Curves, zig-zags, squiggles and curly cues—jewelry designers have been thinking outside of the lines when it comes to gold jewelry. It’s paid off in exceptional creations from modern jewelers like Akaila Reid, Fernando Jorge, Vendorafa, Sauer and artists ER Nele and Ulla and Martin Kaufmann. Whether it’s an oversize pair of overlapping gold cuffs or a necklace evoking the up and down lines of a Richter scale, these pieces are infused with off-the-charts style.
Sauer Necklace and Earrings; Ulla and Martin Kaufmann Cuffs from Mahnaz Collection
When Stephanie Wenk joined the Brazilian jewelry company Sauer in 2013, she infused the 80-year-old brand with a contemporary new vision reflective of her intuitive eye for design and her own personal fashion-forward style (she studied psychology and worked in fashion before delving into gems). The wavy lines on this 18-karat yellow-gold Augusta Necklace (pictured above left, price upon request) set with a 10.35-carat emerald nestled atop a trough in the collar and matching 18-karat gold earrings (pictured above left, $44,180) set with a 2.15-carat antique emerald, a 1.83-carat emerald drop and diamonds are both exemplary of Wenk’s modern vision. The use of emeralds on the other hand is historically tied to Sauer since the early ’60s when founder, Jules R. Sauer, discovered a mine in the Salininha region that had uncovered Brazil’s first emeralds. He made it his mission to have the Gemological Institute of America certify that the green beryls found in the region were indeed the first emeralds from the country. The Augusta earrings and necklace are both a part of Sauer’s 80 Years Collection celebrating its rich history.
Designers who think outside of the box have always been the focus at Mahnaz Collection on 654 Madison Avenue in New York City. The gallery carries a slew of artist jewelers—typically, historic pieces from the ’60s and ’70s—that you will be hard pressed to find elsewhere. These 18-karat yellow gold Ribbon cuffs (pictured right, price upon request) by German master goldsmiths and husband and wife duo, Ulla and Martin Kaufmann, are a prime example of what’s in store. These statement-makers are heavy on impact but ultra-light on the wrists.
Mateo Necklace; Akaila Reid Necklace and Cuff; Fernando Jorge Earrings
Jamaican-born, New York City-based designer Matthew Harris of Mateo New York started his jewelry career as a designer of men’s jewelry, inspired by a working man’s toolbox, in 2009 before launching into women’s shortly thereafter. In 2014, he repositioned his brand in the fine jewelry category and has since been turning out elegant, but unexpected pieces like this 18-karat yellow gold Spiral Necklace (pictured left, $45,000) which remind us of those curly cue shoelaces from the ’80s reimagined and elevated for the neck in 2022.
Working gold curves in a different way, New York City-based designer Akaila Reid used Richter Scale-like lines to create the shape of her 18-karat-gold Wavy necklace ($15,000) and matching cuff set with diamonds (pictured middle, $50,850).
Meanwhile, Brazilian designer Fernando Jorge was inspired by the flicker of candlelight to create his 18-karat-gold Flame Earrings (pictured right, $5,500). They also come in a larger size ($14,900) but we’ve tried them both and each is lightweight enough to wear all day long and they look just as comfortable with a pair of jeans as they do dressed up for a night on the town.
E.R. Nele Ring and Cuff from Mahnaz Collection; Vendorafa Necklace
The squiggly lines paired with moving gold circles on E.R. Nele’s ring and cuff bracelet (pictured left, price upon request) are a jumble of beautiful chaos created by German artist E.R. Nele circa 1990. Nele is predominately known for large-scale metal sculptures and studied in Berlin at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London before moving to Paris to continue her craft. Her Bauhaus-inspired jewelry, sold by Mahnaz Collection in New York, mimics some of the forms and shapes found in her sculptures.