Steven Mazza has long known the beauty of natural shells. The vice president of marketing for the Mazza Co., a fifth-generation jeweler in Baldwin, N.Y., has always incorporated shells into his finished jewelry collection, and debuts a few styles (like this necklace) each year. “It crosses demographics—from young to old—in the same way people are drawn to the sea,” he says.
The shells Mazza uses are not color-enhanced and are embellished only with bits of metal and stone. Most are imported from the Philippines, though sometimes pieces from other locales—including shells that clients find on vacation—make their way into the collection. Largely sold in second-home destinations such as New York’s Hamptons, Mazza’s shell jewelry starts at $900 retail for a pair of earrings in 14k gold. All shells are reinforced with epoxy resin and gold.
And while no two are alike, some varieties are more intriguing. Take the turbo shell. “God only grows them in one direction—the exact same direction,” says Mazza. Used as earrings, they point inward, not unlike a phone handset. Mazza, however, puts a helpful spin on it, telling clients they “wrap around the face.”
Hellmuth and the Hounds
Large black Labrador charm in 14k gold with 0.77 ct. t.w. diamonds; $7,998; Hellmuth Simply Good, Burbank, Calif.; 818-319-4200; hellmuthjewelry.com
For years, clients have asked Gert Hellmuth, owner and chief designer of the Pforzheim, Germany–based Hellmuth Simply Good jewelry line, to make a high-end pet charm line. (Hellmuth has a 5-year-old German shepherd named Croco.) This year, Hellmuth, known for its signature—what else?—croco motif, developed three categories, price points, and sizes of dog charms with diamonds. Twenty-three American Kennel Club breeds are available, and for an additional charge, the firm will custom-make an image of a pet from a photo. The collection comprises 215 SKUs that range in retail price from $546 for a small round silver charm with 0.42 ct. t.w. icy diamonds to $7,998 for a large 14k gold oval charm with 0.77 ct. t.w. SI melee.