By Ashley Davis
Belgium-based Kim Mee Hye is one of the most exciting contemporary design voices in the market. This year, she’ll make her Couture show debut.
The best part about visiting the Couture show are the surprises.

Every retailer and buyer has their tried-and-true roster of designers they count on to produce beautiful jewelry season after season, and the Couture caliber of artist consistently lives up to expectations.

But it’s the unexpected—the new direction from a favorite brand, or an entirely new design voice—that keeps the jewelry trade show such an important industry resource.

We suggest carving out a little time this week to let the following dozen new-to-Couture jewelry designers surprise you with their originality and talent.  

20180529 New to Couture VramVram’s 18-karat yellow gold one-of-a-kind earrings with green tourmalines and diamonds ($47,000)
Booth: DA18

Designer: Vram Minassian

Home Base: Los Angeles

Established: 2015

Worth a Visit Because… Minassian spent 30 years designing behind the scenes before embarking on his own creative vision and his experience shows. The result is a conceptual and original take on wearable sculpture that is instantly recognizable as the designer’s own. 

20180529 New to Couture wwakeWwake’s 14-karat gold and sapphire rings ($3,493 top and $877 bottom)
Booth: DA22

Designer: Wing Yau

Home Base: New York City

Established: 2013

Worth a Visit Because… With her line of diminutive, gemstone-laden jewelry, Yau proves that delicate, stackable pieces need not be generic. Since its inception, Wwake has consistently delivered covetable jewels for the self-purchaser—the scale helps keep the price tag down and the handmade quality appeals to the millennial.  

20180529 New to Couture kimmeehyeKim Mee Hye’s 18-karat pink gold earring with white diamonds ($5,543)
Kim Mee Hye
Booth: DA29

Designer: Kimy Gringoire

Home Base: Antwerp

Established: 2015

Worth a Visit Because… If there’s a traditional way to wear jewelry, Kimy Gringoire didn’t get the memo. Kim Mee Hye examines the human body as if for the first time and adorns it accordingly, without any preconceived notions—think edgy ear cuffs and inventive midi rings that, aesthetically, manage to appear more elegant than rebellious.

20180529 New to Couture marlolazMarlo Laz squash blossom necklace in 18-karat gold with tanzanite, tourmaline, turquoise, iolite, sapphire, spessartite, garnet, morganite and zircon ($52,650)
Marlo Laz
Booth: DA21

Designer: Jesse Marlo Lazowski

Home Base: New York City

Established: 2014

Worth a Visit Because… Designer Jesse Marlo Lazowski is using color in exciting ways that evoke the spirit of some of her favorite places, from India to the American Southwest. A cultural milieu of symbols is key to the brand, which incorporates an original typography similar to Art Nouveau scripts in its cuffs, pendants and medallions.

20180529 New to Couture danabronfmanDana Bronfman earrings in 18-karat yellow gold with rutilated quartz and diamonds ($3,350)
Dana Bronfman
Booth: 137 with the Contemporary Jewelry Design Group

Designer: Dana Bronfman

Home Base: New York City

Established: 2014

Worth a Visit Because… Bronfman is known for her signature cut-out designs and matte metalwork, and now the designer is focusing on incorporating more colored gemstones into her work, like the dreamy rutilated quartz pictured above. 

20180529 New to Couture ark18-karat yellow gold and white diamond bracelet ($22,050) 
Booth: 601 with For Future Reference

Designer: Ann Korman

Home Base: Los Angeles

Established: 2017

Worth a Visit Because… Like many a Los Angeleno designer, Korman is interested in expressing elements of Eastern spirituality through symbols, colors and stones, and she does so with a significant dose of glamour, courtesy of gobs of 18-karat gold.

20180529 New to Couture brentnealeBrent Neale 18-karat yellow gold earrings with lapis, diamonds, pink tourmalines, citrines, peridot, blue topaz and amethyst ($3,650)

Brent Neale
Booth: 601 with For Future Reference

Designer: Brent Neale

Home Base: New York City

Established: 2017

Worth a Visit Because… The Kara Ross alum is crafting decidedly joyful statement jewelry inspired by flora and fauna. Colorful gemstone inlays and playful subject matter (her collection features a unicorn motif) contribute to the overall joie de vivre

20180529 New to Couture jenniekwon

Designer: Jennie Kwon
Booth: 606

Home Base: Los Angeles

Established: 2013

Worth a Visit Because… Wearable and feminine, Kwon has become a go-to for alternative engagement rings and everyday, mix-and-match jewels for the self-purchaser.

20180529 New to Couture noorfaresNoor Fares’ 18-karat yellow gold pendant with ruby, mother-of-pearl and rock crystal base, rhodolite garnet and diamonds ($5,779)
Noor Fares
Booth: DA17

Designer: Noor Fares

Home Base: London

Established: 2012

Worth a Visit Because… Inspired by the cosmos, Noor Fares crafts jewelry with an otherworldly energy, due in part to her creative and adept eye for gemstones. In the above pendant, for example, Fares layers ruby, mother-of-pearl and quartz crystal for an ethereal look utterly unique from her peers. 

20180529 New to Couture elekarelaEle Karela pendant in 18-karat white gold with synthetic opal, diamonds and sapphire with 9-karat yellow gold chain ($6,670) Elé Karela
Booth: DA20

Designer name: Eléftheria Karela

Home Base: Greece

Established: 2011

Worth a Visit Because… Karela’s quirky and romantic pieces showcase literal scenes of forests and the night sky, as well as abstracted depictions of stars and planets. The designer isn’t afraid to fully embrace a mood—much of her work has a Star Trek feel.

20180529 New to Couture robinsonpelhamRobinson Pelham 14-karat yellow gold earrings with natural baroque pearls and white diamonds ($6,253 for pearl pendants and $1,126 for a single hoop earring)
Robinson Pelham
Booth 1102

Designer: Vanessa Chilton and Zoe Benyon

Home Base: London

Established: 1997

Worth a Visit Because... The brand delivers super easy-to-wear jewels with a twist, like “floating” solitaire diamond or gemstone pendants in lieu of a simple diamond necklace. Possessing a large inventory, the brand also incorporates more elaborate statement pieces and color is a specialty.

20180529 New to Couture audriuskrulisAudrius Krulis’ 18-karat yellow gold, sapphire, spinel and white diamond necklace ($28,800)
Audrius Krulis
Booth 103

Designer: Audrius Krulis

Home Base: New York

Established: 2012

Worth a Visit Because... Audrius Krulis specializes in jewelry that is full of texture and interesting gemstone cuts and  has an organic feel. It’s the perfect fit for the earthy sophisticate.

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.