The iconic X Ring from Eva Fehren, designed by the jewelry brand’s co-founder and creative director, Eva Zuckerman, debuted in 2011, and helped to redefine fine jewelry’s current era of diamond-studded cool. The edgy-yet-elegant style catapulted the brand, and inspired zillions of copycats.
Fast forward to late 2021, and the NYC brand celebrated its 10th anniversary with a party in the West Village organized by Zuckerman’s longtime publicity partner, the Krupp Group. The company was also toasting the opening of the company’s first-ever standalone store, which recently opened at Rockefeller Center in the North Channel Gardens.
In 2010, the native New Yorker, who grew up in the West Village, had stepped away from designing jewelry for Philip Crangi for Giles & Brothers, and was doing a painting residency. “As it is so common in life, the second you walk away from something you love is the moment you realize how much you need it,” Zuckerman tells The Zing Report. “It was then I designed the X Ring, challenging myself to create something that I had never seen before. A piece that was linear, sculptural and tough while remaining impossibly delicate.”
The collection’s design aesthetic was born out of that first piece. “Once I perfected the drawings and design of the ring, I knew I had found my language,” she says.
On the occasion of the company’s 10th anniversary, we asked Zuckerman to look back on ten pivotal moments in the life of Eva Fehren (a name that borrows from her mother’s maiden moniker, Fehrenbacher):
Zuckerman received prestigious nods from the industry early on. “Being named one of the winners of the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund remains one of our proudest achievements. And being nominated for a CFDA Award was a huge honor, and one I’ll never forget.”
A Unique Installation
Eva Fehren’s 2014 fashion week presentation saw Zuckerman displaying her jewelry collection on models stationed behind a stretch nylon mesh wall. Relevant jewelry body parts shown through—think earlobe, fingers, wrist, and so on—displaying the pieces while the rest of the models’ figures created ambiguous shapes behind it. “This was an unforgettable milestone,” she recalls. “We created an artistic installation widely recognized for its creativity.”
“One of the biggest challenges as a designer was dealing with copies of our jewelry,” she confesses, adding it was an emotional and creative hurdle to overcome in the early days of the brand. “In time, the challenge pushed me forward as an artist and forced me to continue to grow my brand and innovate rather than get stuck and feel discouraged.”
“Our collaborations have been extremely exciting and essential to us creatively. We’re proud of the pieces created with J. Crew, Tumi, Nicholas Kirkwood, Rio Tinto, and Holly Hunt.”
Getting the right team assembled was also significant for the brand. “This has been an important lesson,” she says. “We are so fortunate to have an all-star cast at Eva Fehren right now, but it has taken us many years to learn how to manage a team and let go of relationships that aren’t working.”
Debuting the Eva Fehren bridal collection in 2016 was an essential part of the brand’s growth: “We treasure the opportunity to be part of such a special moment in people’s lives and to create pieces that hold so much meaning.”
A Special Campaign
In 2015, the brand created the campaign and exhibition, XXI Women, featuring the women in Zuckerman’s life who’ve inspired her most. Those same qualities she admired in others came into focus in her own life as she and her business partner, Ann Gorga, recently became mothers. “As a designer, it led to becoming clearer, more confident, and more decisive in my choices,” Zuckerman says. “Our business has always been our baby, so to have to recalibrate and learn how to nurture ourselves, our company, and our families have strengthened us as women and business owners.”
Becoming a mother as COVID-19 threatened lives and livelihoods strengthened the designer’s personal resilience, she says. Like other small businesses that are hugely reliant on multi-brand retailers, the pandemic put Eva Fehren to the test. “We were forced to re-evaluate everything about the way we do business which was scary!” the designer says. “Ann and I leaned into the heart and soul of who we are and what defines the company. The result? We have been bolder in our choices, and many shifts in our business have led to exciting and unexpected places.”
Zuckerman is particularly proud of her newest high jewelry collection, REFLEXION, released in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the brand. She says, “This was a major milestone. This group of special pieces is a culmination of the design and aesthetic that I have developed over the last ten years, crafted with materials I could have only dreamed of using a decade ago.”
The First Store
The first brick-and-mortar Eva Fehren store in Rockefeller Center opened this fall: “It necessitated a certain clarity in our vision for the brand,” Zuckerman says. “We have been able to feature different facets of Eva Fehren, ranging from tried-and-true classics to special collections, engagement pieces, and home and objects.”
Happy 10th anniversary, Eva Fehren! —Roxanne Robinson
Top photo: Eva Fehren REFLEXION platinum and diamond necklace (all photos courtesy of Eva Fehren)