Kara Ross: Designer

Kara Ross, who opened her own storefront on Madison Avenue in NYC this past fall, is a designer I was so excited to interview at the Couture show in Las Vegas.

Amy and Kara
Amy and Kara

Kara’s love of gemstones began early in life, when her parents let her buy a tourmaline during a trip to Africa. When she returned home to the States, she designed her own ring, setting the stone in gold with diamonds. What a generous and creative opportunity to give a young woman! Clearly, this sparked a life-long love of stones and design, and I am blown away by her collection.

Most specifically, I was mesmerized by the Pangea ring. First of all, take a look at some images of the ring, and then I’ll tell you all about it.

kara ross pangea ring

kara ross pangea ring top view

kara ross pangea ring side view

Pangea is the land mass on our planet that existed about 300 million years ago, consisting basically of all the Earth’s continents melded together in sort of a puzzle formation. Plate tetonics then spent the next couple hundred million years separating the land into the seven continents that we know today. Here’s a neat visual to show how this happened.

pangea visual

Using this concept, Kara designed this ring as a tribute to the world we live on. Made of 18K gold (in yellow, white or rose), the jagged diamond-encrusted rows, “…reflect the shifting continents beautifully fusing together, and despite the drift all the pieces remain enveloped in one mass, continuing to come together and forming a harmonious whole.” Making each of these rings takes 10-11 weeks, and utilizes the expertise of 7 different craftsmen. Just drilling the hole through the large cabochon “Earth” is incredibly difficult. One little error, and the gem will shatter.

On the sides of the rings, you see a mosaic of hand-cut gemstones with angular pave diamond boarders, “…which represent the cultures and ethnicities of the world all living peacefully together.” The intricacies of these rings, along with their powerful message leaves me breathless — it’s truly a work of art and a labor of love.

This ring is the centerpiece of her Petra collection, which has over 100 pieces. The overriding design element seen across the collection includes jagged zig-zag motifs. Here are a few more pieces from this collection.

kara ross large petra mosaic earring

kara ross petra contour cuff

kara ross petra split pendant

I just adore the juxtaposition of the raw rubellite and the polished amethyst in this last necklace, don’t you?

Kara also has both a fashion jewelry line, Kara by Kara Ross and a sterling silver line. I’ve tried on some of the sterling pieces in various shops, and they’re quite spectacular. Here’s a sterling cuff with black mother-of-pearl and black sapphires.

kara ross wide maze cuff

And this pair of earrings has a modern Art Deco vibe, for sure.

kara ross triple geo arrow drop earrings

Kara has a huge celebrity following, and includes the Obamas among her private clients. She made pieces for them using the wood from a fallen magnolia tree from the White House garden. These coveted pieces were made for the First Lady and are also given as unique gifts to visiting heads of state and other important people. How cool is that?

Made for Michelle Obama
Made for Michelle Obama

I cannot fail to mention Kara’s gem-tastic handbag collection, either, which includes everything from clutches to day bags. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Lizard with hematite and mother-of-pearl inset
Lizard with hematite and mother-of-pearl inset

And because a pop of celadon is hot for spring…

Ostrich with hematite clasp
Ostrich with hematite clasp

I hope that you are as intrigued by this designer as I am. If you want to see some of her things in person, she sells at various retailers across the nation, as well as having her online shopping site. I cannot wait to see what she brings to Couture this spring!!