By Ashley Davis
The independent jewelry designer has never had a stronger voice in the market than it did in 2017, thanks in large part to the power of social media.

Instagram, in particular, is allowing brands to shape their public perception and directly connect with consumers. The photo-sharing app is the first way I check out a designer I’ve heard of, and it’s often how I discover new brands.

I’ve saved thousands of images of jewelry to my  Instagram saved image folder since the feature was introduced this year, and if Santa were to inquire what I want for Christmas, that’s exactly where I’d direct him.

Here are a few that I hope to (slowly) add to my jewelry box over the coming year or, at the very least, dream about come Christmas Eve.

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Hoops were one of the biggest jewelry trends of 2017, with a variety of designers putting their own unique spin on the style.

I’d love a pair that are yellow gold, large, but light as a feather so I can wear them all day, plus easy to combine with the earrings I wear in my multiple piercings.

Twist--located in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington but available to everyone through its excellent e-commerce site--is passionate about supporting its designers and one of the key places I scout great jewels.

These Kathleen Whitaker hoops that I saw on their Instagram are just the ones I’ve been looking for.

When Foundrae launched a few years ago, it immediately resonated with consumers entranced by the brand’s combination of timeless, meaningful symbols with rich, eye-catching shades of enamel.

The hardest part about shopping for Foundrae is choosing what to buy. I’ve long desired their blue enamel “Karma” cigar band ring, but I’m also delighted with the above “True Lover’s Knot” pendant in cream enamel, accented with a white diamond.

What a year for designer Melissa Kaye. The former Goldman Sachs staffer--who left her career in finance to learn the jewelry industry from top to bottom at FIT before launching her brand--made her Couture debut and, subsequently, landed her line at Net-a-Porter.

Of all the new pieces Kaye has come up with lately, her “ear hooks” have set my heart aflutter. The above white gold version features white diamonds with a blue sapphire, the rose gold version swaps out the sapphire for a ruby, and the yellow gold version--my personal choice--features a green garnet.

Deborah Pagani is known for her glamorous, Art Deco-inspired jewels that reveal the designer’s New Yorker status. While most of her extravagant one-of-a-kind pieces are outside of my budget, I can’t get enough of her tongue-in-cheek pill pieces, which are abstract enough to read as geometric shapes.

I could probably count the number of occasions I’ve taken off her mini pill pendant since purchasing it, and just in the time for the holidays, Pagani debuted these fun and exuberant cord bracelets featuring her pill and link motifs. I love the festive feel of the red enamel version.

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