Nikki Erwin’s first venture in the worlds of fashion and style was a handbag collection. But with time she grew disenchanted with chasing trends to accommodate fickle clients. For her second act as an entrepreneur she decided to follow her own instincts and her jewelry brand Established was born. She’s found her stride making brash, over-the-top pieces—jumbo evil eye bracelets, dollar sign pendants—in yellow gold and diamonds and bestselling stud earrings emblazoned with words like “Boss” and “Rad.” Along the way she’s discovered “a lot more confidence and a lot less fear.” It’s an attitude she hopes the people who wear her jewelry share. “It’s a badass feeling. I want you to put this jewelry on and feel better about yourself.”
Your style isn’t at all traditional or sentimental. Why did you do a charm bracelet?
My line can be really edgy but I love it when my pieces can cross over and appeal to people who don’t want to commit to the edgier stuff. The charm bracelet represents my design aesthetic but it fits everyone. It’s lots of heavy gold and pavé diamonds. Those are all the things I love. And my grandmother wore a great, big charm bracelet with pictures of all of her grandbabies in silhouette. I just loved it and always wanted one of my own. Now I’m obsessed with it.
Do you have any rules of thumb for how to put together a jewelry look?
Mainly, I’d just say any time is a good time to wear diamonds. There’s no right or wrong time for a diamond, in my mind, and the more the merrier.
Do you have any favorite custom commissions?
When I was just getting started, a male friend saw a ring I made for myself and asked me to make one for him, only three times the size and covered in diamonds. That was the start of understanding the process of bringing pieces to life for someone.
How do you usually style your own jewelry look?
If I’m dressing up I’ll wear my heart ring with pavé diamonds—one on my left pinky and one on my right. It’s garish, it’s gauche and I love it. It’s my thing.
What is a can’t-miss diamond jewelry gift?
A ring is very intimate and special. Diamond earrings and necklaces are a safer bet. I’ve never known a woman who’s not over the moon about diamond earrings. Actually, everyone needs a pair of diamond studs, man or woman.
And what’s the best one you’ve ever gotten?
For my 30th birthday my boyfriend gave me an incredible diamond necklace. It’s a choker with alternating round and pear shape diamonds. It’s my most precious piece of jewelry. If I’ve had a bad day, I’ll take a shower, open the safe, put my necklace on and sit in bed wearing heels and a robe. Believe me, it helps. It’s very classic but looks great with a vintage rock and roll tee.