Silver: There’s Something About Jewelry Designer Mary Esses & More

There’s Something About Mary Esses

In 2002, São Paulo transplant Mary Esses followed her future husband to the United States. Armed with a degree in marketing and experience running an art school in Brazil, Esses combined all her passions, debuting an eponymous line in New York City (her new home) in 2004.

Her signature fabric-like look—threaded, lace, silk, and woven effects—evolved from a mix of passion and necessity. “I was producing my jewelry in Brazil, but a few robberies by mail persuaded me to craft more pieces at the bench myself,” she says. “The more I sculpted in wax, the more my style became apparent.”

Esses was selling her jewelry to clients of a Brazilian-owned salon in NYC, but a chance encounter at Tiffany & Co. proved there was a larger market for her work. (Esses stopped by the Fifth Avenue flagship to exchange a gift card, and a fellow patron bought a pair of citrine chandelier earrings right off her ears! “I held her dog at an ATM machine while she took out money,” she recalls.)

Though Esses works primarily with 18k gold, she started applying her signature style to silver and brass (a metal she worked with when she “had no money at all”) this year. Of her 18 silver SKUs—starting at $260 retail—the Feather bracelet was the biggest hit during Las Vegas market week: Six were ordered for various stores and four merchants bought the bracelet for personal wear.

Silver Line Playbook

Dagger earrings in silver with gunmetal-colored rhodium and 1.4 cts. t.w. peridot and 0.25 ct. t.w. diamonds; $950; Sethi Couture, San Francisco; 415-863-1475;

Known for luxe vintage-inspired ­jewels, Sethi Couture recently debuted a ­silver line called Mayson. Chief designer ­Prerna Sethi, sister of Sethi Couture designer Pratima Sethi, says the name alludes to stone builders, or masons, owing to the collection’s architectural roots: “I was a ­student of architecture and continue to be influenced by great works from Le ­Corbusier and Shigeru Ban. [We] wanted to keep the aesthetic more contemporary…making the stone the focal point.” The blackened silver and 14k yellow gold–accented pieces feature garnets, sapphires, moonstones, and more (MSRP: $150–$1,000); 150 SKUs are available.

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