12 Cult Jewelry Designers You Need to Know

Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but her ultimate PIC throws bad-ass arm parties where everyone’s invited. We’re talking protuberant geometric shapes, off-kilter messages, paranormal elements and recycled vintage vulcanite harvested everywhere form Portugal to West Africa. We’ve rounded up the jewelry designers who make us carefully hoard our pennies, carelessly squander our paychecks and trip out over their otherworldly campaigns. See below for twelve names to get familiar with immediately.


Australian-born painter and sculptor Scosha Woolridge hatched the Scosha concept in 2000 while living in India. She learned ancient weaving methods in India, Thailand, Turkey and Brazil, selling her designs at a Northern Brazilian night market before moving to New York City. Her eponymous jewelry line was launched in 2007 in Brooklyn, combining traditional methods with delicate metals, Rainbow Brite lookbooks and super-rad models. All Scosha pieces are designed, crafted, sold, and shipped from under one Williamsburg roof.


The Inez and Vinoodh of handcrafted jewelry, husband and wife team Ashley Lowengrub and Dara Gerson design their pieces from the hills of California’s Topanga Canyon. By using 100% reclaimed materials they translate would-be waste into intricate pieces of subtly weathered, wearable art. Each piece feels like it has a story behind, even if you’re the first person to own it in the form of an Egyptian Scarab necklace rather than a piece of scrap metal. Their Facebook holiday snaps are also guaranteed to not make you want to unfriend them.


Brooklyn-via-Amsterdam designer Jeanette Lai Thomas takes inspiration from ‘lines, forms and structures, both man-made and natural.’ The signature piece in her collection is the Cut Away Pyramid, a beautifully simplified, geometric version of Egypts most complex and baffling structures.


From the whimsical to the straight-up weird, Californian creator Kate Albrecht has an off-kilter piece of jewelry for every notch on the mood spectrum. And with all of them ringing in at under $200, you can afford to be very schizophrenic. Fall 2013′s ‘Element’ collection juxtaposes precious metals and wispy feather shapes with a ballsy sense of humor. No wonder Albrecht counts Leandra Medine and Zooey Deschanel as followers.


If you ever attempted witchcraft and rented The Craft on VHS more times than was financially logical, Australian brand ManiaMania is sure to strike a chords Australian art director and stylist duo Melanie Kamsler and Tamila Purvis mix protuberant geometric shapes with metaphysical inspirations that ignite their equally transcendental campaigns. Check out the most recent ‘Babylon‘ collection, inspired by Theda Bara and morbid exotica, for a creepy GIF series starring Ruby Jean Wilson that reminds us a little of the ’90s PC game ever, Goosebumbs’ ‘Escape From HorrorLand’. They’ve also recently launched a homeware collection stateside.


Designers David Rees and Ron Anderson’s kick-off point is antique jewelry passed down by the classiest of moms and grandmothers: Rather milky opal rings, wooden tusk earrings and abstract pendants on fine 60-inch chains. Giving further substance to their street cred, Rees and Anderson recently tapped Inez and Vinoodh to create a small capsule collection that was modeled on The Mishapes.


Kiwi designer Nick Von K makes beautiful and fantastical jewelry with no gender bias. He launched his latest collection, ‘Midnight Carnival’, in New York City just over a month ago, and we still can’t stop thinking about the Swan Queen necklace fashioned from Opalite glass.


There’s some weird shit on Etsy and there’s some amazing shit, and from the latter category comes Williamsburg-based jewelry company Private Opening. Their hand-carved rings and cuffs are particularly worth every cent of their $85 and $325, respectively, price tags. They also have a ring called ‘Gothic Donatella‘, which is as as cool as it sounds.


If you equate ‘minimalist’ with ‘boring’, get ready to have your metaphorical thesaurus shredded by Los Angeles-based designer Erin Blase. Combining hints of the ethereal and the edgy into pieces that do just what jewelry is supposed to: Complete your look without overwhelming it. All pieces are manufactured in L.A. and all stones are sourced locally (stones from the most recent collection are natives of the bordering Tuscon, Arizona).


10. TheFFS
Sister act Cheryl and Donna Freeman have only been designing as TheFFS since January 2012. But with the girls counting Oprah as their entrepreneurial muse, it’s no wonder they ended up getting TheFFS stocked at Barneys only six months into their venture. A global sensibility is reflected in their materials: Vivid bracelets are woven with recycled vintage vulcanite, traded and harvested via independent sellers from Portugal to West Africa, oxidized Ethiopian copper and supple skins mixed with lustrous gems.


Expensive? Heck yeah. But there’s no harm in stumbling around Heidi Gardner’s dark, dangerous and sexy world while you wait for your trust fund to kick in. Her debut collection, Creature Couture, is a range of anatomically inspired pieces that aim to change the view that jewelry is just an accessory.


Zara Simon might be based in London, but she’s living in a New York state of mind. One of the newcomer’s stand-out pieces is the Gold New York Ring, which might set you back approximately half a year’s rent, but screw sticking to just plain diamonds — we can’t think of a piece of jewelry more likely to make us say “I do”.


Related links:
30 Under 30: Fashion Designers Changing the Game
The CFDA Showcases 19 Pieces of Full-On Jewelry Porn
Leigh Lezark Models Inez & Vinoodh’s Debut Jewelry Collection

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