By Ashley Davis
When I was at the NY Now trade show last week, the exhibitors with whom I spoke said traffic was lacking at the Javits Center, likely a result of the show’s relocation of the Handmade section, which houses most of the contemporary jewelry designers.

Hopefully visitors will be more familiar with the new layout come February 2018 when NY Now returns, because there is much to be discovered from the quality group of artisanal designers who exhibit at the show regularly.

Marian Maurer had a cornucopia of gemmy goodness to share, all set in her signature matte finish. She showed me lavender spinels and Gemfields rubies so vibrant she characterizes them as “hot pink.”

I was particularly taken with the below stacks of Gemfields emeralds and Montana sapphires. No two of the sapphires Maurer has sourced are exactly alike in shade--the combination of these variant hues in a single eternity band is striking.

Adel Chefridi has amassed a small collection of carved gemstones that he brought to NY Now, set into pendants and rings.

I admired the bold gold and diamond ring setting he created for the carved tourmaline pictured and how the lines of the former echo the latter.

The resurgence of the hoop earring has been one of 2017’s top jewelry trends, and I love seeing how different designers make the jewelry staple their own.

I saw the below hoops at Page Sargisson’s booth. Sargisson infused the saleable style with some of her signature design elements: bold stones, in this case a pair of spinels, which were mismatched in color, and tactile 18-karat gold in which you feel the maker’s touch.

I took the opportunity to catch up with a few brands at NY Now that I missed during Couture. One of them was Ila, designed by Texas-based brother and sister duo Vikas and Ila Sodhani.

My take on Ila’s design MO is that they perfect classic jewelry pieces, creating the perfect cocktail ring or the perfect gold band (and I think they’ve done it, more on that in a future article on their new Boyfriend Band), making endless minute adjustments until they’ve deemed a piece just right.

Vikas said the gold bracelet with trillion-cut diamonds, pictured here, was the show’s most popular item and it’s easy to see why--it’s a little classic and a little edgy, and it doesn’t get better than that beautiful matte finish. The single diamond bracelet next to it is the Ila version of the perfect minimal cuff.

Speaking of brands I didn’t see in Vegas, Instagram images of the new Polly Wales skulls and locks have been haunting me ever since my overly ambitious schedule led me to miss my appointment with the designer at Couture.

I went to NY Now hoping to get to the Polly Wales booth first, but the new Handmade section setup left me a little disoriented and I was distracted by several shiny things, so I only finally arrived at the Polly Wales booth when it was being packed up for the day.

So I did what any jewelry-obsessed editor would do--I went back the next morning so I could finally hold the lock pendants in my hand. I did, and it was magic. Particularly the multicolored sapphire version.

I wrote about Garnish when they were a part of JCK’s Rising Stars in Las Vegas this year.

Designer Caitlin Royal uses actual food items to create the molds for her jewelry, like cardamom seed pods.

Her rosemary leave pieces are still my favorite. The natural texture of the herb is extremely elegant translated into gold and not at all obvious.

I’m excited to visit Lori McLean’s store in the East Village of Manhattan. McLean is completely inspired by antique design. She cherry-picks her favorite antique finds to create contemporary versions that give a nod to the past but are utterly timeless.

I was particularly entranced with this kite-shaped diamond ring. McLean repurposed the diamond from an antique piece and gave it new life with a mixed metal look.

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