In recent years, there has been a younger crop of independent jewellery labels making a splash on the international scene. Bold, creative and eager to make their mark, they are helmed by designers playing by their own rules and offering fresh perspectives on traditional jewellery design.
Take Kendra Pariseault, whose sound-inspired creations are unique in the jewellery industry. Sophie Pacharee Rogers of Pacharee is encouraging jewellery wearers to appreciate the raw, natural beauty of gems. As for Italian jewellery label Eéra, hardware store items injected with vibrant neon shades are its playthings.
“We believe that the customer’s attitude towards fine jewellery has changed over the past couple of years and that they really appreciate a contemporary design approach. Fine jewellery no longer needs to be reserved for special occasions and colourful pieces prove that,” says Eéra’s co-founder Chiara Capitani.
Springing from four corners of the globe, these jewellers from three up-and-coming labels have made career switches to jewellery, inevitably drawn to the magic of gold and precious stones. They each have a unique and unconventional story to tell and their collections speak for themselves.
01 | Pacharee
Sophie Pacharee Rogers personally goes through hundreds of natural pearls to find dissimilar yet matching pieces for her designs that are inspired by natural forms. Her Bangkok-based goldsmiths carefully sculpt Siam gold and other precious metals, while her stone-cutters have defined innovative methods to cut and present gemstones. When using faceted stones, the 40-year-old Zurich-based designer likes creating an ombré effect or rainbow-colour setting because it gives off a softer feel.
She favours rough, odd-shaped stones and designs in a manner that highlights and respects their original form. Since her work with irregularly shaped gems makes it near impossible to use a moulding process for most of her designs, she turns to the wax-casting technique to make 80 percent of her designs. Each key piece for a new collection requires approximately 10 to 15 rounds of revisions during the wax process.
“I base a lot of my decisions on myself as a wearer, wearing my pieces over and over until I’m sure of little details and the fit. Most designers focus on how pieces look, but I am more about how the pieces feel when worn.”
The daughter of famed gemologist and gems trader Gerald Vincent Rogers, she often accompanied her father on his pearl and gem trading trips with the biggest names in jewellery. After graduating with a master’s degree in cross-cultural communications and new media from New York University, she worked in marketing and advertising for 15 years for firms like Ogilvy & Mather, Huge and AnalogFolk, and never considered a career in jewellery.
Following her pregnancy, she decided to launch a clothing brand, adding a few pieces of jewellery she designed to complete the look, but never with the intention of selling them. The baroque pearl earrings were an instant hit on Instagram. In 2018, she debuted Pacharee.
“It’s the dilemma of family businesses,” she explains. “My father was a very special man, a gems and pearls wizard. I don’t think I will ever live up to his skills. That’s probably why I kept rejecting the idea of being in the industry. However, I feel that designing jewellery is an inner calling that has been hiding inside of me. I’ve just been suppressing it all along.”
02 | Kendra Pariseault
For Kendra Pariseault, the melody of the ocean functions like a personal soundtrack of her life. “I love music, and for me, sounds are a big memory trigger,” says the 39-year-old jewellery designer.
Other strong memories include hearing her son’s heartbeat for the first time when she was pregnant or the voice of a deceased relative on a saved phone message. This sparked the idea of translating sound waves into visual form through gemstones and gold. Examining sound as a key memory marker of life’s most important moments led to her first collection, which includes wavelength rings, high-frequency earrings and resonance cuffs set with diamonds, pearls and her favourite, pink sapphires. Clients may also request for personalised sound wave bracelets based on a sound or spoken expression of their choice.
“My family has always collected jewellery,” Pariseault recalls. “From a young age, I would shop with my grandmother and mother for jewellery, both costume and fine. I loved accessorising, and I believe more is more.”
Tracing out an unconventional career path, she studied textiles as an undergraduate, worked in the fabrics department at Calvin Klein, then discovered her passion for coloured gems at David Yurman, before pursuing a master’s in fine arts at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she specialised in jewellery and metalsmithing. She began with custom-made jewellery and eventually established her eponymous fine jewellery brand in New York City in 2018.
Today, she’s obsessed with antique, post-consumer diamonds that are cut by hand as each stone bears its own DNA and original character composition. She uses an assortment of vintage cuts: antique cushion, old European or old mine. In the pipeline is a whimsical collection to be released later this year — inspired by the sounds of the sea, naturally.
03 | Eéra
From the simple snap hook they discovered at a vintage market in Tokyo, friends Chiara Capitani and Romy Blanga have transformed what is habitually used for industrial applications into playful high jewellery in fluorescent hues and angular lines. The signature product of Eéra, the snap hook design, may be found on rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Its innovative functional spring mechanism offers wearers endless styling opportunities to reflect their personal style by linking several snap hooks together, adding chains or even combining them with jewels they already own.
“At the core of every Eéra collection is the snap hook, which when used in sporting activities, is typically brightly coloured. We experimented with incorporating such shades into our collections and really loved how the neon hues contrasted with the gold and diamonds,” explains Blanga.
Made using techniques developed exclusively for Eéra, such as electrophoretic coating (or e-coating) for its metallic-coloured jewellery or an aerography-type method for its enamelled neon pieces, the sculptural jewels are crafted in Vicenza, Italy’s historic jewellery capital. The Milan-based duo launched their brand in 2019. Both self-taught in jewellery design, Capitani was formerly a fashion design consultant while Blanga worked in fashion PR and brand communications and management.
“We set out to create jewellery that has a unique, utilitarian aesthetic, which draws from both traditional and contemporary design,” states Capitani. “Our collections centre on geometric shapes that combine precious materials with unexpected colour combinations.”
Today, the pair’s bold aesthetic, which has won them fans the likes of Dua Lipa, Hailey Bieber, Sienna Miller and Rita Ora, has expanded to include lock, key and hexagonal nut shapes — a continuation of their cherished hardware theme. Eéra earrings can be worn together or separately, or pieced together to form long and short styles according to the wearer’s mood, while bracelets, necklaces and rings are stackable, thus allowing the creation of a bespoke look.