The 2022 Town & Country Jewelry Awards

Photography by Jeffrey Westbrook. Styled and produced by Will Kahn.

Throughout history, jewelry created after a period of crisis has been marked by bold irreverence. We celebrate this year’s daring creative talents—and the joy a good ring can bring.

The Comeback of the Year


A sapphire dolphin for Liz Taylor. A Ribbon Rosette necklace set with the Tiffany Yellow Diamond for Audrey Hepburn. Ruby berries for Jackie Kennedy. “I want to capture the irregularity of the universe,” said Jean Schlumberger, the visionary Frenchman who arrived at Tiffany & Co. in 1956, bringing with him an exceptionally daring point of view. When he retired in the late ’70s, his most fantastical designs were archived. And then: the Bird on a Rock perched on Jay-Z! Lady Gaga in the Flowers and Leaves! Treasures rediscovered, a legend reincarnated.

town and country jewelry awards

Tiffany & Co. Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger earrings and necklace in platinum and yellow gold with tanzanites and diamonds, tiffany.com

Jeffrey Westbrook

The Year’s Jewels of Pop Culture


Certain jewels define a character. Think of Carrie Bradshaw’s nameplate necklace, a symbol of individualism on the original Sex and the City and, 17 years later, on its HBO Max follow-up. Or Bridgerton’s sparkling embrace of Georgian-era ladies’ love of matching sets. Of course jewelry can signify darker moods, too (see: that pearl gobbling scene from Spencer). And it often captures the imagination in real life: Rihanna bedecked in vintage Chanel and a Christian Lacroix cross for her pregnancy reveal is a moment for the ages. Speaking of, Queen Elizabeth is celebrating 70 years at the helm of the British Crown—is there a more appropriate commemoration than platinum?

Although Carrie Bradshaw didn’t ditch her signature necklace in And Just Like That, other pendants stepped into the spotlight, like Marlo Laz’s spiked heart. As for IRL lucky charms, L.A. Ram Odell Beckham Jr. showed up to the Super Bowl in a legendary Schlumberger brooch. Then his team won—coincidence?

The Move of the Year


Boucheron’s single biggest commission in its 164-year history was ordered in 1928—and it was for a man. The Maharaja of Patiala, Sir Bhupinder Singh, presented the maison with thousands of gems and asked for 149 pieces. Indian princes were voracious for jewelry, and they made no distinction between options for men and women. Today’s leading patrons are royalty, too: princes of pop culture. And they also don’t care much for traditional gender norms.

town and country jewelry awards

town and country jewelry awards

Boucheron revisited the Maharaja of Patiala’s 1928 commission for its new collection of jewels. Boucheron New Sarpech hair ornament and brooch, Saks Fifth Avenue (The Vault), 212-753-4000.

Getty Images

town and country jewelry awards

Pearls have become the accessory du jour for pop stars like Harry Styles (left) and Justin Bieber (right).

GC ImagesGetty Images

Louis Vuitton, Mikimoto, and Boucheron have recently gone gender-neutral, joining unisex brands like Uniform Object.

Further Evidence

Jewels are de rigueur once more to a man’s black-tie wardrobe. Consider these A-list examples: Pete Davidson paying tribute to his late father in a garnet-studded Fred Leighton necklace at the 2021 Met Gala; Jonah Hill in vintage Leighton aquamarines, pearls, and flower brooches at the premiere of Don’t Look Up; and the trinity of Daniel Kaluuya, his exquisite Cartier rivière, and his Oscar for Judas and the Black Messiah.

