The turbulent economy does not appear to have tempered Sharon Khazzam’s characteristic creativity. Last November, the New York–based jewelry designer unveiled at Barneys New York an all-diamond series of unconventional designs with fancy colored stones—designs very much in keeping with the eclectic gemstone pieces for which she is known. "Diamonds are a traditional status symbol," Khazzam says, "and I’m giving them a sense of whimsy and playfulness."
The fanciful collection’s inaugural design—a necklace of 111 stones including unusual flat diamond slices and other rare diamonds in vibrant shades—was several years in the making, but not all of her one-offs take as long to craft. Most pieces come together in months or weeks, and each has its own story. The Stained Glass earrings, for instance, derive their name from Khazzam’s studied interpretation of the flat yellow slices that form a mosaic on each ornament. "The diamonds have a subtle shade of yellow," she explains, "but the light shines through them like a stained-glass window."
Other pieces attest Khazzam’s ability to create standout designs by pairing rare and common stones. Her new Twig bracelet is an unlikely mix of carved blue topaz and aquamarine, blue tourmaline, brown and beige Mississippi freshwater pearls, and rough diamonds; she spent more than six months uniting the components. Another design combines slices of watermelon tourmaline, bright fire opal, pink sapphire, and other gems with two hand-sculpted gold motifs that are actually concealed lockets.
When such hidden details catch her clients unawares, Khazzam knows she has done her job. "I love to have a little unexpected surprise in my pieces," she says. "It makes it more personal, and it always gives the wearer a smile."
Sharon Khazzam, 516.570.2663; collection available exclusively at Barneys New York, www.barneys.com