At the JA New York show on July 27, Jocelyn Prestia of Unhada Jewelry was named the 2015 JA Mort Abelson New Designer of the Year.
This onetime writer studied gemology at GIA’s Bangkok campus and became entranced by the stories behind antique pieces she collected. She also studied design in Thailand and started documenting dainty design ideas in 18k gold with magical fairy and enchanted-forest qualities about them, using loads of unusual stones like lepidolite. Un hada is Spanish for “a fairy” and speaks to Prestia’s belief that fine jewelry should be “a flight into fantasy, making the wearer feel as though a bit of fairy dust has just been sprinkled upon them,” according to a release from Prestia.
JCK profiled Prestia in 2012.
The New Designer of the Year Award is named for the late Mort Abelson, a prominent figure in industry who is credited with the idea of creating a platform to introduce up-and-coming designers to the mainstream market. To wit, JA’s New Designer Gallery was born in 1977 and has helped to launch the careers of designers such as David Yurman and Steven Kretchmer, among others.
Ten firms, including Unhada, were featured in this year’s New Designer Gallery—a pavilion that is limited to jewelry-makers who have never before participated in a trade show.