By Hannah Connorton

The New Designer Gallery pavilion at the JA New York Summer Show is exciting.

The entire show in itself is exciting, with a plethora of designs to see, but the NDG offers show-goers something different--jewelry makers who are truly fresh, sometimes exhibiting their collections in a tradeshow setting for the first time, energetic and eager to share what they’ve got. For many attendees, it’s like hearing there’s a new kid in school--everyone wants to find out what they’re all about.

The NDG also has the ability to exponentially launch a designer’s career. Established in 1977 by the late Mort Abelson, the NDG brought to the forefront what today are very well known names in the industry: David Yurman, Penny Preville, Steven Lagos, Etienne Perret and others.

This year’s show saw 12 designers exhibiting for the first time at JANY. Check out their designs below.

Naomi Blumenthal brought her ocean-inspired collection to the show, displaying pieces made in 18-karat yellow gold and based on fossils from the sea.

“It’s really fun to meet the other new designers, they’re unexpected bonds,” Blumenthal says of meeting fellow designers in the New Designer Gallery pavilion. “There’s no competition because all of our styles are so different.”

A cuff by Naomi Blumenthal.

United Kingdom-based designer Polly Wales offers alternative wedding bands and engagement rings made in 18-karat gold with gemstones, “mostly sapphires,” she says. Her technique of casting gems directly into gold result in pieces “that resemble natural gem encrusted forms, like sparkling geodes split open, or discoveries from the deep.”

A ring by Polly Wales.

Russian-born designer Leon Megé took first place this year in the American Jewelry Design Council’s New Talent competition at the JANY Summer Show. Now based in New York, he primarily works in platinum and incorporates vividly colored gemstones into his designs, which range from engagement rings to fashion jewelry.

Mini engagement ring charms by Leon Megé.

Pierre Yves is a Canadian designer working in a range of materials, from 18-karat gold, sterling silver and stainless steel to black lava pearls, amethyst, beryl and sapphires. A teacher at the École de Joaillerie de Montréal, or the Montreal Jewellery School, Yves is influenced by modern architecture and strong lines.

A cuff by Pierre Yves.

Sterling silver designer Bree Richey, who was the winner of the inaugural Future of Design business incubator contest earlier this year, showcased her newest pieces at the show. Richey’s design aesthetic includes a three-dimensional sidewall, which gives her pieces a unique look.

Bracelet by Bree Richey.

Offering pieces in sterling silver and 14-karat yellow gold, exhibiting brand Liv Haley brought colorful, everyday pieces to the show, including rings, earrings and necklaces featuring semi-precious gemstones and diamonds.

The brand was established by sisters Olivia and Hali Thornhill, who selectively choose the gemstones they include in their designs by features such as color natural inclusions, which “give them character.”

A silver, diamond and turquoise ring by Liv Haley.

Designer Michelle Fantaci versatile pieces that range from delicate and feminine to edgy and geometric. Offering fashion and non-traditional wedding rings, Fantaci also offers custom work in a variety of materials.  

Platinum earrings by Michelle Fantaci.

Elizabeth Garvin, who was recognized with the Mort Abelson New Designer of the Year Award at the JANY Summer Show, takes her inspiration from ocean currents and weather patterns she became fascinated with while growing up in New England.

Her pieces, made in sterling silver, gold and palladium with diamonds, are Garvin’s literal translations of growing up on the coast.

A ring by Elizabeth Garvin.

Jennifer Reeves designs in 18-karat gold fused with argentium sterling silver, an alloy consisting of 92.5 percent silver, germanium and copper.

“I took a metalsmithing class and I fell in love,” Reeves said of designing. “I love working in metal.”

Earrings by Jennifer Reeves.

Samantha Louise Larkins of Samantha Louise Designs got her first taste of tradeshow life at JANY, showcasing the 18-karat gold designs of her five-year-old brand. A lover of color, Larkins’ pieces incorporate rainbow and gray moonstone, pink sapphires and aquamarine, to name a few stones.

The designer said her charm necklaces had been very popular at the show.

“We found that the staples are doing awesome, but charms are killing it as well,” she said.

An interchangeable charm necklace from Samantha Louise Designs.

Designer Ralph Masri’s black rhodium-plated sterling silver pieces allow deeply colored gemstones to serve as the centerpiece.

“I wanted to create my own lace patterns and make jewelry from it,” he says. “I love detail, the intricacy and finesse of things, and I wanted my jewelry to reflect this.”

Masri features cabochon gemstones as the focal point of his designs, “to bring them out. I think they’re underrated.”

Ralph Masri’s ring is made in solid 18-karat rose gold.

Designer Jeannie Hwang left the corporate world to pursue her passion of making jewelry, landing an apprenticeship with a master jeweler before opening her own studio in San Francisco, where she is currently based.

Hwang works in 18 and 14-karat gold, palladium, precious gemstones and organic materials such as stingray skin. A more unique element of her designs, however, is the use of inverted diamonds.

“I wanted to do something different, and one day I lined up the diamonds upside down and I liked how it looked,” she says. 

Although she designs for both men and women, Hwang says she considers many of her pieces to be unisex.

Hwang’s Eclipse hammered band is made in palladium with inverted princess-cut black diamonds.

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