One of jewelry’s rising stars, San Francisco Bay area-based designer Lauren Harwell Godfrey quickly earned a devoted following with her colorful Harwell Godfrey collection, which launched three years ago. Its signature bold, vibrant jewelry is imbued with rich references, from ancient textiles and ethnic patterns to the four elements—fire, water, earth and air. It’s easy to identify Godfrey’s pieces, thanks to their colorful stones, meticulously cut gems and vivid enamel.
This month, for the first time, Godfrey turned her attention to pure white natural diamonds with the Stardust Collection. “I found myself wanting to create something extra sparkly,” says the 46-year-old designer. “These pieces are kind of like wearable disco balls, but with my details, like the addition of triangles and other geometric touches.”
The Stardust collection pieces are a big departure for Godfrey. “They may not have color, but they have brilliance in spades and that’s what this is all about,” she says. It’s worth noting that Godfrey’s new finely detailed diamond styles happen to be inspired by the same vintage African patterns that have been a hallmark of her designs.
The bold scale also reflects Godfrey’s affinity for sizable earrings and pendants, even in unexpected designs. A large pendant features a central round brilliant cut diamond surrounded by a graphic pattern of round, square and triangular diamonds on a necklace of round diamonds set in gold geometric bezels. The necklace and a similarly styled ring appear like protective emblems—something both symbolic and stylish. “These are substantial pieces that make a statement,” says Godfrey, who is clearly captivated by diamonds.
Here, Godfrey explains how diamonds inspired her latest collection.
How do diamonds change the spirit of your design?
Lauren Godfrey: Diamonds enhance a piece by making it dynamic. Whether they are used as a center stone or accents—or both, as in my case—diamonds draw your eye to wherever they are.
People are dressing differently, so how does the Harwell Godfrey Stardust collection reflect the way people dress and what they want in jewelry now?
LG: Sweatpants are way more fabulous with diamonds! I do agree that the way people dress has changed, but I also think that people are looking for special, heirloom quality jewelry to treat themselves during this time with so much depravity. And, as more vaccines become available and we see a light at the end of the tunnel, I think sparkly and optimistic is going to be a draw.
Will you design more engagement rings?
LG: Yes, I was one of ten designers working with DeBeers (Ten/Ten initiative) to create a limited-edition engagement ring using diamonds from Botswana. I also make a lot of them in my custom work and hope to do more!
Do you have a favorite piece in the Stardust collection?
LG: My favorite are the big button stud earrings. I made myself a pair by upcycling special diamond studs that were given to me by my husband before we were married.
Will you continue to create more diamond-centric jewels?
LG: Yes, I already have more in the works for this collection. Stay tuned!