The Best Jewelry Design Collaborations of 2018



Jewelry design collaborations tend to be news that my JCK colleague Emili Vesilind and I like to jump on, and we covered a number of them this year.

Many involved strategic partnerships with a celebrity or style influencer in possession of a robust social media following. The most recent example: Omega’s announcement this week of two new strap options for its De Ville Trésor watch that were designed in collaboration with model Kaia Gerber. Perfectly timed, it seems, for last-minute holiday gifts.

Others sought to pair independent jewelry designers with raw, unique material, such as Australian Argyle diamonds or Muzo emeralds.

Then there were established jewelry brands who teamed up with talent who operate outside the jewelry world (wedding gowns, athleisure, sleepwear, menswear) to create capsule lines that blend two different but simpatico aesthetics. These are always a favorite for us because of the element of surprise, the not quite knowing how it will turn out, yet knowing somehow that it’s totally going to work.

We also like it when heritage brands partner with emerging, often younger jewelry artists because it’s exciting to see how an outsider operates within—and pushes the boundaries of—an established design code.

Let us know if you have a really great collab in the works for 2019. In the meantime, here’s our look back at the best of 2018.

January
Rio Tinto Diamonds With a Story Designer Capsule

Ana Khouri Earrings
Isabel earrings with 4.8 cts. t.w. Australian diamonds in 18k gold, $37,280; Ana Khouri 

Since 2012, the Rio Tinto Diamonds With a Story program has sought to put grayish, neutral–to–variegated gold Argyle diamonds in the hands of innovative designers who are passionate about sustainable and ethical mining practices. The 2018 generation featured the work of designers Eva Fehren, Ana Khouri, Anita Ko, Alison Lou, Ileana Makri, and Arpana Rayamajhi.

February
Pyrrha x Paul Smith

Paul Smith rabbit talisman signet ring
Paul Smith x Pyrrha Rabbit Signet ring in reclaimed sterling silver

Paul Smith x Pyrrha is a five-piece jewelry capsule that draws on the whimsical imagery of the Paul Smith crest, a play on the term coat of arms that also features a rabbit motif.

June
Margot McKinney x CD Greene

CD Greene x Margot McKinney pearl gown
Australian keshi pearl–embroidered gown by CD Greene and Margot McKinney

On view at Bergdorf Goodman for a limited time this summer was a lavender silk gown created by fashion designer CD Greene in collaboration with Brisbane, Australia–based fine jeweler Margot McKinney. The general scarcity and market value of Australian keshi pearls compelled McKinney to declare in a prepared statement, “We believe this is the world’s rarest gown.”

August
Paige Novick x Atelier Swarovski

Paige Novick for Atelier Swarovski rings
Paige Novick x Atelier Swarovski rings in 18k gold with topaz and lab-grown diamonds

Designer Paige Novick teamed up with Atelier Swarovski to create a fine jewelry collection featuring a rainbow of colored topaz alongside lab-created diamonds and fair-trade gold. Said Novick at the time of the launch: “Not only do rainbows elicit awe, but they also offer the promise of sunshine and blue skies. My goal was to infuse the designs with joy, hope, and positivity. In today’s political climate, I think we all need it!”

September
Stacey Lee Webber for Oscar de la Renta

Stacey Lee Webber

On Sept. 11, Oscar de la Renta’s spring runway presentation in New York featured bold necklaces and earrings anchored by creatively cut out vermeil coins accented by pearls, red coral, and simple leather cord. These pieces were a collaboration between the fashion house and Stacey Lee Webber, a Philadelphia-based independent jewelry designer and sculptor. Webber shared with JCK that the brand initially reached out to her via Instagram. Said Webber in the interview: “On the runway, they did the one-earring look, which made one of my earrings really prominent in the show. And for the jewelry to walk on their headline models—the Hadids—it was just so cool.”

Messika Paris x Gigi Hadid

Gigi Hadid by Mert and Marcus Messika campaign
The My Soul collection was the second collaboration between Messika and model Gigi Hadid and embraced a cool California-girl aesthetic filtered through the lens of a very French high-jewelry brand.

Did somebody say Hadid? When the 2.0 version of Gigi Hadid for Messika Paris launched this fall, founder and designer Valérie Messika told JCK: “She sent me three pages of mood board inspirations and from the first moment I saw them, I completely I understood her vision of the jewelry. It was Indian-influenced and bohemian chic, with a lot of hand bracelets, body chains, anklets, and dangling en pampille elements.”

