Benefiting from favorable lifestyle conditions and plenty of inspiration, Los Angeles is a haven for independent designers. But the city nurtures free experimentation and signature style far beyond its stylish boutiques and independent clothing labels. In the realm of jewelry design, Los Angeles is also a home to a range of talented and innovative creatives—and the following brands in particular each represent a distinct take on accessorizing.
Zeus and Athena come to mind when meeting Zadik and Margeaux Zadikian, the father-daughter duo behind May de Chelly. Their experimental process begins with Margeaux’s sketches, which Zadik, a successful sculptor, then transforms into three dimensional models. These pieces are molded out of sculpture clay (softer than jewelry clay) and often on the body, which leads to the impressionistic look and feel of the label. Given this unconventional approach, many of Zadik and Margeaux’s creations are one of a kind and prices are often determined by the weight of the material used. Their signature pieces are “nugget” rings, which are soft and sensually formed—literally seeming to hug your finger. In their new collection however, they’ve been exploring the cuff with bold yet featherlight pieces derived from the duo’s experimentation with different types of resins.
Combining exquisite materials with the uncomplicated attitude intrinsic to LA’s Westside, Liseanne Frankfurt’s playful bohemian pieces are distinct enough to wear by themselves, yet delicate enough to be layered. And this is exactly what the designer has in mind when creating her collections. For Frankfurt, the defining aesthetic is a highly personal, organic feel: gold is finished by hand to give it a rougher feel, stones are handpicked for their individuality, not clarity. She has collaborated with the same local, third-generation goldsmith for over a decade—even the clasps and wires used are custom made for her—and the intuitiveness of their relationship has led to unexpected, experimental forms that would not be possible to achieve with a more commercially manufactured line.
There’s a masculinity to Loren Stewart’s work that feels like a breath of fresh air for those women who seek clarity and simplicity in their jewelry. The line’s iconic studs are shaped like miniature rods, disks and cubes; skinny rings are a mix between a circle and a square; necklaces consist of simple chains with geometric pendants. This minimalist approach extends into the materials used as well—14k gold (available in white, rose, or yellow) and diamonds are the only materials used. Founded by Rachel Loren, Satya Stewart and Annah Stewart-Zafrani, the line started off when the thre friends began melting down their own never-worn jewelry (i.e. bar mitzvah necklaces, rings from old boyfriends) to transform them into one-of-a-kind pieces. The positive response led to the founding of the label, keeping with the theme of reinventing traditional shapes.