Designers to Watch in 2023: Arielle Ratner

EditorsFeb 24, 2023

Designers to Watch in 2023: Arielle Ratner

After years of staying behind the scenes, the promising jewelry designer is stepping into the spotlight.

Tourmaline is Arielle Ratner’s most-used colored gemstone. Here a 7.36-carat green tourmaline adorns the “Mega Perch Ring” ($13,530) from the designer’s engagement ring line, while 79.80 total carats of seafoam green tourmaline tells a tonal story in the “Gatsby Trove Collar” ($65,400).
No matter when National Jeweler’s jewelry “Designers to Watch in 2023” launched their brands, their prior life experiences are often an indirect but important part of their journeys. 

Arielle Ratner realized as much during a recent conversation with a client who told the designer she was drawn to her work because she was a ballet dancer. Growing up, Ratner also danced ballet, but had never made the connection between a dancer’s lines and the flowing curves of the pieces she designs. 
“Everything is fluid and about curvature,” she explained of her collection, which is designed to lay perfectly on the body. 
Ratner’s professional background has been a more direct precursor to her elegant, eponymous line. 
After college, the Pennsylvania native studied jewelry at various trade schools around New York City, brushing up on everything from wax carving to computer-aided design and gemology. 

Arielle Ratner

She worked for an independent designer, then the David Yurman design team, and finally, a factory that produces for the likes of Tiffany & Co. 

“That taught me a lot about manufacturing,” she said of the latter. “It really set me up for creating my manufacturing business.”
Seven years ago, she started a product development company helping large and small brands with all aspects of design and manufacturing. 
“I always had my own collection and sold my own pieces on the side,” said Ratner, but she didn’t advertise it, working on client commissions mostly through word of mouth. 
“I was used to working behind the scenes for other people,” she explained of her reticence in publicizing her work.
That thinking may have been prudent, as it allowed Ratner time to develop as a designer and perfect her craft. In 2020, she was ready to take a leap. 
“Over the pandemic I had my son and my interest just shifted. I really wanted to push my work online. I felt more comfortable in my own designer skin and my line started attracting more people, especially on Instagram.”
Elegant pinky rings with colored gemstones sit alongside articulated diamond collars in Ratner’s collection. The line feels ageless but developed from a mature hand. 
Last September, she launched a line of engagement rings, with original settings like the “Perch” and the “Nebula,” which throw diamond solitaires for a curve with their classic-yet-unique aesthetic. 

The “Perch Ring” in 18-karat white and yellow gold with 3.24 fancy yellow antique diamond and white diamond pavé ($42,350) is from Arielle Ratner’s new engagement ring collection.

If Ratner spent years planting seeds in jewelry design and manufacturing, now she’s reaping the harvest.
I chatted with Ratner about her jewelry beginnings, her passion for bridal, and finally stepping into the spotlight.  
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 
Ashley Davis: How did you originally get into jewelry?
Arielle Ratner: I always had a deep fascination with jewelry from a young age. I loved fashion and design but fashion felt kind of disposable whereas jewelry felt more sustainable in a way and more special. 
I had a little beaded jewelry business from age 12 to 16 and people still bring up the pieces they have that I made from that time. In college I studied economics but I realized I wanted to pursue jewelry making. 
AD: Let’s talk about the engagement rings you launched in September. What inspired the collection?
AR: I felt there was really a gap in the market. 
There are engagement rings that are mostly about the stone and not necessarily about an artful setting. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there might be a very high-end piece from designers we all look up to like JAR and it seemed like there was nothing in between. 
If you wanted something that was well designed and beautifully made with exquisite stones and kind of a different take on engagement, I felt like there was not much to offer. That’s my niche, that’s my favorite thing. 
“I loved fashion and design but fashion felt kind of disposable whereas jewelry felt more sustainable in a way.” – Arielle Ratner
AD: I’m curious about the shift you felt during the pandemic after you became a mom. Can you tell me more about that?
AR: When you have children you don’t want to be in the trenches as much in your day-to-day work. 
At that time, I also was kind of growing up in terms of being a designer. I was sick of being the problem solver for other people because I wanted to do bigger-picture things.
The pandemic obviously made everyone question what they were doing. It allowed me to time to start thinking about myself. 
AD: Focusing on your own brand more than your consulting I’m sure is just as much work in a certain capacity, but is it more satisfying?
AR: Yes, it’s satisfying creatively and gratifying to meet people and feel like I’m adding to their joy with their purchase. I wouldn’t have been ready five or six years ago. I just wasn’t there mentally. 
AD: In what way were you not ready?
AR: My skill set was there but I wasn’t ready to be forwarding facing to the client. I wasn’t ready to market myself. I liked to hide behind other people and just do the work. As a designer, these days with Instagram and everything, you to have to be so public about who you are and I wasn’t ready at the time. 