Georg Jensen x Sophie Bille Brahe

Georg Jensen Halo hoops with diamonds
Halo double hoops with diamonds in 18k gold, $5,475

Crossing a world-renowned Danish design house with cool, contemporary Danish jewelry designer Sophie Bille Brahe resulted in a double dose of seamlessly integrated, quintessentially Scandinavian goodness in 18k gold and diamonds. Called Halo, the 19-piece jewelry line is lead by Brahe’s affinity for precise lines, flat edges, and a quiet geometric elegance, and its reigning motif—soft, continuous circles—occurred to her after seeing a design in the Georg Jensen archives.

October
Lela Rose x Brilliant Earth

Brilliant Earth x Lela Rose Dahlia ring
Brilliant Earth x Lela Rose Dahlia diamond ring, $2,250 (setting only)

This was first announced during New York Bridal Fashion Week: The ethically minded jeweler partnered with bridal brand Lela Rose on a collection of six engagement rings and two wedding bands inspired by design elements found in Rose’s bridal collections. Designs incorporate floral embroideries and nuanced beadwork. Standout styles include the Dahlia, which is defined by a compass-like halo studded with four pear-shape diamonds.

Diamond Foundry x AU Showroom

Selin Kent Diamond Foundry geo ring
Selin Kent x Diamond Foundry ring

The San Francisco–based company’s latest partnership is a group capsule with jewelry brands from the designer-run, New York City–based AU Showroom: Halleh, Hi June Parker, Selin Kent, and S/H Koh. The lab-grown diamond-and-gold nontraditional bridal designs were intended to appeal to the fine fashion jewelry consumer who doesn’t want to feel a stylistic disconnect between her wedding and fashion jewelry.

Tacori x Who What Wear

Love Los Angeles charms
The 31-piece collection is made in California, where both brands are based, and offers plentiful personalization options, whether it’s a monogram or a hand-picked jumble of mix-and-match charms on one of the line’s many delicate chain necklaces.

Tacori chose Who What Wear, the media brand known for its addictive fashion, shopping, and celebrity style content, as the partner for its first-ever design collaboration. Together they launched Love, Los Angeles, a demi-fine capsule that’s focused on layerable and everyday-chic necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets that celebrate the casual elegance of Los Angeles.

November
Emily Oberg x Stone and Strand

Emily Oberg x Stone and Strand number ring 2
Emily Oberg x Stone and Strand Double Number ring in 10k gold, $325

Style influencer Emily Oberg’s Sporty & Rich brand/media platform is an ode to high-end sportswear mixed with high fashion. The five-piece capsule collection she designed with downtown New York City jewelry retailer Stone and Strand reflects that playful marriage. The two rings, anklet, stud earring, and dog tag necklace all feature a two-digit number, rendered in blocky team-jersey fonts.

At the time of the launch, Stone and Strand founder Nadine McCarthy Kahane told JCK that Oberg’s “elevated approach to everyday fashion aligned perfectly with what we do at Stone and Strand from a creative perspective,” also noting that “Emily embodies the mission of someone who is true to herself and doesn’t feel like she has to conform to the expectations of others.”

DECEMBER
Muzo Emerald Colombia Designer Capsule

Victor Velyan Muzo emerald ring
Ring with 8.12 cts. t.w. Muzo emeralds and diamonds in 24k and 18k yellow gold, $38,500; Victor Velyan

This collection encompasses the work of 25 designers and as many unique perspectives across nearly 100 one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. The one unifying element was the abundance of imperfection, because this capsule is about designers being inspired by organic material. The full list of designers participating in the inaugural program includes both rising stars and established talent, many of whom have been covered on this blog and elsewhere on JCKonline.com, including Alice Cicolini, Dana Bronfman, Eden Presley, Erica Courtney, Katherine Jetter, M. Spalten, The Rock Hound, Victor Velyan, and others.

Top: Omega’s announcement of its collaboration with model-of-the-moment Kaia Gerber came just in the “Nick” of time to make our recap of 2018’s best design collaborations. Gerber has produced two new strap designs for the brand’s De Ville Trésor watch, both featuring a camo pattern. They’ll land in select Omega boutiques at the end of this month.

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All That Glitters writer