By Brecken Branstrator
All of designer Erika Winters’ jewelry is made in Seattle so she can support the local craftspeople as well as ensure the quality of the creations bearing her name, she said.
New York--Though she’s fairly new to the design world, Erika Winters is hardly new to jewelry.

Having worked in the industry for years as a writer and photographer, design was a natural extension of her creative path, Winters said.

Inspired by a “classical aesthetic,” as she describes it, Winters’ designs pull from a love for ancient and vintage designs that offer an updated, modern look for today’s shoppers.

After designing her first bridal collection two years ago and creating pieces for friends and private clients, she has launched her wholesale business and will debut her collections at the upcoming Couture show in Las Vegas.

Below, Winters talks about how she got started and what retailers need to know about her jewelry.

National Jeweler: How did you make the transition into design, and what was the inspiration for your collection?
Erika Winters: I’ve worked in the jewelry industry creatively for seven years as a jewelry writer and photographer after working in the performing arts in theater and as a dancer. So design is another extension of my creative path in this great industry and in life. I designed my first bridal collection two years ago after a colleague asked if I would design styles to feature in her online store. Having designed numerous bridal rings for friends and private clients including retailers (and myself!), this was the push I needed to dive headfirst into design.

I designed that first engagement ring collection in just a few weeks with concepts that I’d envisioned throughout my jewelry career. My collections are inspired by my classical aesthetic, which spans from antiquity to the memorable designs created by Victorian revival movements. I have a deep and abiding love for ancient jewelry forms that are reimagined with a fresh perspective for 21st-century women. My biggest inspiration of all is the women who wear my jewelry. The bridal jewelry landscape has changed. Women are contributing to engagement ring purchases, and they know exactly what they want. It’s a great joy to create nuanced and intimately detailed designs to share with these amazing women.

NJ: Where is your jewelry made?
EW: All of my jewelry is made locally in Seattle. My line requires a great deal of detail, and craftsmanship is a huge priority for me. It’s important for me to support local craftspeople and personally ensure the quality and articulation of each piece.

NJ: What should retailers focus on, or what story should they tell, when showing your line to customers?
EW: My line is contemporary with both ancient and vintage elements that evoke Victorian and other design revivals. My work juxtaposes the elemental simplicity of metal with intricate details that make my heart sing. I work in platinum and 18-karat gold and create designs that celebrate these metals’ inherent beauty using negative space and my signature brushed finish. This finish is not matte; rather, it has a gorgeous sheen that bounces light. When customers and retailers see my line for the first time, they often remark on the intimate design details and the craftsmanship. This is paramount when retailers are describing my line, as each tiny detail is articulated with the utmost care, and I endeavor to deliver the best craftsmanship and beauty from all angles of my pieces. 

NJ: How much inventory must a retailer invest in to carry your brand?
EW: Eight pieces.

NJ: What retailers are currently carrying your line?
EW: Alchemy Jewelers in Portland, Ore.; Eric Trabert Goldsmiths in San Francisco; Jewels by Grace online; and the Diamond Foundry, in a unique online partnership.

NJ: At which trade shows do you exhibit or are you planning to exhibit?
EW: I’m debuting my collections at Couture this year with the Contemporary Jewelry Design Group at Salon 137.

NJ: What are your plans for upcoming collections?
EW: I have new collections in the works that both depart from the bridal category and delve deeper into alternative bridal, which is a huge passion of mine. I’m employing design concepts that pull from some of my bridal rings to create larger statement jewels and more pieces for everyday wear.

NJ: Complete this sentence: “People would be surprised to learn that I …”
EW: Grew up in Arkansas and visited the Crater of Diamonds State Park to dig for diamonds often! I never found a diamond, but I have bags and bags of rocks and minerals collected from the park.

Retailers interested in contacting Erika Winters can do so by emailing her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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