For the jewelry and accessories designer Kara Ross, 2013 has been a breakout year. It marks the 10th anniversary of her eponymous brand and fine-jewelry collection, and it coincides with the appearance of her work in three major museum exhibitions. The final coup among her accomplishments: opening her first boutique just in time for holiday shopping.
The boutique is located in New York City at 655 Madison Avenue—steps away from Barneys and directly opposite the clubby restaurant Le Bilbouquet; the neighborhood is well-trodden territory among Manhattan’s style elite. “It’s hard to imagine a better location,” says Ross, who meticulously decorated the tiny 275-square-foot space. The interior is bathed in soft ivory tones and punctuated by antique nickel mirrors, with hints of texture from cork-lined jewelry cases and subtle tile-work trim around the store.
Though her collections have expanded to include a boutique jewelry line that sells in Neiman Marcus and other stores, the Madison Avenue address is reserved for her high-end fine jewelry and handbags. For Ross, a certified gemologist who designed pieces for private clients before striking out under her own name, the boutique’s emphasis on precious jewelry is a return to form: “Fine jewelry is where I began, and it’s really my first love.”
Highlights include several designs from her Petra collection featuring rough gemstones contrasted with smooth, such as a ring that fuses a jagged section of amethyst with a polished one, or a pendant composed of raw green beryl and smooth blue topaz. And there’s a range of items that span her career, from gold-and-diamond stud earrings priced at $2,500 to one-off designs like a dramatic 18-karat-gold bib necklace dotted with moonstones ($74,470).
The store’s staff is also trained to execute bespoke requests, whether applying a client’s diamond-set initials to a jet monogram cuff or producing a handbag in a custom-ordered ruby-red shade of crocodile. Says the designer, “When a client is buying a $5,000 clutch, I want to be able to give her exactly what she wants.” (212.755.8100, www.kararossny.com)