Image: Will Thom
January 08 2010
Lucia van der Post
Kara Ross is a chic and beautiful New Yorker who studied gemology some years ago and from there, naturally enough, went on to become a jeweller. In the US she is well known for her bold cuffs, her beautiful gold chains, often hung with chunky pendants, and her statement rings. All sorts of the great and the good wear her pieces to Oscar nights and glittery evenings. Thandie Newton, Anne Hathaway, Kate Beckinsale, Cameron Diaz and Eva Longoria are among her many fans.
In the UK she has been quietly building up her reputation and her boutique jewellery, Kara by Kara Ross, is now sold at Harrods, Liberty, Harvey Nichols, Matches, Net-A-Porter and lots of regional stores. Gemstones are at the heart of everything she does, so cuffs, pendants, earrings or rings will all have stones somewhere in their make-up. Often these are unique and the piece will either be one-off or there will be a small collection of similar pieces. Although Ross does a much more expensive fine line (about which more later), many of her customers like the boutique line because they feel easier travelling with pieces that don’t cost too much and because it offers the sort of punch that adds glamour to almost any outfit. Prices range from £80 to about £450.
The fine jewellery range has so far been sold in trunk shows which go to very smart resorts – in Florida, on the West Coast, to the Middle East – and where the one-off pieces are snapped up by her fans. It is only otherwise sold in Bergdorf Goodman in New York and now, for the first time, in Harrods. She takes smoky topaz, amethyst, citrine, quartz, malachite, tiger’s eye and all sorts of other stones and works them into a piece of jewellery, such as an 18ct gold necklace with raw aquamarine and diamonds (£12,800), or a fire opal stone ring with rock crystal on 18ct gold with diamonds (£12,400, both pictured).
What has also got her fans excited is her handbag collection, which is to be found at Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Net-A-Porter. Again, almost every one has a gemstone worked into the design, usually as part of the clasp (pictured: large Prunella bag in matte gold python with hard rock crystal, £569, at Harvey Nichols). All the skins are exotic – crocodile, lizard, snake. Sometimes she uses gemstones to create a little motif on the side of the bag. She does huge business handbags as well as elegant little clutches and sleek slingbags. Prices start at £300 but a python clutch with a jewelled motif is £1,250 (from Net-A-Porter).
And finally, look out for some adorable-sounding pocket watches on chains. Her fans have always loved her chains and now she’s been inspired by an old Elsa Schiaparelli design to add some vintage-looking pocket watches to make them doubly useful. They are £170 a time.