What makes a brand hip or cool depends on many different things. I agree. But I selected these brands for a reason. And with each brand, I will explain their cool or hip factor. So come with me!
1. Amy Pepper
Amy Pepper is a British award-winning jewelry designer whose work is inspired much by her surroundings. Shells and sea life form the heart of her sculptured jewelry pieces.
What makes Amy Pepper jewelry cool?
- Her jewelry has that organic look and feel
- She works with both silver and gold
- Good value! Her jewelry is very reasonably priced. Prices start around $200,-
- Salt & Pepper diamonds. Embracing nature in all its forms is the new normal and spot on! Not the flawless diamonds, but the ”imperfect perfect ones”. A trend we’ll see much more everywhere.
2. Ana Thompson
Ana Thompson is a Colombian jewelry designer who lives and works in London, UK. Her fascination with Science, Technology, and Design is combined in her creations. And it shows! There is movement and flow. It feels like there is a vibration or a frequency and her Vortex Ring (last one of these three images) which retails around £6500,- is absolutely one of my personal favorites from her collection.
What makes Ana Thompson jewelry cool?
- Her approach! The idea of Design in jewelry is common enough, but Technology and Science are just a little bit rarer.
- The flow
- The best of two worlds. I believe that people that try to combine two different worlds ( Colombia and the UK) always bring something extra to the table
- Contemporary, very modern stylish look
3. Ania Haie
Ania Haie is not really a designer and the collections are widely available in the countries of distribution. This fashion jewelry collection is build around an idea of being both current and cool and very affordable. Most of the jewelry is either in silver or gold-plated. Prices start around $10-$15.
What makes Ania Haie jewelry cool?
- Very affordable!
- Looks sleek and more expensive than it really is
- Simple and modern
4. Apostolos Kleitsiotis
Apostolos Jewelry is designed by Apostolos Kleitsiotis, a Greek jewelry designer who works from Alexandroupoli in Greece since 1990. His work is a combination of old-Hellenic jewelry tradition combined with the contemporary. His jewelry
What makes Apostolos jewelry look cool?
- Perfect if you like a bolder and cool jewelry design, it doesn’t shout, but it creates curiosity.
- I love the color of the metals combined! Silver and gold, mixed with precious and semi-precious gems.
5. Bea Jareno
Bea Jareno works from Wimbledon, UK. She says she loves India and I think it shows in her work. Her jewelry is fashion jewelry 2.0. 24kt Gold Vermeil and semi-precious gemstones from the base of her collection. What I like about her collection is that I think I see it: her love for yoga, India, colors, and life. Her longing to be ethical ( sourcing ethical gemstones) and her need to express herself, her beliefs, and her inner motivation in her jewelry. I loved this piece featured her below ( £395,-) with tourmalines in sterling silver and 24kt vermeil gold.
What makes Bea Jareno jewelry cool?
- Her jewelry shows her inner WHY ( who is she, why does she make it. She makes you feel it and this is, for the right consumer, very appealing)
- Ethical! We all know it, this should be the future.
- Wearable and a little BoHo.
- The gemstones, I love that they are ethically sourced and I love the gemstones she picked.
Jacqueline Cullen is an English jewelry designer and jewelry maker. She uses different precious metal and gemstones but loves also to use Whitby Jet as featured in the images below. Whitby Jet is wood that under extreme pressure-formed a mineraloid called Whitby Jet. Jet is the name of the mineraloid, Whitby refers to the unique location in England where this is found. Jacqueline works ethically and responsible and her inspiration comes from asteroids, the universe, the light breaking through, the stars, and I love that very much. (Taschen, the book company releases a book with images from the Hubble telescope and I pre-ordered it immediately) It’s not just beautiful looking but her inspiration and how Jacqueline chooses to translate that inspiration in her jewelry is consistent. This is what she stands for, this is who she is. Mind you, the reason I love it too is that I have a fascination with the Universe, the stars, the light, the origin of everything.
What makes Jacqueline cullen jewelry cool?
- Ethically and responsibly sourced and all created by Jacqueline herself.
