New York Story
What do a sixth-generation diamantaire and a U.K. pop star have in common? A love of New York City.
That’s why Lita Asscher, president of Royal Asscher, and Estelle Fanta Swaray—aka “American Boy” songstress Estelle—teamed up to create a youthful jewelry collection.
“New York has this amazing energy,” says Asscher. “It gives us our love for making beautiful and exciting things like music and jewelry.”
The pair went through an extensive design and review process that culminated in about 30 SKUs made in silver and karat gold with diamonds, amethysts, and black onyx. Motifs range from the surreal (eyes) to the familiar (stars) to the rock ’n’ roll (double finger rings), with some boasting a few floating diamonds—recognizable to anyone who knows Royal Asscher’s signature style. “The colors purple, yellow gold, and black and white diamonds are what we worked with,” adds Asscher.
At press time, the made-in-the-USA collection was offered at Harrods in London and was poised for sales to U.S. retailers as well as on the Royal Asscher website.
Berlin Gothic bracelet in oxidized silver with 6.8 cts. t.w. pink sapphires; $3,600; Jessica Kagan Cushman Studio at Fragments, NYC; 212-226-8878; fragments.com
In the early part of the 19th century, many wealthy German women donated their gold jewelry to the war effort against Napoleon. In exchange, they received lacy black iron jewelry, some pieces bearing the inscription I gave gold for iron. It’s the dark, delicate loveliness of the styles that captivates Jessica Kagan Cushman, whose Berlin Gothic line pays tribute to a unique chapter of European jewelry history.
“I love the lacy delicate designs and the fact that Berlin iron jewelry was made in iron factories,” says the Redding, Conn.–based designer. “Our pieces are made of oxidized silver. I love when the black wears off because it gives pieces a wonderful patina and tells an interesting story.”
Some of Cushman’s styles also boast modern touches like 14k gold and colored stone accents. To date, there are about 25 SKUs in the line; the suggested retail price range is $500–$3,800.