I’ve had the opportunity to be part of something incredibly cool over the past few months: the birth of Metal and Smith, a brand new exclusive one-day luxury shopping event for jewelry brands and retailers.
After reams of emails, ages of phone calls, and incredible amounts of time and energy from everyone behind the scenes, Metal and Smith debuted on September 19th and I was there in person to experience it all.
Metal and Smith’s hashtag and philosophy – #notatradeshow – says it all: the goal is to reinvent the setting in which jewelry brands and retailers interact into something streamlined, luxe, and actually enjoyable for everyone involved.
The event tops out at 50 brands, all hand-picked and evaluated to fit together to offer a cohesive, complimentary range of innovative, chic, and exciting jewelry options, from entry level to seriously high end.
Picture this: a clean, industrial space with high ceilings and white walls, flooded with sunlight from wide windows. Buyers, bloggers, stylists, and more mill around the room, strolling past high tables displaying jewelry that you don’t have to kneel down to see, chatting with friendly designers who can’t say enough about how excited they are to be a part of something innovative. There are no booths isolating the different vendors, no long, confusing aisles to get lost in.
The best part of the day was the palpable energy of having so many talented, creative designers in one space. I met several people who were exhibiting at a show for the very first time. The amount of artistic enthusiasm in that room was incredible.
I never pass up a chance to visit with Kataoka and their gorgeous designs!
That’s them with me in the photo up above – they’re the sweetest team. They also make mind-bogglingly beautiful jewelry. Just look at those rings above! Seriously. That Paraiba band haunts my dreams.
Here’s a piece from Kataoka’s new pearl collection.
That’s emeralds, diamonds, and Paraiba tourmaline enhancing the setting. Gorgeous!
Moratorium was one of the the brands I was most excited to meet at Metal and Smith. I’d emailed with the fabulous designer, Jeanette, beforehand, and what I’d seen of her work online intrigued me.
Moratorium definitely did not disappoint in person. I don’t wear a whole lot of silver, but these sharp angles and restrained diamond accents made me want to change that.
Onirikka was a new discovery for me at Metal and Smith. El Salvadorian-born designer Gloria and her soulful designs are a breath of fresh air.
These are the Prisma Leaf earrings, in 18k gold with colorful sapphires. Light, bright, and so dreamy.
How badly do I want a Nancy Newberg bracelet of my very own? SO badly. I’m wearing a whole stack of Nancy’s link bracelets here, but even just one looks incredible.
The weight, the diamond details, the mixed metals, the staggeringly beautiful texture of it all. I’m head over heels. I’m wearing a whole stack of Nancy’s link bracelets here, but even just one looks incredible. Nancy herself is wonderful, too – I really enjoyed chatting with her.
This is another of Nancy’s gorgeous designs.
The texture, the mixed metals!! I can’t even deal. It’s too perfect.
Gillian Steinhardt was an incredibly cool accidental discovery whose designs literally stopped me in my tracks when I was on my way to talk to someone else. One collection spoke to me in particular: these glamorous little hands – with black diamond bracelets, red nail polish, and diamond earrings – are inspired by the yad, the hand-shaped tool used to read the Jewish Torah.
My love of yad motifs in jewelry is not new: I actually have a simple silver pendant shaped like one, which my mom found for me shortly after my Bat Mitzvah. Seeing a symbol that already resonated with me in this super chic, updated design totally rocked my world. I’m all about Gillian Steinhardt’s glam yads.
I’ve wanted to meet Anabel Higgins ever since I wrote about her designs in 2014 – and at Metal and Smith, I finally did!! We hugged, I put on all her jewelry, and then we hugged again.
It was glorious, and her work is even better in person than it looks in pictures. Rich, solid, well-thought out antique-inspired beauties – everything I put on fit with the pieces I was already wearing so perfectly that it felt wrong to take them off and give them back. I’ll be dreaming about her signet rings.
I first met Roule and Co and their fabulous, graphic designs at Couture this summer and I was delighted to see them again.
The last time I visited with this brand. I focused on their showstoppers – this time, I was captivated by their smaller, more entry level pieces. How wonderful and interesting are these little pieces with caged pink sapphires and spinel? So interesting, but still still so wearable.
I always seeing what’s new from TAP by Todd Pownell. This medium-width cuff with its wandering lines of diamonds is just too gorgeous.
If you follow me on Instagram, you already know I loved this little necklace, too. Such classic Todd Pownell sparkle.
I’ve admired Selin Kent’s work from afar for a while, and it was so exciting to finally meet her in person!
I love her restrained, geometric designs even more now that I’ve seen them with my own eyes. Her simple, impactful pieces are everything that is chic and exciting and I’d love to add any number of them to my own collection.
Jennifer Dawes is one of my favorite designers to see at shows because she’s unfailingly warm, welcoming, and enthusiastic. Her jewelry is also gorgeous: simple but incredibly luxe, easy to wear with an irresistible design aesthetic.
The rings above are a perfect example – streamlined but compelling, with carefully crafted details that make each piece something special.
Katey Walker was another fabulous new Metal and Smith discovery! She makes all sorts of beautiful, opal-heavy pieces, but this ear jewel was my very favorite. It made me feel like my ear was wearing a tiara. And so comfortable, too!
I’ve featured Ilana and Ariel on Diamonds in the Library before, but Metal and Smith was the first time I had the pleasure of seeing their designs in person.
Some of these rings are just pretty patterns, others have acrostic messages like Victorian and Georgian designs often did.
This box full of Hannah Blount’s eerie, beautiful face pieces looks like some kind of mythical tomb or a crate of sleeping magical statues, waiting to awake.
I met Hannah very briefly at this summer’s JA New York show, but at the veeeeery end of the day. I was so glad to get a second chance to get to know her work.
I was so excited by the pieces I saw from Christine Huber – can you believe this is her very first collection, finished just in time for Metal and Smith?
I found such soul and uniqueness in her voyage-inspired designs. I can’t wait to see what’s next from Christine.
A stack of gemstone bands from Charlton and Lola! The gemstones are so juicy and they really stand out in the settings. I couldn’t resist putting them all on at once.
If you missed Metal and Smith’s September 19th event – or if you participated and can’t wait to do it again! – our next event is scheduled for January 9th, 2017. Metal and Smith is trade only, so if you’re not press, a retailer, or another member of the industry you’ll have to experience it by urging your favorite jewelry store to attend and bring back designs for you to buy.
Thanks so much to Metal and Smith for a great day, and especially to all of the designers who patiently let me touch and photograph all of their designs.