AD: As a result of waiting, your work looks so mature. You can see your experience in the work. How would you describe your design aesthetic?
AR: There’s a certain classicism. I’m a classic person. I love classic design, like old Art Deco design and style icons like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. But I also want to take a modern approach to jewelry.
I don’t want to just recreate classics, right? I want to take them and modernize them slightly and add an edge. 
I was a very intensive ballet dancer throughout my childhood. The first thing I consider [in jewelry making] is of course the design of the jewelry, but it’s also really important to me the way the pieces fit the woman or man’s body, the way it lays on the collar bone or the way it accentuates your face. 
I’m always looking at the overall picture, asking myself how a piece is going to enhance how someone looks as opposed to just being a piece that they wear. It could be cool but is it going to be beautiful on them? Is it going to fit them? Is it going to accentuate them? 
Drawing from my ballet history I look at lines, at sculpture. I look for things that are very pleasing to the eye. I really try to make my jewelry flattering on the human form. 
“If you wanted … a different take on engagement, I felt like there was not much to offer. That’s my niche, that’s my favorite thing.” – Arielle Ratner
AD: I want to touch on gemstones because you have so many great colored gemstone pieces. What gem are you the most attracted to?
AR: Non-commercial stones. I’m typically not drawn to aquamarine or peridot or anything that would be widely available and used commercially. I like stones that are unique.
Tourmaline has been a staple of mine. I love all the shades of it. Lately I’ve been working a lot in spinel, which has some really muted tones and pale tones but really packs a punch. I love ruby. I don’t do a lot with big rubies but I do a lot in ruby melee. 
AD: When you’re using multiple stones in a piece I’ve noticed you have a penchant for not matching the color exactly, like when you’re using several green tourmalines, for example. Is that a signature for you?
AR: I don’t really like matching. I like tonal variation. I like colors that play off each other. If were doing a melee layout I want to see a whole range of color within the blue range or within the pink range. It adds so much dimension and interest.
AD: As opposed to them being one color.
AR: We spend hours placing each stone to get the perfect layout. 
“I want to take [classics] and modernize then slightly and add an edge.” – Arielle Ratner
AD: Are you interested in getting into retail stores?
AR: I do a lot of one-of-a-kind pieces and my product is not very uniform, but I’m looking into doing trunk shows with stores. 
AD: Do you have any other goals for 2023?
AR: I would be to get real exposure for my engagement ring line. It’s been doing really well. 
It’s so fun for me to meet couples and hear their story. Making their ring is so personal. I work mostly with antique diamonds and I love having the history in the provenance. It’s just been really fulfilling. 
 Related stories will be right here … 

The Latest

Susan M. Jacques
Events & AwardsOct 03, 2023
Gem Awards to Honor Susan Jacques

The GIA president and CEO will receive the 2024 Gem Award for Lifetime Achievement.

De Beers new CFO Richard Lawson
SourcingOct 03, 2023
De Beers CFO Steps Down

Sarah Kuijlaars is leaving the company and will be replaced internally by Head of Planning and Business Development Richard Lawson.

Pandora Game of Thrones Jewelry
CollectionsOct 03, 2023
Pandora’s New Game of Thrones Collection Is Here

Fans of the series can shop for direwolf charms, dragon earrings, and more.

Brought to you by
Top 5 Ways to Promote Safety and Security Awareness Among Your Staff

Awareness is essential to proactive protection. Learn how to promote and maintain safety and security awareness in your business.

SourcingOct 03, 2023
2 Lucara Execs to Step Down in Wake of CEO Change

Chief Financial Officer Zara Boldt and Vice President of Technical Services John Armstrong will leave the company later this year.

Weekly QuizSep 29, 2023
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this short test.
Take the Quiz
Entrance to Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana
SourcingOct 02, 2023
De Beers, Botswana One Step Closer to Finalizing Agreement

The two have signed “heads of terms” for the tentative 10-year sales agreement they reached in June.

Ali Weiss jewelry store and piercing studio in Roslyn, New York
IndependentsOct 02, 2023
There’s a New Piercing Studio on Long Island

Ali Weiss Jewelry has opened its second store in Roslyn, New York.

Dialog Solutions
Brought to you by
A Conversation with Dialog Solutions

Do you always want the right diamonds at the right price in your store? Introducing Dialog, the world’s first diamond subscription service.

