Especially if it’s done in a really cool and unexpected way, and for that, I have to tip the hat to designer Lika Behar, queen of elevating hand-hewn jewels of oxidized silver and gold with diamonds and gemstones such as aquaprase, labradorite, and milky aquamarine.
Adding a new monogram jewelry line to her latest collection is a bit unexpected for her—she’s more about dramatic hammered cuffs, giant, Greco-Roman-inspired rings set with gorgeous turquoise or lapis, and necklaces that frame stones such as jasper and dendritic agate in diamonds.
Which is why her new Dylan Letters collection stopped me in my tracks in the middle of a hectic day on the AGTA show floor when I was covering the Tucson gem shows in February.
These single-letter pendants (pictured below), with their thorn-like gilded swoops, feel sort of vintage fairy tale but could also be read as a nod to tattoo art or even an ancient book of spells. In other words, they strike the perfect balance between romance and edge.
And there’s an utter lack of sweetness—except for the sentiment that comes with giving one of these necklaces as a Mother’s Day gift.
Behar was named a winner in the JCK 2020 Jewelry Awards in the Fashion Bridge category and received an editor’s choice recognition for her Aurora hammered oxidized silver and gold band with diamonds (she truly is a master of the rustic-elegant mix).
For the jewelry industry, a lot is riding on Mother’s Day 2020: Many designers see it as an opportunity to right the ship, economically speaking, during all the difficulties that now inform daily life as a jewelry professional.
The holiday is, of course, on Behar’s mind, but she and her team (and many other jewelry companies) are also keenly focused on ways to assist those in need during the #coronacrisis.
“During April and May we will donate a portion of our sales to Citymeals on Wheels, an organization that delivers meals to elderly and frail New Yorkers, a charity that has become even more relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic with New York being the epicenter,” says Behar. “We are also considering selling a few of our items directly online to benefit this charity.”
And how are she and the team coping otherwise?
“Our short-term strategy has been to ramp up our visual assets—we’ve been working on videos and photos and other assets and will share these for all our e-tailers to utilize while so many are [shopping online due to] social distancing. Going forward, we believe that virtual or online shopping will be key even when social distancing is over. We are definitely prepared more than ever to collaborate with and help our customers on that front,” Behar says.
While I’m partial to the Dylans, Behar has also released other monogram jewelry that might be perfect for a mom who likes a more traditional look—well, not exactly traditional, but refined in a Lika Behar kind of way.
Top: In this hands of an award-winning designer Lika Behar, this L is letter-perfect. Dylan Letter L with diamonds in 14k gold and oxidized silver with 24k granulations on an oxidized silver chain, $990. A portion of the proceeds of purchases made in April and May will be donated to Citymeals on Wheels.
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