The Los Angeles–based designer recalls her family’s love of windsurfing and her own affinity for the town’s kite peddlers in the North Carolina town of Kitty Hawk. In the collection, opals, turquoise, petrified palm wood, ebony, morganite, tagua nut, aquamarine, diamonds, and more cut in geometric shapes and some freeform silhouettes call to mind happy memories from the recesses of Wheeler’s mind. Think neon-hued boat sails, pastel-colored bathing suits, wooden decks, and black rubber boat booms—all delightful takeaways from myriad trips to the beach town located on the barrier islands off the state’s Atlantic coast.
“Opals have always made me think of the 1980s with their neon pastel palettes,” explains Wheeler. “The Mermaid Ring with its electric blue opal mixed with hot pink and magenta spinel is a perfect ’80s color combo to me.”
Kitty Hawk debuted in January of this year and is available at shops like ETC in Aspen, Colo., and Birmingham, Ala., as well as Bergdorf Goodman in New York City, though many of these outlets are now closed due to the Coronavirus. Even so, half of the collection’s 15 one-of-a-kinds have already sold. All styles are made in 18k yellow, white, and rose gold. Retail prices for Kitty Hawk start at $4,200.
“I hope to evoke a sense of nostalgia in my collections, as I’m a very nostalgic person,” adds Wheeler. “This time and place have a distinct palette and feel in my memory, and the inspiration came naturally through memories and photographs.”
Swell necklace in 18k rose gold with petrified palm wood, ombre pink sapphire baguettes, and pavé colorless diamonds, $4,800; available online at Emily P. Wheeler
Horizon hoop earrings in 18k yellow gold with Arizona turquoise, peridot, and colorless baguette-cut diamonds, $8,400; available online at Emily P. Wheeler
Mermaid ring in 18k yellow gold with opal, pink spinel, and colorless diamonds, $9,800; available online at Emily P. Wheeler
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