All That GlittersGold pairs perfectly with this spring’s glossy styles, so it’s no wonder New York jewelry designers are catching yellow fever.It’s been a lifetime since you tired of those clunky, minimalist silver-and-leather-cord trinkets in your jewelry box. Ready to trade up? There’s warm weather on the horizon, and if some of our most talented New York jewelers have their way, you’ll once again be snapping up that warmest of metals. For a polished finish on spring’s most sophisticated, feminine styles, the gold standard is back.
Me & Ro
There was a time when it seemed as if Michele Quon and Robin Renzi’s chunky silver charms adorned every neck at Whole Foods Market. This year, they’ve taken a decidedly upmarket turn, and their new boutique on Elizabeth Street is a feast of the most delicate, dangly confections in gold with rubies, and Tahitian pearls. (And yes, purists can still pick up those silver staples.) Seventy dollars will get you your first fix of ten-karat stackable rings (but beware – eighteen-karat pieces can run into the thousands). At Barneys New York and Me & Ro (239 Elizabeth Street).
* Flower ring, $70
* Hoop earrings with ruby drops, $620
* Hoop earrings with pearls, $1,095
Renowned for her painterly grasp of light and color, Marks has over the years consistently produced smooth, pale stones that practically shine from within. So it’s no surprise that some of the prettiest work in eighteen-karat yellow gold with semiprecious stones comes from her workshop. Marks’s jewelry has long been a gala-going staple, but it looks equally chic paired with this season’s dressed-up denim. At Barneys New York, Fragments (107 Greene Street), and Jeffrey (449 West 14th Street).
* Cabochon-and-sapphire earrings, $825
* Gold-ruby-and-garnet bracelet, $1,650
* Tassel earrings with emeralds, sapphires, and aquamarines, $3,835
For disco-style sparkle at reasonable prices, NoLIta types swear by the 24-karat-gold-plated pieces designed by Brooklyn’s Doug and Bess Abraham. There’s nothing hippie about Bess’s dangly, beaded work; in fact, their wild, metallic earrings and necklaces are best paired with that Gucci dress, the one with the neckline down to there. At Bond 07 (7 Bond Street) and Scoop stores.
* Gold-bead earrings, $200
* Gold-tone bead choker, $400
* Triple-strand gold chain, $150
When it comes to diamonds, designer Kin Tsukayama has the right idea: “If I were a lady,” he says, “I wouldn’t want to wear cheap stones, so I’d wear small ones.” And though they are tiny, the rocks in his simple gold rings and earrings throw off some serious rainbows. Tsukayama’s craftsy, rough-finished work looks right at home with even the most high-concept, deconstructed clothes. At Barneys New York.
* Cross earrings with diamonds, $725
* Plain gold ring, $475
* Ring with diamonds, $1,455
“I don’t think about time,” Sharon Alouf says with a sigh when asked how long it takes to fashion one of her intricately worked necklaces. “It can take years.” The most breathtaking creations are the extravagant, hand-faceted gold-bead necklaces and ruby or sapphire chokers with sleek gold clasps. No, this kind of workmanship doesn’t come cheap – but we can at least dream, can’t we? At Jeffrey.
* Gold ring with ruby, $1,050
* Ruby necklace with gold clasp, $5,050
* Seventy-six-inch gold necklace, $9,900
Multicolored, stackable beaded bracelets aren’t just for street vendors and teen magazines. Meredith Frederick, who retired as the pastry chef at the Post House last month, has spent years studying the old Eastern European art of weaving strands of beads into thick, patterned rope bracelets and chokers; now she’s turning out some very sophisticated (and affordable) trinkets. Start with a lightweight, slip-on bracelet, and before you know it you’ll be amassing a collection. At Bergdorf Goodman.
* Gold, blue onyx, labradorite, and iolite bracelet, $375
* Gold-bead bracelet, $300
Designers will do anything to get fashion editors to see their work; but all Dean Harris had to do was wear a few pieces to his job as a fashion-show producer for the likes of Marc Jacobs and Loewe. Top stylists noticed – and ordered – some of his early creations, and before long Barneys did, too. Harris actually creates his ethereal “dripped” gold rings, bracelets, and chokers from strands of eighteen-karat gold wire he pounds to perfection. “It’s very artistic,” he explains. “I hammer a little more if I’m in a bad mood.” At Barneys New York and Jeffrey.
* Bangle with diamonds, $1,650
* Gold bangle, $500
* Ruby bracelet with gold clasp, $695
Kara Varian Baker
Bi-coastal designer Kara Varian Baker may take her inspiration from nature – many of her casts are made from twigs – but there’s not a lot of crunch in the end result. Her take on gold is a minimalist’s dream: the skinniest slivers in long, free-form links, accented with semiprecious stones. Pair her pretty chokers with a pleated skirt and pumps and you’ll find it easy to leave the pearls at home. At Kara Varian Baker (215 Mulberry Street).
* Long twig earrings, $365
* Earrings with twin pearl drops, $145
* Choker with berry cluster, $1,145
Caroline Ellen’s low-key approach to classic, high-end American styles lets modern princesses carry off one of her tennis bracelets as easily with a T-shirt and khakis as with a ball gown for a benefit. These pieces are currently spot-on for that preppy, off-to-Palm Beach look. But if you can afford them, they’ll last you through many, many trends in the future. At Bergdorf Goodman.
* Cross earrings with diamonds, $1,775
* Diamond flower bracelet, $5,900
* Circle ring, $500