Ashley Kets
Events & AwardsOct 02, 2023
WJA Foundation Awards First Helene Fortunoff Scholarship

A New Hampshire store manager is the inaugural recipient of the grant for up-and-coming women in retail.

Lorraine West Nipple Collection jewelry
CollectionsOct 02, 2023
Lorraine West’s New Collection Points to the Power of Women

Available exclusively at Greenwich St. Jewelers, the “Nipple Collection” will benefit Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

Graphic for My Next Question episode on lab-grown diamonds
Recorded WebinarsSep 29, 2023
The Lab-Grown Diamond Market: Where Are We Now?

Watch as Edahn Golan, Sherry Smith and Avi Levy join Michelle Graff to talk pricing and trends in this controversial corner of the market.

692-carat rough diamond from the Karowe Mine
SourcingSep 29, 2023
Lucara Severs Ties With HB Antwerp

The two companies initially partnered during the pandemic and had just signed a 10-year sales agreement in November 2022.

Sonya K. Taylor diamond tennis necklace with tourmaline drop
CollectionsSep 29, 2023
Piece of the Week: Sonya K’s Versatile Necklace

A classic diamond tennis necklace gets a whole lot cooler with a removable pendant.

Pre-Owned Luxury by Rocksbox logo
MajorsSep 28, 2023
Signet-Owned Rocksbox Now Sells Pre-Owned Fine Jewelry

“Pre-Owned Luxury by Rocksbox” offers secondhand jewelry from Kay, Zales, and Jared to members and non-members.

Gold Roman Bracelet from the British Museum
CrimeSep 28, 2023
Have You Seen Jewels Like These? The British Museum Wants to Know

The museum is asking for the public’s help in finding thousands of pieces of ancient gold jewelry and gemstones stolen from a storeroom.

Pam Waclawski The Kingswood Company
MajorsSep 28, 2023
The Kingswood Co. Names New VP, Wins Award

The company was recognized for one of its private-label, consumer-focused jewelry care lines.

Chaumet diamond necklace, circa 1900
AuctionsSep 27, 2023
Antique Jewels Shine at Bonhams London

A rare Chaumet necklace and 20th-century sapphire ring sold for double their estimates.

Stock image of rough diamonds from De Beers
SourcingSep 27, 2023
India Calls for 2-Month Moratorium on Rough Diamond Imports

The plea comes against a backdrop of declining demand and falling prices.

Hands pushing a shopping cart
SurveysSep 27, 2023
Consumer Confidence Falls in September Amid Rising Recession Fears

Shoppers also expressed concern about rising prices, higher interest rates, and political uncertainty.

   Platinum Guild International logo
Events & AwardsSep 27, 2023
PGI to Dole Out $500K in Business Grant Program

Participants from the first round of grants saw up to a 900 percent increase in their platinum sales.

Citizen Tsuki-yomi A-T moon phase watch
WatchesSep 26, 2023
Citizen Launches the Tsuki-Yomi A-T Timepiece

According to the watchmaker, it features the first light-powered atomic timekeeping moon phase movement.

Sally Nelson Exclusively Diamonds
IndependentsSep 26, 2023
Sally Nelson, Founder of Exclusively Diamonds, Dies at 86

The former teacher, described as “a pioneer for women-owned businesses,” opened her own jewelry store in 1980.

Crescendo, a 147.96-carat golden citrine by John Dyer for Somewhere In The Rainbow
Events & AwardsSep 26, 2023
2023 Spectrum Awards Entry Deadline Extended

The contest is now open for submissions until Oct. 10.

Instore show logo
Events & AwardsSep 26, 2023
Instore Announces Dates for 2024 Show

The annual event will return to Rosemont, Illinois next August.

Gold holiday gift boxes
SurveysSep 26, 2023
Mastercard Makes Its 2023 Holiday Prediction

According to SpendingPulse, retail sales will increase in November and December but not necessarily for jewelers.

Stock image of hands in handcuffs
CrimeSep 25, 2023
Oregon Jeweler Accused of Selling Lab-Grown Diamonds as Natural

Police say Douglas Wayne Gamble also swapped natural diamonds for synthetic stones and failed to return customers’ repairs.

Neil Lane lab-grown diamond engagement rings for Kay Jewelers
CollectionsSep 25, 2023
Neil Lane’s Latest Collection Uses Lab-Grown Diamonds

The designer just launched a new bridal range at Kay Jewelers.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy

Additionally, paste this code immediately after the opening  tag: