A staple in our own shops, New York jewelry designer Anna Sheffield gave us a tour of her new digs which specializes in her high-end jewels and engagement rings. She talked with us about diamonds, Queen Victoria and the Lower East Side.
What drew you to the location on Orchard Street?
At the risk of sounding a bit esoteric, I have to say it was destiny. I looked for about a year- and everywhere downtown except this part of the Lower East Side and then finally came to see this space, and it was just right.
What are some of your favorite places in the neighborhood?
After work, I love having a glass of wine outside at Dudleys or a margarita at Barrio Chino. The Essex market is amazing! Its one of those magical places on earth where you walk in the door an feel like you've been transported to another country or an alternate dimension. And let's not forget the temptation that is Babycakes!
What's your favorite piece in the store?
Oh that's near to impossible to say...really the pieces are like children so no picking faves. But the new piece that's blowing my mind right now is this rich berry-colored sapphire teardrop rosette.
Sapphire Teardrop Rosette
What's the latest trend in engagement rings?
I am not much for trends in general- I like to make jewelry that is truly timeless and classic. (or at least thats the goal!) But I think what we are seeing --and why my line has had such incredible growth over the last two years-- is that by and large people want something a little different than the staid white on white engagement ring these days. I make lots of my rings with Black + Champagne Diamonds and in Rose and Yellow Gold, really what would be considered non-traditional by many. But they are still all quite modern and classic in design, so there's a balance.
Tell me about the snake engagement ring?
I was inspired by the story of Queen Victoria and her engagement ring betrothed by Prince Albert. The ring was the first of its kind in that it set the stage for the whole concept of an engagement ring. And being that the ring was a coiled serpent, it pretty much cemented the idea of the snake ring as representing eternal love.
Inspired by Queen Victoria's Serpent Engagement Ring
What's the difference designing pieces for men and women?
I feel like the nature of women's rings being more elaborate make the overall design more involved. We can make so many spectacular things with a whole whole of possible variations and editions. With men's jewelry the simpler materials and subtler designs are the standard.
Handmade cases hold more designs
Anna took us through the process of buying an engagement ring. Picking out diamonds is serious business. You have to think about clarity, size and, sadly, budget. It seems every girl running around has the same damn Tiffany princess cut, so it’s a relief to see jewelry with actual personality. While we selected The Astarte, a black diamond goth masterpiece, you can choose between many different cuts, colors and settings. It’s enough to make anyone believe in romance or at least a great ring.
Anna Sheffield is located at 47 Orchard Street.