From inspiring designs to iconic collections, these designers, brands and shops are defining the industry, one gorgeous piece at a time. Read on for the winners of our second annual jewelry awards.
Shreve, Crump & Low
Lifetime achievement takes on a whole new meaning for Shreve, Crump & Low, in part because they’ve been around for much longer than a lifetime. The company, which has locations in Greenwich, CT, and Boston, MA, was first established in 1796. “In the 1800s we sold silverware, candelabras, and clocks, as well as other fine items a family might invest in during the time,” says Brad Walker, who with his siblings Olivia and Brian now runs the family business. “It seems at one point Shreve’s manufactured a piece of silverware for any possible need—we still have people show us the most obscure serving ware from centuries past, like sterling ice cream knives, egg crackers, or even page turners for whatever book you were reading.” But it’s also in part because of their ability to cater to their clients—offering everything from engagement rings to estate pieces, pre- owned watches (their fastest- growing offering) and, their favorite, rare diamonds and precious gemstones. Says Olivia Walker: “We do admit the storefront may look intimidating from the outside with important jewelry in the front windows, but once you step in you are greeted with a warm smile where our knowledgeable and passionate team members are always eager to meet new customers.”
EXCELLENCE IN DIAMONDS
Want a jaw-dropping diamond piece? That’s where Graff, which is synonymous with excellence in diamonds, comes in. With more than 60 stores around the world— including on Madison Avenue in New York City and in Saks both in the City and in Greenwich—you’ll find everything from engagement rings to a high jewelry collection featuring white, yellow and pink and other color diamonds. Popular collections including their iconic Butterfly line and of course, their bridal collection. The Threads collection, which came out last year, features “a web of interconnected diamonds” with pieces including cufflinks, earrings, and a bracelet.
EXCELLENCE IN ESTATE PIECES
If you’re looking for a show stopping estate piece, look no further than Manfredi Jewels, which has locations in Greenwich and New Canaan, CT. “The Manfredi Estate Collection is more eclectic than most. It is not tied to a particular period or genre,” explains owner Roberto Chiappelloni. “We are fortunate that many of our clients have extremely good taste and own pieces that have a lot of history.” That includes prestigious brands such as Bucellati, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier. When choosing estate pieces, Chiappelloni says that wearability is the key factor. “We often see incredible jewels, but they simply are not for a client to wear today. We also look for the finest quality and craftsmanship. We are not opposed to buying jewels that are just a few years old, but are time- less.” Along with estate jewelry, Manfredi Jewels also has an extensive pre-owned watch collection. “Our pre-owned watch collection is unsurpassed by any other collection. I started my collection in the 1970s for my own personal use, having no idea I would own a jewelry store,” explains Chiappelloni, which includes Vacheron Constantin, Breguet and Jaeger-LeCoultre. “We have an incredible representation of all the major brands as well as the niche brands.”
There are few brands that have attained icon status quite like Cartier. And the brand continues to make pieces that are poised to turn heads now, and for years to come. The Clash de Cartier collection, for instance, debuted in 2019 with pieces like an 18k rose gold necklace with diamonds, and, this November, new pieces debuted, including an 18k rose gold supple necklace. And some of their most seminal lines, like Panthère de Cartier, Juste un Clou and Trinity, also have seen new pieces added, including earrings, bracelets, and more. And don’t forget watches for women and men, including the Maillon de Cartier and Pasha de Cartier Skeleton watch, which came out in the spring and fall respectively.
EXCELLENCE IN GOLD
Faye Kim Designs
“Gold has universal appeal and is an investment that holds its value,” says Faye Kim, the owner and designer behind Faye Kim Designs in Westport, CT. “Because of its intrinsic value, it’s something that can be passed down between generations and be appreciated in more ways than one.” Kim says she appreciates the warmth and malleability of gold—as well as the various colors and finishes available. “I specifically love working in green gold because its bright color with a matte finish creates a really clean, sophisticated, contemporary look,” she explains. Some of her favorite new pieces include the mix-and-match colored stack rings, which she loves for both the versatility and the “pop of color” as well as the 18k gold fob chain necklace, which she says can be worn with a larger pendant or on its own. What’s next for Faye Kim Fine Jewelry? “In the new year, I will be focusing a lot more on personal collaborations and designing one-of-a-kind pieces and collaborating on custom designs.”
“I am highly selective in choosing designers for Peridot,” says founder Dawn Hendricks of her Larchmont, NY store, Peridot Fine Jewelry, which she opened in 2002. “I generally ‘follow’ an artist’s work see if I like the evolution of their pieces and the style of the work. I look at craftsmanship, price point, and the ‘story’ the designer is trying to tell and, ultimately, if I feel I’d love to receive one of their pieces as a gift, then I know it’s right for us.” There are about 30 different designers creating all kinds of pieces featured at Peridot. “I truly love all the designers we carry,” says Hendricks. That includes recent addition Céline D’aoust—“Celine’s work is fresh and inspired, easy to wear and she works with the most wonderful ‘juicy’ gemstones, says Hendricks. Hendrick’s daughter, Jessica Hendricks Yee is also debuting her “Zahava” collection. “In these unsettling times our clients are searching for jewelry with sentiment, and Jessica’s beautiful 10k gold collection crafted as modern heirlooms makes for a beautiful gift.”
