The Luxist Top Ten Under the Radar Jewelry Designers for the Holidays 2010
Giving jewelry as gifts for the holidays is something we highly encourage at Luxist. We love all that sparkles. One of our favorite regular features is jewelry design -- we love to showcase the up-and-comers who aren't yet as famous as, say, Tiffany and Harry Winston. Still, finding the right designer with the right price range for you can be difficult, as there's a sea of new designers every year to sift through. Here's our guide to the best of the best under-the-radar jewelry designers whose collections we recommend for the 2010 holidays. Each designer has fresh, enchanting pieces with that timeless je ne sais qoui which will last a lifetime.
The Luxist Top Ten Up and Coming Jewelry Designers for the Holidays 2010
1. Anna Hu (above)
We covered Anna Hu in January after meeting her in her Plaza boutique (Anna Hu, Custom Jeweler to the Lucky). It was one of our most exciting interviews of the year as we learned about her history as a cello prodigy and her penchant for lucky symbols and numbers. Anna Hu makes breathtaking custom pieces you should seek out either at The Plaza Hotel or in Tainan, Taiwan. A few select pieces are available online from Kabiri in the UK.
2. Johnny Brookheart
Johnny Brookheart is a stickler for curating only the finest diamonds in the world, so if you're looking to propose this holiday season (or at least to gift someone with diamonds), definitely check them out. The standard Engagement Collection includes exquisitely designed rings from a half carat to three carats. Better still, if you're looking for a non-traditional way to propose, Johnny Brookheart has an outstanding collection of alternative engagement diamonds made for body piercings, from belly rings to barbells and other pieces which can be worn anywhere you're pierced. Furthermore, they curate an unbelievably delicious selection of fine jewelry from designers such as Anthony Lent, Christine Guibara and others who share their whimsical, high-impact taste.
DANNIJO has had our rapt attention for a few years now, and we most recently covered them last December with DANNIJO Explodes in 2009 - A Recession Miracle. This sister duo went straight to the A-list while still maintaining their terrific indie vibe with wonderful, extravagant pieces in beautifully harmonious colors. Best of all, though their collection screams "elite" and "where did you get this?", you can shop right off their website for their Cult, Americana, Rock, Grace and Boho collections.
4. Raquelle Bianco
Raquelle Bianco is a newcomer to the USA, and actually a father-son team comprised of Eddie Weiss and his father Alex. The line is named for Eddie's great grandmother, who was a jewelry designer around the turn of the 20th century. The design team has Italian roots, which accounts for their beautifully Italian-influenced designs, but they actually launched in Australia in 2009, where they have a strong following. We just love their stackable colorful enamel bangles -- this one is made from silver, swarovski crystals and enamel and retails for just $299. You can find Raquelle Bianco at London Jewelers, Macy's and LaViano, among others, and online at Morgan Jewelers and Harry Ritchie's.
Slane is a classic favorite of ours, and has been seen on everyone from Katie Couric to Gossip Girl's Blake Lively. Their pieces are sophisticated and understated, but there's always a little something different; a little bit of interest that shows off their technical and artistic prowess. Slane is another sister duo; bicoastal sisters Heath and Landon Slane are the designers behind the line, and their approach is a collaborative one -- they invite other artists and thinkers to weigh in and aim to create jewelry that comforts and heals. An additional bonus: 90% of their work is handcrafted in the USA -- just 10% require a "specific manufacturing technique" that can only be found overseas. You can find Slane at these locations.
6. The Great Frog
The Great Frog is a legendary London jewelry shop with serious hard rock cred. Aerosmith, Iron Maiden and Metallica are among their clientele, and they also made all the jewelry for the Harry Potter films. If you're looking for something with a little more grit for your holiday gift, The Great Frog, who originated the skull ring, is your go-to joaillier. We managed to get a behind-the-scenes look into the workshop of The Great Frog last January -- check it out here: Inside The Great Frog, Jeweler to Harry Potter and Aerosmith. You can shop the incredible craftsmanship of The Great Frog online here.
7. Hassan Bounkit
Hassan Bounkit is yet another celebrity darling whose glamorous statement pieces we simply couldn't ignore this year. His designs are complex and delightful and sure to instantly charm any fashion-forward magpie. Bounkit is a Moroccan-born designer who spent years working with some of the finest houses in Italy and New York before branching out on his own in 2006. The result is a highly evolved signature style you can recognize from across the cocktail party or on the red carpet. Best of all, his pieces are all one-of-a-kind -- and for a steal. Shop here or at Saks Fifth Avenue and other high end retailers.
8. Carla Amorim
Brazilian designer Carla Amorim caught our eye with her fabulous Black Label capsule collection. 2010 marked the 15-year anniversary of her well beloved brand, and to celebrate, she created Black Label, named after classic cocktails. The Pastis earrings above were seen this year on Olivia Munn, and we especially love the detailed setting of the ring. She has no online store yet, but the earrings and ring, perfect for the upcoming Resort season, are available for purchase at Broken English in Santa Monica ($12,000 and $5,500). To see more of her collection and for stockists, visit CarlaAmorim.com.
9. Lois Hill
For jewelery lovers who also love art, history and/or travel, Lois Hill may be your perfect match. Lois Hill has an extensive line of globally inspired jewelry we fell in love with when we interviewed her back in August (Lois Hill, Traveling Joaillier - Exclusive Interview). Her work ranges from Scandinavian filigree to impressive metal weaves and granulation techniques she learned from local artisans in countries like Kenya and Tibet. Her collection also includes watches and some brilliant mens' pieces like pendants, dog tag-style necklaces and cufflinks. Visit her website to shop and learn more about her collaborations with BreastCancer.org and Doctors Without Borders.
10. Susie Fox
Susie Fox is new to the scene but definitely an up-and-comer, especially if you're into pave. This San Francisco based designer was born to parents in the arts and antiques business and has been creating jewelry for family and friends for years. Now she's shooting straight to stardom with pieces for sale at London Jewelers and Roseark, such as the amazing, 9 carat 18K White Gold Handmade Earrings with Scattered White and Cognac Diamonds above ($37,000.00, call Roseark to order). You can browse more of her collection at SusieFox.net.
So, readers, which is your favorite? Did we miss a designer you love? Let us know in the comments below.