pieces that had patterns of 24ky gold tediously applied to sterling silver - the result was breathtaking.
Adriatic is another designer who showed up with gorgeous new designs. Rebecca's new collection, Veza, combines gold and white sapphires with chain in a very unique way. It's delicate, but her handcrafted designs truly make a statement. I like to say that she is a millennial creating jewelry that is the style and price point that millennials want.
Alexis Kletjian has become a dear friend of mine. She was voted the Mort Abelson Award Winner at the show - this is a prestigious award that was named after the man who created the New Designer Gallery back in 1977. Alexis had a strong collection of antique inspired jewelry and one-of-a-kind designs using Top Notch Faceting jewels leading up to the show, but expanded on her collection to make it even more solid. Seeing it all together in the case and knowing how far she has come was so cool.
Rachael Sarc was a last minute, but an amazing addition to this group of designers. Her work is truly impeccable and so luxurious. She creates classic pieces that have a modern edge and many of them are convertible so a drop earring can easily be turned into a stud. Also, Rachael is just the sweetest.
Salt + Stone may be a newer jewelry brand, but the designer, Jackie, has been in the industry for a long time and seemingly knows everyone - probably because her personality is so engaging. Not only is she a rad lady, but she has a gorgeous line of colorful, ocean inspired jewelry. Her latest shark tooth pendants and gumdrop rings are especially great.
Alexandra Gunn debuted her collection for the very first time at the show. She sent me renderings leading up to the show, but I took a risk on her because I could tell she had a vision. Ali didn't disappoint! Her designs turned out so cool and she has some exciting plans to continue developing her line. This gal has the drive and the positive energy to go far!
I can't wait for the next show, but for now, some of my favorite photos from last week are below!