Around this time last year, we reported on the debut of a line of engagement rings by bridal gown designer Pnina Tornai to be sold exclusively at Jared. Since then Tornai has added wedding bands, a men’s collection, and, as of today, a line of fine fashion jewelry exclusively for the retailer. “This is now the fourth line that I’m launching in one year, which is incredible for one for one little person,” she says.
As it happens, Tornai is indeed petite—but not so her personality or the opulence and intricacy of her aesthetic. Encompassing 40 pieces, the line is not small either. And while many of the jewels are not quite oversized, they’re definitely not dainty—the lace ring pictured at top, for example, extends to the knuckle, and there’s a hamsa pendant that delivers major presence on the neck. “I love bigger pieces, because you can see the details,” she says.
Inspired by jewelry that Pnina herself owns (specially made for her by private jewelers over the years), “Each piece has a message behind it. I see this collection as pieces of me, pieces of myself,” says the designer, who describes herself as a jewelry addict. “And now thanks to the collaboration with Jared I’m able to share these pieces of me with everyone, which means a lot to me.”
“I’ve always had an obsession with jewelry,” says Tornai. “It’s the best way to celebrate milestones in life. And it’s not only a gift that you can receive or give, it’s also a gift that you can give to yourself. I think we should pat ourselves on the back when we do something and we succeed.”
References to the designer’s wedding gowns are easy to spot. For example, the butterfly-inspired earrings and pendant (shown below) are clearly nodding to a dress collection called Butterfly. “I love butterflies for their beauty, but also because they are symbolic of transformation—they remind me of my own metamorphosis throughout my life, and they can serve as a symbol of transformations still to come,” said the designer in the collection notes.
The lace ring at top alludes to a staple of Tornai’s couture fashion vocabulary. “This ring was a way for me to capture the beauty of lace in a piece of jewelry,” she says. “As a designer, lace is not a fabric for me, it’s a story. It’s like a piece of art. Because when you see and touch real, French-made lace, it tells a story.”
Beyond the elements that reference fashion, there are symbolic pieces in the line—which stem directly from Tornai’s spiritual beliefs. “I’m very mystical, I’m very spiritual, and I believe in the evil eye,” she says. “I’ve seen it work. It’s incredible.”
For her, like so many jewelry lovers and designers, jewelry is not merely adornment but something to help you harness power, draw in positive energy, and protect you from harm. “I believe that precious stones and metals come from the earth with a deep mystical energy to them, so when you wear a diamond or you wear gold, the energy of those elements blends with your personal energy,” she says. “I really feel this whenever I’m wearing jewelry, maybe because I’m someone who’s very sensitive, but I really feel it.”
Tornai studied kabbalah for many years (and, as such, is rarely seen without a red string tied around her wrist). “That’s where I learned about the spiritual meaning of all these talismanic symbols. They’ve been in existence forever.”
Beyond the hamsa (pictured above) and some pieces with a Mediterranean evil eye element, there is a wing motif that is of particular personal significance to Tornai (pictured below). “I truly believe that we all have a ‘wing person’ out there, someone that we love, someone that gives us courage, and is there for us when we need them.
“Our wing pendant can be thought of as one half of a pair of wings to symbolize true friendship and true love. How can we live life without a good friend that is always there to tell us the truth and to push us to where we want to get in life?”
Top: “Jared has done an amazing job in capturing my visions and my inspirations and turning them into real pieces of jewelry that can be mass-produced and available to all,” says designer Pnina Tornai. Lace ring in 10k gold with black diamonds, $1,799.99.
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