I’ve Been a Jewelry Designer for Years—These 3 Trends Have My Full Attention

Fashion

When you think about the piece in your closet that brings you the most joy, which is it? For some, it may be a great pair of jeans or a designer handbag, but for Erin Sachse Nathan, it’s jewelry. And while it may seem a little reductive that the founder of a fine jewelry brand would derive their greatest gratification from gemstones, you’ll get it once you see her work.  Unlike other labels, Eriness takes the “stuffy” formality surrounding fine jewelry and turns it on its head. Jewelry staples such as chunky hoops are given a cheeky update with pavé-set pink sapphires, and the “dated” tennis bracelet is modernized with colorful gemstones. Sachse Nathan’s whimsical approach to design has garnered her a cult following among the fashion set in just seven years. But beyond that, her jewelry has redefined how an entire generation shops, wears, and thinks about bling. In short, she’s brought joy back into jewelry one bright gemstone at a time.  So you can understand why we jumped at the chance to speak with the designer. Ahead, you’ll hear from Sachse Nathan about what led her to found her label, her fine jewelry shopping tips, and which three jewelry trends she believes will be big for the rest of 2023. 

For those who are unfamiliar with your work, how did you break into the fashion industry?  I started making jewelry at 18 because I loved the craft and have always had a knack for creating things. At the time, I was making all my jewelry by hand in my college dorm room. As wild as it sounds, people stopped me on the street to ask where my jewelry was from. At that point, I knew it was time to turn my passion into a full-fledged business. You founded Eriness in 2015—what compelled you to establish your brand? And how has it evolved?  When I graduated from Boston University in 2015, I was already making and selling my pieces at an insane rate, so I did what any naïve 20-something would, and I jumped into the business with zero fear. What started with making handmade jewelry transitioned to a fine jewelry line where I could make my vision come to life. Eriness has evolved how I have—my jewelry designs have always reflected where I am. Every collection tells a story about my experiences.

How (if at all) does creating a piece of jewelry differ from the production process for clothing? What do you wish more people knew about fine jewelry in general? I’ve never had the opportunity to produce clothing, but I will say there is a different type of craftsmanship behind designing jewelry that so many people don’t see. Sometimes, it’s about having an idea and working within the restraints of the materials, which makes for a fun challenge. When creating a collection, where do you draw inspiration from? What is your creative process like? I wish I could tell you a strict formula for my creative process, but it differs with each collection. The one common denominator is that all of my collections begin with something meaningful to me. For example, the Ladybug collection was born after the most surreal dream after my mom’s passing, whereas the Art Deco collection was created because of a love for my grandmother’s ring from that era. There is a lot of back and forth with ideas and ensuring that I stay true to myself, not just the trends.

One thing that makes your work so unique is that you incorporate colorful gemstones into a lot of your pieces. For you, why was it important to source various precious gemstones for your work?  Honestly, I love color! Incorporating gemstones in my work is second nature for me. When I start my design process, I usually have a vision for each piece in various ways. Color transforms any design and allows the wearer to make it fun but personable and add a personalized flair. It goes without saying that I love a classic diamond, but in my opinion, a pink sapphire does just as much for me.  . Most people are very familiar with diamonds’ value, but what do you wish more people knew about colorful precious gemstones? Why do you feel they’re also a worthwhile investment? I wish more people saw gemstones the same way they see diamonds! Gems are precious and are just as scarce as diamonds.  Each gemstone is unique and has its own character, story, and energy. A diamond ring’s vibe is entirely different from that of an emerald or blue sapphire. It’s just another way to play with jewelry.

We’ve seen a large shift in the jewelry industry over the past decade. There are not only more female and minority-owned brands getting their dues, but it also feels as if the stuffiness surrounding fine jewelry has slowly been chipped away. How do you hope your work contributes to modernizing the industry?  I love to see this. My mission with Eriness from the beginning was to create fine yet fun and whimsical jewelry. I love being a part of someone’s first experience with fine jewelry and watching the walls and preconceived notions of high-end fine jewelry fade away. Jewelry should bring you joy, which is what we aim for. What advice would you give to anyone looking to invest in a piece of fine jewelry? What should they know before buying? A little token of advice I give all my clients is to buy something you see yourself living in—a piece of jewelry that you can wear to work, the beach, the gym, or date night, something you never have to worry about. Before buying, think to yourself, “Is this just a trend or something I could pass down to a loved one?” You can never go wrong with a classic tennis bracelet (in any stone) or a signet ring.

What’s so wonderful about you (besides being a trailblazer) is that you have impeccable style. What role has fashion played in your life? I have to give all the fashion credit to my mom, Julie! I completely follow her blueprint. She was always so intuitive about mixing classics with more fun pieces. That has undoubtedly translated into my jewelry designs by playing with a classic design and making it my own. What does your daily work wardrobe look like? Are there any ride-or-die pieces that you swear by?  The best part of being your boss is that there are no wardrobe rules. So my wardrobe is always casual but chic, or at least, I’d think so. The closet staples that I think everyone should own are a great-fitting pair of denim, an oversize sweater (or two or three), and a big ole stack of rings.

Are there any jewelry staples you wear or recommend wearing daily? If so, what?  Not to sound like a broken record, but a stack of rings is perfect for your everyday outfit. I’d argue my current stacks are the recipe for the best everyday jewelry, but that’s another story.  Are there any pieces from your collection that you wear all the time?  A few of my favorites are our Rainbow Baguette Tennis Bracelet, Mini Pink and Diamond Ombré Butterfly Necklace, and Diamond Illusion Studs.

What jewelry trends do you think are worth investing in?

The first trend I would say is worth investing in would for sure be bangles. I wouldn’t even consider a bangle a trend; it’s a classic piece that’s always worth investing in. But with so many spring/summer 2023 collections championing the staple (see: Saint Laurent and Salvatore Ferragamo), it’s more relevant than ever.

On a personal note, I’m really into long necklaces right now. I can’t stop wearing our long Yony collab chain because it layers so well with the other necklaces I always have on. And I’m not the only one who loves this jewelry trend, as we’ve seen longer necklaces resurface on the runway in both fall/winter 2022 and spring/summer 2023 collections. 

It might seem counterintuitive, considering that long necklaces are back, but I think chokers are also a trend worth investing in. However, it’s not the rope choker from your teenage years. [It’s] an elevated version that features ultra-pretty touches like precious gemstones, florets, and hearts. 

Next: The 2023 Jewelry Trends Everyone’s About to Be Completely Obsessed With

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