Elena Kriegner


The instinctual desire to adorn ourselves is as ancient as our desire for utility. When a designer is able to fuse beauty with function, we pay attention. And in the past year art and jewelry lovers have been paying particular attention to a jewelry designer with an extraordinary eye for constructing gemstones and precious metals, and an equally extraordinary sense of creativity.

New York-based and Austrian-born, Elena Kriegner has a Chelsea studio where she builds her vision into wearable art. At the age of six, Elena collected discarded knickknacks she found around her Austrian village, refashioned them into jewelry, and sold these—declaring she was going to be a “jewelry maker.” She later studied and taught in Austria, Greece, and South
Africa with master goldsmiths and lapidaries before setting sail for three years—crossing the Atlantic and navigating the
Caribbean and South America. Inspired by her love of sailing, she created a series of “Sail Away” cocktail rings, each fitted with a colored gemstone beautifully cut in the shape of a sail.

Her jewelry has exceptional color, and her signature designs function beyond what meets the eye. In her “Swing Series,” cocktail rings convert into necklaces. And in her “Amorets” collection, gemstone earrings and pendant components mix-and-match to create dozens of interchangeable looks. Her “Fireworks” earrings are a bestseller, where dangling silver and gem-set earrings gracefully frame the face.

Those who learn to live within tight quarters often have a more acute sense for packing with multi-function in mind.
Creating rings that double as necklaces, or earrings that double as pendants that change color, is a brilliant solution. Elena says of her versatile jewelry, “I like to get more out of one piece of jewelry and enjoy the engineering of it. It gives everyone the ability to be creative, and it is economical.”

In a designer society where pieces are often mass-produced, made overseas or not always quality checked, it is refreshing to meet a jewelry artisan who sits down one-on-one with a client, offers very fair pricing, and delivers an exceptional piece of custom jewelry made in the USA. When visiting her studio, she presents a bag of silver rings in varying thicknesses and shapes, which she insists on customers trying on and wearing for at least 1-2 weeks at a time before creating wedding-ring sets, believing that only after that amount of time one knows whether a band shape fits comfortably for long-term wear. Elena will then design a ring in the desired gold or platinum, according to her customers’ needs. Her work is available in stores as well, and she looks forward to expanding in the upcoming year.

The jewelry Elena Kriegner creates is timeless; and any sophisticated, modern woman of today will appreciate the thoughtful designs behind the versatility. Merging worlds of New York-metropolitan meets European meets sailboat-life influences her with countless creative ideas. And every season buyer looks forward to seeing what gorgeous jewelryadornments Elena Kriegner has come up with next. When asked what her creative process is, she says, “New ideas and designs just pop into my mind.”

To learn more, visit her website www.elenakriegner.com

Text by Olga Gonzalez