Jewelry Designers Share Their Favorite Piece They Produced in 2020



There’s so much about 2020 we’d be fine with forgetting. But before we throw a lit match onto the trash heap that was the past 10 months, let’s remember that in 2020, while other consumer categories (fashion) tanked, fine jewelry sales remained strong. And a deluge of creative—and occasionally downright innovative—work flowed from the benches of designers all over the world.   

Jewelry production dipped at the start of the pandemic, as manufacturing and materials companies shuttered during lockdowns, notably in New York City. But small-scale designers found a way, and many, including veteran makers Judi Powers and Rosanne Pugliese, told me that 2020’s isolation, though personally difficult, resulted in them reconnecting with their love of jewelry craft, creation, and design.

As we did last year, we asked some of our favorite jewelry designers to send over a photo of their favorite piece that they personally produced this past year. COVID-19 took a lot from us in 2020, but within the industry, creativity flourished—and for that we’re grateful.

Marla Aaron Pincharm
Marla Aaron Pins charm

Marla Aaron
Marla Aaron Jewelry
“We took a children’s toy and we turned it into something beautiful and fun for adults to play with at a time when many of us found playing with jewelry soothing. It’s fun. It’s beautiful. And it’s purposeful in a joyful way.” 

Sylva and Cie spiral ring
Sylva & Cie Spiral ring

Sylva Yepremian
Sylva & Cie
“The Spiral ring features a fancy white pear-shape diamond…and it’s equally ‘important’ and relaxed.”

 

Eriness bracelet.
Eriness Diamond Evil Eye bracelet

Erin Sachse
Eriness Jewelry
“The Diamond Evil Eye bracelet is timeless and striking but still the perfect everyday bracelet. It’s a take on a classic tennis bracelet, but with a twist.”

Foundrae necklace
Foundrae Rose of the World pendant

Beth Bugdaycay
Foundrae
“I love this piece, which was inspired by the poem The Rose of the World by W.B. Yeats, because it represents the idea that love endures. It is a reminder to me that the permanence of love lies in the fusion of both the heart and the soul.”

Nancy Newberg earrings
Nancy Newberg Baguette Circle earrings


Nancy Newberg
Nancy Newberg Jewelry
“These baguette diamond sunburst circles are some of my favorites from the year. The pretty diamond pattern reminds me of rays of sunshine and always make me smile.”

Alison Lou The Victoria
Alison Lou Victoria ring

Alison Chemla
Alison Lou
“The Victoria ring from our newly launched bridal collection, I Do by Lou, is a 2020 standout for me. Designing this ring brought me so much joy, as it truly speaks to the brand and showcases how versatile enamel can be.”

Jenna Blake rings
Jenna Blake Eternal Hoop earrings


Jenna Grosfeld
Jenna Blake Jewelry
“My favorite design this year is my Horizontal Eternal Hoop that gives the marquis diamond, a typically underappreciated cut, a fresh and modern feel.”

 

Ileana Makri RR necklace
Reinstein Ross Goddess necklace

Ileana Makri
Reinstein Ross
“It’s an ode to female power, as all goddesses are female and each one through her achievements teaches us a valuable life lesson.”

State Property ring
State Property Battuta ring
Afzal Imram and Lin Ruiyin
State Property
“The Battuta ring was the first piece we designed for the Voyager collection, and makes such a statement on the hand without being over the top.”

 

Eva Fehren NOVA Long Earrings
Eva Fehren large Nova earrings

Eva Zuckerman
Eva Fehren
“I was inspired by the beauty and destruction of an exploding star, which really resonated with me throughout the year. We used techniques we haven’t used before—shared prongs to puzzle the geometric diamonds together—and I absolutely love how elevated and different they are.”

Lorraine West Jennifer Ring
Lorraine West Jennifer ring

Lorraine West
Lorraine West Jewelry
“It’s a nonbinary design where minimalism meets bold sensibilities. The design is inspired by a shooting star in a boomerang motion.”

WWAKE Pear Diamond Monolith
WWake Pear Diamond Monolith ring

Wing Yau
WWake
“I like it because the scale is surprising for our brand—big diamonds are a new and exciting direction for my designs!”

