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.

8 thoughts on “TAP by Todd Pownell”

  1. Well, there are quite a few pieces I love!! The best is the dish of bling ring at the end. Fun article, Amy!!

  2. Sigh! I’ve loved his work for years. Thank you for this interview. I think a piece by the TAP team should be my next large purchase! The work just gets better and better it seems. Those earrings . . .

  3. I’m keeping track of him! The last ring is lust-worthy.
    I’ve seen his work at Twist, and glad to know about SF Union Sq. I didn’t know about Debra. Thanks!

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