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December 01, 2023

COUTURE’s Aspirational Advent Calendar

egardless of age, gender, expertise or cultural background, there are many threads of commonality within the COUTURE community. Among them, we appreciate excellence in design, we are lovers of beauty, we value meaningful experiences and we’re charitably minded. In honor of the winter holidays, we are putting together our first ever Aspirational Advent Calendar featuring 25 wishes and recommendations from designers, retailers, publicists and industry influencers. We asked this diverse group to share with us their favorite piece of antique jewelry, an experience to write home about, their most beloved charity or a treasured book or piece of art. From commissioned paintings to renowned antique pieces to beach clean ups, our Aspirational Advent Calendar is illustrative of the many passions that exist within our community.

From commissioned paintings to renowned antique pieces to beach clean ups, our Aspirational Advent Calendar is illustrative of the many passions that exist within our community.

Randi Molofsky, For Future Reference:

Founder of For Future Reference, Randi Molofsky, has long been considered an arbiter of style. Her meticulous eye, daring aesthetic sensibility and vast knowledge of fashion designers, coupled with an almost Spidey sense of the choicest vintage enclaves means she’s usually the most stylish person in any room she enters. Yet as she wrote about a recent feature in Angeleno Magazine, “When I lived in New York City, I was a ‘fashion’ person. When we moved to LA…I fell into the art world.”

We were delighted to learn about her favorite piece for our Aspirational Advent Calendar, “My favorite piece of art was a commission made by the wonderfully talented Zoe Hawk,” Randi explains. “I wanted to capture the many sides of my daughter, Goldie, in 2018 (she was three), so Zoe came up with a miniature painting (measures just 4×6 inches) of Goldie wearing all of her favorite outfits that year. Some standouts: her Yayoi Kusama Halloween costume; a leotard and tutu from ballet class; and a Minnie Mouse dress complete with polka-dotted ears. I will cherish this tiny treasure and all of the memories it holds forever.”  

  • Image Courtesy of Randi Molofsky

  • Randi Molofsky

Peggy Grosz, Assael:

Since coming on board with the brand in 2017, Peggy Grosz has been shaking things up at Assael! As the person who spearheads the company’s most imaginative and creative designs, and given her decades-long history working with meticulously crafted brands, it’s clear that Peggy has a wealth of knowledge and a profound love and respect for the art form. Her submission for our Aspirational Advent Calendar is both delightful and insightful, “This piece from Paul Flato is my favorite piece of vintage jewelry. It’s got a brilliant design, incredible craftsmanship, unexpected yet sophisticated color combination, and it’s timeless!” 

  • Image courtesy of Peggy Grosz

  • Peggy Grosz, Assael

Image courtesy of Jennifer Maxwell, Leigh Maxwell

Jennifer Maxwell, Leigh Maxwell:

Designer Jennifer Maxwell of Leigh Maxwell believes in jewelry’s inherent ability to tell stories and forge connections. Her “luxuriously casual” jewelry is intended to mark life’s milestones, commemorate relationships and celebrate success. For our Aspirational Advent Calendar, Jennifer submitted a personal piece of antique jewelry with plenty of stories to tell. “This is my grandmother’s ring,” Jennifer wrote. “It holds her diamond, along with her mother’s diamond. My grandparents were married for 72 years and were best friends every day of their lives together. To me, that is pretty aspirational!”

  • Image courtesy of Jennifer Maxwell, Leigh Maxwell

  • Jennifer Maxwell, Leigh Maxwell

Image courtesy of Eric Ford

Eric Ford, Neiman Marcus:

Precious Jewelry Buyer at Neiman Marcus, Eric Ford, is a well-known figure within the COUTURE community. He’s perpetually running from meeting to market appointments, adeptly juggling the vigorous demands of his role. Despite his hectic schedule, Eric always carves out time to give back. From leading COUTURE’s Diversity Action Council (DAC), to running his church fundraisers, he is civically minded through and through. Sadly, Eric lost his mom this past year, and his submission is focused on helping others who are fighting her same battle.

