Ten Designers Discuss

This Holiday’s Most Coveted Jewelry

text by Natasha Clark   images courtesy of Barneys New York

If ever there is a time to invest in a statement piece or modern heirloom, the holiday season is it. Barneys New York has curated a stunning collection of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, all exquisitely crafted and truly timeless. Plus, we at Barneys asked the designers behind these dazzling baubles to share the inspiration that makes each the perfect gift.

Nak Armstrong

What inspired these earrings (above, right)?

”The Culebra leaf earrings represent the fusion of two inspirations: the tropical landscape of Puerto Rico and the look of pleated fabric. These earrings are part of my Florapiega Collection, where I’ve taken clothing references such as pleating and ruching and applied them to floral motifs.”

What makes these special for the holidays?

“These earrings make a statement, but in a modern way. Nothing is better than receiving a holiday gift that you can actually wear during the holidays, and because these earrings live perfectly in day or night, they take you from your daily life straight into the festivities of the season.”

Clockwise from top: NAK ARMSTRONG Rose and Stem Earrings / NAK ARMSTRONG Culebra Leaf Double-Drop Earrings / Similar NAK ARMSTRONG Petite Rose Earrings

Jennifer Meyer

How do these earrings represent the Jennifer Meyer aesthetic?

“I started my line over 10 years ago with letter necklaces and hoop earrings. I always try to expand my ideas while keeping the Jennifer Meyer vibe, and this design felt like the perfect marriage of hoops and letters. The idea is to wear them as a pair but buy them as singles, so you can mix-and-match however you want. I have to be honest, I haven’t taken mine off since I made them.”

What makes these a great gift?

“Everybody has a connection to letters—whether it’s their initials, someone they love, a child, or a loved one—and hoops have always been a classic. These are an exciting new twist on the classic hoop.”

JENNIFER MEYER Initial Jewelry / Initial Hoop Earrings available at Barneys New York Madison Avenue

 

Irene Neuwirth

How did this necklace come to be?

“I wanted to make a piece that felt really fine, yet whimsical and playful—like the ultimate costume necklace, but a more precious version.”

What makes it special?

“I only made one, so it’s truly one-of-a-kind!”

IRENE NEUWIRTH Mixed-Gemstone Centerpiece Necklace

Hirotaka

What inspired these pieces?

“I have always been fascinated by amazing deep-sea creatures. I wanted to make a style inspired by the crinoid and its movement, swaying in the dark ocean water. I keep most of my designs very abstract to make them poetic and timeless. This collection is born from my love of hidden treasures of the sea.”

What is it about jewelry that makes it a great gift?

“The greatest gifts are carefully selected by the giver, but only jewelry can be worn every day and kept forever.”

SHOP ALL HIROTAKA / Hirotaka Tassel Styles available at Barneys New York Madison Avenue

Sevan Biçakçi

Why the pomegranate motif? It feels like an unlikely symbol.

“It’s an Armenian and Greek Orthodox tradition to throw pomegranates onto the entrances of businesses and homes on the first morning of every new year for blessings throughout the year. The wider the seeds get spread, the more prosperity is expected during the new year. I’m a keen follower of this ancient tradition.”

What makes it special for the holidays?

To give this pendant is to wish your loved one nothing but blessings, love, and cherished moments for the year ahead. What better holiday tidings could there be?

Clockwise from left: SEVAN BIÇAKÇI Pomegranate Intaglio Ring / SEVAN BIÇAKÇI Pomegranate Intaglio Pendant Necklace / SEVAN BIÇAKÇI Fruit Intaglio Ring / SEVAN BIÇAKÇI Gemstone-Embellished Double-Drop Earrings

 

Dauphin

Could you tell us about the beautiful movement in these pieces?

“The Serpentine series celebrates the infinite nature of love and creation. It is very sculptural and therefore still, and yet it materializes the movement of water—a metaphor for life, creation, and love. The delicate volumes of this collection are the quintessence of my work, as well as Dauphin’s own established sculptural and kinetic aesthetics.”

DAUPHIN Serpentine CuffDAUPHIN Serpentine Ring / DAUPHIN Serpentine Ring with Diamonds

Sidney Garber

What is the story behind your iconic cuffs?

“Our Domed Cuff was the beginning of my bracelet passion. I began wearing them 32 years ago, first as a pair and now always as a stack of three. And when I am channeling Nancy Cunard, I wear a stack on each wrist!”

Who would they be a great gift for?

“They are the perfect gift for any age—my daughter has been borrowing mine for years, and now has her own. She loves them as much as I do!”

Clockwise from top: SIDNEY GARBER Domed Cuff in 18K White GoldSIDNEY GARBER Domed Cuff in 18K Yellow Gold

Monique Péan

What inspired these earrings?

“The asymmetrical alignment was inspired by the glacial landscape of Antarctica that I witnessed during my travels to the continent. I chose to feature a mélange of assorted rose-cut diamonds and sapphires to evoke the effect of a refracted sunrise on facets of the icebergs and glaciers in the Antarctic ocean.”

Tell us about the charity you teamed up with for this collection?

“A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these earrings will benefit Charity: Water, a philanthropic organization that works to provide clean and safe drinking water to communities in need around the world.”

SHOP MONIQUE PÉAN / MONIQUE PÉAN Mixed-Gemstone Flexible Drop Earrings Available at Barneys New York Madison Avenue

Judy Geib

What is about emeralds that you love?

“This spare necklace is an ode to the emerald, my favorite stone. To me, there is something not of this world about this gem—the dew of green grass, the breeze of pine trees, the waves of the Mediterranean, the breath of life. I chose this simple setting and delicate handmade chain to allow the stone to show itself off to best effect!”

What makes this gemstone the perfect gift?

“Each emerald is completely unique and idiosyncratic, for a most special and distinctive gift.”

From left: JUDY GEIB Echo Emerald Necklace / JUDY GEIB Marquise Pendant Necklace / JUDY GEIB Echo Ruby Necklace

Spinelli Kilcollin

We love the new choker style. Is there more to come?

“We designed a diamond-set tri-bar necklace two years ago, and we’ve recently launched our Nebula diamond pendants at Barneys. The choker is a statement piece that bridges the previous two designs with a thicker bar and even more diamonds. It’s also a preview of our upcoming bar collection.”

What makes it special for the holidays?

“This is a unique piece, made exclusively for Barneys. It is a limited-edition style that we have never made before and don’t plan to make again after this season.”