Michelle Fantaci’s new Chess Queen collection shines the light on girl power in a brainy and understated way. The 20-SKU collection made in 14k gold is, not surprisingly, inspired by the game—and by the queen, in particular.
“The queen piece has the most power and flexibility, and is the king’s protector,” explains the New York City–based jewelry designer. “So I wanted the pieces to demonstrate a toughness that is feminine and doesn’t have to announce itself, in the same way that the queen doesn’t have to prove she is the most powerful player—she just is.”
To capture the dynamics and movement of the game, Fantaci created nesting cuffs with game piece silhouettes like King, Queen, and Pawn that can spoon together or touch end to end for a wider statement across the arm, while her Checkmate pinky ring—the most literal representation—bears an intaglio of the queen.
Michelle Fantaci Checkmate pinky ring in 14k gold with 0.2 ct. t.w. diamonds; $2,350
“Most pieces are more abstract and emotive,” Fantaci adds. “The scalloped edges that appear throughout the collection are inspired by the queen’s crown, and the King, Queen, and Pawn rings and cuffs represent each game piece.”
To a lesser extent, Queen Elizabeth I—at 44 years, her reign made her the longest-ruling queen in England’s history—was another source of inspiration.
Chess Queen debuted at Couture 2014, and seven retailers have placed orders thus far. Fantaci introduced 12 more SKUs, including delicate pendant necklaces, during the recent Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Retail prices for pieces with a variety of gemstones—from rubies to pink sapphires to moonstone and Russian demantoid—range from $800 to $6,000.
Rock Season earrings in 18k Noble Gold with 1.41 cts. t.w. diamonds; $2,700; H.Stern, NYC; 212-688-0300; hstern.net
Brazilian jeweler H.Stern’s latest collection celebrates birds and butterflies with a decidedly urban spin. Rock Season features winged creatures with spiked details in various shades of gold, including rose gold as well as the retailer’s proprietary Noble and darkened Noble Golds—all of which provide a fetching contrast to the Victorian- and nature-inspired rings, earrings, pendants, and bracelets. The shading of the gold also suggests the changing of the seasons, while morganite, emeralds, and colorless and brown diamonds evoke the earth’s variable temperatures. The collection comprises 23 SKUs to date, retailing from $1,700 to $282,000.