 

Jane Win pink
Jane Win Lucky coin

Jane Winchester Paradis
Jane Win Jewelry
“For the first time, we translated our Lucky coin into a 14k version, set with a variety of stone options (heart-shape), finished with hand engraving on the back. As a predominately semi-fine designer, it is a treat to go for it and use all the karats and stones I want. I know that this year no one has felt lucky. We have all been impacted in different ways, and I’m touched with [our] ability to stay optimistic even when faced with the worst year we could imagine.”

 

Talon Sacred Heart Drop necklace
Talon Sacred Heart Drop necklace

Emily Hirsch
Talon Jewelry
“My favorite is definitely my Sacred Heart Drop necklace. It’s the first piece I’ve made that can be worn in two ways, with the sword in or out. The Sacred Heart is a Talon signature symbol, so it was fun to create a playful piece representing the rich meaning of love, devotion, and renewal.”

Picchiotti bracelet
Picchiotti Ultimate Octagonal Sapphire Xpandable bracelet

Giuseppe Picchiotti
Picchiotti
“The Ultimate Octagonal Sapphire Xpandable bracelet is my favorite piece of the year, as it couples an architecturally inspired bracelet with our innovative patented Xpandable technology designed for durability, as well as perfect comfort and fit. And there is no need for a cumbersome clasp!” 

Assael AquaPearlEarrings
Assael Aqua Pearl earrings

Peggy Grosz
Assael
“I personally love certain aspects of mid-century modern design. The orb shape of round pearls with distinctive geometric shapes of gemstones naturally work as mobiles when juxtaposed.”   

larissa morais earrings
Larissa Moraes Almond earrings

Larissa Moraes
Larissa Moraes Jewelry
“When the pandemic started, I decided I was going to try to make this a productive year. I wanted to participate in contests just to gain experience, and in no scenario did I imagine I could win. The Almond earrings gave me the gold award in Italy and changed my life. Not only did it open doors but it built my self-esteem and made me believe in a better way to live.”

 

White Space pendant
White/Space Kenna birthstone Baroque Pearl necklace 

Khadijah Fulton
White/Space
“My favorite piece this year was probably the Kenna birthstone Baroque Pearl necklace. I was looking to bring something fresh to the birthstone jewelry category, and it has been really exciting to see how customers have really embraced this style and are mixing it into their charms and chain layers.”

Access 79 ring
Access79 Elsa Blue Sapphire ring

Priyanka Murthy
Access79
“I love that it’s low-set and comfortable for everyday wear. The crisscross silhouette works for all kinds of finger lengths and sizes and stacks well with other bands like pavé eternity bands and baguette bands in gems or diamonds. I loved it instantly after it was made.”

 

Solis Ribbed I Kinn Studios
Kinn Studios Solis I ribbed ring

Jennie Yoon
Kinn Studios
“My favorite piece this year is the Solis I ribbed ring. This is a piece that was inspired by my mom’s vintage pleated ring. As an immigrant in the ’90s from South Korea, I remember vividly that she wore her pleated ring on her pinky all the time. When facing difficult situations, she’d stare at her ring and would tell me and my brother that her ring will bring us good energy and luck.”

Katkim Arena Pave Earring
KatKim Arena Pavé earring

Katherine Kim
KatKim
“The Arena earrings are my favorite for this year. It was the piece I wore the most, especially with all the Zoom calls we were doing.”

Ashley Zhang Belcher ring
Ashley Zhang Marguerite Belcher ring

Ashley Zhang
Ashley Zhang Jewelry
“I love our new antique-style Marguerite Belcher ring. The ring is made of a heavy solid gold, which feels so good on, and it makes any diamond we set look so much bigger.”

Ananya emerald earrings
Ananya Emerald Ombré Scatter ear jackets 

Ananya Malhotra
Ananya
“Designing and sourcing stones for these earrings was such a memorable process for me. The color green and emeralds have always been very lucky for me. I wanted to create depth and movement. The beauty of these earrings is that you can choose to wear them whole, which makes them very grand, or you may just wear the ombré tops separately.”

