Some were first-time exhibitors, others veterans of the trade, but all were delightfully new to me
One of the pleasures of walking the aisles of a trade show is stumbling upon designers who are new to you, and maybe even new to the industry at large. Earlier this month, at JCK Tucson, I “discovered” several designers. Some were first-time exhibitors, others seasoned members of the trade, but all were new to me. If you’re unfamiliar with them, take it from me: They deserve to be on your radar!
A former photography major and amateur genealogist, Melissa Spencer of Los Angeles–based Spencer Fine Jewelry has translated her passion for photographs into an original collection of jewelry that features actual portraits—of people, pets, artwork, or wild animals—beneath faceted gemstones, backed with mother-of-pearl, and set in sterling silver or 18k gold. Think of them as next-level lockets—super cool!
African red-spotted butterfly ring in 18k gold, Spencer Fine Jewelry, $3,500
From his home in Encinitas, Calif., designer Geoffrey Scott makes what he describes as “everyday luxury jewels for the jet-set gal.” His blackened silver and vermeil styles, the core of which retails between $250 and $750, are the perfect self-purchase pieces—they look great with the latest fashions, yet they’re not so trendy that your interest will soon fade. As a former retailer in the San Francisco Bay Area, Scott also has a great understanding of what women want. Exhibit A: the versatile, chic, and affordable Liv lariat pictured below.
Liv lariat in oxidized silver and 22k gold vermeil, Geoffrey Scott, $325
I’m a sucker for anything that reminds me of Bali—so when I saw San Francisco–based designer Kathy Kamei’s silver and two-tone collection featuring the dots that are so characteristic of Balinese craftsmanship, I was immediately drawn in. She works with 12 artisans on the dreamy Indonesian island fashioning silver and vermeil styles that are ideal for gifting.
Embrace All of You necklace in sterling silver and gold vermeil, Kathy Kamei, $314
Designer Dana Bronfman is based in New York City, but she’s a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and studied at the well-regarded Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts. A first-time exhibitor at JCK Tucson, Bronfman showed a charming one-and-a-half-year-old line of stackable, layerable, utterly wearable pieces in 18k gold and dusted with diamonds. I’m in love with the oxidized Holly pendant below, which can be worn vertically or horizontally.
Holly pendant on 18k gold chain in black rhodium-plated sterling silver with diamonds, Dana Bronfman, $2,975
I’d seen this Towson, Md.–based manufacturer at JCK Tucson 2015, but its gem-laden jewels are so impressive that I’m compelled to mention it again. This year, I fell hard for the company’s new Rebirth series, which features antique temple altar pieces depicting the Hindu god Shiva, known as the Destroyer, refinished in 22k gold and set with gems such as turquoise, moonstone, and an offbeat beryl known as goshenite.
Shiva pendant in 22k gold with goshenite, JS Noor, $2,400