“My charity is the American Diabetes Association,” Eric told us. “My mother suffered from diabetes and passed away within the last year. I’ve seen diabetes affect so many people on my mom side of the family. It’s one of those diseases where you can lose a limb or you can lose a life, or even having to deal with the stresses and burdens of kidney failure or dialysis. With more education to teach people how to avoid it, and then also with more research for the medical community to understand how to cure it, we can prevent so much heartache and loss.”

  • Eric Ford

  • Eric Ford with his mother

Danielle Gadi, Danielle Gadi PR

It is an honor to count so many amazing individuals as advocates of our event and our community. Danielle Gadi, Founder and President of Danielle Gadi PR, is one such individual. She works tirelessly for each and every one of her spectacular clients, and she is one of the first to respond to every marketing opportunity put out there. But she’s just as quick to offer help and assistance, and she continually reaches out to her many press contacts throughout the year encouraging them to attend COUTURE, not just to benefit her clients, but to benefit the show as a whole. 

Danielle is always working behind the scenes to advance her clients, so we wanted to make sure she was front and center with a submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar. “I’ve always dreamt of living with one of Cecily Brown’s paintings and think she’s one of the greatest living female painters,” Danielle told us. “Her use of abstract figuration–it makes you dive deep, wondering about the people she depicts and what is happening in the world that they’re living in. I also love her fiery color palettes, and how her work is as impactful in small scale as it is in larger formats.This picture is one my husband Matt took of Cecily’s piece The Demon Menagerie.

  • Image courtesy of Danielle Gadi

  • Danielle Gadi

Marion Fasel, The Adventurine:

Marion’s reputation as a walking jewelry encyclopedia is far reaching. She’s been tapped to curate collections at prestigious museums and exhibitions, authored several books and continuously pens sought-after trend reports. While she covers celebrity style, the fun part about talking about jewelry with Marion is that to her, as she stated in a COUTURE podcast we recorded back in June of 2021, the jewelry is the celebrity. She gives vintage pieces historical context, painting a vivid picture of how they might have been worn and by whom. 

Marion’s submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar gave us everything we’ve come to expect from her when it comes to talking jewelry, “Some vintage jewels transport me through time like these Victorian earrings from A La Vieille Russie in New York. The Imperial topaz extends a warm glow to the diamonds set in silver topped gold. I can visualize how they would’ve sparkled in candlelight over dinner at the end of the 19th century when they were made. The ribbons are so fluid, they look as though they could be untied. Or better still unboxed in a holiday gift and worn out on the town by yours truly.”

  • Image courtesy of Marion Fasel

  • Marion Fasel

Image courtesy of Jenna Grosfeld

Jenna Grosfeld, Jenna Blake:

The designer behind Jenna Blake, Jenna Grosfeld, takes a “more is more” attitude to the design process. Her bold, colorful pieces are contemporary interpretations of classic silhouettes, and she counts architecture and design as key sources of inspiration. Enamored by the Art Deco and Mid-Century periods, as well as French jewelry designs from the ‘40’s such as Bucheron and Rene Boivin, Jenna considers jewelry an art form on par with any other medium. As with many COUTURE designers, she is also infinitely inspired by her travels, and her prolific collections are representative of her ever-expanding world view. 

Jenna’s submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar is one such “perception altering” experience, “My favorite experience is exploring through travel and discovering new inspiration for my creative process. This past summer, I was most inspired by a trip to Provence. The color of all the lavender and green fields at the vineyards we visited gave me a whole new appreciation for tones or purple. Amethyst is now featured throughout my current collection.”

