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Karma El Khalil’s Cosmic, Kinetic, Colored Gemstone Jewels Shine At Bergdorf Goodman

The fine jewelry designs of New York-based Karma El Khalil are elegantly angular and sculpted in proprietary geometric forms that gleam in 18-karat yellow or white gold. Lyrical in line and memorable in their volumes and vibes, they’re also colorfully stoned with richly hued gems. Subtly sprinkled with diamonds and body conscious, El Khalil’s artistically arresting jewels are worn onstage and off by such creative artists as Gwyneth Paltrow, Miley Cyrus and Madonna. The designer’s latest 18-karat gold and colored gemstones collection, “Conversations with the Moon”, is inspired by the penetrating power, luminosity and shape-shifting nature of the moon as it moves across the night sky each month. El Khalil’s jewels are available at New York City’s Bergdorf Goodman jewelry salon this autumn. The designer was interviewed as she toured this writer through her showcase at Bergdorf’s and explained the design elements, materials and techniques animating pieces from “Conversations with the Moon.” As El Khalil related, “I am so pleased that Bergdorf Goodman is presenting my pieces to their customers. This store caters to sophisticated jewelry lovers from all around the world.”

While each of her sculptural pieces embody distinctive and original flourishes, from the point of view of design, El Khalil’s 18-karat yellow gold scarf necklace is like sunlight made solid. It’s a highly original, kinetic and versatile piece that can be variously wrapped, tied or draped around the body. Measuring about 3 feet and three inches long, the scarf necklace is a finely woven, ladder-like design incorporating tiny golden crescent moons where rungs would be. This 18-karat yellow gold textile-like jewel is fringed at both ends with bezel-set, tiny diamonds that swing and sway on their graceful chains. The dramatic piece drapes beautifully around the neck and can be tied and shortened so as to tumble into the décolletage. Alternatively, the necklace makes a superb statement against the skin when worn with a backless dress. What’s more, whether worn over a silk blouse, T-shirt, evening gown or bare flesh, this piece suits all genders, ages and occasions.

Having historically created many 18-karat gold and gemstone-studded body chains and other body-conscious jewels, El Khalil noted that although the design is reminiscent of traditional Indian gold scarf necklaces as well as Art Deco sash necklaces, the concept for this scarf necklace arose out of her desire to “transform the everyday, practical and ordinary scarf and give it a new perspective.” In the process, El Khalil has created a thoroughly contemporary signature piece that is versatile, gender-fluid and utterly timeless. The tactility, fluid draping, graceful slow motion and crescent moon motifs feel light as silk on the body, yet contain the structural integrity and beauty of gold.

Unlike most contemporary jewelry designers who view adornment primarily as an external experience that is primarily performative, El Khalil maintains that, “Adorning the body is a sensual act.” Her jewelry is thus designed to help the wearer enjoy a private sensual experience as well as present a vision of beauty. Whether the necklace is worn underneath clothing as a kind of secret, sensual armor, or worn on top of clothing, El Khalil maintains that the experience transcends that of merely wearing fine jewelry. Rather, wearing the necklace becomes an emotionally and privately powerful experience that changes the mood of the one who wears it and perhaps gives pleasure to others who view it on the body.

A designer who has long maintained a committed drawing practice, El Khalil chose to broaden her color palette in “Conversations with the Moon”. As she put it, “I found myself going into new color directions with this latest collection. It’s exciting to work with dramatic colored gemstones such as lavender moon quartz.” Indeed, this mysteriously lavender and glossy material glows with a dreamy, nighttime quality. A standout piece is El Khalil’s classic pendant necklace of angular lavender moon quartz beads with a large, emerald-shaped lavender moon quartz pendat accented by an arrestingly lucid, emerald-cut VVS2 diamond. (There are also cocktail rings centered with the moon quartz plus 18-karat yellow gold rings that look as if they were dipped in starlight thanks to their tiny but dazzling diamonds.)

While gazing at El Khalil’s gradient colored gemstone earrings in apatite, aquamarine and diamonds is akin to staring at South Pacific lagoons, her multi-stone, blue-green tourmaline earrings are so subtle in their gradient color composition that they shimmer with an almost iridescent mystery, a mystery that was and remains inspired by the moon and its light as it shines into cities and the natural landscape. “This collection grew out of the many New York nights I spent watching the moon as it changed shape and grew brighter during the Covid pandemic lockdown,” El Khalil recalled. “During that dark time, the moon’s brightness and beauty gave me the energy to draw and design new jewelry forms and concepts.” It seems fitting that this New York City-conceived collection is available in a New York luxury store like Bergdorf’s, which has such a great fine jewelry tradition. With the moon as her muse, El Khalil’s latest collection reminds us that the moon is always there to light our way, if only we raise our eyes to the sky.

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