The Epiphany of the Year


It’s time we expanded our definition of precious. By Jill Newman

The terms faux and fine are often used to classify jewels. But with fresh ideas coming from contemporary stars like Giovanna Engelbert, who is making technicolor magic with Swarovski crystals, and Daniel Roseberry, who conjures up audacious surrealist brass for Schiaparelli, it’s time to rethink those antiquated words and challenge the notion of what’s real and fake. And whether it matters. Read More

Swarovski Millennia Octagoncut Green, Gold Tone–plated bracelet ($480), swarovski.com

Swarovski

The New Queen’s English


toi·et·moi / twa ay mwa / phrase
As an engagement ring, this two-stone setting (French for “you and me”) represents the bride and groom. In the 18th century Napoleon started the trend when he gave one to Empress Josephine; 224 years later Megan Fox made it viral.

chopard harry winston messika

machine gun kelly and megan fox

Machine Gun Kelly designed Megan Fox’s Toi et Moi with Stephen Webster using diamond and emerald his-and-her birthstones.

Poshine

The Search Term of the Year


Love her, hate her, or hate to love her, no one can resist (secretly) Googling the gems in Gwyneth Paltrow’s signature tangle of gold necklaces. The intel: Foundrae’s clip chain choker in heavy rotation, often laden with the brand’s interchangeable charms. More sleuthing (you’re welcome) also revealed a strong preference for Cartier. Movie­-star je ne sais quoi and Goop glow not included.

town and country jewelry awards 2022

Cartier Clash de Cartier necklace in 18k rose gold ($19,100), cartier.com; Foundrae Love Initial Story Oversized Mixed Clip Chain necklace ($22,355), foundrae.com; Robinson Pelham identity necklace with detachable diamond bar ($23,000), robinsonpelham.com; Beekman New York round brilliant-cut diamond necklace (for rent, $199/day), beekmannyc.com

CARTIER/FOUNDRAE/ROBINSON PELHAM/BEEKMAN NEW YORK

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Gwyneth Paltrow’s Florence selfie, with husband Brad Falchuk, offered important jewelry clues.

The Diamonds of the Year


Named for their resemblance to a river of gems, diamond rivières have long attracted an enthusiastic fan base. Queen Mary, for one, was rarely seen without her diamond “turtleneck,” layering chokers and pearls with her 100-carat rivière, which was later inherited by Princess Margaret. Today, donning a single strand is just as strong a statement, as Zoë Kravitz proved at this year’s Oscars, though we’d never discourage anyone from a modern Mary moment, à la Hailey Bieber at the Super Bowl.

de beers jewellers oscar heyman

From center out: De Beers Jewellers Drops of Light Round Brilliant Platinum necklace, debeers.com; Anita Ko Baguette Diamond Zipper choker ($118,450), anitako.com; Oscar Heyman Platinum Diamond necklace, 800-642-1912.

Jeffrey Westbrook

The Watershed Moment


town and country jewelry awards

Sotheby’s New York

The opening of “Brilliant & Black: A Jewelry Renaissance” at Sotheby’s New York was a groundbreaking moment, not only for its format—curated by Melanie Grant, a London-based journalist, it was the first selling exhibit of its kind—but also for its recognition of 21 contemporary Black jewelry designers by a global auction house.

town and country jewelry awards

Mateo Eve Baroque Pearl earrings (left) ($6,250), sothebys.com; Lorraine West Abstract Wing cuff (center) ($29,300), sothebys.com; Tenthousandthings Extra Large earrings in Black Mother-of-Pearl (right) ($6,000), tenthousandthingsnyc.com

sothebys

The New Hall-of-Famers


The revolutionary spirit of the Art Deco movement, which flourished after World War I, brought us Cartier’s Tutti Frutti marvels and Gérard Sandoz’s geometric holy grails. They defined a period of innovation, cultural curiosity, and radical imagination. A century later the same is true of these tours de force. From Wilfredo Rosado’s lacquered tribute to East Africa’s Maasai tribe to Ana Khouri’s mastery of new materials like rare rosewood and rock crystal, the year’s best jewels were an exuberant celebration of just how far we’ve come.

town and country jewelry awards

Gucci High Jewelry Necklace in white gold with an opal, imperial topazes, rubellites, peridots, citrines, mandarin garnets, pink tourmalines, and diamonds, From the Hortus Deliciarum Collection, Gucci Paris, +33-1-70-79-15-24

Gucci Paris

town and country jewelry awards

Van Cleef & Arpels Ciel de Minuit necklace in white gold set with lapis lazuli, sapphires, and diamonds, from the sous les etoiles collection, vancleefarpels.com

Bertrand Moulin

The Migration of the Year


palm beach map

Lena Corwin

1. Mish Fine Jewelry 244 S. County Road
After 30 years in NYC, Mish Tworkowski moved his atelier into an Addison Mizner landmark.

