new york jewellery designers to watch in 2015

Get to know five of the most creative young jewellery makers in the city that doesn’t sleep.

by Courtney Iseman
28 January 2015, 4:55pm

Photography Milan Zrnic

The jewellery scene can be a hard one to navigate. Although new lines debut constantly, there's no "jewellery fashion week" to collect all of the exciting designers in one easily referenced place. But every now and then, a unique new line emerges. Some incredibly talented designers are proving that we haven't seen everything yet, and they're giving us new creations to covet, invest in and treasure forever. Hotbed of creativity that it is, New York is home to many of these buzzworthy lines. Here are five of our top designers to watch!

Nikolai Rose
Jacob Melinger and Alan Paukman launched Nikolai Rose in 06 to fill a void in the men's accessory market, but women are just drawn to the designs as men. Each piece demonstrates the line's ethos of subtle style. Cuffs, bracelets, necklaces, pins, tie bars and cufflinks are minimalist with subtly dark twists, like skeleton and insect themes. The entire line is hand-made in New York from various metals and even bone. Nikolai Rose has spread its impact throughout fashion by collaborating with the likes of Rogan, VEDA, Bill Blass, Vans and Assembly New York. Up next are what they call team rings: bespoke image and word-etched rings the designer calls "the motorcycle jacket or punk vest of jewellery."

Photography Milan Zrnic 

Helmed by Patrick Culpepper and Aurelia Cotton, Peppercotton's concept involves filling mesh tubing with dazzling arrays of Swarovski crystals, usually in pop-bright hues. The result is opulent but in a decidedly playful way (you'll find beads shaped like watermelon, perfume bottles and shoes mixing with the crystals in some of the pieces). Since meeting at the Rhode Island School of Design, and forming the line in 2009, Culpepper and Cotton have continued to evolve their technique by incorporating unexpected, innovative materials. Culpepper and Cotton are currently focusing on their fine jewellery, and have pieces soon to be shown at the Pensieri Preziosi exhibit in Padova, Italy.

Photography Paul Rowland 

Chen Chen & Kai Williams
Sleek, precise rings and bangles of marble reveal the architectural background of designers Chen Chen and Kai Williams. The duo creates as a studio, working in furniture and environments. Chen and Williams approach their jewellry with the same purist concept of design as their furniture. The result is understated, yet striking in its uniqueness. The organic patterns of the marble are countered by the clean, razor-sharp lines that reveal Chen and Williams's attention to detail and talent for experimenting with materials designers wouldn't necessarily think to work with. Stepping deftly back and forth between mediums and environments, the duo will next be continuing to create objets d'art for LES restaurant Mission Chinese restaurant and will debut a new furniture collection at the Architectural Digest Fair.

Photography Milan Zrnic 

Design duo Louis DeCicco and Mari Ouchi set out to create conversation pieces. "Everybody interprets FAUX/real differently and we like that because it starts a dialogue," the duo says. "Maybe we started this as a way to communicate with jewellery as our words." That can be a tall order in the accessory world, but they rise to the occasion with modern, often geometric pieces. DeCicco and Ouchi often reinvent classic styles with unconventional materials, like tubing a chain or pearl bracelet in rubber coating. After meeting on New York's party scene, the pair started working together by creating small sculptures. Instead of scaling those pieces up for the art world, they decided to scale them down for the jewellery world.

Photography by Lyndsy Welgos, Artwork by FAUX/real

Imagine what jewellery inspired by Joan of Arc on her "intergalactic peace mission" would look like. The other-worldly pieces you're envisioning would be the line NN by NGHI. The Vietnamese designer has studied in Australia and created costumes in Japan that have been displayed in the Kobe Fashion Museum and used for cult films. In New York, NGHI designed for Alexis Bittar before striking out on his own, and his line is now sold in New York, Chicago and LA. His jewellery is highly conceptual - think futuristic armour with medieval touches. NGHI masters creating new textures out of familiar materials, like fine lace from metal. His aim is to produce jewellery that resembles "museum artefacts found on a distant planet."

Photography NGHI


Text Courtney Iseman

ones to watch
fashion interviews
courtney iseman
chen chen & kai williams
jewellery designer
nikolai rose
nn by nghi