Designers / Gold / Industry

6 Jewels That Exemplify the Gold Artistry of Ukraine


Despite the war in Ukraine, or perhaps because of it, the Ukrainian jewelry industry is thriving. The country’s jewelers—those who remain in Ukraine as well as those who fled after Russia invaded in February 2022—are proudly celebrating their centuries-old jewelry traditions and creating works to entice a new generation.

Just ask Olga Oleksenko. In the spring of 2022, the former manager of the Van Cleef & Arpels boutique in Kyiv co-created a foundation to support Ukrainian jewelers and promote Ukrainian craftsmanship. Known as Strong & Precious, the initiative scored its first big win when its founders took a booth at GemGenève, a high-end gem and jewelry show in Geneva, in May 2022.

At the most recent edition of GemGenève this past May, the foundation staged a follow-up exhibition called “How Precious UA,” a showcase for five Ukrainian jewelry brands: Nomis, Yuval’ Studios, Gunia Project, Inesa Kovalova, and Drutis Jewellery. All of them share a profound respect for gold and “the major role it plays in Ukrainian culture,” Oleksenko tells JCK. “It was always compared to the soul—the people of Ukraine love their gold pure, like the soul of a righteous person.”

Featured below are extraordinary jewels from the five Strong & Precious brands shown in Geneva. (As exhibition pieces, most are not for sale.) The sixth piece, by Oberig, offers a compelling example of how Ukraine’s jewelers embrace the iconography of Ukrainian culture, not to mention its expertise in goldsmithing, to build on a gilded legacy.


Nomis pearl necklace
Necklace in 18k gold with Tahitian pearls, €11,000 (about $12,000); Nomis

Alyona Kiperman, the CEO and creative director of Nomis Jewelry, designed this Tahitian pearl and 18k gold sautoir necklace as a way to celebrate the concept of freedom.

“The pearls on the necklace are arranged in binary code to spell out the word freedom,” says Kiperman. “Hence the piece symbolizes the triumph of good over evil, with the black pearl reminding us that freedom always follows even the darkest times, searching for a glimmer of light.”

Yuval’ Studios

Yuval Studio necklace
Kolosinnia necklace in 18k gold with diamonds, Yuval’ Studios

The Kolosinnia necklace by Yuval’ Studios borrows motifs and symbols from across the Ukrainian landscape—including a design inspired by the metallurgy of the Donbas region in the east, ears of golden wheat from the south, and a whorl designed to evoke a twisting mountain road in the Carpathian mountain range in the west.

Gunia Project

Gunia Project necklace
Necklace in 18k gold with diamonds, Gunia Project

This one-of-a-kind gold and diamond necklace by Gunia Project, a Ukrainian lifestyle brand, depicts anthropomorphic figures prevalent during Trypillian times.

Inesa Kovalova

Inesa Kovalova Links brooch
Links brooch in titanium and 18k gold (not visible) with heliodor, Inesa Kovalova

The metalwork plants of Kramatorsk, designer Inesa Kovalova’s hometown in Ukraine, informed the design of this brooch she created for Strong & Precious.

“Made of titanium and 18k gold adorned with diamonds and a rare, high-quality sunny heliodor from Volodarsk Volynskii, [the piece symbolizes] unity between the east and west of Ukraine, man-made landscapes and nature,” Oleksenko says.

“Ukrainian heliodors of this size and quality are quite rare finds on the market,” she adds. “This one was sourced by Nomads, exceptional gem dealers of Ukrainian origin.”

Drutis Jewellery

Drutis Jewellery mUAvement ring
mUAvement ring in gold with topaz, steel, and nickel, Drutis Jewellery

“The idea behind Drutis Jewellery’s mUAvement Ring is that in a fragile and delicate world, there are simultaneously some permanent and fixed things that unite and drive people,” says Oleksenko. “Ukraine is driven by a bright future for our country, which is represented by a clear, pure, and natural Volyn topaz. The ring’s cog has been crafted from Mariupol steel and Ukrainian nickel. The ring is set in gold, as we are driven by our precious united freedom-loving people.”


Oberig Baba diamonds semiprecious
This Baba pendant by Oberig in 18k gold with white and brown diamonds—and “vinok” (wreath) with sapphire, blue topaz, ruby, citrine, amethyst, tsavorite, and tanzanite—belongs to a private collection.

Founded in 2009 by Tetyana Kondratiuk, Oberig re-creates Ukrainian talismanic symbols, such as those found on traditional embroidery, in precious metals and gems. The brand’s signature 18k gold Baba pendant was inspired by female forms in the Trypillian culture that existed some 6,000 years ago in what is now Ukraine. There are two versions of the pendant—with a spectacular gem-set hoop (above) or a plain gold one (pictured at top).

Before the war, Oberig maintained a production facility in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city and the hub of its jewelry trade, but Kondratiuk now manufactures in western Ukraine.

Top: Baba pendant in 18k yellow and white gold with 1.07 cts. t.w. diamonds, $14,700; Oberig

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By: Victoria Gomelsky

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