We’re continuing our spotlight of the 2014 GEM Awards nominees, who will be celebrated by our consumer education arm Jewelry Information Center on January 10, 2014. Let’s get to know jewelry designer Kara Ross, a nominee for the GEM Award for Design due to her extraordinary design aesthetic. Since 2003, Kara has rapidly grown her brand from its origins in fine jewelry to handbags and leather goods – just this year opening her own flagship boutique in New York. Browse her collections, known for their bold and unique use of exotic skins and gemstones, and there’s no doubt why she’s a designer who’s shaping the future of jewelry design.
Kara tells us more about her company, her start in the industry, and some personal facts about herself that you most likely didn't know:
How did you get started in the jewelry industry?
When I was 13 I went on a safari to Africa with my parents. To commemorate the trip, I was allowed to choose a native gemstone. It was a raw tourmaline that I used to design a square cut ring on an 18K gold band with diamonds on “Jewelers’ Row” in Philadelphia. It was very exciting to know that I could create something wholly original at a young age.
How would you describe your signature style?
My signature style is eclectic -- a mix of vintage and current designers. I often use alternative organic materials that challenge me to design around unusual and unique silhouettes.
Who are some celebrities we’ve seen wearing your jewelry?
Kate Hudson, Debra Messing, Elizabeth Banks, Kerry Washington and Michelle Obama.
What are some things most people don’t know about you or your company?
- My fine jewelry is featured in a variety of permanent collections in three major national museums: The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Museum of Art and Design in New York, and the San Diego Natural History Museum.
- I have been selected to collaborate my fine jewelry with many ready-to-wear brands including Naeem Khan, J. Mendel and Dennis Basso
- The White House reached out to me to make one-of-a-kind gifts out of Magnolia Wood from the White House Lawn for visiting dignitaries and diplomatic visitors.
- I support New York vendors and manufacturers across every category of my brand.
Kara Ross is nominated for the GEM Award for Design alongside Irene Neuwirth and Monica Rich Kosann. The winner will be revealed live at the ceremony on January 10, 2014. To learn more about the GEM Awards, including how to show support for the honorees or purchase tickets, visit www.jewelers.org/events/gemawards. Stay tuned as we continue to get to know all of our GEM Award nominees in the coming weeks!