Much like a great bag or a great pair of shoes, a fantastic piece of jewelry can really make an outfit. Traditionally known as the royal group of accessories, jewelry can supply an innovative, eye-catching, and sometimes even conversational element to your wardrobe — from look-at-me statement necklaces to sculptural bracelets.
In recent years, the jewelry market has expanded to host a slew of innovative designers and labels that are stretching the art far beyond the conventional pearls-and-pendants fodder, incorporating dazzling new materials and truly original designs. Interested in starting (or expanding!) a jewelry collection of your own? Here are 13 high-style jewelry labels every fashion lover should know (and, of course, invest in!)
As a fourth-generation Fendi heiress, it’s safe to say that fashion runs in Delettrez’s blood. The designer, who launched her collection in 2007, uses precious metals and gemstones to craft her eye-catching pieces, which tend to have a surrealist bent. (Above, one of her signature eye rings.) Delettrez has already picked up an impressive fan base—including Beyonce, who recently sported her bee ring—but what’s most impressive about this young talent is her connection to the art world: She’s presented solo exhibitions at galleries in Miami and Rome, and even showed a collection at the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, making her officially the youngest designer ever to show there.
Giles & Brother
Great things are made by siblings: The Row, Walt Disney, “Wonderwall.” Maybe it’s a mathematical certainty that two brains in sync are better than one? Either way, the same formula seems to hold true for jewelry, as in the case of Giles and Philip Crangi, the sibling dream team behind Giles & Brother. Their designs, a mix of industrial, costume, and sterling silver jewelry, take their cues from classic estate styles as well as textiles from Africa. A great entry-level piece from this label would be one of their simple (and affordable!) gold cuffs, like this tough-yet-sleek railroad spike bracelet.
This CFDA Award-winning designer has carved a niche for herself with a focus on jewelry with layers of hidden meaning, heavily influenced by the American Southwest. Juxtaposed with designs, symbols, and mixed metals, Love’s pieces can transform simple outfits into edgy looks. While the brand’s appeal may lie in its rebellious persona, the actual craftsmanship that goes into making the jewelry is anything but. All the metal used is recycled and the gemstones and semiprecious stones are all ethically sourced.
Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places, as seen with the duo behind Lady Grey Jewelry. Jill Martinelli and Sabine Le Guyader forged a friendship in college, and then worked in prosthetic dentistry and orthodontics part-time. Their quirky after-school jobs, as well as their study of metal-smithing and sculpture, provided the backbone to their avant-garde jewelry line. In 2009, the designers won Gen Art’s Design Vision Award in Accessories, and still make each piece by hand in their Brooklyn studio. If you’re looking to sport rich metals with a moody twist, Lady Grey’s darkly ladylike pieces should be your go-to brand.
You may not know Lauren Wolf by name, but we’re betting you’ve seen her work. This designer started learning the art of jewelry design in the mountains of Mexico, and within a decade, her pieces were sticked in more than 60 boutiques. Celebrities like Penelope Cruz, Debra Messing, and Brooke Shields have all worn her designs — some composed of blackened silver with a gothic-meets-“Beatle Juice” appeal, and others using bright colored stones with ladylike gold detailing.
This is the perfect label for anyone who likes their jewelry to stick to the basics. This label, helmed by Jamie Iacoli & Brian McAllister, actually makes more than just jewelry — they specialize in lighting and furniture as well, with an emphasis on quality and craft. We’re all about over-the-top, chunky necklaces and high-octane glamour, but sometimes a simple piece can speak volumes. In this case, we’d recommend layering one of their brass-and-suede pieces over a printed top or a textured sweater for a bit of added polish.
You know you have a Noor Fares piece when you find a protective eye engraved on the inside. Her Labanese heritage and world travels inspire a large part of this London-based designer’s work, and she loves crafting three-dimensional shapes, including cubes, arrows, and stars. She adds diamonds or gemstones to most of her pieces, and jewelry is quite formal for the most part, though always with an element of versatility. Case in point: the Octahedron Dress Earrings have a detachable chain, allowing you to also wear them as studs.
The designers behind this creative brand are no amateurs. Melanie Kamsler was a longtime creative director for several fashion magazines when she met her creative partner, stylist Tamila Purvis. Their collaboration led to a jewelry brand with captivating designs made up of mainly thick brass chains and large crystals. (Make no mistake, these are statement pieces.) Every item in their collection is handmade, and seriously, what’s better than a one-of-a-kind piece?
Paxton works with various textiles and Indian artisans to create accessories that speak to the modern globetrotter. Her pieces feature exquisite beading, graphic elements, and mixed components. Considering chokers have been making an big comeback, we suggest sporting one of Paxton’s creations across your collar bone.
Odette New York
Let’s put the common Brooklyn-based designer stereotypes aside, because Odette’s jewelry takes the crafted look to a new level. Founded in 2006 by artist Jennifer Sarkilahti, all of the label’s pieces are made by hand, starting with sketches and then translated to small wax sculptures until they’re finally casted — a long process that takes dedication and great skill. Inspired by organic shapes, natural specimens, and artifacts, Odette’s pieces take on a primitive charm. Best of all, these pieces won’t break your budget.
With about 18 thousand followers on Instagram, Lionette is quickly becoming a competitor for big brands like Dannijo when it comes to sparkly statement accessories (and social engagement). We’d recommend striking while the iron is hot here, before these pieces really take off (and command a higher premium.) The label’s jewelry includes a blend of colorful stones and metals, giving each piece a Middle Eastern allure. Lionette’s pieces are vibrant enough to make a night outfit, but still casual enough to wear to work or a nice lunch.
For this designer, jewelry design requires impeccable craftsmanship. While her pieces may be on the pricier side, they are as timeless as they are versatile, and made of fine materials like gold, minerals, and natural gems. We’re obsessed with this gold cuff, which feels at once earthy and avant garde.
The jewelry category is expanding into all manner of new embellishments. Knuckle-ring umbrellas? Yep, you probably didn’t expect that one. The twin designers behind DE NOVO (siblings, didn’t we tell you?) are all about “defying the rules of accessory design,” starting with adding some bling to the most common of accessories. Sure, an umbrella from the nearest drugstore will keep the rain off your head, but these pieces are sure to be a conversation-starter once you arrive at your destination.