Wilfredo Rosado's cool jewels
You only have to take a stroll down Rodeo Drive to know that a new generation of young, independent-minded fine jewelry designers has come of age. In the same blocks as old guard Tiffany & Co. and Cartier are several new jewelry boutiques. There's the rock 'n' roll-minded Stephen Webster, who launched a collection of rings based on the seven deadly sins, and Solange Azagury-Partridge, known for her lacquered pieces, including the famous lips ring.
Delfina Delettrez, daughter of Silvia Fendi, seems to have a fascination with creating pieces shaped like insects, and she is creating buzz at Opening Ceremony and other boutiques. And renegade British royal India Hicks has just launched her fine jewelry line, inspired by her decorator father David Hicks' geometric designs.
Another new name is Wilfredo Rosado. He launched his fine jewelry collection in February, a week before the Grammys, and wasted no time making fans of Gwyneth Paltrow and Rihanna.
His first pieces are landing in Neiman Marcus this week, including a feather cuff with plumage that sticks straight up like a mohawk hairdo, a pair of diamond earrings modeled after cogs Rosado saw in a book about 19th century machinery, and a yellow gold and pave diamond “cage” pendant with a heart-shaped pave ruby charm floating inside like a disco ball. (The heart can be changed out for other charms.)
The designer, whose business is based in New York and Europe, has no background in jewelry design. But he has a strong interest, cultivated by none other than Andy Warhol. When Rosado worked at Interview magazine, he would tag along with Warhol when he shopped New York’s jewelry district every week.
“He collected everything -- diamonds, South Sea pearls, Deco jewelry, Navajo pieces,” Rosado said over coffee in L.A. recently. “He used to carry a big diamond or pearl in his pocket every day. When he died, they found a chair in his apartment stuffed with jewels.”
Rosado spent 23 years in the fashion business at Giorgio Armani, which he says makes his approach to jewelry design unusual. “Most jewelers find a stone and build around it,” he said. “I’m more informed by trends.” Many of his designs have moving parts. A $100,000 fringe cuff is inspired by Beyonce. “I love the way she moves, but her jewelry never moves with her,” he said. With a grid-like base dangling diamond-tipped gold chains, this cuff definitely shimmies and shakes.
Other pieces have interchangeable parts. A pair of stunning diamond earrings can be worn with or without removable magnetic feather drops ($139,000). The feathers are from Maison Lemarie, the Paris-based feather-making house founded in 1880 and purchased by Chanel in 1996. And the design? Rosado said it's inspired by roach clips circa the 1970s. Paltrow wore the pink plumes to the Grammys.
A white gold lariat necklace ($115,000) with a single South Sea pearl has a removable feather flower that can be worn as a brooch. The pearl pendant can also be worn separately, as can the chains. What is that, six pieces in one?
“I designed this collection when the economy was bad, so I was thinking about how people could maximize their investment.”
-- Booth Moore
Photos: Geoff Spear.