- A clear theme in her work
- The beauty of Whitby Jet
- Not limited to only Whitby Jet but allowing it to play a role even in her other creations. Just visit her website to learn more 🙂
7. Maud Traon
I remember the moment I saw Maud Traon’s jewelry for the first time. Thinking literally: oh wow! Maud Traon is a small company based in the U.K. Each of her creations is unique and can be bespoke according to your taste and style. Maud’s approach to jewelry design is very much the opposite of 99,9% of jewelry designers out in the world. The way she sets stones is unconventional and reflects more how you would find them in nature. She also treats glitter with the same respect as she has for the natural gemstones she uses. The rings below are both in silver. I would understand that this is not everyone’s taste, but oh my, this is extraordinary fun and gorgeous jewelry. I adore her originality and again, like the aforementioned designer; she is consistent. Something that makes her work recognizable and pure. Prices of rings vary from around $450 – $1700.
what makes Maud Traon jewelry cool?
- Hugely original
- Small brand, bespoke possibilities
- Organic look and feel
- Unconventional and unique
8. Polly Wales
Polly Wales is another English designer- now based in Los Angeles- that has challenged the traditional thinking of setting stones. Her jewelry is cast-not-set. She casts the gemstones directly into molten gold which gives it that, again, organic look. It doesn’t feel new, it doesn’t feel like you need to be extra careful, but it looks like it’s been worn for some time now.
And this is exactly what Polly stands for. That warm, more intimate, and not intimidating feeling. Jewelry that isn’t pristine and shiny. Her jewelry is made in 18kt gold. I like her jewelry lots, especially the ones with the colored stones. This is jewelry for the ”uber-cool, not giving a damn about showing off jewelry as status-symbol” but rather treat it as a personal beloved friend.
what makes polly wales jewelry cool?
- Imperfect perfection
- Cast-not-set stones
- Understated yet unique and present
- Her design is consistent. Her story matches her jewelry completely. I believe her.
9. FENTY jewelry
Fenty jewelry is part of the Fenty Universe, a collab between LVHM and the famous singer Rihanna Robyn Fenty. This is not a small brand from the start but a combination of creating a product around a famous young singer known for her style and coolness. She is a strong woman, independent, and she has figured who she wants to be at this moment out.
Her fashion jewelry line is strong. If you write about fine jewelry daily, you are tempted to say that it is affordable fashion jewelry. But actually, it is a little pricy. All products are made in galvanized brass and the gorgeous theme of cameo jewelry that stood out for me is created in polyester resin. Nothing too precious, but it’s the idea and the connection of the always hip and cool looking Rihanna, that makes you look twice. What I love is not just the jewelry but the whole approach of the brand. It’s about inclusivity and you do get that feeling. The photography for this collection is done by Ruth Ossai. Some of the jewelry is shown with a hijab, which completes, in my eyes, the understanding of inclusivity once again.
what makes fenty jewelry cool?
- It’s Rihanna all the way!
- Cool ideas
- Cameo new style
- Inclusivity (the new normal)
10. Tom Foolery
Tom Foolery is actually a jewelry store featuring lots of original and cool designers, but Tom Foolery also brings an own line called Muse by Tom Foolery to the public. And here is what I like about it: the use of diamonds. In the past year, we have started to embrace imperfect perfection. We, people that work in the jewelry industry and those who work to observe trends and consumer preferences of the future, see a bright future for inclusivity. It’s a cultural movement that spreads its wings and touches just about everything. Slowly but surely. Inclusivity is about including all races, genders, and sexual identities. It doesn’t stop there. A visible handicap, a plus size model, an aging woman or man, if a brand goes fully inclusive, then you’ll find these people which is you and I really, in the communication and identity of the brand.
It’s about understanding that the world isn’t just about the young and the beautiful. And translate this in communication and design. In jewelry, we might see more diversity in the people portrayed in the marketing campaigns of a brand (finally!). We might also see it in the diamonds used. And here is what captured my eye, when I looked at Muse by Tom Foolery. Rose-cut diamonds, grey, salt, and pepper of yellowish diamonds. You either love it or don’t, but I dig it!
what makes tom foolery jewelry cool?
