Beauty of a diamond is made visible to the world only by a jewelry designer, who brings out the brilliance of the stone and turn it into an adornment. Hence, jewelry designers are said to be the biggest value adders of the industry. Here are some of the notable designers who have influenced the industry with their artistic inclination and passion for designing.
Elsa is a 1971 Coty Award winner for her “extension of jewelry into the realm of fashion sculpture”. She made her first appearance in Vogue magazine even before she joined Tiffany & Co. in 1974. She reinvented diamond necklaces and brought silver sterling back in style in the initial period of her 40 years’ association with Tiffany. British museum acquired 30 of Elsa’s creations for its 20th century collection.
Joel A Rosenthal
Joel A Rosenthal, famously known as JAR, is a legendary jewelry artist one may have never heard about. He is secretive and an eccentric artist but knows how to make his creations most sought after. Famous fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg describes JAR as “Fabergé of our time”. JAR’s shop in Paris does not have display windows and neither has regular meeting hours. He meets only on appointment basis and his clientele boasts of Elizabeth Taylor, Elle Macpherson, Barbara Walters, Ann Getty et al. He produces only 70-80 pieces a year, which are designed for a particular buyer and still holds right to refuse to sell an item if he thinks that the piece and wearer don’t befit each other. His expertise is in Pavé, a technique that involves close setting of stones to form an invariable pavement. JAR’s items are so ultra-exclusive that they are sold at double its original price.
Hong Kong based Wallace Chan is best known for his invention, the ‘Wallace Cut’. “It is a carving technique which creates an illusion in transparent materials by combining faceting and intaglio into 3-dimensional engraving” explains Wallace Chan’s website. His other innovations like Jade technique, gemstone setting technique and research on titanium has expanded the horizons of jewelry making. His creations reflect his Zen philosophy. He is the first winner of Jewellery News Asia “Outstanding Contribution Award” for his influence in the jewelry industry.
Paloma Picasso, the daughter of 20th century artist Pablo Picasso is one of the only four honored designers of Tiffany who can sign their work. She worked with a Greek company Zolotas initially and then joined Tiffany in 1980. She experimented with fragrances and created a perfume “Paloma” for L’oreal. Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago has acquired her work for permanent collection. ‘Picasso Kunzite Necklace’ is probably her most famous creation, which she created in 1986 on Tiffany’s 150th anniversary and is in collection of Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Viren Bhagat is a fourth generation Indian jeweler who has been called ‘the Indian JAR’. He learned the jewelry designing skills from observation, practice and instinct. He works with a limited palette, mainly precious stones and is known to blend tradition with modernity. He, just like JAR, makes only few pieces a year and proves to be one of the best designers of our time.
Mark Schneider specializes in contemporary designs. Simplicity and clean fluid lines are the characteristics of his design. Creating design as a wearable art is his philosophy of jewelry. He has a dedicated fan line. He is one of the very few living artists whose work is on permanent display at Smithsonian Institution of Gem and Mineral Hall. His path breaking work has earned him most of the honors and awards in the industry.
Stephen Webster is a London based designer whose brand is internationally acclaimed for its exquisite and cutting edge designs. He has contributed to the contemporary jewelry designing art by taking inspiration from music, fashion, art and literature and producing bold and glamorous jewelry for 40 years. Celebrities like Madonna, Kate Moss, Christine Anguilera, Amber Heard, Jay-Z, Russel Brand, Cameroon et al are his admirers. Few of them loved his work so much that they commissioned him to make their respective wedding bands. He is also famous for his Gothic style. Webster was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year Honors for services to training and skills in British jewelry industry.
Alexis Bittar is considered as one of the most innovative designers of 21st century. Despite the minimalist trend in early 1990’s, Bittar’s bold and colorful designs stood out. In 2004, he opened his first eponymous boutique. Bittar’s collaborations include Burberry, legendary stylist Patricia Field for Sex and the City, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Estee Lauder et al. In 2004, Council of Fashion Designers of America invited him to join them as a committee member. Alexis’ first jewelry line “Lucite collection” was influenced by Retro Backelite and Lalique Glass. And the second was “Elements”, made with precious and semi-precious stones mixed with metals. Bittar creates exclusive pieces for Museum of Modern Art New York.
Anand Shah is recognized as ‘one of the great designers’ by World Gold Council. He is also the winner of 8 consecutive Solitaire International Design Awards. His label ‘Ansaa’ is recognized for its unique design. Ansaa leads in the field of manufacturing finest range of hand crafted 22kt gold jewelry. Taking inspiration from nature, Anand broke established conventions and came up with new and contemporary styles. He is famously known for his talent of using wood and oil paint in his creations. His collection presented in IIJW 2015 won industry acclaim.