Design of the Times: Dorian & Rose, M. Spalten, Avigdor

Get to know some of your JCK Design Center designers!

Tigren Dorian, Dorian & Rose

Showing off a range of miraculous jewels designed and handcrafted in Los Angeles, Dorian & Rose is irresistible to anyone with an affinity for gold and diamonds—or, really, to anyone who likes jewelry. The family-owned brand’s artisan treasures are hefty creations, substantial in both craftsmanship and style, and decked mostly in diamonds, though you’ll also find colored gemstone goods.

Give us an idea of your design process—what are your inspirations, and how long does it take to realize a new creation?

Tigren Dorian: The thought process from concept to actually producing the product is quite efficient and simple. It starts with an idea I have conceptualized in my head. The next step is to create the design by sketching it out. The following step is to create a prototype sample and refine the piece to my fitting. The last step is to add the finishing touches to complete the look.

I draw inspiration from my entire surroundings—to me, the ordinary can become extraordinary if you change your perspective. It’s all about how you choose to perceive your surroundings and process them accordingly.

The time to it takes finalize a product depends on the design and the piece itself. Before actually sketching a concept out, I play with the idea in my mind multiple times in various ways. At the end of the day, it’s all about the details. There have been times when it took me six months to finalize a design and be content with the result.

How long have you been in business?

TD: Thirteen years. I started working with Dorian & Rose after I left my first job working at AMC Theatres.

You have a lot of incredible pieces. Are you partial to any particular one?

TD: I am so involved in the design process from A to Z that I feel very attached to every piece. Each time a piece is sold, it feels as if a piece of me is going to the customer. It’s a great way to tell my story to others and share my ideology. PAX is the goddess of peace, who was on a Roman coin struck over 2,000 years ago. We encased her in a handmade frame. We had planned to pass her down to one of my future daughters or daughters-in-law but ended up selling the piece. It was definitely a hard process to give her away, but at the end of the day we create these beautiful designs to share our emotions and feelings with others. Jewelry is very sentimental and getting attached is very easy, especially when I pour my heart and soul into each and every piece.

What is your favorite gemstone to work with and why?

TD: Diamond by far! I love colored stones because of all the emotions the colors carry, but it’s hard not to fall in love with a diamond after you see one magnified 30X. The perfectly cut facets that give you a balanced contrast of light and dark, and the way a diamond’s facets reflect light that causes a break in the color spectrum, are just so fascinating to me.

What are your goals for JCK Las Vegas this year?

TD: To reconnect with all of our existing customers and to create and build new relationships. JCK gives us the unique opportunity to present our collections in person, face-to-face with jewelry lovers like us. To be able to have a one-on-one conversation with individuals and see their reaction to each piece is the most rewarding part of my job. There can be times when others open your eyes to different perspectives, and JCK Las Vegas really broadens my horizons.

Melissa Spalten, M. Spalten Jewelry

If jewelry lovers had to choose one word to describe M. Spalten Jewelry, it would be sweet. The name fits both the designer behind the brand and her candy-like creations. With a penchant for color and an aesthetic that enthralls the coolest of customers, Spalten’s designs are worthy of following—both on the show floor at JCK Las Vegas and in-store.

How long have you been designing jewelry, and how did you get your start?

Melissa Spalten: As a child, I was surrounded by my mother’s love for art, design, and jewelry. It didn’t take me long to fall in love as well. My mom taught me how to make bracelets and necklaces, and from then on, my favorite thing was to accompany her to the bead store and put together designs to take home and make. I was also really into polymer clay (Sculpey, specifically), beginning in elementary school. I remember poring over how-to books for polymer clay and trying to make everything I possibly could, even if it was a little too ambitious—I wanted to try my hand at everything.

My mom was really supportive of my hobby and put me in several after-school classes involving different arts, crafts, and jewelry. The interest never left me. I remember being grounded when I was in high school and not really minding because I just used the time to make a collection of cuff bracelets from Sculpey, crystals, and beads. After studying retail merchandising in college and doing an in-store internship, I realized that sales and business were not my strongest skills, and I really wanted to be on the creative side, designing. I love all aspects of design, especially fashion and interior design, but jewelry has always been my first love. The more I learned about it, from the process of designing to gemology to actual fabrication, the more infatuated I became, until I eventually realized this was what I had to do.

You’ll be exhibiting as a Rising Star at JCK Las Vegas this year. What does that mean to you?

MS: I’m so excited to be exhibiting at JCK, and I love the Rising Star section. It really is like a little neighborhood of the best up-and-coming designers. Last year was my first at the show, and I was so impressed with all of the designers in Rising Star. Everyone had such unique points of view and the most beautiful work. It looks like we have some new designers coming in this year, and I can’t wait to meet them and see their collections, as well as to see what new pieces my friends from last year will bring.

Your work with color is lively and inspiring. Are you partial to any stone or hue?