  • Jenna Grosfeld, Image courtesy of Jenna Grosfeld

  • Jenna Grosfeld, Image courtesy of Jenna Grosfeld

Image courtesy of Camille Zarsky

Camille Zarsky, The Seven:

As mentioned in a previous Hidden Gems feature, Camille Zarsky opened her charming, West Village boutique, The Seven, with the intention of forging relationships with fellow jewelry enthusiasts-turned clients. The former luxury hand-bag designer has always recognized how inherently emotional jewelry is and delights in guiding people towards jewelry that not only makes their ensemble, but also that they can connect with on an emotional level.

Camille’s submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar combines her love of jewelry with her love for animals, and she’s not only raising awareness for this important organization here, she’s also hosting a holiday promotion to raise funds for this very worthy cause. “My favorite charity is one local to New York City, Pupstarz Dog Rescue,” she explains. “They’re an animal rescue nonprofit that works tirelessly to save dogs in need, both locally and via mass dog transports throughout the United States. They have a special place in my heart, as they never say no to a senior dog in need. We regularly donate to them and are about to launch a fine jewelry raffle to raise funds for them for the holiday season!”

  • Camille Zarsky, image courtesy of Camille Zarsky

  • Image courtesy of Camille Zarsky

Elizabeth Bonanno, Image courtesy of Elizabeth Bonanno

Elizabeth (Beth Anne) Bonanno, The Gems Project & The EAB Project:

Anyone who is lucky enough to know Elizabeth “better known as Beth Anne” Bonanno of The Gems Project and The EAB Project, knows she has the most impeccable taste. While she’s by no means a snob, she has a deep appreciation for excellence in design of all kinds and her eye for exquisite craftsmanship and gemstones is matchless. What most people don’t (yet) know, is that in the past year or so, Beth Anne has immersed herself in the world of fragrances, honing her expertise and sharing her ever-growing knowledge on her TikTok account. Her submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar combines her love for antique design with her newfound passion for fragrances.

“The experience I am currently coveting is a stay at the most beautiful Hotel Coqui Coqui in Merida, Mexico,” she proclaimed. “By day it is a perfumeria, with a single room that you can rent out. When you check in you pick your favorite fragrance and the scent for each of your amenities (Swoon.) Your suite is sprawling in the Belle Époque style – elegant and antique. Each morning you are served breakfast in a beautiful garden and for your meal you select a honey from their private label with unique flavors. They use regional flavors to make chocolates and the hosts are knowledgeable about all aspects of your dining and fragrance needs. There is a delightful rooftop pool but what I hear is the most elegant surprise is that one night during your stay, they will draw a bath for you after you’ve selected an herbal mix as well as a tea sachet, allowing you to take in the aroma of the rose petals and sip tea while you bathe for hours. When you leave you pack up your fragrances and linen sprays, as well as the memories of a most decant and beautiful experience.

  • Image courtesy of Coqui Coqui Official

  • Image courtesy of Coqui Coqui Official

Morgan Amelia Miller, The COUTURE Show:

Morgan Amelia Miller, Sales Director for COUTURE, is completely clued into jewelry’s sentimental prowess. While she undoubtedly loves beautiful design and she’s a vocal devotee of precious metals and gemstones, for Morgan, the real magic of jewelry lies in its ability to convey emotions, to commemorate milestones, to forge connections with loved ones and to celebrate community. Her submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar is illustrative of her profound passion for the artform and pays homage to the life experiences that have contributed to her unique worldview.

“I first met my friend Neva from Through the Louping Glass, a vintage jewelry and box dealer, through the rabbit hole that is social media,” Morgan explains. “We came together at a really difficult time in my life – my dad had just passed away and hers had one year prior – and we bonded significantly. She showed me this vintage (believed to be from the 1970’s), 18K and quartz Figa charm and I was absolutely blown away. There is a rich history in Figa charms and, while they mean different things to different cultures, in that moment, to me this piece reminded me that there was calm after the storm. Connected together, forever, her and me, my past self to my present and future self.

