Fine jewelry is having a moment. With Beyonce and Jay Z dripping in diamonds in Tiffany ads and Megan Fox's emerald and diamond ring breaking the internet, you might be looking for ways to update your own jewel look. But, for the uninitiated, where to start? Jewelry can be intimidating. It's a financial investment that requires careful consideration and foundational knowledge of stones and metals. While the Cartiers and Bulgaris of the world are always great (albeit expensive) foundations, there are plenty of emerging jewelry designers out there to explore as well.
Take Polite worldwide, who reinvented the pearl necklace into a gender-neutral choker fit for Justin Bieber and every male that aspires to dress like him. Or Rachel Quinn, who hand-makes surrealist art that is wearable, and affordable, too. Marisa Klass takes natural stones and mixes them up into fun rainbow-colored charm necklaces for the hippie-chic crowd. While Almasika's elegant restraint is reflected in her use of only yellow gold and diamonds to make every-day staples that are exciting and fresh. And Uniform Object's heavy metal collection is so modern and well-proportioned that it has found fans in customers both male and female alike.
With the discovery of new talent, one finds the birthplace of the budding trends in jewelry. TZR highlighted these emerging designers that are the next wave of creators pushing jewelry design forward and influencing the way we all accessorize — one earring at a time. Each of these designers’ points of view are wildly different, so scroll on through to find one that best suits your personal style.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
A mother of three, Marisa Klass began designing jewelry at age nine, with colorful beads and boondoggle at camp. This playfulness has remained, as has her eye for color. Her signature style for her namesake brand encompasses shells and a rainbow of tourmalines, typically as pendants hung from chakra beaded necklaces. When it comes to sourcing pieces for her designs, Klass notes to TZR, “I gravitate towards gemstones with inclusions; they make the piece more interesting — I like the rawness of it all.” In true form, her newest collection of rings celebrates imperfection in nature.
David Farrugia shys away from the word unisex to describe his jewelry brand Uniform Object. “I don't aspire to make feminine or masculine pieces — just jewelry that I like.” One look at his collection, it’s evident that Farrugia’s subversive take on classics, such as the tennis bracelet, shakes up the notion of fine jewelry as precious, delicate objects. His designs are aggressive staples, like heavy chain collars that can be worn multiple ways, and oversized cuff rings that look like armor for laptop bound fingers. And it just so happens the clean design appeals to both genders, even in his own home. “My girlfriend and I share all of our pieces, except earrings, I don't have my ears pierced,” says Farrugia.
A keshi pearl fashioned as a cloud with gold lightning bolts and white topaz raindrops — this quirky-fun design is the vision of jeweler Rachel Quinn who describes her aesthetic as “whimsical and playful, rooted in the romantically surreal.” Having started her career as a bench jeweler, Quinn crafts each piece by hand, all invoked with a sense of humor. Hearts are a major theme, a favorite being her puffy, pincushion heart earrings studded with pearls. Liberty of London recently picked up her line, and Billie Eilish is known to wear the brand.
2021 was the year of men in pearls as stars like Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith and even MLB player Joc Pederson adopted the style. Polite Worldwide had much to do with that. With pearls in pink, grey, and black lined on silver ball chains and adorned with charms, the designs are part candy raver beads, part surfer puka shells, and in no way part grandma. In its own words, Polite Worldwide created a “new culture of jewelry where men are now wearing pieces that are more feminine and expressive.” And the brand is blowing up, seen on countless male influencers and stocked in stores like Mr Porter, Saks, and Selfridges.
If you caught Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent guest appearance on ABC’s Blackish, you are already familiar with the jewelry brand Almasika. You couldn’t miss the large gold circular pendant and hoop earrings on Mrs. Obama. Reese Witherspoon and Issa Rae have also been spotted in the bold gold jewelry, the work of London-born, Paris-raised and Chicago-based designer Catherine Sarr. The designer’s Parisian upbringing influenced her style, and says her goal is “simple, polished staples that are timeless and effortless.”