Ruby Kobo diamond slice clay ball bracelet
"In December I went over to India, which was my first time taking off since we started the collection," Alpert told us when we stopped by Ruby Kobo's studio to see their latest wares. "I did a lot of traveling before we launched and you really saw that in the first collection; the influence of Nepal and the Himalayas. And then this thing kind of became a business [laughs] so you realize you have to come to work every day and can't really leave."
So when some downtime materialized around the holidays, the peripatetic designer leapt at the chance to organize a trip to the Subcontinent (armed with suggestions from fellow CFDA Incubator resident, Waris Ahluwalia) to work with local craftsman and source new materials. "We've been using tulsi wood since last season and I was having it carved in Jaipur, but I've never met these guys so I decided to go there to meet them and work and mess around."
Submarine rose gold and diamond ring
The result of said messing around is a natural evolution of Ruby Kobo's boho luxe bijoux. To wit: Alpert refashioned his signature diamond ball bracelet using traditional Indian clay instead of sterling silver, which is then topped with sliced white diamonds (which appear black because of the dark clay base), encased in an 24k gold web and strung with lava stone beads ($450). The idea for the delicate diamond-studded 14k rose gold "Indian Submarine" ring ($1200) and earrings ($1040)—the duo's first foray in either category—came after watching a Discovery Channel show on the plane en route to India.
The Ruby Kobo Nessa collection
And then there's the Nessa collection ($250-$480), which features a delicate rose gold-plated sterling silver bangle, ring and pyramid studs, topped by black rubber or oxidized silver that's wrapped in 18k yellow and twisted rose gold trim. Nessa was inspired not by the designer's India jaunt but by a piece of vintage rubber jewelry found closer to home. "I wanted to try and design a piece that used rubber, but in an elegant way," Alpert said. "And I always thought it would be cool to make a pinky ring."
Which goes to show that inspiration can just as easily be found in Manhattan as Mumbai.