  • Image courtesy of Morgan Amelia Miller

  • Morgan Amelia Miller

Muriel Piaser, COUTURE Consultant 

Global Business Development & Fashion Consultant and founder of Precious Room, Muriel Piaser, is a walking embodiment of the alluring concept of “Parisian Chic.” Elegant, sophisticated and gracious, she has an exceptional eye for designer fine jewelry talent and an irrepressible desire to foster the success of their businesses. At COUTURE, we’ve enjoyed the influx of French brands Muriel has helped introduce into our community, and the internal team has benefited from her cheery disposition, collaborative approach and our shared commitment to continually improve our event. Muriel lives, sleeps and breaths jewelry and inimitable French design, so it was not at all surprising that her submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar is a perfect combination of both.

“One of my favorite books Fantastical Jewels, Louis Vuitton, by Francesca Amfitheatrof, the Artistic Director, Watches and Jewellrey, at Louis Vuitton,” she enthused. “Created as more of a sketchbook, it is an intimate and personal journey through her perspective, and it reflects the Louis Vuitton Spirit Collection of High Jewelry with grace, luxury and liberty. Treasures abound with each jewel’s ability to act like messengers. The desire to empower and, in the richly layered language of jewelry, it lives on the body to enact its full potential. Each piece is instilled with a warmth and sensuality and sparks my emotions, my jewelry definition of style!”

  • Image courtesy of Muriel Piaser

  • Image courtesy of Muriel Piaser

Image courtesy of Emily P. Wheeler

Emily P. Wheeler, Designer

Designer Emily P. Wheeler’s jewelry evokes a sense of joy, whimsy and jubilance that belies her steadfast commitment to environmental and ethical sustainability. A certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), Emily is fueled by her feelings of responsibility in protecting the earth and the humans impacted by all touchpoints of the jewelry ecosystem. Her desire for fully transparent and ethical practices in all aspects of her business extends to her travels, where she delights not only in garnering inspiration for her prolific collections, but also learning about the good work being done towards protecting the planet and its inhabitants.

“One of my favorite experiences ever was visiting The Brando in French Polynesia,” she tells us. “It’s a stunning setting, and even more important is the resort’s commitment to sustainability. The Brando highlights the earth’s beauty while also doing all it can to preserve it for future generations to enjoy, a mission that deeply resonates with me and my work. I loved going on the nature and sustainability tours that they offer, learning about their efforts and the rehabilitation they do for the area. 

  • Image courtesy of Emily P. Wheeler

  • Image courtesy of Emily P. Wheeler

Image courtesy of

Elana Cutler, The COUTURE Show:

Within about 5 minutes of meeting COUTURE’s Brand Manager, Elana Cutler, a few things become immediately apparent—she has an incredible memory (like, she remembers a scary amount of detail!), she loves sweets, she’s obsessed with jewelry, and she’s passionately devoted to her family. With all of this in mind, we were very curious about what she’d submit to our Aspirational Advent Calendar. Would it be the Sew Your Soul experience she had with artist Lucy Sparrow making felt bagels with her family in Montauk last summer? Or the Gazillion Bubbles Show she took her older son, Myles, to last fall? Or the follow up visit she and Myles made on their mommy/son day to the Hershey Store, stuffing their own Reeses?

Alas, Elana somehow found a way to combine her love for her family with the sentimentality inherent in fine jewelry. Vintage jewelry dealer, Shelly Branch, specializes in 1970’s statement pieces that she sells through her swoon-worthy Instagram account, Particulieres.NYC. She recently posted a “treasure trove” of vintage, zodiac medallions produced by George Lenfant for Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. Since Elana, her husband and both of her sons are all Aries, it makes perfect sense that she’s dreaming of adding one of these covetable Aries charms to her already spectacular collection of jewels.

  • Image courtesy of

  • Elana with her husband Jesse Beatus and sons Rhett (in Elana's arms) and Myles. Image courtesy of Elana Cutler.

