Kara Ross is the thinking woman's jewelry designer. Her array of necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings are crafted with a bit of their own narrative while still leaving room for the person wearing them to create their own story.
Empowerment and personalization are cornerstones of Ross' personal philosophy, something that's reflected in how she approaches the design process. She takes the expected, surveys it, flips it around and ends in a fresh, bold place.
Ross started out in the magazine industry, working in advertising, but she knew there was something else out there for her. A friend's nudging coupled with her natural interest in gems led her to become a certified gemologist. She launched her company in 2003.
"I asked myself, what did I want to do, and I'm so glad I did," Ross says. "It's really interesting and so cool."
Her collections, available at Elizabeth Anthony in Uptown Park, include Hydra, Petra and Pangea, which draw inspiration from celestial and terrestrial alike, allowing Ross to mix gemstones and gold in unconventional and thoughtful ways. Each piece is hand cut by master gem cutters. All her design and manufacturing takes place in New York.
"The basis of diamonds is all about love, so why can't you love yourself? I want to create something that is empowering and beautiful for women to buy for themselves."
There's a touch of the extraordinary in each piece. Her Hydra ring marries the polished smooth brilliance of a sky blue topaz cabochon with sparkling rows of pavé diamonds set in 18-karat yellow gold. A chunky snow white raw quartz earring is balanced with dainty diamonds set in 18-karat yellow gold.
Ross' different take on design is also leading her to a new destination. She got her start in diamonds, a gem traditionally reserved for engagement rings and special occasions connected to couples, but Ross feels it's time to shake up the expected diamond track — starting with rings. Ross considers the growing number of women who have disposable incomes and a desire for nice jewelry as part of her motivation to expand her brand.
"The basis of diamonds is all about love, so why can't you love yourself?" Ross explains. "I want to create something that is empowering and beautiful for women to buy for themselves."
The designer is also taking Kara Ross New York beyond jewelry with her collection of handbags that includes clutches, shoulder bags and day bags. The selection is ideal for luncheons and galas. Her new mini bags are just the right size for glasses, mobile phones and other essentials in a luxurious design.
The bold and colorful nature of Ross' jewelry renders her a perfect fit for red carpet stars such as Cameron Diaz, Anne Hathaway and Elizabeth Banks, who have donned Kara Ross jewelry. President Obama commissioned Ross to create gifts made from magnolia wood sourced from the White House lawn. She continues to be among the Obamas' preferred artisans.