I hate to sound like a broken record, but initial jewelry is where it’s at. It’s got to be a key component to many a retailer’s inventory, and it’s not going anywhere, probably, like, ever.
Designers have a way of keeping things interesting, and three recently released lines of initial jewelry prove that fresh takes on a classic concept are always welcome.
Each collection possesses an edge mingled with sweetness. They’re equally irresistible, and they’d coexist beautifully, should a customer be curating a menagerie of initial charms (a common theme as of late). While many more will come to play, here are three to consider now.
Auvere’s Alphabet City
For her Alphabet City collection, New York–based, Jamaican-born and -raised designer Gina Love was inspired by the Manhattan neighborhood of the same name, which provided the backdrop for the Broadway musical Rent. The line is composed of 22k yellow gold letters accented with pointed, arrow-like detail, and whose font blurs the lines between graceful and edgy.
“When I first moved to New York in the early 2000s, I lived in the East Village,” says Love. “At that time, the city had lost its reputation for danger. Bloomberg was mayor, and by then much of Manhattan had become, or was in the midst of becoming, home to modern luxury buildings and high-end retail. But at least one neighborhood in Manhattan maintained its gritty reputation for a few more years to come—Alphabet City.”
“This area was home to many immigrants arriving to New York City for the first time in the 1800s through the early 1900s,” continues Love, “and in the 1970s and ’80s it became a haven for artists. By the late 1980s, it was the locus of a violent anti-gentrification protest. Today, it is home to several gorgeous community gardens that were built on the footprints of former buildings and new real estate development. Even so, it still maintains a lot of its original scruffiness and youthful energy.”
“The conical finish of the jewelry derives specifically from the tops of the wrought iron gates found all over the neighborhood. The design is also a nod to the delicate balance of gritty toughness and intoxicating charm of this iconic New York City neighborhood.”
Currently, the collection comprises stud earrings, but pendants will be available on the brand’s website next week, and a line of bracelets will be introduced in September.
Gigi Ferranti’s Graffito
Another collection draws inspiration from the same city, but this one pays tribute its graffiti art. Gina Ferranti isn’t the first jewelry designer to launch a graffiti-inspired collection as of late (see Louison Rare + Fine’s collaboration with tattoo artist Fernando Lions, also homage to the New York City and its art), but her version takes the colorfully painted murals of her home borough of Brooklyn and dusts them with ombré gemstones and glittering diamonds.
The result is a line of letters so irresistible that it’s hard to select just one—images of the pendants layered on the designer’s Instagram inspire thoughts of spelling out words or collecting one for every member of the family. While the colorful gemstones are intended to mimic the look of spray-painted letters, I also see stained glass, another common—though very different—feature of the city’s cultural and historical finds.
In addition to each letter of the alphabet, Graffito also offers a heart charm, a gorgeous addition or alternative to choice of initial.
Rosa Van Parys’ Gothic Script
Our Victoria Gomelsky featured this budding collection by architect and jewelry designer Rosa Van Parys back in April, rightly suggesting retailers stock their share of letter jewelry for spring.
Van Parys, who is set to exhibit at the upcoming Couture show with her new Gothic Script alphabet collection, was inspired by the edgy yet classic font from which the line takes its name.
“As an architect and interior designer, I have been so obsessed with font design (and graphic design for that matter) since my late high school years, and I love to see and use new, interesting fonts for our presentations,” explains Van Parys. “For this collection, I wanted to design meaningful statement fonts that are related to our brand’s motto ‘Elegance with an edge’ and to our brand’s design aesthetic. So these letters are elegant and edgy at the same time.”
While the brand currently has produced a portion of the alphabet to show at Couture, each letter is designed and ready to be made to order as needed.
Top: Graffito collection pendants in 14k yellow gold with sapphire, amethyst, tsavorite, garnet, and diamonds, $1,700–$2,100; Gigi FerrantiFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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