Image courtesy of Jill Newman

Jill Newman, Editor, Storyteller and Content Strategist:

With curriculum vitae that reads like a “who’s who” of fine jewelry coverage, Jill Newman is one of the most celebrated editors of our generation. A genuine storyteller, she has the unique ability of uncovering the nuances of a designer’s creative approach and highlighting the place a designer or maison holds in history. Equally enamored with contemporary, vintage and antique jewelry, Jill is also masterful at showcasing what gives a particular piece its value, even beyond the intrinsic, and her liberally offered insider insight can help anyone become a true collector of the artform.

“My jewelry grail is a set of vintage Couronne cuffs by Suzanne Belperron,” she enthused. “Originally made in 1936, they are forever chic and relevant. It’s a statement jewel but not fussy or formal. I love the way she used tumbled emeralds and sapphires as fringe. She pioneered new proportions, shapes, and textures in jewelry, and expressed a sense of modernity. Today, some of the best and brightest jewelers still reference Belperron as an inspiration for their work. She empowered women with her designs.”

  • Image courtesy of Jill Newman

  • Jill Newman, image courtesy of Jill Newman

Image courtesy of ĀZLEE

 Baylee Ann Zwart, ĀZLEE:

First inspired to design jewelry while living near Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, the designer behind ĀZLEE, Baylee Ann Zwart, maintains a deep commitment to protecting the environment. Using only 18k recycled gold in her designs, which are all hand-crafted in Los Angeles, the company has made donations to several water-focused charities since launching her collection in 2015. In addition to monetary support, Baylee and her team are not afraid to get their hands dirty in doing the right thing, and we’re thrilled she’s elevating the visibility of her chosen charity with her submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar.  

Surfrider is an organization that ĀZLEE has been working with for many years,” Baylee explains. “Plastic reduction, ocean protection and clean water are just a few of their mission values. I started volunteering with Surfrider in 2015. Surfrider advocates for cleaner beaches and water to protect our marine wildlife. ‘Rise Above Plastics’ is Surfrider’s education and outreach initiative designed to eliminate the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and advocating for solutions that reduce single-use plastics. We partnered with Surfrider in August 2023 to do an AZLEE sponsored beach clean-up and picked up a total of 81lbs of trash! We hope to continue supporting Surfrider in every way possible and plan on more beach clean ups to come!” 

  • Image courtesy of ĀZLEE

  • Baylee Ann Zwart, Image courtesy of ĀZLEE

Image courtesy of Onirikka

Gloria Batlle, Onirikka:

Throughout her body of work, Onirikka designer, Gloria Batlle, strives to convey a range of emotions and the unique worldview she’s developed through her life experiences. The name Onirikka comes from Oneiric, which means From Dreams, and is illustrative of the breadth of sentiments she attaches to jewelry. In interviewing Gloria for a Brand Spotlight we wrote in September of 2022, Gloria shared that she was always drawn to jewelry as an artform, in large part because she associated it with the powerful women in her life. Her Aspirational Advent Calendar submission is a gift of jewelry from one of those women.

“My favorite piece of vintage jewelry is a pearl necklace with gold enhancer my grandmother gave to me when I graduated high school,” she explains. “The gift of that charm meant everything to me. It was my grandmother’s hug, approval, motivation and respect all wrapped up in one single act through the gift of a special piece of jewelry that belonged to her mother once. That connection I always felt throughout my childhood until now, the treasure hunting involved in finding the right piece of jewelry; be it custom or fine, is so deep-rooted in me. I know how special that day was to my grandmother, and I know how special it was to me as well, and I look forward to the opportunity when it is my time to gift the piece myself.”


  • Image courtesy of Onirikka

  • Gloria Batlle, Image courtesy of Onirikka

Cem, Can and Murat Terzihan, image courtesy of Terzihan

Cem and Can Terzihan, Terzihan Jewelry:

Founded in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul in 1974 by Murat Terzihan, Terzihan jewelry fuses age-old techniques with a contemporary, unorthodox style. Noting that diversity and adaptation of different cultures in their work is part of the DNA of this family-run business, Cem and Can Terzihan, who serve as Creative and Managing Directors respectively, strive to uphold the mores of their home town of Mardin, one of the oldest cities in the upper Mesopotamia, where Christians, Arabs, Turks, Kurdish Turks and many other small ethnic groups lived in harmony for three centuries. The experience of Mardin is such a powerful influence in their jewelry that they’ve raised it as their Aspirational Advent Calendar submission.

