One to Watch: Collette Ishiyama

Colette Ishiyama

There was never a time when NYC-based jeweler Collette Ishiyama wasn't drawing, sewing, gluing, whittling or painting something. "The way I spend my time hasn't changed much in the last twenty years," explains Collette, who started out as a painter before turning her efforts to jewelry. "It's funny, I've always sort of regarded myself as a frivolous adult for that reason, and recently someone pointed out that maybe I was a serious child. I like that better."

Six years ago, Collette relocated from her hometown of Cranford, N.J., to hone her painting skills at The Pratt Institute. A hands-on assistant gig with a local jewelry designer revealed to her a natural knack for metal-working which, combined with her lifelong "affinity for all things tiny," sealed her fate as a jewelry designer. "I love the idea of adornment and the transformation that occurs when you're getting ready," says Collette. "Putting on a certain necklace can change your whole mood, which can change your whole day."

The influence of a childhood spent among rare and extraordinary antiques—her mother worked as an antiques dealer—finds its way into every Collette Ishiyama collection. "I've always been drawn to vintage things. Even the most mundane objects were much more beautiful," she explains. A lifelong love for Art Deco (and the Chrysler Building in particular) is often reflected in her work: the debut collection, "Emerald City,"  looked to the building's shiny spears but also Egyptian burial jewels and Samurai warriors.

To view the complete collection, visit the designer's website at

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