Making meaningful connections through artful design
For designer Jennie Kwon, jewelry is linked closely to emotion, making meaningful connections through artful design. “A part of why I love doing what I do so much is because I get to create something so seemingly small and diminutive that holds so much meaning to its wearer,” she says. “Fine jewelry in particular can be so significant because it's one of the few things that can be worn on your body forever, sort of like a tattoo. It stays with you, and thus, people tend to attach meaning to it.” By making compulsively wearable pieces, Kwon hopes to create jewelry that well help the wearer feel a connection to something deeper, “Whether it be a reminder of a family member or a milestone in their life, such as a promotion, overcoming an illness, marriage, or the birth of children.”SHOP JENNIE KWON'S COLLECTION HERE!
Kwon puts wearability front and center when designing new pieces to add to the collection. “I love the scale of our pieces which makes them very wearable on a daily basis,” she says. “We truly believe that jewelry should become a part of your uniform- worn and loved. Despite their dainty scale, our pieces are eye catching because of their unique detailing and design. For instance, most of our baguette styles look pretty straightforward, but we add super fine milgrain texture to the bar prongs to give it that something special, and our signature equilibrium pave setting on the shank.” Kwon’s attention to detail and focus on creating tiny wearable artworks make her pieces unique.”
It’s surprising then, to learn that Kwon, “...was never much of a jewelry person….My parents grew up in post war Korea so really, they didn't have a lot to pass down to me and my siblings.” Even so, she wasn’t immune to some of the bolder passing trends. “I did love big chunky hoops growing up as valley girl here in California i the '90s, or a statement necklace, but I didn't know any designers, stores, anything really, other than what I liked. I do remember my first jewelry gift when I was around 7 years old. My parents had a few friends in the jewelry district and picked up a few necklaces for me and my sister. Looking back, I realized that the charms that hung from the necklaces were the playboy bunny symbol! My parents purchased it for us thinking they were cute little bunnies. Hilarious, in retrospect.”
“But over the years, jewelry took on a deeper emotional significance for Kwon. “My husband purchased a piece from a local artisan that incorporated aquamarine stones to represent my new twins as a push present,” she shares, “and it's very special to me.” She also kept her mom’s original wedding band, which she describes as “A really cool, white gold art deco-ey band with engraving inside from my dad. I hold it near and dear.” Once she began designing her own jewelry (after successful carriers as both a professional violinist and lawyer), Kwon began developing a more personal connection with jewelry as an art form. “I created a family necklace a few years ago which incorporates the birthstones of me, my husband and my three kids,” she says, “And my 7 year old daughter has already called dibs on it. It's tucked safely away in my jewelry box for safe keeping.” ”
After having my twins, I really had a strong desire to return to doing something creative and from the heart.
The experience of discovering the emotional impact of jewelry lead Kwon naturally to an aspect of design that has become central to her practice: designing engagement and wedding rings. “Really, we feel like wedding and engagement jewelry chose us!” says Kwon. “It first started with people approaching us to gauge our opinion on whether a sapphire, emerald, black diamond ring of ours would be ok to wear as a bridal piece. This inspired us in a very organic way to start designing a few special pieces each season with a more bridal vibe, using rose cut diamonds and champagne diamonds. We garnered a lot of press in this respect, which kept the ball rolling.” Soon, they were receiving beautiful engagement pictures from couples all around the world. “We find a common thread in the couples with whom we work and who are drawn to our pieces for bridal,” says Kwon. “At the risk of overgeneralizing, the couples we've met, either in person or virtually, are usually socially conscious, kind people who aren't afraid to choose something that they feel uniquely represents their union.”
When asked what she would recommend for a newly engaged or considering an engagement who’s trying to incorporate their own style into their wedding jewelry, Kwon says, “I would recommend choosing an engagement ring that leans more on the traditional, classic side- perhaps a solitaire of some sort. And with that, explore a bit by throwing in two bands that offer a slightly different vibe. Feel free to mix metal colors as well as stone colors. I personally love the combination of an icy white diamond solitaire mixed with the warm sparkle of champagne diamonds.”
But really, she adds, the look that works best is...well, the look that works best for you! “ I love stacking because there's really no wrong way to do it,” she says. “Through stacking, everyone can create a different, unique look that's personal to them. Personally, it makes me feel powerful to have stacks on my fingers, as dainty as each piece may be. With our collection, everything is designed to stack seamlessly with one another. We often get questions as whether this stone can be stacked with this piece, whether rose gold can be stacked with yellow. The answer is yes! We use color in a subtle way through scale and design, so it's never overwhelming and you avoid the risk of clashing colors.”
It’s no wonder, then, that creating customized pieces has become a challenge Kwon loves to take on. “We've been fortunate to have been able to work with absolutely beautiful couples who are gracious, excited and just have a really great energy all around,” she says, “We either work with couples in our LA studio, and quite frequently remotely from people from all over (including London, Paris, Sydney, Hong Kong, just to name a few!). Generally people give us free reign after sending us a few inspiration photos of pieces from our line or custom pieces we've done in the past. From there, we run with it. This came about super organically from very early on with couples approaching us first about pieces from our line, and then asking to tweak this or that, and then full blown bespoke pieces. We are always moved by the stories our couples share with us, as they're each so unique and beautiful.”