“Murat Terzihan, founder of Terzihan Jewelry, mentions his early years in his hometown Mardin as the most influential experiences in his life,” Cem and Can explain. “He was born in the ancient city of Mardin, also called The Shining city of Mesopotamia, which is safe to say that the city is a geographic center where different cultural and religious beliefs coexist in peace. Besides the historical importance of the city, the home itself that Murat Terzihan was born and raised in was a 4th century built landmark church which is still being actively used by Mardinians after 1600 years. As the 2nd generation of Terzihan Jewelry, we hold strong ties to our roots which are strongly affecting Terzihan’s designs.”  

  • Image courtesy of Terzihan

  • Image courtesy of Terzihan

Jennifer Shanker, MUSE X MUSE:

While the founder and owner of MUSE X MUSE Showroom, Jennifer Shanker, has been credited with putting multiple fine jewelry designers on the map throughout the years, she is also a phenom in her own right. With foresight and wisdom, her world-renowned fine jewelry agency has evolved to include a charming, multi-brand charitable initiative, Have A Heart, that brings visibility to multiple charities and provides a breadth of talent the opportunity to give back to meaningful causes. MUSE is also an intimate retail shop in New York City’s West Village, which has become a destination shopping venue for well-heeled tastemakers from across the globe, as well as an event space that hosts high-profile soirees attended by editors, social media influencers and MUSE’s extremely discerning and chic clientele. Jennifer’s well-regarded eye for impeccable design extends to her taste in art, which is reflected in her submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar.

“I am lucky enough to call trailblazing, London-based artist, Ori Gersht, my friend,” Jennifer told us. “He is a special and inspiring human, and I am obsessed with his art. As you can see in this piece, Fields and Visions, which is inspired by naturalist artists like Merian and Heade, he blends historical intrigue with a pop of modernity. What’s not to love? It’s a flower arrangement with an explosive secret, literally, courtesy of liquid nitrogen and a dash of dynamite. This isn’t your garden-variety art; it’s a high-resolution reimagining through the discerning eye of artificial intelligence, asking us to question the nature of the natural. It’s a conversation starter, a rule bender, and a testament to the daring dance between nature and technology. It’s here to disrupt, delight, and redefine the bloom.”

  • Image Courtesy of Ori Gersht

  • Jennifer Shanker by Emil Cohen, image courtesy of MUSE X MUSE

Silvia Furmanovich, Designer:

The work of artist Silvia Furmanovich is universally adored. Revered as much for who she is as a human as she is for her visionary creative output, Silvia’s pieces are an exploration of global influences, where she celebrates the work of artisans, explores her fascination with craftsmanship and elevates her love of the natural materials with which she works. Based in Brazil, her meticulously detailed collections are informed by her lifelong penchant for travel and employ a singular combination of found artifacts, traditional techniques and unexpected materials in one-of-a-kind, wearable works of art. Her submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar brings to mind a quote that can be seen on the brand’s website, “I hope to communicate through each piece my feelings linked to my aspirations,” and gives insight into her elegant and enigmatic approach to the design process.

“When I was younger, I read a book called Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh which uses shells as a metaphor to contemplate ideas about patience, love, relationships, aging and faith. It was during that time that I was beginning my work in jewelry. I have always been drawn to incorporating natural materials in my work and giving them further value by combining them with diamonds and precious gemstones like coral. I was also looking closely at Native American cultures for inspiration. Many tribes such as the Navajo and Hopi have used shells throughout the centuries to create intricate pieces of jewelry.”

