There are a lot of exciting designers working in jewelry today. The six listed here made a splash in 2016 and are sure to create great waves of excitement in the year to come. These designers work in all manner of jewelry from couture to semi-fine and hail from all over the globe. Get to know them and their work now.
MESSIKA—Diamond jewelry for the twenty-first century has arrived
Messika has taken on a bold new look in the last couple years since the founder André Messika’s daughter, Valerie, began to steer the creative direction of the 45-year old French firm. She has introduced confident new silhouettes featuring swirls of fancy shape diamonds. During the course of the 2016 some of the most daring celebrities sported the dramatic high jewelry on the red carpet. At the MET Gala, Zoë Kravitz put on the mesmerizing emerald-cut diamond Madison cuff. Kristen Stewart stood out among the sea of couture fine jewelry in Messika’s Calypso ear cuff set with 33 pear shape diamonds at the 69th Cannes Film Festival. Here’s hoping we see more of these surprising styles during Award Season in the months ahead.
ELIE TOP—French fine jewelry that looks forward and back
Elie Top launched his eponymous fine line in January of last year. The talented Frenchman, who was responsible for the jewelry at Lanvin for 15-years, named his first collection Mécaniques Célestes. Top told The New York Times “Each piece is made up of articulated compartments and interlocking cages that open and close, so the piece reveals itself gradually to show a centerpiece set with pavé diamonds, like a sparkling sun.” While there is a 1920s or 30s vintage vibe to the jewelry, the modern technique of three-dimensional printing was used in the manufacturing process. The designer has a magnificent salon in Paris located at 17 Rue Saint-Honoré. A nice selection of Elie Top jewelry can be found online at matchesfashion.com.
SELIM MOUZANNAR—Antique looks reimagined in an irresistible way
When two of the hottest millennial movie stars in the world wear pieces from one designer within six months you know the name is heating up. Emma Stone wore Selim Mouzannar earrings and rings at the Venice Film Festival premiere of La La Land in August. Then Jennifer Lawrence chose one of his bracelets for the December screening of Passengers in Seoul. A jewelry veteran with decades of experience in gems and design, the Beirut based designer debuted in the United States last year. His experience shines in the jewels that combine antique motifs with twenty-first century proportions and the most marvelous gems. There is a lovely selection of the jewels on ylang23.com.
ANNIE COSTELLO BROWN—Wildly artistic and totally affordable statement earrings
Statement earrings were clearly the must-have jewelry trend for spring 2017 on the runways in New York, Paris and Milan. Few make the look more boldly than newcomer Annie Costello Brown. The style of the young, Los Angeles based designer’s earrings are magically reminiscent of Henri Matisse cutouts. Annie’s choice of materials—silver, gold filled metal, oxide black and the sold-out-almost-everywhere oxide blue metal—keep the prices to $300 or less. There is a nice selection of the earrings available now on lyst.com. Earrings can be made to order from anniecostellobrown.com.
MARLA AARON—Bejeweled hardware that’s easy to love
There is a long history of hardware inspired jewelry. Cartier’s Aldo Cipullo is responsible for some of the most famous pieces in the genre with the Love Bracelet featuring screw head motifs and the Juste Un Clou nail design. The carabiner lock is New York City based designer Marla Aaron’s muse. The former communications executive has taken the metal loop with spring loaded opening used in activities with ropes, like rock climbing or sailing, and made it over in countless variations with gold, platinum, silver, diamonds and semiprecious stones. The jewelry Locks open and close just like the real deal and can function as a clasp on a chain or be collected and worn in pendant clusters. Starting prices for a Baby Lock is around $300. A cult favorite within the jewelry crowd, the designs were also cited by design star Nate Berkus this holiday season as a great gift item. Marla Aaron Locks are available on her website marlaaaron.com and ylang23.com among other places.
MATEO—Minimalist jewels that make a major impact
Creating minimalist designs that get noticed is not easy, but Mateo manages to do it with pops of colorful semiprecious stones and imaginative silhouettes. The Jamaican designer, who is based in New York City, has been steadily building his collection with winning work since he launched in 2009. In 2016, his jewelry emerged on the larger scene after his collection debuted in the shop at the New African American Museum in Washington, D.C. and he opened his own boutique in the NoLita neighborhood of New York City. A handful of models and savvy celebrities have already discovered the designer’s sexy jewels. You can find the full collection online at mateonewyork.com and a fetching selection on modaoperandi.com.