New York City–based designer Mary Esses of Mary Esses Jewelry, who originally hails from Brazil, favors feminine looks and fabric texturing.
Jewelry designer Mary Esses
Headquarters: New York City
Year firm launched: 2004
Signature style: “Jewelry finished with hand-sculpted texturing that replicates fabric—like lace, silk, and woven or threaded effects.”
Training, education, and design process: “I originally got a degree in marketing and advertising from Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing in São Paulo, and then worked numerous jobs in promotions and retail—as well as running my own school for arts and crafts and teaching ceramics—before a friend suggested I try making jewelry. I did and enjoyed it, and started taking courses of goldsmithing, wax carving, jewelry design, and stone-cutting at Studio Duo in São Paulo. I have now been designing fine jewelry for 13 years.
“In 2002, I moved with my husband to the U.S., where my signature fabric texture evolved out of a bittersweet mix passion and necessity: I was still producing my jewelry in Brazil, but a few robberies by mail persuaded me to craft more pieces at the bench myself. The more I sculpted pieces in wax, the more my style became apparent. The fabric aesthetic made sense, too, because I wanted to bring something new and fresh to jewelry, and I was essentially tailoring jewelry at the bench. Now all of my designs have my signature fabric texture, with parts cast from the ones I sculpt on the bench and finalized through sketches given to a goldsmith here in the U.S.”
Materials of choice: “I work in 18k gold, silver, brass, and all precious stones. I love the variety and the look of each one.”
Jewelry trade show exhibits: Couture
Accounts: “I have six domestic accounts, including Neiman Marcus and Skibell Fine Jewelry in Dallas, and two international accounts, including Mantovani in Caracas, Venezuela.”
Awards: “One of my designs was a finalist for the Couture 2013 Design Awards; My Lace bracelet took second runner-up in the Gold category.”
Starting suggested retail prices: $640 in gold; $260 in silver
Retailer Buy-in: “There isn’t—store owners know what works best for their store and clientele.”