Unusual is the new normal in fine jewelry

Unusual Fine Jewelry
Virna Chakardemian, creative director of Yeprem Jewelry, wears a $40,000 diamond eyebrow bar, and snowflake diamond hand bracelet of her own design. At right, a Kara Ross New York printed python bag with a gemstone clasp.
(Booth Moore / Los Angeles Times (left), Kara Ross New York (right))

For several years now, jewelry designers have been out to embellish every inch of the body with ear jackets, finger-chains, hand-bars, knuckle rings and the like, while Rihanna and other celebs share their treasures on Instagram, selling the trend at the same time.

The body jewelry craze showed no signs of stopping at the fine jewelry showcase known as the Couture Show, which wrapped up Monday in Las Vegas.

“It’s like tattoos,” AS29 designer Audrey Savransky said, showing off a $15,320 white-gold cuff with four lines of diamonds that flow up the forearm. “It’s designing as if someone is putting henna on your hand.”

L.A.-based designer Colette Steckel created an 18-karat gold, flexible mesh hand bracelet with white diamond flower embellishments worthy of Michael Jackson. “Rihanna could work too,” said Danielle Gadi, publicist for the brand. “The second it’s out of the case, I’m going to send it to her. Of every celebrity out there, nobody wears jewelry like her. It’s not about a Bulgari statement earring. She wears what she loves from emerging brands, from whomever.


Yeprem, a second-generation family jeweler from Lebanon celebrating its 50th anniversary, was riding a wave of publicity after bedazzling Rihanna’s fingers with diamond knuckle rings for the Met Ball. And Virna Chakardemian, the brand’s creative director, looked like a star herself, with her shock of pink hair and her bedazzled brow, covered with a $40,000 diamond eyebrow bar that fit across her face like a headband. (Yeprem sells at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.)

“Our philosophy is to create edgy pieces with a touch of elegance,” she said, holding up her hand, which was covered in diamond snowflakes, all a part of one incredible piece consisting of several finger chains. “They need to be on the body of a person to complete the look. Self-confident, daring women are our inspiration.”

New York-based Kara Ross is even taking jewelry off the body and onto accessories. She photographed her jewelry designs, translated them into kaleidoscopic prints, and transferred them onto python and lizard clutch bags, using jeweled pendants for the clasps. The bags, $1,430 to $2,910, arrive in Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and other stores beginning in July.

“How do you tie in fine jewelry and handbags?” Ross asked. “By using actual photographs of the fine jewelry, and using hardware that comes from the fine jewelry. Then, you can cut the corners like a faceted corner of a gemstone, and incorporate that into the design of a bag too.” 


Forget the cuffs, bars and chains, one of Ross’ bags may be all the jewelry a woman needs.