Best in Show: JANY Spring 2017 Edition

ARKjems’ moonstones and mystical motifs were a standout

For those of us who made it to the JA New York Spring 2017 showahead of its early closure due to the nor’easter (thanks, March!), one thing was clear: This season’s New Designer Gallery was a little treasure chest filled to the brim with emerging talent.

While fresh perspectives and compelling inspirations were plentiful in this little nook of the show’s home, the Javits Convention Center, I was particularly drawn in by what I saw from designer Ann Korman. The JANY show marked the official debut of ARKjems, the line of fine jewelry she’s been quietly perfecting in her downtown Los Angeles studio.

Five years ago, while studying yoga and meditation in Rishikesh, India (where the Beatles, you might recall, famously attended a Transcendental Meditation training session in the ’60s), Korman met a guru who invited her to collaborate with him on a line of jewelry. As such, you’ll find that Eastern philosophy, alchemy, and spiritual symbols serve as her collection’s leitmotiv. “I was traveling back and forth to India all the time and was able to learn about the role that jewels and gems play in the rituals and symbolism of Indian culture,” says Korman.

Since then, Korman has been designing jewelry for private label clients, but ARKjems is driven entirely by her unique, deeply personal aesthetic. Defined by sculptural 18k goldwork, antique-cut diamonds, and other handpicked gems cut to her specifications, the line is led by pieces made with the most luminous moonstones, some with a magical blue tint Korman finds particularly inspiring. “Blue light is visible from different angles because of the way our moonstones are cut,” she says. “The light glows from within and changes depending on the time of the day.”

Many of the designs are etched with hidden symbols and mantras like the below ring and bracelet, which incorporate the Sri Yantra, an ancient tantric symbol used for meditation, concentration, and realizing your desires. Meanwhile, the moonstone elements serve as a mandala—literally, a circle; staring at it is said to encourage a state of mental clarity and enlightenment.