The press fell hard for Connecticut-based designer Lori Friedman of Loriann Jewelry after she won the Mort Abelson New Designer Award at the JA New York Show a few years ago. And now that she’s been showing her collection at shows like Metal & Smith and is more actively engaging her fans and followers on Instagram, affection for her work has only intensified.
Most of us were responding to her Organique collection and its many captivating color combinations—the result of layering tiny, vibrant pear-shape gemstones over backgrounds of opals, labradorite, moonstone, or milky aqua.
Since her debut, and the media’s positive response, Friedman has been looking critically at her work, refining her voice and extending her range. She’s been thinking hard about storytelling and experimenting with fresh ways to evolve her signatures in the hope of expanding her reach. It’s a creative and deeply personal journey that’s culminated in the debut of four new collections. Launched just last month, all have a symbolic, talismanic quality that make them uniquely suited to self-purchasing, as well as spring’s jewelry gift-giving opportunities, namely, Mother’s Day and graduations.
Friedman was also very thoughtful about merchandising—with pieces that can be easily layered, matched up, or collected over a period time—and price point. Many of the rings, for example, clock in at well under $1,000.
The Galaxy collection draws on celestial imagery to reflect life’s possibilities, suggesting constellations in a night sky, planets and their orbits, and the vastness and mysteries of the universe and the unknown. “When I designed this collection, I was thinking about how the wearer should always reach for the stars and never give up on their goals or dreams,” said the designer in a statement.
Inspired by Friedman’s 104-year-old grandmother, who possesses “tremendous inner strength and is a testament to living a life that is well-balanced,” Harmony reminds the wearer to take care of herself and to reflect on what is truly important. With its symmetrical bars and circles, light, delicate proportions, and flashes of negative space, the pieces have a nuanced simplicity meant to evoke a sense of feeling whole and complete, satisfied with our life choices while accepting both our accomplishments and what we have yet to achieve.
With consumer appetite for Art Deco design elements at an all-time high, the new pieces in Moderne, an existing Loriann Jewelry collection, capture the era’s sharp angles and neoclassical motifs with triangle shapes, including custom-cut sapphire trillions and diamonds secured by three-point prongs. Architectural, wearable, and everyday glamorous, most of Moderne is scaled for daytime looks, but the earrings, though effortless in feel, have a dramatic presence on the ear and offer a lot of statement potential for less than $3,000.
The final collection in this offering is Unity, which cleverly combines three hot jewelry trends in a natural way that’s also exceptionally pleasing to the eye: enamel, rainbow gemstones (in this case, sapphires), and opals.
Each design, in fact, centers on an Ethiopian opal layered with a pinprick-size diamond. The stone, known for promoting emotional stability, has become Friedman’s signature: “I have worked with opals since I launched my first jewelry collection,” she says. “I am continually amazed at its ability to change with the light.” To Friedman, the variations of color and fire seen in an opal reflect the complexities that define every woman’s personality.
Unity effectively brings these colors, tones, and textures together in a single labyrinth-like overlapping of circular shapes to form a beguilingly colorful medallion. It’s great jewelry for celebrating or commemorating a special relationship while serving as a reminder to connect with yourself, finding the love and inner peace within.
Top: Moderne geometric ring with Ethiopian opal, sapphires, and diamonds in 14k gold, $990
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