  • Image courtesy of Silvia Furmanovich

  • Silvia Furmanovich, image courtesy of Silvia Furmanovich

Marco Hadjibay, Bayco:

While Bayco is a relatively young brand, its heritage and expertise in working with exquisite gemstones dates back generations, and its spectacular oeuvre would be at home in the most opulent royal courts, the most prestigious salons in Place Vendôme or in the most exclusive shops on Bahnhofstrasse. Rendering the brand’s jewelry even more awe-inspiring, the family behind the brand, affectionately known as “the Bayco boys” among the COUTURE team, is the most gracious and kind you’ll ever hope to meet. With the high-level of sophistication that every member of the family displays, we were very curious to discover what they’d submit for our Aspirational Advent Calendar. It came as a shock to exactly nobody that it is a stunning, bespoke work of art created by an artist whose work the family has long admired and collected. Because of course it is, it’s the Bayco boys…

“My favorite work of art is by an Italian artist named Paolo Collini who is known for his surrealist artwork,” Marco explains. “Our family has been collecting his art for decades and we have become friends. Years ago, when we were designing our new exhibit for Baselworld, we asked him if he would create a large painting for the entrance of our exhibition. He said he would do it, but the subject of the painting would be a surprise. To our surprise he incorporated some of our jewels in the artwork he created titled “Le Sirene di Bayco” which translates to ‘The Sirens of Bayco.’ We all loved it so much that we created a custom space for it in our New York showroom.”

  • Image courtesy of Marco Hadjibay

  • Marco Hadjibay, image courtesy of Marco Hadjibay

Lena and Sinork Agdere, image courtesy of Lord Jewelry.

Lena Agdere, Lord Jewelry: 

Lord Jewelry is the embodiment of the combined vision of celebrated designer Sinork Agdere and his daughter Lena. Sinork is renowned for his impeccable work in enamel, often creating life-like yet ethereal interpretations of birds, flora and fauna. When reading about Lena’s submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar, we had an “ah ha” moment! The realism and detailed design of these pieces is clearly based on a profound and intimate familiarity with the subject matter, one which could only have been picked up firsthand.

Lena Agdere, image courtesy of Lena Agdere

“I’m a biologist turned jeweler, navigating the realms of science and art,” Lena explained. “My standout choice for the Aspirational Advent Calendar is Point Blue Conservation Science, a non-profit close to my heart. With a mission focused on advancing the conservation of birds, other wildlife, and ecosystems through science, partnerships, and outreach, Point Blue is a trailblazer in developing climate-smart conservation science approaches.

Image courtesy of Lena Agdere

“As a former intern at Point Blue’s Palomarin Field Station, I was mentored in this unique educational opportunity, catapulting me into careers in environmental biology. I got an opportunity to witness firsthand the organization’s unwavering dedication to understanding and preserving the natural world. I will always carry the spirit of the wonders of our precious wildlife and ecosystems. As a jeweler, my inspiration is fueled by the invaluable experiences I’ve gained in the field over the years as a biologist, shaping my work with a deep connection to the beauty and significance of the environments I once studied as a biologist.”

Image courtesy of Lena Agdere

Zoe Chicco, Designer:

Stacked and layered or worn with singular intention, designer Zoe Chicco’s jewelry is infinitely wearable. Highly covetable, her prolific collections have cross-generational, cross-gender and intercontinental appeal. While designing pieces in a wide range of aesthetics, at the core of everything she designs is an understanding and a celebration of the nuanced lives of contemporary women; Zoe knows the jewelry women want to wear and how it needs to work into their lives, and she delivers. Every. Single. Time. For those lucky enough to meet Zoe, it’s quickly apparent that her jewelry is an extension of her own vibrant, funny, clever personality and her effortlessly chic style. True to character, Zoe’s submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar is giving us a life lesson in what’s cool, this time, for our walls.

