Interview with Introspective Magazine
NOVEMBER 14, 2021
Jewelry aficionados have come to know 1stDibs as a top destination for signed vintage pieces, but the site also features a wide array of 21st-century designs that feed the discerning collector’s appetite for what’s new, now and next. For the third year in a row, 1stDibs is partnering with NEW YORK CITY JEWELRY WEEK (NYCJW) on a marketplace filled with jewels by 43 emerging talents. The platform is an important arm of NYCJW’s Here We Are initiative, which offers professional development, mentorship and year-round programming to a diverse group of U.S. jewelers. The NYCJW’s goal is to introduce the work of this group of designers to a larger audience while addressing the widespread inequality and lack of representation in the jewelry industry at large.
There is truly something uniquely special about what the Here We Are designers bring to the industry and this world through jewelry,” says Elliot Carlyle, NYCJW’s director of cultural diversity and inclusion. “We honor them for taking up space and filling it with their voices, their creativity and their presence. NYCJW as a whole exists as a platform of discovery. I hope everyone will be inspired to discover, experience and even buy into the jewelry legacies of all our designers.”
The NYC JEWELRY WEEK HERE WE ARE MARKETPLACE will be shoppable through the end of February 2022. Below, we showcase the designers behind four standout lines, all based in New York City, who are making their presence known through elevated concepts and unique perspectives.
It’s only been a year or so since Brigid McNellis founded her jewelry line, MON PILAR. But where many newcomers struggle with establishing a cohesive aesthetic, her sensibility is already clearly defined — and always expressed in the warmth of gold. Drawing on the craft traditions of Spain and Italy, where she has studied and practiced fine jewelry making, the Brooklyn-based Chilean-American takes her design inspiration mainly from Byzantine jewels and Etruscan filigree wirework. “The boldness and decorative elements used in Byzantine jewelry and the symbolic status that was assigned to certain gemstones are really intriguing to me,” she says. “As for filigree, it’s a technique I learned in Florence and fell in love with immediately. It allows me to create large jewels that are light in weight, perfect when I want to go big on a jewelry design.”
As richly detailed as her pieces are, with their use of filigree and granulation, they are not dainty, delivering a bold presence on the ear, neck or hand. The overall look is robust and substantial. In her Milano earrings, she has added an organic element to the textural mix: a swath of vintage anaconda skin she purchased from a leather merchant in Florence. The pieces also dangle a handful of multicolored pearls, a gem McNellis uses often in her designs — “both for its beauty and historical richness,” she says. “I like to make my jewelry ornate but not over-the-top. I’m attracted to details and to simple clean surfaces and lines. I have a restrained approach that allows the piece to look and feel modern.”