When Lori Friedman designs jewelry, she shows her true colors. The signature of her line is the carefully chosen, custom-cut gemstones she uses in her elegantly organic pieces, which reflect natural themes in eclectic color combinations.
Friedman took a break from her career as a graphic artist to raise three children. During that hiatus, she also designed a line of jewelry, which was picked up by Saks Fifth Avenue and Mitchells.
When her youngest went to college last year, she launched her Water & Ice line in gold and made her trade-show debut at JA New York in July, where she won the Mort Abelson New Designer of the Year award. She also exhibited at Metal and Smith in August.
“My designing is not based on a trend but on a lifestyle,” she says. “I like to design feel-good pieces that define a unique sense of style for people who are looking for something different.”
Amuleto Collection lapis horn pendant with Ethiopian opal, fire opal and diamonds set in 14K yellow gold, $3,100
Provence Collection 14K brushed yellow gold hoops with tanzanite, moonstones and diamonds, $2,860
Organic-shaped chalcedony drop pendant with ruby, pink sapphires, blue sapphires and diamonds set in 14K rose gold, $3,800
Stacking bands in brushed 14K yellow gold with moonstones, diamonds and tanzanite, $925-$1,350
Q&A With Lori Friedman: Expanded Online Content
How does painting influence you?
Painting in watercolors has taught me to try colors that I never would have thought would work together. I found in juxtaposing the unexpected that the natural beauty of the gems is highlighted; they catch a woman’s eye and draw her in on a visceral level. My paintings have this fluid, watery look to them. I wanted to achieve that transparent fluidity in the jewelry pieces to make it look almost like they are watercolors.
Describe your design process.
I’m fascinated with gems, and while searching for gemstones, I am visualizing the design prior to sketching. Often the colors and textures of the stones themselves inspire me. I use hand-selected, custom-cut stones, so each piece is unique.
When I see fire in a stone, it excites me. My favorite is opal and it just so happens to be my birthstone.
How versatile is your jewelry?
My collection revolves around pieces that complete a woman’s look—she can wear a crisp white shirt, a flowy dress or a cashmere sweater and have no trouble finding one piece to go with all three looks or a selection of pieces to mix, match, layer and stack.
What is the role of the amulet?
People are attracted to meaningful pieces that tell a story. A stone with power or a symbol with power.
Your favorite piece of jewelry?
A brooch given to me by my grandmother. It contains a hand-painted portrait of my grandfather that she purchased from a street artist in Italy.