A rundown of three jewellery brands with sublime offerings for Spring
Brand: Minka Jewels
Founder: Lucy Crowther
Latest Launch: The new Berlin collection by Lucy Crowther comprises simple, bold, chunky rings with flashes of colour. She stumbled into the world of jewellery while working for a stylist in London who often asked her to find the jewels for the photoshoot. “I really loved this part of the job. I remember finding these incredible Chinese tribal pieces, which we used on a photoshoot in Scotland. The passion just grew and I ended up in Argentina learning silversmithing in Buenos Aires, and later moved to Jaipur, India.”
Crowther had a friend working in Jaipur and thought it would be fun to go and research the jewellery techniques in the city and see if she could have a few pieces made. “I happened to meet Munnu Kasliwal, as I was actually trying to get in touch with another Indian jeweller whose work I greatly admired, Poppy Dandiya. It was his idea to meet Munnu; it happened very organically, one day I was just asked to stay on.”
She worked with Kasliwal for two years, between Jaipur, New York, and Washington DC. Crowther always had an eye for design and often played around with the stones. “I was very lucky as in the same building I worked there was a goldsmith and setter so it was very easy to start creating pieces.” Launching her own line was inevitable; thus Minka was born in 2016. “The name Minka is inspired by the names Minnie and Katrina, after my grandmothers and also my middle names,” she adds.
Design: The Berlin band rings, set with octagonal cut gems, are inspired by big bold architecture and the creative scene of Berlin in the 1920’s. “The time of creatives all getting together and cabaret taking over; each ring has a feather engraved inside as a nod to the cabaret girls and the glamour they helped bring.” Although minimalist in its design, these rings can transition effortlessly from day-to-night. Tourmaline is one of her favourite stones and often pops up in her works. “I just love the variety of colours they come in and the vibrant hues. Sapphire and spinel are another favourite of mine. Colour to me is life,” says the designer, who is deeply inspired by Kandinsky’s famous quote – ‘Colour is a power which directly influences the soul.’ She does bespoke pieces, especially when she gets to source incredible stones. “I also love the process of working with a new client as they often end up as friends.” The jewellery is made in various workshops, mostly in London, but some are in the English countryside. Crowther also still works with a workshop in Jaipur.
Brand: Yael Sonia
Founder: Yael Sonia
Latest Launch: Designer Yael Sonia plays with geometry in her new Ellipse collection, while exploring the relationship between pearls and gold structures. This collection, comprising 27 styles, also marks a return to her early focus on metal. Instead of pearls that roll freely in geometric structures or swing at the end of pendulums, in the Ellipse, the pearls are either enveloped in or held, partially hidden in by fluid sheets of gold. The slanted walls of gold also seem to protect the pearls within.
The creation of the Ellipse collection, says the designer, started before the pandemic, while the newer Elongated Ellipse series was created during the pandemic, all in New York City and upstate New York.
Design: The Ellipse line sees the New York-based jeweller employing Tahitian pearls, South Sea golden pearls, South Sea white pearls, and Akoya pearls.
“With Ellipse, I was inspired by the pearl’s soft round organic form and how it can ‘move’ and relate to the walls of gold. I wanted to keep the movement soft and subtle; pearls not completely exposed, with the walls gently covering them in every curve.” Even though the designer is known for her kinetic designs, only the pearls in the cocoon styles are loose within the soft gold form. “With the Elongated styles, I wanted to explore a more fluid form, as if the gold elliptical forms had been stretched by the weight of the pearls,” she adds. In the other Ellipse styles, as well as the latest S/S ’21 pieces, she experiments with the sense of ‘stretching,’ as the pearls remain affixed to the jewellery with hidden pins.
Brand: Noor Shamma
Founder: Noor Shamma
Latest Launch: Abu Dhabi born jeweller Noor Shamma’s namesake brand seeks to articulate a harmonious rapport between “the classic and the contemporary through the use of unique motifs and geometric patterns.”
Functionality is central to her pieces. “It stands out in the way the pieces are expertly engineered,” says Shamma. Growing up, she developed an interest in understanding the complexities inherent in the everyday simplicity. This prompted her to look beyond the obvious and see within and around. Jewellery, for her, always comes with a story. “It is timeless and sentimental, and I get to share my own artistic interpretations through this medium.” She fell in love with the process of designing jewellery and working with talented craftsmen, who bring her designs and concepts to life.
“A few years ago, after developing an interest in jewellery design, I got GIA certified in Applied Jewelry Professional, which has helped me better understand the craft and industry,” says the designer, who has majored in Design Management. A member of Ethical Metalsmiths, she is committed to embracing sustainable practices. “I was very selective about finding the right partners and suppliers, whose vision aligned with mine when it came to ethical and sustainable practices. We responsibly source the best quality diamonds and gemstones with the highest integrity, and we use recycled and conflict free 18-karat gold in our efforts to produce ethical and sustainable jewellery,” explains the New York-based designer.
Design: The latest collection – Suad – is a tribute to Shamma’s late grandmother, thus carrying her name. The line comprises handmade rings, U-hoops, amulet necklaces, La Volta drop earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. This is the first collection by the brand that introduces three bold colours in gemstones — carnelian, lapis lazuli, and tourmaline.
“Interwoven into bold geometric shapes, the distinct styles represent fearless statements that carry the heart and soul of the bearer. The collection is inspired by my late grandmother’s jewellery pieces, which were adorned with beautiful carnelians,” says Shamma. Her designs mirror an influence of culture and architecture – and the people who she interacts with. “It allows me to design pieces that translate effortlessly between cultures without one dominating the other — East meets West. It’s simply relevant,” she adds.