FrontRunners: Rough Cuts
Dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, accented with layers of her own handmade gold chains and colorful jewels, Irene Neuwirth (www.ireneneuwirth.com; available at Barneys New York, 212.826.8900) embodies her jewelry-making style.
The 28-year-old designer, who began making beaded jewelry for Barneys New York four years ago, prefers the natural look of rough diamonds, rubies, and emeralds to more conventional, precision-cut gemstones. Recently, Neuwirth segued into one-of-a-kind pieces that feature significant gemstones set in 18-karat gold. She searches the market for irregular stones with intriguing inclusions or imperfections for her nature-inspired designs, which include an orange spessartite garnet floral suite with Peruvian opal leaves and rose-cut diamonds.