Behind the Scenes with Erika Winters
Erika Winters is relatively new to the fine jewelry world but she paves an extraordinary path with her heirloom-quality, artistic designs. Since its official launch in 2014, Erika Winters Fine Jewelry has amassed thousands of ardent admirers, and with good reason—Erika’s jewels appear striking and confident, while possessing undertones of femininity that charm the viewer for a closer inspection… yielding to that charm opens a whole new universe of texture, patterns, and light.
Erika’s jewelry career began, as she puts it, “by serendipity in 2006 when my husband (then boyfriend) proposed to me with a diamond engagement ring. That ring, and everything it symbolizes, inspired a full-on immersion in the artistry, history, science, and meaning of jewelry.” After obtaining her Graduate Gemologist degree by the Gemological Institute of America, she infused elements from her performing arts background into everything she touched: first as a professional jewelry writer and photographer, then as a designer. Her dreamlike, graceful hallmarks are immediately recognizable in both captured images and the actual jewels; because of its ability to remain luminously untarnished for a lifetime, platinum quickly rose to the forefront as a keystone in the Erika Winters Bridal collection.
“Of the white metals, platinum is my favorite. It’s incredibly durable and provides the perfect canvas for diamonds and colored gemstones. With engagement rings, platinum is so timeless. I [especially] adore platinum with my signature brushed finish—the effect gives the radiant metal a wonderful sheen that bounces light.”
The ‘Laurel,’ ‘Margot,’ and ‘Grace’ engagement designs are some of Erika’s most popular choices when it comes to crafting a new ring, or resetting a client’s existing gemstones. “I always start with the stones themselves—I often work with antique diamonds, so they have unusual shapes to explore. I have a deep and abiding love for ancient jewelry from different parts of the world, so I draw inspiration from ancient architecture, textiles, and works of art.” Developing within that classical context, “loose sketches become technical drawings as each concept is finessed to life.” All jewels are proudly made in Seattle with emphases on quality, personalization, and continued local support. “We employ a lot of intricate detail work in those designs, so platinum works beautifully.”
“My customers have a great appreciation for jewelry, including the fine craftsmanship that is essential to my line. And with my wedding collection, the women and men who connect with me for that perfect platinum ring have studied my collection and really know exactly what they want—I would say the Erika Winters Fine Jewelry customer is very progressive, often ahead of trends and feel most connected to minimal, clean lines juxtaposed with intricate details and a nod to the best of vintage charisma.”
Erika’s platinum style of choice? “My ‘Cordelia’ wedding band with French-cut diamonds. The Cordelia band has an old-world aesthetic that pays homage to Art Deco but with a contemporary feel. Platinum was so prominent during the Art Deco period [prized for its brightness, purity, and rarity], so it’s a fitting metal for the Cordelia.”
Having a keen affinity to the past—including a desire to travel back in time “to see and feel ancient and antique jewelry in-person, and to fully immerse myself in the adorning arts of historical design periods”—has been a source of encouragement for Erika; notably her mother, grandmother, and Korean ancestors “who gave [me] my inborn fire and drive!” While this bond may fill some with feelings of wistful nostalgia, it has instilled Erika with a sincere enthusiasm for what the future will bring. 2016 marked the launch of her wholesale division, and serving a select number of bridal retailers as well as private clients who have a passion for platinum have been her proudest accomplishments to date.
Hot off the heels of this year’s COUTURE show, Erika has shown the world what’s next in her Fine Jewelry line: amongst entirely new bridal designs (which means more platinum brilliance to kick your wedding planning into hyperdrive), a yet-to-be-named platinum solitaire engagement ring deservedly took center stage. If buzz is anything to go by, you can be sure that Erika Winters Fine Jewelry will soon have her hometown of Seattle and all of America ready to #beplatinum!
“Platinum is a timeless and very durable metal that will endure for generations.” – Erika Winters of Erika Winters Fine Jewelry