stôn by Latondra

There’s something so exciting about the birth of a brand new jewelry line! stôn launched just this past June, and it’s making a splash in the world of jewelry. I was fortunate to connect with Latondra (Ton), the designer of this line, and explore some of the pieces in person.

First, take a look at the Pulley II necklace — so unique how it moves along the chain.

Tell me a bit about the Pulley necklace. I just love the kinetic movement!

The pulleys were inspired by my three sisters. They’re busy mothers and career women who are always on the go but are rarely frazzled. I wanted to honor them with a design that moves freely but has discipline at the same time (and I have to admit that it also appeals to my engineering background). The four of us have these pulleys in sterling, and I used gemstones from some of our late mother’s fine jewelry. I guess we get that energy from her!

What is your background — have you always been in jewelry?

Jewelry is a relatively new passion for me; I’ve always played around with textiles, small household fixtures, painting and photography, but nothing captured me like jewelry has. I grew up in a large family of artisans — quilt-makers, furniture makers, home builders — so making things is in my blood!

How did you end up creating this line?

We officially launched stôn in June. Before that I made custom pieces for friends’ special occasions, like his and his wedding bands. That experience gave me the confidence to do more.

One of the pieces I had the pleasure of trying on is the Shield ring made from bronze and rose cut grey diamonds. Latondra said, “The Shield ring evolved from an idea, to a sketch, and is brought to life in a powerful, finished piece. Cast in bronze and set with rose cut, natural colored diamonds. You never know when inspiration will hit you. I was heading into a difficult meeting one day, and the idea of armor came to mind. I jotted this design on a scrap of paper. This ultimately became our Shield ring. I hope it empowers women to charge though difficult times with strength, grace and integrity.”

You have four women on your stôn team — what roles do you each play?

Evelyn is a highly talented jeweler. When I knew the demand would exceed my personal capacity, I wanted to find someone who could not only make beautiful things but help me develop my craft as well. Sarah manages our story telling platforms. She introduced me to Evelyn, and she also encouraged me to pursue this work when I had doubts about it. Melissa and Stacey keep the wheels on the operation. They are terrific planners and operations managers who allow me to focus on what I love — creating! All of us are sales ambassadors for stôn, and we have a shared value for quality and sustainability.

I love the way women work together. We uplift each other, juggle so many obligations, and still manage to have a great time.



Ton in ball + chain cluster necklace and Rick Owens gown; Photographed by Sarah Alexandra Teodorescu

How would you describe the aesthetic of your line?

My designs are inspired by women and nature — both are resilient. I want the patina, textures and heft of the pieces to provoke images of unearthing treasures. Antiquity meets modern.

I think this is perfect description of this line. Here is a diamond bracelet, called the ball+chain III. It’s crafted from oxidized silver and rose cut diamonds, cast in place. It definitely has the feel of something from long ago, yet modern in approach. I could easily see myself wearing this stacked with other bracelets in my jewelry box. (Take a look at yesterday’s Instagram post to see this in action!)

What sort of woman do you envision wearing your jewelry?

I fantasize about a tribe of women out there wearing stôn who are confident, kind and making a difference in their own ways. They don’t need to wear something shiny to know they’re wearing something special.

Do you have a “jewelry uniform” and wear the same pieces every day? Or do you mix it up? Do you ever mix your pieces with other designers?

I mix it up each day. Often, I’ll wear prototypes of new designs so that I can see how they wear over a period of time before fully committing to them. stôn mixes so well with different styles, and I especially enjoy wearing it with my vintage pieces. Layering is such a great way to transform an outfit.

What are your dreams in how the line will evolve and grow?

I’d love to evolve and grow over time, keeping it a bespoke line. Success for me is having the freedom to create when I want, meeting amazing people along the way, while appealing to that growing tribe of women who see the potential this world has. I’m not in a hurry — there’s so much to learn along the way.

Of course, as a stylist, when I see a jewelry collection I immediately start envisioning how I would style it, wondering what clothing lines I could see it effortlessly meshing with. In this case, I pictured an edgy look from Rick Owens.

