By Ashley Davis
Suzanne Syz “The Power of Sunkissed Blue” earrings in titanium with diamonds and Paraiba tourmalines
In luxury industries, an insider’s view has the uncanny ability to dim the luster of what may seem, from the outside, like a rather glamorous world.

Any fashion or art world assistant lured into their entry-level job with visions of creative grandeur and met with a list of errands to run can attest to this cruel phenomenon.

In the jewelry world specifically, it’s the fantasy of a perfectly-curated shop window versus the reality of 47th Street grime. Shiny Instagram videos of gargantuan gemstones contrasted with the doldrums of walking a tradeshow.

20191223 SuzanneSyz 2Suzanne Syz “Razzle Dazzle” ring in 18-karat gold and aluminum with rubellite and diamonds

There is some jewelry, however, that not only lives up to, but exceeds its perceived hype, pieces that I sometimes handle in my work with a pinch-me incredulity, thinking, “this is too good to be real.”

I saw a whole slew of such jewels this year when I met with Swiss high jeweler Suzanne Syz at a hotel on the Upper East Side.

20191223 SuzanneSyz 8“Kinky Hoops” in titanium and 18-karat gold set with 128 diamonds weighing 2.16 total carats

The jewelry designer’s creation story is rooted in her relationships with artists like Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1980s New York City.

It’s perhaps their realized legacy that Syz is unafraid to experiment or defy convention, be it with her pioneering of materials like titanium and aluminum or her incorporation of camp and kitsch themes, as in her signature “Life Saver” earrings, into what has historically been a less-than-playful medium.

20191223 SuzanneSyz 5“La Vie en Rose” ring in aluminum and 18-karat gold set with pink tourmaline and diamonds

While some designers sketch first and select their materials second, and others are guided primarily by the stones they choose, Syz seems to expertly straddle the line between the two methods, sourcing immaculate gems but always injecting her own point-of-view into her finished pieces that leaves no doubt  as to the identity of its maker.

20191223 SuzanneSyz 3“Summer Time” earrings in rose gold and titanium with aquamarine, yellow beryl and morganite set in ceramic

It’s her way with color I enjoy most, be it the chicness of a sleek white ceramic halo surrounding a colorless diamond, the cool factor of a saturated blue sapphire in matte blue aluminum setting, or the saccharine appeal of aquamarine, yellow beryl and morganite drops each set in matching Easter candy-hued metals (seen above).

The boldness is unmistakably Syz, fresh and daring, but always flattering to the wearer; she never sacrifices the latter for the former.

20191223 SuzanneSyz 7“Arctic Ice” ring in gold, silver and enamel set with Paraiba tourmaline

Among all others, Syz’s 2019 collection is the one that has stuck with me most this year, though the word “collection” is a loose term.

Every piece Syz creates is one-of-a-kind, and not just because of the inherent singularity of an extravagant gemstone.

Even recognizable styles, like the aforementioned Life Savers or these Piece of the Week titanium earrings, are executed in different colors for each edition, so that every pair is slightly unique.

Syz rolls pieces out as she makes them, rather than designing around a particular concept per season, though her overarching aesthetic principles keep her work cohesive.

20191223 SuzanneSyz 4“Crush for You” bracelet in aluminum and gold set with diamonds

Syz demonstrated a real interest in matte aluminum this year, showing the material’s unique finish to its full effect in wonderfully textured, voluminous pieces, like the above cuff studded with a constellation of diamonds.

Of all her 2019 newness, the spinel earrings pictured below were my favorite.

20191223 SuzanneSyz 1Suzanne Syz “Belles, belles, belles” earrings in white gold and titanium set with semi-rough spinels and briolette diamonds
I loved the hues of the spinel, a veritable field guide to the wonderful variety of shades in which the mineral forms, as well as the unexpected elegance of their polished forms, which makes them delightfully candy-like.  

Adorning either end of a row of tantalizing chandelier-like briolette diamonds resulted in an utterly original design that is full of Syz’s signature joie de vivre.  

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