NEW YORK. On Wednesday night, I attended a cocktail party and meet-and-greet with a trio of under-the-radar jewelry designers at the London Jewelers store in the Oculus downtown. The event was organized by the retailer and the New York Metro chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association, a national nonprofit on whose board I sit (I become the chapter president in January 2018). My purpose there was two-fold: to support my WJA sisters (all three of the designers are WJA members) and to cast a spotlight on the store, which is trying different events to help drive traffic and awareness to artisans who can’t afford to advertise in mainstream (and expensive) publications. While last night’s affair was for press, everyone can meet the designers in store this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1-2.
Longtime designer Fern Freeman, a master of bold, sexy 18k gold styles with oversize disc elements and loads of tassels, was among the three featured talents. I adore Fern, having known her for years and having featured her work in many of the photo shoots I worked during my tenure as a staff market editor for one of the trade magazines. When you need editorial (read: statement-making) pieces, Fern is your go-to source! Not surprisingly, she had a number of pieces like these in the cases last night, plus a brand-new pair of massive tribalesque doorknockers dangling from her petite ear lobes.
Fern explained to me that she took part in the event because of the well-respected name of London Jewelers in the New York metropolitan area (London also has six locations throughout New York state, five of which are on Long Island). Plus, the timing is great—it’s officially the holiday season! And the Lower Manhattan location is rich in tourists and Wall Street executives alike.
So, what’s in Fern’s cases? Plenty of flexible rings in gold with gemstones (Fern calls them tennis styles), turquoise ear climbers, wave-motif earrings, a bracelet, and a two-finger ring (a big wave choker has already sold!), and some newer tribal-inspired pieces like the aforementioned earrings. However, she is most excited about her fringe-laced earring backs, a new look for her. “I’m selling a lot of those,” she says. “They go with everything and can update basic diamond studs, or you can just wear one because the whole mix-and-match thing is still happening.”
The other two artists, Gina Ferranti of Gigi Ferranti and Lindsey Scoggins (who worked behind the scenes at one of big chain-store jewelers for many years), had plenty of covetable numbers as well. Gina proudly showed us a new pair of mismatched earrings with pinkish-purple spinel that she has just finished, and Lindsey—whom I just met last night—impressed me with her Roman numeral-inspired Time collection of stackable wedding bands. For sure, those who visit the store this weekend will have plenty to try on, and, fortunately, the designers will still be on hand to meet.
London’s senior vice president of business development, Scott Saunders (whom I’ve known since his days working at Pluczenik) explained to me that he and the rest of the London team were thrilled to be able to offer lesser-known designers such a great platform for exposure. “We hope this will become a pilot for other stores around the country to model,” he said.
Saunders said they will choose three artists a year for this opportunity, and if the collections are well received by shoppers, the lines will be considered for permanent positions throughout their other locations.
In Manhattan this weekend? Do drop by the London Jewelers shop in the Oculus downtown to meet Fern, Gina, and Lindsey, and to try on some of the badass jewels—they are bringing extra just for this Friday and Saturday—they have on hand.
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