Or, with a dress such as this maxi from Zero+Maria Cornejo. Perfect backdrop for jewelry, don’t you think?

How would you style the line to suit your own personal style? I want to thank Ton for her time and for letting me explore these pieces in person. I truly appreciate it, and I wish you and your team a very sparkly future!

TAP by Todd Pownell

I became a BIG fan of TAP by Todd Powell after seeing his line at the Union Square location of Gallery of Jewels in San Francisco. My clients were equally adoring, and quite a few of them now proudly have his pieces in their own jewelry box. What really set this line apart for me was how the diamonds are often set upside down. Such a chic way to deconstruct the typical piece of diamond jewelry.

diamond jewelry from tap by todd pownell
Launched in 2008, this husband/wife team created their line in their live/work space in Cleveland, Ohio. Here’s a shot of their space and team from their website. Looks like a creative wonderland!

tap by todd pownell team
When I spoke with them at the Couture show, I asked them who their customer is. Todd responded, “Someone who appreciates something unexpected — a mix of chaos and order. Often it’s a particular diamond that mysteriously draws a person in; the winking and twilight effect in how the diamonds flash.” I totally get that, as I have experienced how certainly pieces seem to magnetically attract me.

You are really the master of setting diamonds “upside down.” How did this become part of your intrinsic style? It’s so cool!

I first started setting smaller single cut diamonds upside down into pieces for a wanted “twinkling” diamond effect in pieces in which I wanted a “night sky” motif or look. As a gemologist, I understood that the pavillion would function as a deep or high-angled rose cut, and the table would then became the “bottom” of the stone in which the light would internally reflect off of in more of a broad flash or winking effect, instead of the usual bling look. The cool factor, as you say, was achieved simply by doing the unexpected, but it was a fully conscious understood decision on my part.

Here’s an out-of-this-world pair of earrings I admired at the Couture show. They feature 8.31 carats of diamonds, ranging from white to grey to subtly colored. It’s a mix of inverted and pin-set stones on a sheet of white gold, backed in yellow gold.

tap by todd pownell diamond earrings
How do you and Debra compliment each other in the jewelry design and making process?

I had a strictly technical goldsmith & stone setting training, and I followed that up with a full graduate gemologist education. Debra is the studio artist and was educated in art history & jewelry studio practices.  She spent 7 years in Germany working and maintaining a studio and participating in the gallery scene. The difference and combination of our backgrounds and exposure was especially complimentary in developing our studio practice today. I do most of the initial designing of our current line and Debra fine-tunes our final decisions and does all of our custom wax modeling in studio. She also handles our studio’s internal pubic relations. Our small TAP team and myself do all the fabricating and I final finish each piece. We also both compliment each other in creating a positive working studio environment, which is very enriching for us.


Todd and Debra
Todd and Debra

I have to share this necklace I was ogling out at the Couture show, made of yellow diamond “slabs” in a mosaic pattern with marquis diamonds in the “cracks.” Can you believe this one-of-a-kind piece?

tap by todd pownell yellow diamond necklace
Do you have any current favorites you’ve been working on?

This wide 18K cuff is brand new and something a little different for us. It is 25mm wide at the top and tapers to 2mm wide. It has a hinge and spring mechanism that opens and closes to wear. The diamonds (3.35cts TW) are bead set into darkened palladium. I like the structure and tension within the design and the bold look of the piece. This is a fresh piece made for the upcoming Couture show.

tap by todd pownell cuff

This line is also a strong force in the world of alternative bridal rings. I tried on this prong set pear-shaped ring, and I could easily envision a bride wearing it. OR…I’d wear it as a right hand ring; you know I’m a big believer in women buying themselves jewelry!

tap by todd pownell diamond ring
There was such a wide array of styles at the show, it was honestly a bit overwhelming. With the mix of metals, textures and designs, I was in diamond heaven!!

tap by todd pownell diamond rings
Although I didn’t see this ring in person, I can’t help but falling in love with it. It’s a golden dish full of sparkling treasures.

tap by todd pownell ring with diamonds
I hope this look into the world of TAP by Todd Pownell has brightened your day. If you’d like to see some of their work in person, click here for a list of retailers.