FrontRunners: Leaving the Nest

    After 20 years designing jewelry for Tiffany & Co. and David Yurman, among others, Ward Kelvin struck out on his own in 2009 with American Chinoise (www.wardkelvin.com). For this collection, Kelvin drew inspiration from Chinese motifs, including calligraphic flourishes and traditional wood joinery, creating Asian-influenced designs with a bold American sensibility. The Bamboo Nest cocktail ring (shown, $12,350) comprises gold-and-diamond bamboolike rods supporting a large green tourmaline cabochon. "I strive to make my jewelry look effortless and slightly imperfect, so it appears closer to nature than man-made," rel="nofollow" says Kelvin. He begins each design with sketches and works closely with local jewelers and sculptors to forge every piece by hand.

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