MS: Thank you so much! I have so many favorites, it’s hard to know where to begin. I love sapphire because it’s my birthstone and because it comes in every color of the rainbow. Its hardness makes it a great stone for any purpose, and I love to use its varying hues, especially pink, orange, and yellow for pavé. I also love tsavorite garnet for its vivid green color and use that for pavé as well. I am in love with opals: Their play of color is just magical and can evoke so many feelings. Bicolor tourmalines are another favorite because they literally look like candy. Amethyst, turquoise, lapis, and malachite are also favorites of mine for their rich color and history.

What do you hope to achieve in Vegas this year?

MS: I’ve been working on a new Ribbon Collection, which I’m really excited to launch. The pieces are solid gold without gemstones, which is something new and different for my brand, and will layer nicely with my typical gem-filled pieces. I will also have several new one-of-a-kinds that I can’t wait to debut. I’m looking forward to seeing my current retailers, meeting prospective new retailers, and especially to talking with all the amazing editors and industry bloggers.

When you’re not designing or on the show floor at JCK Las Vegas, where do you spend your free time?
In Los Angeles, I’m mostly at home—I’m a huge homebody. I love to cook and have friends over for dinner. My favorite things to cook are Mexican food and anything with cheese. Besides that, I’m often out with my dog, Paloma, at the dog park or on long walks. She is one year old and has a ton of energy! I spend a lot of time in Texas as well. My family is there, including all five of my nieces, so I go there pretty often to see them and friends. Whether in Texas or California, you’ll likely find me outside—I love to enjoy the mild (to hot!) weather in both states, going to the lake in Texas and the beach in California. I find the outdoors so refreshing and inspiring, and I love to take my sketchbook outdoors and play with shapes, colors, and designs.

Ezra Solomon, AVIGDOR Jewelry

Drawing on his background as a sculptor, AVIGDOR’s Ezra Solomon brings a unique perspective to his work—and an ability to visualize his creations as multi-dimensional works of art. The result is an exceptional range of stunning engagement rings and wedding bands, from the classic halo design to the more contemporary, an assortment of which will be on view at JCK Las Vegas.

How did you become involved in the arts?

Ezra Solomon: As a kid at school in South Africa, I was fascinated by three-dimensional art and got into a lot of trouble by drawing cubic dimensional sketches instead of paying attention to the lessons. Naturally, I didn’t do very well at school, but coming from a family that was struggling financially, I put my mind to business and making money. I went to work and spent eight years in night school, qualifying in marketing and then earning an MBA. I became successful as a chef/restaurateur. I love and enjoy culinary arts to this day. I then became involved in representing some African Artists, who were clueless about business, and who I felt were being taken advantage of by their agents.

Tell us a little bit about your time as a sculptor. How has that influenced your jewelry design?

ES: I had a girlfriend whose father was a potter, and she dumped me because I spent more time with him in his studio creating clay sculptures than I spent with her.

After moving to Sydney, Australia, I decided to give up on business in order to learn and practice sculpture. Most of my work was impressionistic, featuring the bond between male and female figures.

A sculpture arouses emotions after its formation. It’s viewed from all angles, yet it remains immobile. An engagement ring is always mobile and needs to look good and be meaningful from all angles. It is a “living” projection of a sculpture because it begins a new life, representing the bond of two people. It grows and takes on a life of its own, starting as an inanimate object and becoming part and parcel of their life together. As a sculptor, I see beyond the two-dimensional. My rings reflect the pulsating, multi-dimensional aspects of a new marriage.

The latest AVIGDOR jewelry designs represented by The Curlique Collection and the Halo collection depict the intertwining of two lives, where the open spaces represent the openness and independence of each person in coexistence.

How long have you been designing jewelry?

ES: Thirteen years, but only recently as a career. I was about to get engaged and wanted a ring that looked appealing from any angle. It was to be a part of me that would be with her 24/7/365, representing our bond even when we were not in each other’s company.

It achieved exactly that and then, a friend’s daughter asked me if I would design an engagement ring and matching wedding band for her. The word spread amongst a crowd of young couples, and so here I am, working exclusively with jewelry stores, for the most wonderful people in our industry.

Why have you chosen engagement rings as your primary offering?

ES: I chose engagement rings as my primary offering because the process involves transforming vision and skill into such a magnificent and meaningful work of art for a bride—one that she will wear every day of her life and that will be with a couple throughout their life’s journey.

What do you foresee as an up-and-coming trend in the bridal jewelry market?

ES: I try talking to a lot of brides-to-be, and I see that this generation is extremely spiritual, wanting a piece of jewelry with meaning. Hence, each AVIGDOR ring is designed with that in mind, given a name at “birth” that comes with a picture card and Kabbalistic explanation, e.g., the Cus Ring:

KABBALAH RUS (RUTH) Mother of Royalty – Princess Ruth sacrificed royalty for a life of poverty to live among people she admired. During the harvest she treated the poor with sympathy and love. Her nation is rewarded with receiving the Torah, and Ruth reclaimed her status as “The Mother of Royalty.”

I see a trend towards light, dainty rings that spread along the finger, which has influenced me in the design of the AVIGDOR Curlique Collection.

What are you most looking forward to at JCK Las Vegas this year?

ES: Meeting up with my existing customers, and the challenge of gaining new customers. I have a rare combination of business and the arts, and I feel that I fully understand what jewelry retailers expect from a designer/supplier.


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