MOST UNEXPECTED DESIGN
Whether you’re looking for fun diamond and ruby pizza-shaped earrings or an inspiring 18k gold necklace featuring the word “grateful,” there’s a playful and optimistic quality—both necessary these days!—inherent in a Sydney Evan piece of jewelry. “I have a jewelry closet, full to the brim, of vintage pieces that I purchased back when I started working in fine jewelry. I also find inspiration through travel, nature, different cultures and, of course, my children,” says Rosanne Karmes, founder and designer. “I try to design pieces that are my definition of classic, but integrate my icons while touching on what is happening in the fashion world.” One of the newest collections, Icon, features some of the brand’s popular charms, symbols for luck, love and more. The collection is set in 14k gold with pavé diamonds. “Every single piece I make has a meaning behind it or a memory tied to it,” says Karmes. “I think about my customer and it helps me design with intent to bring happiness to the person.”
BEST LIMITED COLLECTION BY A FEATURED DESIGNER
Tiffany & Co.
Elsa Peretti is an iconic part of Tiffany & Co.—she’s been with the brand since the early ’70s—and to honor the 50th anniversary of Peretti’s signature bone cuff this fall, the company released a limited edition collection that includes vintage Peretti designs, as well as a few one-of-kind pieces. The collection includes the 18k gold mesh collar necklace with 66 diamonds and a sterling silver mesh necklace that features two Keshi pearls, which are quite rare. Plus, you’ll find limited edition bone cuff styles, including a sterling silver cuff inlaid with a black jade and another with a turquoise stone, along with a gold cuff with a green jade stone.
EXCELLENCE IN TIME PIECES
Rolex needs no introduction when it comes to their track record for creating innovative and sophisticated watches. This year is no exception and in 2020, they’ve added new pieces to their Oyster Perpetual collection, including the redesigned Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Submariner Date, both of which feature a larger case. Plus, the Oyster Perpetual Datejust 31, in white Rolesor with dial colors in mint green, aubergine, dark gray and white; the aubergine has a bezel set with 46 brilliant-cut diamonds. Also released in 2020 was the Oyster Perpetual 41 that has 18k gold hands and dial numbers, and the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller, which Rolex has featured with an Oysterflex bracelet.
Zoë Chicco has been designing jewelry for “as long as I can remember,” she says—from gluing pieces like buttons and beads together as a child to majoring in studio art with a metalsmithing concentration in college. “Jewelry was the only career I ever wanted to pursue,” says Chicco, who started her line in 2000. These days her celeb-favorite designs, which are all made in-house, range from pretty cuffs and earrings to inspiring mantra necklaces. “The first one I made is my own personal mantra that I have had since my childhood, ‘Work hard, stay humble, be kind,’” says Chicco of the necklaces, with others featuring phrases like “Stay in your magic” and “I can and I will.” She explains, “We hope that these will be worn daily as a reminder of inspiration or a personal intention.”
EXCELLENCE IN OPALS
“Along with opal being the birthstone for October, it is a gemstone that has a long history associated with love, passion, hope and truth. Ancient Greeks thought that the opal would guard against disease,” says Donna Sugrue, salesperson at NAGI Jewelers in Stamford, CT, which has been a mainstay in the community for 40 years. “We love them for the incredibly intense color. Ranging from pale pink to intense orange to black, opals offer a little something for everyone.” In fact, in their newest collection, Sugrue describes a black opal that has “a beautiful bluish color and the intensity is incredible.” She explains that opals need a bit more care than other gem- stones; so for instance, steer clear of harsh cleaners and stick with either mild deter- gent or just a soft cloth to keep them clean. Due to the variety of colors, you can create something truly unique. “The array of colors in opal opens up the ability to pair and set them with so many other beautiful gemstones,” says Sugrue, “which only help to enhance the opal’s true beauty.”
BEST GLOBAL COLLECTION OF DESIGNERS
Saks Fifth Avenue The Vault
“Our global approach to designer curation allows us to build the best possible offering for our customers that incorporates trends and tastes from around the world,” explains Marta Nowakowski, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of jewelry at Saks Fifth Avenue. “We select designers that complement the Saks Fifth Avenue aesthetic as well as appeal to our diverse customers.” Located in Greenwich, Saks Fifth Avenue The Vault is one of four Saks Shops, and is focused on jewelry, showcasing anywhere from 20 to 30 designers, says Nowakowski. “The destination offers a world-class selection of rare and exclusive jewelry brands and features special services for customers, including private viewing rooms,” she says. And the designers run the gamut from brands like Graff, Bulgari, Repossi and Pomellato to designers like Anito Ko and Samira 13. Los Angeles-based designer Samira 13 “appeals to our clients who love and collect pearls,” says Nowakowski, who also describes the new Serti Inversé collection from Repossi with pear-shaped diamonds wrapped in a ribbon of gold “exquisite, as is the latest Love in Verona collection from Roberto Coin.” Look for the store’s Boucheron pop-up in December.