By Michelle Graff
Michelle-blogBut every once in a while, I run across some designers who really strike me, both personally and professionally, and I like to take the time to discuss why I like them, and why I think they’re somebody to whom retailers should pay attention.

The last time I got the chance to do this was back in February, when I highlighted the fabulous work of Ohio-based Michelle Pajak-Reynolds.

Never one to miss an opportunity to spotlight the work of some other fine females, today I present pieces from two women who are among my favorite designers in the industry: Jade Trau and London-based Imogen Belfield.

Jade Lustig is the founder and force behind the Jade Trau brand, and her foray into jewelry design is continuing a family tradition. Lustig’s grandfather is Solomon Trau, of Trau Bros., a large and well-respected diamond company that has long been a De Beers sightholder.

She started working alongside her grandfather when she was in her late teens, and eventually launched her own jewelry line with her husband, Barry Lustig.


[caption id="attachment_3140" align="aligncenter" width="310"]Jade-swirl-diamond-ring Jade’s “Rae” wrap ring would be perfect for someone seeking a unique engagement ring, or an interesting right-hand ring. The mounting is 18-karat white gold with 0.40 carats of diamond pave (suggested retail price, $3,200, center stone not included).[/caption]

They are both lovely people, and Jade further endeared herself to me at the Couture show this year when she told me that my new haircut brought to mind Elisabeth Moss, who played the inimitable Peggy on Mad Men. Sigh. I love that kind of offbeat beauty.

But I digress. I honestly do think that Jade makes some of the most wearable-yet-original diamond jewelry today, something that could catch the eyes of consumers, particularly young consumers, looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary.


[caption id="attachment_3139" align="aligncenter" width="271"]Jade-ring Inspired by antique pieces where scent was inserted as an antidote to the foul-smelling streets, Jade created this “Forget-Me-Not” 14-karat yellow gold perfume ring set with 0.38 carats of diamonds (suggested retail price, $6,050). The dome contains a perfume solid that smells of grapefruit, cypress, rose bulgar, orange blossom and jasmine.[/caption]

Jade’s jewelry is different. But it’s not so different that people will look at it five years from now and say, “What was I thinking?” like I do every time I pull that oatmeal-colored fringed vest that clearly was made for a much taller person out of my closet. Good God.

The second designer I would like to highlight makes jewelry that would work well with unique pieces like my vest, which is in all honestly a cool piece of clothing but one that needs to find a home with a much taller friend.

She is the wonderful Imogen Belfield.

[caption id="attachment_3141" align="aligncenter" width="397"]Imogen-three-rings These three rings of Imogen Belfield are black ruthenium-plated silver set with topaz, sapphires and black, white and rough diamonds ($2,650 each retail). The designer did a shoot in Sedona, Ariz. after the Las Vegas show this year, as is evidenced by the red rocks in this picture.[/caption]

Imogen’s work first caught my eye in 2013 when I spotted her exhibiting as part of Stephen Webster’s Rock Vault at Couture. She was a sculptor before she got into designing jewelry, a fact that becomes evident almost as soon as you see her jewelry.

[caption id="attachment_3143" align="aligncenter" width="663"]Imogen-ring-and-fringe See what I mean about Imogen’s jewelry working well with unique clothing? I love this yellow gold nugget cluster “Finger Glove.” It is 18-karat gold-plated on 9-karat yellow gold set with rubies, emeralds, rough diamonds and hand-crushed pyrite ($8,279 retail).[/caption]

The collection she introduced at this past Couture show was called “Jurassic,” inspired by things that were buried long ago but found again.

Do I think Imogen’s jewelry belongs in everyone’s store? Absolutely not; but, if you think you have the kind of customer that would appreciate her edgy-yet-organic aesthetic, I would highly recommend checking out her line.

Imogen’s price points are great and trust me when I say that your customer won’t see many other pieces quite like those crafted by the London-based Ms. Belfield.

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