- Inclusivity translated into rose-cut, grey ”imperfect” diamonds
- Embracing other cool designers and giving them a platform
- Traditional at first sight, contemporary if you look closer
11. Alison Evans
Alison’s work is found in many museums and there is even a permanent collection in the Museum of Scotland. Her technique is based on the ancient technique of chainmail. She creates all the links ( gold, silver, or titanium) by hand. This doesn’t sound special if you’re not familiar with jewelry making, but that is a choice and not the easiest one! A lot of work. She says on her website that she explores in her work the contrast between nature and the manmade, industrial world. That’s not what I see. I find her work beautiful because she seems to smoothly merge and blend those two together and it feels natural and soft.
What makes alison evans jewelry cool?
- Strong style
- Consistent design, clear message, and story.
- Fluid and soft, and yet also: bold and industrial looking.
12. Anna Sheffield
Anna Sheffield has two stores in L.A. and New York. At first sight, this is a slightly more conventional brand than most of the ones featured here. But stay with me; I like the jewelry, mostly because it does meet that world of more conventional-looking jewelry, story, and symbolism, ethical thinking, and inclusivity. You can opt for a ”perfect” diamond but also go grey all the way, as shown in the stone below. The founder Anna Sheffield has met that fine line between being a little different, yet understand the longing also for traditional design and how people think about jewelry. Most of the consumers with buying power aren’t as avant-garde as we, blinded by all the beauty created and what we ( bloggers, journalists, trendwatchers, etc) see on a daily basis this like to think 🙂 By taking small steps, Anna shows her clients what a little detail as using a grey diamond can do for a piece of jewelry. She uses also diamonds previously used, which is the perfect forward-thinking and what we’ll see more and more.
what makes anna Sheffield jewelry cool?
- Re-use diamonds from old jewelry
- Inclusivity; grey diamonds
- Traditional meets cool
- Lots of symbolism in her jewelry (talisman collection)
Artëmer Studio is based in Tel Aviv, Israel. It’s such a cool company! This alternative engagement ring jewelry design company actually embodies the perfect storytelling technique of today. Not as a marketing trick but it feels authentic and real. They take you with them into their why ( why they make the jewelry as they do) they mention their challenge and low point with grace and just a bit of humor. And then show you on their website not just a range of glossy highly edited images. No, they take you into their reality. The normality of daily life and the beauty they have found in that normal life. So, I believe (in) them! And as a consequence, I observe their ideas about the use of baguette diamonds in their jewelry with this in mind. Personally, I have always loved baguette-cut diamonds. The way this duo combines it, makes me drool a little. It’s cool, fresh, and yet incredibly chic and contemporary.
what makes artemer jewelry cool?
- Their story takes you right into their world of jewelry design
- The use of baguette diamonds!
- Fresh, real, authentic and beautiful
14. Nina bukvic
Nina Bukvic is a Croatian jewelry designer who graduated at jewelry design at Londonʼs College of Art & Design, Central St Martins. She has a self-developed technique that is her signature style! She likes to bring textile methods into metalwork and uses fine gold wires and chains. She hand weaves her jewelry and combines them with colored diamond or gemstone beads. It looks slightly messy at first sight, but why does my eye linger on her jewelry?
I love her informal approach, it does seem- almost- at the kitchen table ;-). It’s unique and I think that if I wear this, I would play with those moving beads all the time. It’s yet again a very different approach in jewelry. It’s more precious than it may look at first sight and I think that this is the kind of jewelry that simply never bores you. It remains fascinating, moving, organic almost. This jewelry isn’t sleek but a far more artisanal product. It looks like that, it feels like that, and I think you’ll love it for that
What makes nina bukvic jewelry cool?
- Artisinal look and feel
- Moving beads
- Makes you want to touch it
15. Charlotte Chesnai
When you look at the image of Charlotte Chesnai, she seems so incredibly young! But make no mistake, this very original jewelry designer once worked as a co-designer for Balenciaga. She founded her own company in 2015 and her jewelry is known for its sleek, fluid, moving design.