I have been a huge fan of Lauren William’s art for quite some time. I am lucky enough to have one of her Canvas With Movement pieces that I bought years ago and it is still one of my favorites. When I saw her new collaboration with Thomas Hayes Studio, which incorporates brass and wood into her beautiful fiber pieces, I was completely blown away. It was love at first sight and the most perfect jewelry for my walls that I could imagine. To say one of these pieces is on the top of my wish list in an understatement. We are building a new house and I have already picked out the perfect spot for it in our entry. I am trying to manifest this beauty into my life and on to my wall big time!

  • Image courtesy of Lauren Williams

  • Zoe Chicco, image courtesy of Zoe Chicco

Erin O'Donnell

Erin O’Donnell, The COUTURE Show:

While Erin O’Donnell, COUTURE’s VP of Marketing, is undoubtedly a brilliant marketer, what really makes her so incredible at her job is her genuine love and appreciation for jewelry as an artform. She is also a veritable superfan of contemporary fine jewelry designers and has a keen awareness of their unique points of view, their creative processes and the singular worldviews that make their work so distinctive. Erin recognizes that women in particular often face challenges in launching, developing and maintaining the infrastructure that fuels the success of their businesses. Her submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar recognizes these challenges and celebrates those who have been able to successfully navigate the business of fine jewelry design.

“I am honored to submit 100 Women of Jewelry by Linda Kozloff-Turner,” Erin tells us. “This two volume tome features stunning imagery and the intimate musings of 100 remarkable women jewelry designers, many of whom I’m proud to say are members of the COUTURE community. In fact, a good portion of the interviews were conducted during COUTURE, beginning with our 2018 event and culminating during our 2021 event. It’s such a delight to see so many talented women highlighted in such a meaningful way and, I must admit, I never tire of seeing images of their work. The black and white portraits Linda and her team captured of each of the designers are also breathtaking and capture the essence and beauty of each of these noteworthy talents.”

Image courtesy of Linda Kozloff-Turner

Tanya Dukes, Writer & Editor:

Writer and Editor Tanya Dukes is one of the most low-key, laid back people you’ll ever hope to meet. But don’t let her unassuming persona fool you. She’s like the “aside” parts in a Shakespeare play—whip smart and infinitely clever, she just doesn’t make a big show of it. She doesn’t have to. Her unique point-of-view, her comedic wit and her elegant writing speak for themselves. Whether she’s identifying trends or finding correlations between jet setting and creative endeavors for the New York Times, weighing in on COUTURE’s Diversity Action Council (DAC) initiatives or volunteering her time to nurture emerging designers, Tanya is someone to whom people take notice and listen. We’d be fools not to! This rule of thumb easily applies to her submission to our Aspirational Advent Calendar. When Tanya takes note of an artist and a gallery, so should we.

“After being confined to various not-so-big New York City apartments for ages, our family bought a house in Upstate New York this year,” Tanya’s story begins. “It’s been amazing to stretch out a bit and exciting yet daunting to fill the empty rooms and walls. When we walked into D’arcy Simpson Art Works in Hudson, our four-year-old daughter instantly pointed at this canvas by Mary Breneman and said, “That’s my painting!” Who am I to argue with her taste? My husband and I had already decided we wanted to build a collection of works from artists working in the area, and we were immediately attracted to Ms. Breneman’s palette and dramatic landscapes. It’s the first artwork we’ve hung in our new home.”

  • Image courtesy of Tanya Dukes

  • Tanya Dukes, image courtesy of Tanya Dukes

The COUTUE Team:

We are indebted to each and every member of this community. Your creativity, your talent, your passion and your commitment to COUTURE are infinite sources of inspiration to this team. The exceptional designers and brands, the innovative retailers and the inimitable media who make up this community are best in class; you fuel our dedication to working diligently on your behalf each and every day. Thank you. For those who have been with us from the beginning, we couldn’t have made it this far without you! For those who are new to COUTURE, we know you play a critical role in shaping the future of this community.

It is with the deepest gratitude that we share our final submission to this year’s Aspirational Advent Calendar—We wish you a joyous holiday season and health, happiness and abundance in 2024 and beyond! Happy holidays!

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