At Work With Anna Sheffield

Jewelry designer Anna Sheffield can usually be found toiling in her SoHo showroom — surrounded by Oriental carpets, a cozy rocking chair, display cases full of antique curiosities, and stacks of inspirational books and magazines — though toiling is probably not the right word to describe Anna’s work, which is truly a labor of love.

As founder of the costume jewelry collection Bing Bang, and a higher-priced fine jewelry line that bears her own name — along with collaborations with everyone from Phillip Lim and Marc Jacobs to Cole Haan and Urban Outfitters — Anna knows a thing or two about designing covetable accessories. Like the new capsule jewelry collection and heart-strewn black and rose gold headphones she just did for WeSC, which launched on Fashion’s Night Out.

Earlier this month, the New Mexico-born, New York-based jeweler was at work not in her office but at The Standard hotel, where she was hosting her first-ever New York Fashion Week presentation to debut yet another collection: the Anna Sheffield Bridal & Commitment range, which was shown, fittingly, in the Honeymoon Suite of the hotel as part of Milk Made (the hipper, downtown version of the Lincoln Center tents).

“I love the whole community and this neighborhood,” Anna told me, gesturing to the sweeping views of lower Manhattan and the Hudson River outside the floor-to-ceiling windows. “I wanted to be a part of Milk Fashion Week and this is an intimate environment that sort of sums up what I reference – the view of the city and the part of town we’re in.”

Looking around, it was clear that the collection also summed up its creator’s commitment to L-O-V-E, from the ruby and yellow diamond engagement rings to the sweet little promise rings to the rainbow-hued commitment bands (because not every modern marriage features a traditional bride and groom), all of which were displayed on smooth black stones amid glittering black sand and romantic pen quills or stacked in boxes on a three-tier porcelain wedding cake plate. Anna being Anna, there was even a silver men’s band inscribed with the legend “Not to be F—ked With.” “Because when you’re talking about love, you will end up using the F-word at some point during the relationship,” she explained with a laugh. Makes sense – love ain’t always grand, after all.

On the more traditional tip, there was a pink sapphire set in pink gold that she’d dubbed “The Barbie,” engagement rings with perfectly square princess-cut diamonds (courtesy of her AS Bridal & Commitment collection partner, EDF Ltd.), a slew of pretty stacking rings, and a series of rings with inverted (upside down) stones that looked like pyramid studs rather than classic flat solitaires.

The inspiration for this collection? Amy Gerstler’s sensually romantic poem, “Buddha Sonnet 2.” So is she in love, I wondered aloud?

“I’m always in love, I’m a Leo!” Anna replied with a laugh. “Every five minutes I’m falling in love again and again and again, with everything.” Lucky for us, she translates these passions into drop-dead gorgeous jewelry.

Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.

September 30, 2011