Charlotte loves jewelry as it gives her the possibility to play with forms and structure. Both in silver and gold vermeil as in 18kt gold. But jewelry is just a choice she made, it could have been furniture or anything else, as long as she got to play with this idea of fluidity and structure. If I call her work commercially interesting, I don’t mean to say it will just sell because it is a proven concept in jewelry design. No, what I mean is that it is playing with forms as we know them, but just in a different matter, a different combination, a different direction.
I think that people are used to the forms, but are intrigued by how she displays them in her jewelry. It’s attractive, it’s smooth, round, and pleasing. It’s edgy and uber-cool, wearable and bold, but never heavy. What I also love about her collection is the price range. I love brands that create something beautiful and extraordinary, but not cost enormous amounts of money. While we, me included, treasure our artists and jewelry creators in the high-end jewelry category, the real world needs more affordable beauty.
what makes charlotte chesnai jewelry cool?
- It’s not cool, it’s uber-cool
- A designer pur-sang
- Sleek, soft and round, fluid and gracious looking
16. Stuart McGrath-armoura
I previously wrote about Armoura on Bizzita, after having a pleasant conversation with its founder Stuart McGrath. He shares his story both in the blog about him and on his website, but Stuart once was a talented sculptor, who had to change everything after a serious accident. He became a jewelry designer and translated the love for art and design into his jewelry collection, which has matured over the past years and found it’s identity.
What I see when I look at his website is the caring for detail but also; a mix between easy to wear, art-deco looking design mixed here and there with that longing for pushing boundaries with other ”over the top” design ideas. His pret-a-porter jewelry is very chic and understated. It’s when I look at his more audacious ideas that I feel there is more, much more to come from this fantastic designer.
What makes stuart McGrath -armoura jewelry cool
- art-deco made cool
- Sleek and contemporary
- There feeling that there is more to come from this lovely designer!
Stuart Mc Crath
Katherine Kim has studied at the Central Saint Martin College of Design in London and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Based in L.A. she thinks locally and responsibly. All her jewelry is created in California and sustainability and global responsibility are her core values. Katkim jewelry is so much fun! Look at her ideas on how to wear it! Refreshing and new.
An earring is over the ear, but not in the heavy way we have seen it in the past years, but rather a mix between an aesthetic look of the future combined with the punk movement of the ’80s. Katkim’s jewelry is a favorite among fashion editors as it gives that immediate modern twist without overbearing the outfit of the model. And this is what it does for the wearer.
It’s there, it’s eye-catching, stunning, yet it’s not overbearing, it’s beautiful and the way it’s worn will make it a conversation piece, but it’s modest and understated at the same time. A great look for many, but you need to be a little bit more daring.
What makes Katkim jewelry cool?
- Re-invention of how to wear jewelry
- Elegant and futuristic
- Edgy and daring
- Sustainability and global responsibility as the core values of the brand
As always, I would love to know your thoughts! What did you love immediately, which brand did you check out to learn more about? What would you spend on a cool piece of modern jewelry? What do you think about the approaches of each designer or brand?
What great jewelry design is also about
In an attempt to be inclusive myself, I embraced not just fine jewelry. I did not go for the high-end brands for people with deep pockets only. We need to understand that well-designed objects and jewelry aren’t about price. It’s not the metal or stones used that makes for great design. Design is where capacity, skill, and intuition meet. Great design always has an inner value. Something that inspired the creator of the piece. In today’s world, where we are slowly coming out of one of the weirdest and most challenging moments in our own lives ( the Covid-19 lockdown period) we are re-discovering how much our values and beliefs count. How little it is about status and just throwing money at things and how much it is about connection, relevance, and the values we all share. We know how vulnerable we are. And we are tackling so many issues at the same time, from the battle for equality for all to the battle for a beautiful thriving planet for our children’s children.
When I look at this jewelry, I see each of the voices and lives behind the brands. I see how authenticity in many of their stories drove me to publish about them. I see hope and beauty and a spark of pure joy. I hope you saw this too 🙂