Kunzites are evening stones.” Lauren Adriana is reciting jewelry legend as she shows me her Harlequin earrings, a large button of high quality kunzite, discovered in Bangkok, surrounded by pale sapphires, amethyst, and diamonds. “They say the sun steals a kunzite’s pink color. But it’s really not true. And even if it appears that way it comes right back.”
Adriana then launches into an explanation, citing specific qualities of the stone’s chemical makeup. She both loses me in science and wins me over with it. This astounding knowledge of what a stone is capable of—both chemically, physically, and when coupled with her singular imagination—is what has always set Adriana apart.
Her work—generally less than 40 pieces a year, all one of a kind, all sold privately, all modern masterpieces—is an exercise in creative genius, highly curatorial gemology, and acutely clever engineering. What does that all mean? They’re jewels that look unlike anything you’ve ever seen, created from the finest stones that exist in the world, and are constructed like precise modern architecture.
I was first summoned to meet Adriana several years ago by Fred Leighton’s Rebecca Selva. I use summoned deliberately. “You MUST come today to meet this girl” was the all caps message in the subject line of the email. And so I did (experience has taught me that a jewelry summons from Rebecca should never be ignored).
It was there I first met Adriana, in from London for the week, a few years out of Central Saint Martins and a short time off of working with a goldsmith at the bench. It was an impressive debut. Eight months later she was the closing chapter of my first book profiling seventeen master contemporary jewelers. Her section’s title? “The Future.”
SLICE RING: GOLD, SAPPHIRES AND DIAMONDS
Courtesy Lauren Adriana
I received another summons last week while I was in Paris for T&C. “Stellleeenneeee,” wrote Rebecca, “when are you back? You have got to see Lauren’s new stuff. The color!!” I answered, as I always do, and arrived at Fred Leighton, where Adriana’s pieces are shown by appointment only, and entered a small back room.
And I admit, I gasped. I did. The couple looking at engagement rings in the main area will testify. I wasn’t even sure what I was looking at at first, but there were colors gleaming under the back room lights that warranted the primal reaction.
Rare peridot from Pakistan suspended from a conical sphere of tsavorites. Rich Bordeaux colored garnets (“It took me three years to find matching garnets of this quality and color,” Adriana tells me) hanging from a line of black spinel and orange sapphire miniature stacked tiles. A dome ring of chrysoberyl. Pom Pom earrings of intriguingly pale green beryl surrounded by light sapphires. A waterfall earring of pink and red Burmese spinels.
The stones, as is true of all in Adriana’s pieces, are not treated, allowing for the natural variants in each stone to shine through. And those kunzites, evening stones by myth, but shining brightly under the light today.
If you are a jewelry collector you might already know Lauren Adriana’s work—you might even have some already—hers is a name that has been whispered through the halls of trade shows and art fairs for the last few years. But even if you are not, remember her name. And look closely at those kunzites. Night or day.