From Insects to Athletes

Jennifer Benusis’s collection of 18k and gemstone jewelry was a certified hit at the Jewelers of America New York show, where it was on display in the new design area.

The young designer’s floral and insect pieces, most of which are set with sprays of vibrant gemstones, are a fresh take on traditional motifs, and they attracted a swarm of enthusiastic jewelers. Many of the pieces feature chunky gemstones in sturdy basket-like settings, and more than a few jewelers were surprised by their substantial weight.

But that weightiness weighed in on the plus side. “People are interested in athletic jewelry,” Benusis says. “Several people told me these pieces are perfect for active people.”

Benusis’s road to the jewelry industry was anything but traditional. Unlike many new jewelers, who boast family trees with generations of industry insiders, Benusis is a genuine newcomer with a fresh perspective. A former film industry hopeful, she gave up that career several years ago after a personal tragedy led her to the therapeutic benefits of jewelry making. From there, she says, she introduced herself to the workings of the industry through exhaustive research and reading.

Today, she and her fiancé have traded the hectic lifestyle of New York City for scenic Orange County, N.Y., a countryside setting whose tranquility is reflected in the organic forms of her designs.