NEW YORK. Lori Friedman fondly remembers going antiquing for vintage jewelry with her mother, an experience that she says informed a career decision. The artist behind Westport, Conn.-based Loriann Jewelry secured a fine arts degree in college and worked as a graphic designer before redesigning some old ivory—the real stuff when it was legal to sell. Then she took beading and wire-wrapping instruction, in between raising three kids and turning out the occasional watercolor.
Then her jewelry work picked up, with Friedman selling beaded styles to a local fine jewelry store in 2001. When the economy went sideways in 2008, Friedman pivoted to pavé-and-gold numbers, admittedly in a basic style manufactured by many. Still, it paid the bills, well enough to pave the way for her next act—a much more thoughtful, distinct, and colorful collection of jewels.
Tickled by her own handiwork, she took her newfound freshness to a small trade show in New York City, where longtime journalist and author Beth Bernstein of Bejeweledmag.com found her. Bernstein, a seasoned market editor, saw a glimmer of an emerging collection with a strong theme. With the editor’s coaching, Friedman brought to life her most compelling designs yet. This is the most interesting move to date in Friedman’s story: she had been an established jewelry maker for 15 years before that caterpillar part of her journey cocooned and emerged as the beautiful butterfly of a collection we know her for today.
“Beth pushed me to pursue a new look,” recalls Friedman. “So, within three months I had put together a gold collection that won the Mort Abelson New Designer of the Year award at the 2017 summer Jewelers of America show. I kept on saving up from the pavé line to produce this one.”
Her signature style now is clear: watercolor-like gems set atop pastel-colored stones in 14k gold. While her rocks are faceted, some look more like beach glass than sliced stone due to their watery hues. “I love the translucency of the way the stones look—like one of my watercolors,” she explains.
Even when pieces don’t bear her gem-on-gem trademark, such as in her Provence collection of sinuous gold-and-gem numbers, they still reflect her soft color palette and a fluidity unique to her.
Pieces are made by bench jewelers in the U.S. and abroad, and retail prices start at just $650.
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