British jeweler Cece Fein Hughes, founder of Cece Jewellery, manages to imbue the ancient art of enameling with a thoroughly modern sensibility. Inspired by everything from Byzantine headpieces and Celtic battle armor to mythical fairy tales and nautical tattoos, the former art historian (who once worked at Christie’s and Sotheby’s before turning her hand to jewelry design) creates exquisitely detailed animal and floral motifs for signet rings and pendants, which are then skilfully engraved onto 18-karat yellow recycled gold and hand-enameled by master craftsmen – so no two pieces are ever identical. As a final flourish, each miniature portrait is adorned with tiny star-set diamonds or pearls.
After building his own successful fashion agency in Norway, Magnus Thorud established Kolours Jewelry in 2015 with the idea of bringing the industry’s dynamic energy and choice-driven approach to the world of fine jewelry. “My idea was to offer streamlined and unisex designs, like tennis bracelets or eternity rings, in four different shades of gold and six different colors of diamonds so clients could personalize their pieces to express their own identities, much like a clothing brand,” says Thorud, who draws inspiration from his frequent travels between Oslo, London and Ibiza. His latest collection, Fortis, features chunky gem-set pieces in hexagonal shapes, their geometric lines taken from the designer’s own impressive assortment of tattoos.
“People always ask us if we have telepathy, and while it doesn’t work exactly how you might think, we can definitely read each other’s minds,” say twin sisters Anna and Rachel Aschendorf, the third generation in a family of New York jewelers and the founders of Gemella. “No one knows us better than [we do], so designing together comes very naturally.” Inspired by jewels designed by their grandmother, the sisters seek to create playfully modern heirlooms that can be worn by anyone – think beaded necklaces and huggie earrings set with pear-shape gemstones arranged like hearts. “We love nothing more than when a mother and daughter both tell us they want our pieces,” they say.
With an eye for detail, a childhood spent rambling amidst the fields and forests of Kent, and a background studying sculpture at the Royal College of Art, it seems inevitable that Sia Taylor would find her niche in creating quietly poetic jewelry inspired by “the minutiae of nature”. Today, in her sun-filled Somerset atelier, she translates the shimmering glow of twilight, the movement of falling leaves and other pastoral ephemera into graphic and articulated jewels, hand-crafted from different shades of precious metal. Songbird, her newest line, evokes the flutter of avian plumage with layered slivers of hammered gold and platinum.
Renowned for its spirited and vibrantly hued jewelry, Robinson Pelham was founded 25 years ago by friends and industry experts Vanessa Chilton, Zoe Benyon and Kate Pelham Burn. Since then, the London-based brand has built a loyal following (fans include The Duchess of Cambridge and Jodie Comer) who flock to its vibrant Chelsea store for candy-colored hoop earrings with interchangeable ‘ear wish’ charms, stackable gold chains with diamond or sapphire-studded links, and delicate necklaces with talismanic pendants filled with gemstones to bring luck, hope or protection.
Amongst the traditional jewelry houses in the heart of Paris’s prestigious Place Vendôme, Courbet likes to stand apart. The French jeweler, launched in 2018 by luxury industry entrepreneurs Manuel Mallen and Marie-Ann Wachtmeister, is named after the rebellious Realist painter Gustave Courbet, and specializes in classically beautiful jewels crafted solely from lab-created diamonds (diamants synthétiques) and recycled gold from e-waste. Courbet’s ethos is quite literally written into every piece of its jewelry: its Céleste collection, for example, contains an elegantly curved pattern formed using the letters ‘CO’, a nod to the company’s dedication to “connection, collaboration and conscience.”