Style Spotlight: Jewelry Inspired by Customers

Today’s post casts a light on how some client-inspired styles came to fruition

Clients oftentimes inspire design ideas and specific pieces that can become part of a line or simply pass through it as a one-off piece. Here are five styles that debuted in designer lines thanks to customers. 

Wendy Brandes of Wendy Brandes

“My funniest, naughtiest customer request was from a client named Jill from Texas who requested a pair of busty, silver mud-flap girl cufflinks for her husband. She wanted the girls to have tiny ruby nipples. The petite 3-D design was so cute that Jill followed up by ordering an 18k gold necklace version for herself. Once I showed off the Mud Flap Jill necklace online, I started getting a lot of requests, so I did a silver version, too. In 2012, Rihanna was photographed wearing the 18k gold version onstage and off at the iHeartMusic festival, so the design has stayed in my line ever since.

“More recently, a male customer—who was inspired by the original Mud Flap Jill necklace—asked for a 14k gold pendant for himself. I expanded the three-quarter-inch wide original to three inches wide, and traded the rubies for a diamond.”


Mud Flap Jill necklace in 18k yellow gold with ruby accents, $1,200


Mud Flap Jill cufflinks in silver with ruby accents, $850 a pair

Priyanka Murthy of Arya Esha

“My best friend Ami, who is an Indian-American woman, and her husband, Jayneel, just had their first baby, an adorable son. Two of Ami’s female family members organized Ami’s shower a few months ago in her hometown of Philly. Ami called me after the baby shower to see if she could get some jewelry to present to the shower organizers as a thank you. Ami wanted the jewelry to be everyday pieces and to incorporate black diamonds. The black diamonds were important to Ami for a very specific reason: In Indian culture people are conscious of the evil eye and take precautions to ward it off. 

“One such precaution is to place a black dot, often drawn in kohl, on oneself or one’s baby. The black dot keeps away the evil eye. Since Ami was giving a gift in celebration of her baby, she wanted to make sure that the evil eye did not befall the gift’s recipients or Ami’s own growing family. Her request: to make one of my brand new diamond stud earring designs with black diamonds instead of white. The black diamonds were intended to signify the black mark that would ward off the evil eye. I had never worked with black diamonds but enthusiastically gave it a go! This was my best friend’s first child, so my work was literally a labor of love. I sourced the black diamonds and suggested we do the earrings in rose gold, instead of my usual yellow gold, to make the black diamonds pop. What resulted was a very bold, wearable piece with a lot of meaning. Ami loved the earrings so much that she kept a pair for herself!

“I am definitely making this piece again, and it will be available for sale to retailers and the public at large because it is a very wearable piece, and the black diamonds add a certain edge that is characteristic of my other Arya Esha pieces.”


Vertical Orbit stud earrings in 14k rose gold with 0.16 ct. t.w. black diamonds, $940

Lika Behar of Lika Behar

“I was commissioned to create a pendant using an emerald and pearls from a client in Colorado who purchased the items at auction. The piece would be called the Sunshine pendant and, apparently, the stones were recovered from the Titanic. So I bezel-set the emerald in 24k gold, used the pearls, and added cognac diamonds to get the sunshine effect that the client wanted. Needless to say the piece and the provenance of the stones is so unique that I cannot possibly re-create this item!”


Custom pendant in 24k gold with a 2.85 ct. emerald, freshwater pearls, and 0.06 ct. t.w. diamonds, $980

Jenny Reeves of Jenny Reeves

“I designed a series of stacking rings for a wonderful client using stones from her old jewelry. We were working on a design for a round pink sapphire and two small white diamonds and she decided she wanted to go bold—very bold—and incorporate a large free-form piece of black drusy. Once I had the drusy cu,t I used her input to sketch a page of designs with the stones in different orientations, and the combination below was the winner. I love the lines and the mix of free-form and traditional faceted stones. When she asked me to make it, I immediately went to my stone box and started playing with large cabs and small faceted stones in a mix of candy colors. And now I have a whole series of Shield rings all inspired by one custom ring for one amazing client!”


Shield ring in sterling silver and 18k and 22k gold with a 7.5 ct. labradorite, 0.75 ct. t.w. blue tourmalines, and 0.03 ct. t.w. diamonds, $1,675

Naci Kurtulan of Kurtulan Jewelry

“This cross was made with a couple in mind—a Russian man married to a Greek woman. The cross was made with elements of both of their cultures. The outside frame or silhouette of the cross is Greek, while on the inside you can see a Russian Orthodox cross. The dimensions are 1.8 inches by 4.8 inches, and it is made of solid 24k gold with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, freshwater pearls, sapphires, tourmalines, and corals.”


Custom cross in 24k gold with freshwater pearls, 11.12 cts. t.w. sapphires, 6.01 cts. t.w. rubies, 4.605 cts. t.w. tourmalines, 2.27 cts. t.w. diamonds, 2.45 cts. t.w. emeralds, and 1.96 cts. t.w. coral, $66,867

The Style 360 blog is your editorial source for the newest jewelry, trends, fashion, market analysis, trade show insights, designer profiles, and more.

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