Grace Lee ring
Grace Lee Magna Cora ring

Grace Lee
Grace Lee Jewelry
“I am typically not a heart person, but in our current world state I really felt like we needed a heart in the collection. The Magna Cora takes our Cora ring to the next level with eight bezel-set diamonds that look like they’re floating within the heart-shape outline.”

 

Lydia Courtielle bulls head
Lydia Courteille Bull’s Head pendant

Lydia Courteille
Lydia Courteille Jewelry
“The Bull’s Head pendant was inspired by Sumerian treasures (circa 2500 BCE) found in the tomb of Queen Puabi in Ur. The necklace is unisex. And fortunately, 2021 according to the zodiac system is the Year of the Ox.”

Aaryah trikona ring
Aaryah Trikona Diamond ring

Megan Kothari
Aaryah
“My favorite piece that we launched this year is our Trikona Diamond ring, for its unique diamond shape and negative-space setting.”

Anne Sisteron ring
Anne Sisteron Signet ring

Anne Sisteron
Anne Sisteron Jewelry
“I initially created the Signet ring for myself and worked closely with my graphic designer to create a custom A and S that resonated with my Danish roots. In each letter design, you will find a heart that’s symbolic of the hearts depicted in Denmark’s coat of arms. After much demand, we’ve expanded the design to accommodate the full alphabet that, of course, includes a heart on each ring.”

 

Alice Pierre necklace
Alice Pierre Stella Circle necklace

Alice Pierre
Alice Pierre Jewelry
“The Stella Circle necklace is my favorite piece of the year. It’s named after my daughter, and the excitement I see in her eyes every time I wear it is priceless.”

 

Chinchar Maloney ring
Chinchar Maloney ring

Marian Maloney and Colin Chinchar
Chinchar Maloney
“Our favorite piece from this year is our 5.28 ct. double-cut stardew teal Montana sapphire ring. Colin cut this sapphire by hand from the rough, and then we designed the setting around the unique shape of the gem. The color and size of this sapphire—along with its perfectly imperfect character—has captured our hearts.” 

Fewer Finer pong bracelet
Fewer Finer Ping Pong bracelet

Madison Snider
Fewer Finer
“The Ping Pong bracelet is my favorite design from 2020.… Each little rounded-back diamond bezel looks like a ping-pong ball. My family played a lot of ping-pong over quarantine, so it seems especially fitting for this piece to be my favorite!” 

Kassandra Nicholson ring
Kassandra Nicholson Tourmaline Sugarloaf ring

Kassandra Nicholson
Kassandra Nicholson Jewelry
“I’ve been obsessed with sugarloaf-cut gems often seen in art deco jewelry, so this year I decided to experiment with using one in a raw and modern design. My Tourmaline Sugarloaf ring in textured rose gold is so distinctive yet wearable, it has become my most complimented jewel and my personal favorite design in 2020.” 

Lauren Addison Gypsy ring
Lauren Addison Gypsy-Set Diamond ring

Lauren Addison
Lauren Addison Jewelry
“There’s nothing I love more than a gypsy ring.”

 

Laura Caspi ring
Laura Caspi rainbow sapphire cocktail ring

Laura Caspi
Laura Caspi Jewelry
“This one-of-a-kind rainbow sapphire cocktail ring I recently created was a true labor of love. It started as a study of the arachnosphaera, a single microorganism drawn by [19th-century German zoologist and artist] Ernst Haeckel; the hexagon in repeat on the sphere and the symmetry is beyond satisfying and appealing to me. I’ve always been drawn to deco designs and feel this piece leans perfectly into that.”

Nana Fink ring
Nana Fink Sophistiquée Princess ring

Nana Fink
Nana Fink Jewelry
“My Sophistiquée collection is inspired by the elegance of art deco jewelry and architecture. The Sophistiquée Princess ring with hand-carved Andean opal and diamonds set in rose gold…is a special one.”

 

VTse ring
VTse bypass bracelet

Victoria Tse
VTse
“I love jade and have always wanted to add jade to my collection. I also love designing pieces with the infinity symbol to represent the lucky number 8—it’s my lucky number, and I hope that the luck gets passed on to whoever wears this bracelet!”

 

Top: Nana Fink Sophistiquee Princess ring

Follow Emili Vesilind on Instagram: @emilivesilind

 

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JCK Magazine Editor