Yael Design (Est. 2001) Based in downtown San Francisco and widely recognized for its bold, opulent fine jewelry, Yael Design was established by designer Yehouda Saketkhou. The core of YAEL Designs is Yehouda’s belief that jewelry should always strive to be art.
The brand’s collections and custom pieces are inspired by worldwide art – from Turkish carpets to pre-Colombian gold statuettes to Gaudi’s playful architecture in Barcelona. The company believes that three principles attract those who covet their creations: bold color, imaginative form, and undeniable quality.
Yehouda was raised in Iran and France and it was these cultures and their distinct traditions that had great influence on him. Saketkhou began his journey as a young boy in Paris, a culturally rich city that sparked his lifetime love affair with art. Born into a family of jewelry makers, Yehouda began his work in the industry as an apprentice at his uncle’s jewelry shop after his family moved to California.
Yehouda’s younger sister Yael was the inspiration behind the founding of YAEL Designs in 2001. Yael, who came was born with mentally disabling issues encouraged her brother to start his own jewelry design house by cutting out pictures of her favorite jewelry pieces and giving them to Yehouda for inspiration.
Another important inspirational muse for Yehouda was and is his continuing love affair with travel to far corners of the world from the Philippines to Columbia. His designs often reflect the architecture and natural wonders he’s encountered on these travels.
Whether working with a long-time collector or someone who is acquiring their first piece of fine jewelry, Yehouda enjoys creating meaningful pieces for those who love the art of jewelry as much as he does.
“I design my pieces to move through the changing fashions by sculpting wearable works of art that have substance and can be worn as easily today as they can 50 years from now,” he says.
The handpicked gemstones and diamonds of superior cut and color that he uses are given designs that highlight their natural beauty through intricate handwork and imaginative forms. Whether crafting opulent emerald earrings, an ultra-feminine cocktail ring or a striking colored diamond bracelet, each piece makes bold fashion statements that he believes will stand the test of time and become a lasting collectible.
Using the finest quality diamonds and metals, Yael Designs produces some of the industry’s most cutting-edge bridal jewelry. Yael’s handcrafted creations have won numerous awards including the distinguished 2008 and 2009 AGTA Spectrum Awards and 2008 JCK Jewelers Choice Awards for Pearl Jewelry and Colored Stone Jewelry.
Yehouda crafts the award-winning collections and custom pieces and forges them from the finest quality gemstones and precious metals. From rings and earrings set with breathtaking lava fire opals to stackable rings showcasing rows of brilliant diamonds, Yehouda creates visionary designs.
Yael Designs’ collections include CategoryLuna Color Diamond, Lava Fire Opal, Sunrise Morganite, Serendipity Emerald, Lyra Color Gem, Pacifica Tanzanite, Stackable Band, and Labyrinth.
In October 2014, the brand dazzled the jewelry world with shades of orange, green, and blue, dressing up emeralds and fire opals. The pieces included a fire opal necklace, a Princess morganite ring, and an opal Rococo pendant.
From the blazing color of the fire opal to the demure, pinkish-orange pastel of morganite, silky yellow and rose gold wraps each stone. The Rococo pendant is an oval-shape opal in an autumnal shade of orange held in a golden frame of filigree and diamonds with antique flair and a hexagonal shape.
Another standout, the only blue piece, is the Dragon ring. With its claw-like prongs taking hold of the center stone, the setting appears as branch-like lines of diamonds.
Emeralds were also prominently used in cabochon rings, slice earrings, and the slice halo ring presented in the new collection. With signature two-tone looks featuring accents such as filigree, milgrain, and diamonds, the rose-cut slices elegantly set in the designs were both modern and classic.
Between 2012 and 2015, the brand won the JCK Jewelers’ Choice Award each year:
2012 – The Lava fire opal and diamond ring won the award in the Colored Stone Jewelry $2,501-$10,000 Category. Inspired by the power of volcanoes, the 18k white gold ring featured a 6.47 ct. fire opal accented with 0.85 ct. total weight (t .w.) colorless diamonds.
2013 – The Divine tanzanite and diamond ring won in the Tanzanite Jewelry Over $10,000 Category. Inspired by the Pacific Ocean, this 18k rose and white gold ring featured a 19.63ct tanzanite stone accented with 1.71 cts., t.w. colorless diamonds.
2014 – The Baroness morganite and diamond ring won in the Colored Stone Jewelry Over $10,000 Category and was the Overall Grand Prize Winner of the Competition. Inspired by the intricate patterns of wrought iron balconies in Paris, this 18 rose gold ring featured a 14.09 ct. morganite accented with 2.36 cts, t.w. colorless diamonds.
2015 – The Knot tanzanite and diamond ring won in the Tanzanite Jewelry Under $10,000 Category. Inspired by social connections, this 18k white gold ring featured a 7.40 ct. tanzanite accented with 0.64 ct. t.w. colorless diamonds.
Recently, Yael Designs introduced the Novelique Collection that features one of a kind, hand-engraved engagement rings inspired by a journey through Turkey. Designed in collaboration with New York artisanal jewelry designer Christine Huber, this collection celebrates the crossroads of modern and ancient, East and West, and two lives bound together. The Novelique Collection features delicately engraved rings with intricate motifs found in architecture, carpets, tile work and mosaics from the Ottoman Empire.
Just when it seemed the brand could not surpass itself, in 2016, the brand pioneered a groundbreaking jewelry technique where two gemstones are set as one. The brand premiered this startling technique in a one-of-a-kind $119,000 Sentience bangle that featured a 7-carat deep blue tanzanite set inside a 26-carat aquamarine. This was the first time a gemstone had ever been set inside another gemstone in a way where the two appear entirely seamless and translucent. The Sentience bangle represented a bold innovation in a centuries old art form.
The bangle was designed by Yehouda and crafted with the help of legendary gem cutter Glenn Lehrer. Together, they used a gem cut that allowed a hole to be carved in the middle of a gemstone, a technique known as the TorusRingTM Cut, which was developed earlier by Lehrer. With Saketkhou’s vision, they took the technique to the next level by combining two gemstones so that the way in which the two stones are held together is invisible.
Although the gemstones are held together by tiny platinum wires, the unique cut creates a mirror effect, making the setting completely invisible. The cut allows the deep blue color of the pear-shaped tanzanite to shine through the cushion cut aquamarine. The bangle was set in 18kt white gold with diamonds and moonstones.
“To paraphrase Neil Armstrong, this bangle is one small step for Yael Designs and a giant leap for the jewelry industry,” said Saketkhou from his headquarters in San Francisco. “Our city prides itself on innovation and I’m extremely excited to bring something novel to the jewelry industry that is steeped in centuries of tradition.”
Yael Designs produces some of the industry’s most cutting-edge designs in bridal and fashion jewelry that can be found at its San Francisco headquarters as well as in stores throughout the country.