2. Sotheby’s 150 Royal Poinciana Plaza
The auction house has hosted pop-ups and exhibits for jewelers like Marina B and Taffin.

3. Hemmerle 340 Royal Poinciana Way
Scions of the German brand are now posted up in PB for private appointments.

4. Nicholas Varney 256 Worth Avenue
The former college baseball player-turned-jewelry designer has set up shop on Via Amore.

5. Marissa Collections 340 Royal Poinciana WayThe 47-year-old family-run Naples institution opened its second Florida outpost.


The Grand Reveal

town and country jewelry awards

The Star of India sapphire

Robert Clark

If there was ever a reason to celebrate jewels in their pure form (dare we say, “uncut jahms”?), it was the reopening of the Museum of Natural History’s Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals. After a four-year renovation, the unveiling coincided with the museum’s 150th anniversary and was christened with an exhibition of more than 100 animal-themed bijoux made during those years. The festive mood remains, thanks to the permanent display of icons like the Star of India sapphire and the 632-carat Patricia Emerald alongside never-before-seen specimens like the Subway Garnet (a 9-pound stone found under 35th Street in 1885). If one gem brings joy, imagine what 5,000 of them can do.

town and country jewelry awards

Stones at the Museum of Natural History’s Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals.

Robert Clark

The Right Vibe Shift


The 12 signs of the Zodiac have long been ripe for talismanic inspiration. After all, hard times are made a little easier when celestial guidance is spun into diamonds and gold. Van Cleef & Arpels once again looked to the planets, newly reinforcing its astrological creations with fresh designs and stones like lapis lazuli and amazonite for an extra dose of good vibes.

david webb verdura van cleef  arpels

David Webb Gold Zodiac Gemini necklace ($4,900), davidwebb.com; Verdura gold and diamond Zodiac pendant necklace with Capricorn constellation ($7,950), verdura.com; Van Cleef & Arpels Zodiaque Eminorum necklace with lapis lazuli ($21,200), vancleefarpels.com

Jeffrey Westbrook

Its Time Has Come


town and country jewelry awards

Cartier Tank Must watch ($2,610), cartier.com

Robert Clark

The Face

Cartier’s Tank Must was introduced in 1977 as the most accessible of Tanks. For the 2021 revival, its style remains the same. As for its specs? Unmistakably modern.

The Tech

Imperceptible slits in the Roman numerals allow light to reach photovoltaic cells hidden underneath. Translation? This watch is solar­-powered.

The Strap

With grace and sleight of hand, a 105-year-old classic is refined for the current moment. Hint: The strap now comes in vegan leather.


Tell Them What They Want

What they really really want. Eavesdropping on today’s private client conversations. By Max Berlinger

As the rest of the world went from shopping IRL to URL in the pandemic things worked a bit differently for this type of VIP. Read More

Pomellato Iconica earrings ($7,950), pomellato.com; Vhernier Calla necklace ($21,500), Vhernier Beverly Hills, 310-273-2444

Getty Images

The Investment of the Year


They say when times are uncertain, you can’t go wrong with gold. Jewelers clearly have taken note. So has Anthony Vaccarello. For Saint Laurent’s spring 2022 show he paid homage to the prolific designer and influential YSL muse Paloma Picasso, arming his models with sharp silhouettes and bold, sculptural gold. Now who’s fretting over the S&P?

saint laurent

Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent

This story appears in the May 2022 issue of Town & Country. SUBSCRIBE NOW

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