The refined jewelry designs of New York-based Karma El Khalil are elegantly angular and sculpted into patented geometric shapes that sparkle in 18-karat yellow or white gold. They are lyrical in design and memorable in their volumes and vibes, but they are also colorfully stoned with richly hued gemstones. Subtly diamond-studded and body-conscious, El Khalil’s artistically arresting jewels are worn both on and off stage by creative artists such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Miley Cyrus and Madonna. The latest collection of 18k gold and colored gemstones, “Conversations with the Moon”, is inspired by the piercing power, brightness and shape-shifting nature of the moon that moves through the night sky each month. El Khalil’s jewelry will be available this fall at the Bergdorf Goodman jewelry salon in New York City. The designer was interviewed as she toured this writer through her showcase at Bergdorf’s, explaining the design elements, materials, and techniques that animated pieces from “Conversations with the Moon.” As El Khalil related, “I am so happy that Bergdorf Goodman is presenting my pieces to their clients. This shop caters to sophisticated jewelry lovers from all over the world.
While each of her sculptural pieces embodies distinctive and original flourishes, El Khalil’s 18k yellow gold scarf necklace is like solid sunlight from a design point of view. It is a very original, kinetic and versatile piece that can be wrapped, tied or draped around the body in various ways. The scarf necklace is about 3 feet and three inches long and has a finely woven, ladder-like design with small gold crescent moons where there would be rungs. This 18k yellow gold textile-like jewel is fringed at both ends with bezel-set, tiny diamonds that meander and sway on their dainty chains. The dramatic piece falls beautifully around the neck and can be tied and shortened to tumble into the décolletage. Alternatively, the necklace makes a beautiful statement against the skin when worn with a backless dress. What’s more, whether worn over a silk blouse, T-shirt, evening dress or bare skin, this piece is suitable for all genders, ages and occasions.
El Khalil has made many 18-carat gold and gem-encrusted body chains and other body-conscious jewelry in the past. arose from her desire to “transform and give a new perspective to the everyday, practical and ordinary scarf.” In the process, El Khalil has created a thoroughly contemporary signature piece that is versatile, gender fluid and utterly timeless. The tactility, fluid drape, 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 claims that “decorating the body is a sensual act.” Thus, her jewelry is designed to help the wearer enjoy a personal sensual experience and to present a vision of beauty. Whether the necklace is worn under clothing as a kind of secret, sensual armor, or worn on top of clothing, El Khalil claims the experience transcends that of just wearing fine jewelry. On the contrary, wearing the necklace becomes an emotionally and personally powerful experience that changes the mood of the one who wears it and perhaps brings pleasure to others who see it on the body.
El Khalil, a designer who has long had a dedicated drawing practice, chose to broaden her color palette in “Conversations with the Moon”. As she put it, “I found myself taking new color directions with this latest collection. It’s exciting to work with dramatically colored gemstones like lavender moon quartz.” Indeed, this mysterious lavender and lustrous material glows with a dreamy, nocturnal quality.A standout piece is El Khalil’s classic pendant necklace of angular lavender moon quartz beads with a large emerald pendant of lavender moon quartz accented by a strikingly clear emerald cut VVS2 diamond. There are also cocktail rings centered with the moon quartz plus 18k yellow gold rings that look like they’ve been 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 gazing 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 became and continues to be inspired by the moon and the light that shines in cities and the natural landscape. “This collection grew out of the many nights I spent in New York watching the moon as it changed shape and brightened during the Covid pandemic,” recalled El Khalil. “During that dark time, the moon’s brightness and beauty energized me to draw and design new jewelry shapes and concepts.” It seems fitting that this New York City-designed collection is available in a New York luxury store like Bergdorf’s, which has such a great tradition of fine jewelry. 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 turn our eyes to the sky.