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The Cindy Edelstein Memorial Emerging Designer Award

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Linda Hoj portrait

Linda Hoj

YOU KNOW you’re on the right track when you launch your brand new jewelry collection at a trade show and immediately win its top design award. That’s what happened for Connecticut-based designer Linda Hoj last spring when she exhibited at JA New York and was crowned as the 2019 Mort Abelson New Designer Of The Year. If that wasn’t enough, this shooting star gained even more momentum from her performance in this year’s INSTORE Design Awards, placing first in both Gold Under $5,000 and Gold Over $5,000.

The properties of gold influence all of Hoj’s designs, and she prefers to work in 22K gold, because it “bears the hallmarks and glow of everyday wear, showing something about the life of the wearer,” she says. An artist from birth, she fell in love with jewelry making as she was finishing her degree at NYU. “I loved that I could create a little piece of art, then wear it and have it with me always.”

Afterwards, she attended Jewelry Arts Institute, where she studied ancient Etruscan techniques: alloying 22K gold, granulation and chain making. Her collection consists of pieces all made by hand — her hand. “As I work with the gold, elements of one design will inform another,” Hoj says. “Even in the discard pile, things will happen that bring on new ideas.”


Glamdring sword necklace in 22K yellow gold with rubies

Glamdring

Sword necklace in 22K yellow gold with rubies, $9,250


The Sun King ring in 22K yellow gold with rubellite

The Sun King

Ring in 22K yellow gold with rubellite, $5,000


Babylon earrings in 22K yellow gold with white sapphires and emeralds

Babylon

Earrings in 22K yellow gold with white sapphires (1.32 TCW) and emeralds (2.60 TCW), $6,400


Leather and Lace ring in 22K yellow gold and blackened silver with rose-cut diamonds

Leather and Lace

Ring in 22K yellow gold and blackened silver with rose-cut diamonds, $4,400


Excelsior necklace in 22K yellow gold with indicolite tourmaline and rose-cut diamonds on handmade chain

Excelsior

Necklace in 22K yellow gold with indicolite tourmaline and rose-cut diamonds on handmade chain, $15,850


The Fertile Crescent ring in 22K yellow gold with pink sapphire

The Fertile Crescent

Ring in 22K yellow gold with pink sapphire, $7,000


The Wheel in the Sky earrings in 22K yellow gold with sapphires

The Wheel in the Sky

Earrings in 22K yellow gold with sapphires, $5,500


Q&A with Linda Hoj

Why did you become a jewelry designer?

Knowing at a young age that I needed to be creating to be happy, I pursued the study of art, painting and sculpture. As I was finishing my degree at NYU, I happened upon a jewelry-making course that would forever change my world. I loved that I could create a little piece of art, then wear it and have it with me always. After graduating, I found my way to Jewelry Arts Institute, where I learned the ancient Etruscan techniques of jewelry making; alloying 22K gold, granulation and chain making. Every part of the process is enjoyable to me, from inspiration, concept and design to figuring out the technicalities of how it can be constructed, to making sure that it is durable yet light and wearable. Making one-of-a-kind pieces ensures that I am always inspired and challenged.

When and how did you officially launch your collection?

I officially launched my collection last year at JA New York, in the new designer gallery, where I won the Mort Abelson award for designer of the year. It was an exhilarating experience that held a lot of learning for me. Liz Kantner so kindly walked me through the processes of setting up for a trade show and talking me down when it felt to scary to go through with. I am forever grateful to her.

What is your design aesthetic?

My design aesthetic combines ancient techniques with high karat gold and modern shapes to create one-of-a-kind wearable art. Each piece is as unique as the woman who wears it. Understated luxury and old-world sparkle come through in my designs and chosen materials. I seek out stones that are cut as they were centuries ago, and I prefer when the gold bears the hallmarks and glow of everyday wear, showing something about the life of the wearer.

What influences and inspires your designs?

The materials are the number one inspiration for sure. As I work with the gold, elements of one design will inform another. Even in the discard pile, things will happen that bring on new ideas. Sourcing stones brings a whole other world of inspirations, and the chosen stones often demand how they will be situated. Details from architecture, fashion, art and nature find their way into my designs.

As I hand-make every piece myself, elements of my life and interests flow through the jewelry freely. For me, inspiration is everywhere!

What’s next for your collection?

I intend to continue to explore the transformative nature of jewelry; how a piece of jewelry can elevate the wearer to feel like a queen or a warrior, how it can carry a memory, symbolize love and inspire dreams.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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