Who she is: Jewelry design was never where Barensfeld thought her career path would lead. "I hated it at first," admits the 31-year-old Rhode Island School of Design grad, who studied graphic design and architecture but "fell into" creating baubles. The launch of Barensfeld's eponymous line in November 2010 is round two for the Cincinnati native: Her first accessories label, Barens and Belle, was introduced in 2007 but was discontinued two years later when she started designing jewelry for Banana Republic. "I love the control I can have over it—it's something you can do as an artist and [still] be an individual," enthuses Barensfeld of having creative freedom over her own line, which she runs out of her Williamsburg loft. "It keeps my soul occupied," she adds. "It keeps my mind occupied."
About the line: A world traveler who has journeyed to Australia and lived in an ashram in the Bahamas, Barensfeld channels a bohemian spirit through her collection of nature-inspired women's bracelets ($80–$120), rings ($164–$210) and necklaces ($100–$1,600). "My hands always need to be busy," she says, referring to her labor-intensive knit pieces ($200–$800)—a mlange of chain and thread woven together to imitate plant-cell formations. An avid surfer, Barensfeld adores the ocean, a passion that is echoed in aquatic designs, including her colorful, delicate wrap bracelets ($75–$120), which are braided or knotted with ribbon, silk, leather, cord, chain or beads to mimic seaweed. Her pastel handwoven necklaces ($360–$750) integrate water pearls, seashells and semiprecious stones for a mermaidlike look. Next up: a collection that employs Barensfeld's love for gold, brass and copper metalwork.
Where to buy: Online at jessicabarensfeld.com. Use code "TONY" at checkout to receive 10 percent off all purchases through February 16.