A person of our acquaintance—no names please!—has been loudly hinting to her husband for at least the last year that what she really, really wants this holiday season is an iconic three-stone ring from the New York jeweler Brent Neale. Our friend is not alone in her desire. Neale’s fans are like that: fiercely covetous, wildly appreciative, and when it comes to gifts, eternally hopeful.
“I find that our clients are looking for special pieces that they can’t get everywhere, something that puts a smile on their face. We need all the smiles we can get,” Neale says. The designer, whose creations have quickly elevated her to cult status, is a woman of distinct moods. There are those stunning three-stone rings, of course, but there are also many designs that hark back to the sunny, pop-art aesthetic of the 1960s—gem-studded magic mushrooms, enamel doors-of-perception portal pendants, and even a cannabis tiara that employs gold, diamonds, and malachite. (Kooky winter wedding head-piece, anyone?)
There is a cheerful sophistication to Neale’s work, maybe because a love of New York permeates her designs. “All our pieces are made here. Could we make our pieces overseas and make a larger margin? Yes, we could. But the amount of people that work on them and the businesses we support by keeping our production here I find is so gratifying. So when you are buying a piece from us you are in turn supporting the New York City jewelry industry.”
Wherever you live, Neale thinks her Hamsa earrings and mushroom pendants make perfect presents—and may we also suggest tiny bejeweled unicorn studs! Hummingbirds in flight! Gemstone heart signet rings! Turquoise star pendants with pink sapphire centers! Or maybe something from her latest collection—a panoply of Frank Stella-influenced rainbows, both sober and optimistic. “It’s not a candy-colored rainbow,” Neale explains, “because I think we still have a lot to work through. But it’s still a rainbow nonetheless. Good things are coming—I truly believe that.”
Yes, good things are coming—not just, if you are in luck, a Brent Neale gift this December, but a wonderful new era inaugurating in 2021.