Rings by Selim Mouzannar
While earlier decades of jewelry design belonged to iconic houses like Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, history will remember the 2000s for the ascendance of the independent jewelry brand.
The aforementioned jewelry giants remain household names but in the tenuous relationship between art and commerce, business always wins, often at the cost of creativity.
A true design lover is better off turning her or his attention to the vast array of artists creating for their own brands.
And the amount is vast, with designers often complaining of market saturation (as well as the ubiquity of copycats).
With independent labels becoming the new norm, a wave of artistry thrives, with the standout brands that much more impressive for carving out a spot in a crowded marketplace.
And, it’s important to mention, the majority of today’s independent fine jewelry companies are headed by women, a significant anomaly to other industries and a major shift for fine jewelry.
National Jeweler often begins a new year with a list of relevant trends or designers to watch over the coming months, but the dawn of a new decade calls for a more elaborate approach.
With input from industry insiders, I’ve selected 20 designers I’ll be looking to over the next decade—brands I believe to have longevity, that have demonstrated they are directional, original and firm in their creative identities.
They are also designers who influence their pool of contemporaries, often, unfortunately, spawning imitators, but nevertheless forging ahead with their own ideas.
Of course, it wasn’t easy to narrow the list to 20, but these brands fit the particular criteria of having already established their creative prowess, yet likely haven’t reached their full potential, meaning we anticipate so much more from them in the 2020s.
Below, see the first of our five-part series, which shines a light on the fine jewelry designers with an eye for color.
The Color Kids: Brent Neale, Polly Wales, Retrouvaí, Selim Mouzannar
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Based In: Beirut, Lebanon
Lebanese designer Selim Mouzannar descends from a long jewelry legacy, but puts a contemporary spin on his eponymous collection’s old-world sophistication.
The designer transforms everyday fine jewelry basics—a stud earring, a solitaire stacking ring—into conversation pieces through his intricate detailing and excellent craftsmanship, featuring clusters of diamonds and colored gemstones.
His penchant for color is exemplified by recent creations coupling colored gems with enamel.
“His use of color is some of the most impressive I’ve seen to date,” said Teichman. “The enamel shades he selects for his collection in combination with different gemstones makes for an innovative, fresh approach.”
Mouzannar’s expertise is even better showcased in larger, one-of-a-kind jewels, in which he continues to play with the many possibilities of combining color, from the reserved to the daring.
“He leverages his family’s decades of jewelry-making experience in Lebanon to introduce a new approach to color each season with second-to-none quality.”