One of the joys of analog shopping— remember spending afternoons meandering through the racks, vitrines and mannequins of a brick-and-mortar boutique? —is the potential to stumble upon new and exciting designs from someone you’ve never heard of before. Online shopping can be a great source of discovery, but you have to know where to look. This is especially true of fine jewelry, since many of the most imaginative, indie designers work on a scale so small that they simply can’t produce any one thing in quantities large enough to service customers all across the globe.
Thankfully, Moda Operandi is bridging the gap by giving under-the-radar jewelers and their limited-edition wares a digital platform. The breadth of jewelry available on Moda, via their online trunk shows and permanent e-boutique, is curated with an insider’s eye for those unique pieces that stand out from the proverbial crowd.
Here are highlights from four highly original jewelers whose collections can be discovered, and shopped, online right now.
Berlin-based Abegg recently launched her first collection, called Cosmic Escape, with designs that filter astral-inspired motifs through a minimalist lense. In Abegg’s universe, Akoya and Tahitian pearl planets ringed with diamonds or sapphires dangle from delicate hoop earrings and gold chains dotted with stars. Even the most sleek pieces, like a pair of earrings with single pearls suspended from Mexican opal studs, have a subtle sense of whimsy.
Though her pieces are all handcrafted using traditional techniques, Chan works almost exclusively with lab-grown gemstones. Cutting-edge technology allows for the creation of stones with the same chemical composition as their natural counterparts, but that perfectly colored and free from any inclusions (not to mention significantly more affordable). Chan favors feminine floral motifs and gem-heavy designs that give her flawless stones pride of place.
Sculptural and organic, Geib’s designs have an earthy, bohemian ease. In her hands, even the most precious stones — she has an enviable collection of Colombian emeralds —feel understated and, most importantly, wearable. Beyond gemstones, Geib makes brilliant use of 18 karat gold in swirling filigrees and abstract shapes that have a whiff of Calder.
Canadian designer Holly Dyment renders traditional silhouettes with a punchy, technicolor twist, like classic girandoles (an earring style first popularized during the Georgian era) studded with a rainbow of multi-colored sapphires and rubies. She’s best known for her irreverent use of enamel, done by craftsmen in Jaipur whose work is regarded as the best in the world, as seen in cheeky portrait pendants — they’re cameos for the Instagram-era.