Madstone Design: crazy, cool couture jewels from NYC

Meet Kerri Halpern, founder of Madstone Design, whose playful jewels attract a fashion-forward crowd.

Madstone Design Bubble Ice blue topaz earrings

Proving that it is never too late for a career switch, former fashion publicist Kerri Halpern followed her heart when setting up Madstone Design in 2010, launching her first jewelry collection straight onto the runway of New York Fashion Week.  

Drawing on her lifelong passion for art, fashion, architecture, science and travel, which Kerri collectively refers to as “the madness”, she creates designer jewelry infused with couture glamour and a playful edge. 

Melting Ice diamond, amethyst and pink sapphire stud earrings
Kite stud earrings from Madstone Design with a cluster of amethysts, pink sapphires and diamond baguettes ($2,800).

Having spent more than a decade working in fashion PR, Kerri had a deep-seated admiration for the way fashion designers push the creative boundaries with unusual combinations of materials. It is an approach that she has emulated in her jewelry designs where vibrant colored gemstones sit alongside sparkling white diamonds and dark metals. 

The daughter of an Earth Science professor and an English teacher, Kerri grew up surrounded by stone specimens and, as a child, travelled extensively with her parents. After studying journalism at the University of Colorado, Kerri worked as a fashion publicist for Escada and continued her travels to countries such as Italy, Germany and France where she sought out art galleries and museums in between the runway shows. 

Bubble Ice diamond and blue topaz earrings
Bubble Ice drop earrings by Madstone Design with blue topaz, paraibas and diamonds on yellow gold wires ($2,950).

Kerri says her interest in jewelry design was piqued by the fact that she was always redesigning and making tweaks to the pieces she was given. “I always wanted to change things, which organically led to designs of my own from start to finish.” 

Kerri’s penchant for champagne was the starting point for the Bubbles collection of cocktail rings, bracelets and earrings set with faceted gemstones that are cut to create an effervescent effect. A burst of white diamonds and Paraiba tourmalines add an extra dose of fizz to a pair of blue topaz earrings, which are one of my favorites from this collection. 

The Melting Ice collection of diamond jewelry was inspired by the way icy, New York winters melt into the colors of spring, and features an array of dripping gemstones that create a sense of playful movement.

Convertible single/double diamond and rhodolite garnet ring
A double-finger ring by Madstone Design featuring rhodolite garnets and diamonds set into rose gold ($3,900).

While the jewels are available in just white diamonds, Kerri also plays with different color combinations including the glacial pairing of diamonds and blue moonstones as well as the warmer grouping of rhodolite, rose gold and white diamonds. 

In 2012, her daughter Kelsey joined the team and that year also saw the launch of a second collection, MAD by Madstone, aimed at a younger clientele with rock-star style and motifs such as skulls, carved cameos and geometric shapes. 

Madstone Design jewelry appeals to a diverse range of women who all have an eye for artful design and an appreciation for exceptional quality. In the coming year, Kerri intends to build on this already strong client base: “My Mad goal for 2016 is to make my designs more and more available for collectors,” she says. 

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