This Local Jewelry Designer Continues to Dazzle

Style & Beauty

This Local Jewelry Designer Continues to Dazzle


Style & Beauty

This Local Jewelry Designer Continues to Dazzle

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Style & Beauty

This Local Jewelry Designer Continues to Dazzle

This Local Jewelry Designer Continues to Dazzle

Style & Beauty

This Local Jewelry Designer Continues to Dazzle

Published By: By Riki Altman-Lee   •   March 14, 2024

This Local Jewelry Designer Continues to Dazzle

Published By:
By Riki Altman-Lee By Riki Altman-Lee
March 14, 2024

Style & Beauty


A Cut Above

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Ruched Open Coil ring in 20K rose gold, aquamarine and blue Peruvian opal. PHOTO BY CLAY GRIER

MULTI-FACETED JEWELRY DESIGNER NAK ARMSTRONG CELEBRATES A QUARTER CENTURY OF DAZZLING ARTISTRY.

With his A-list celebrity following, flagship boutique just off South Congress and foothold in Bergdorf Goodman, Nak Armstrong says he is exactly where he intended to be after designing fine jewelry for 25 years: “I always wanted to be able to make things that were as elevated as I could and so, from that perspective, this is definitely where I would have pictured myself.”


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Tuft earrings in 20K rose gold, emerald blue tourmaline, bicolor tourmaline, dark chrome tourmaline, Ethiopian opal and diamonds. PHOTO BY CLAY GRIER

Though his Austin clientele has long sought his avant-garde designs and everyday pieces with equal fervor, Armstrong’s unusual stone cuts, unexpected color combinations and experimental composition have earned global appeal. “I’ve always been interested in doing a particular discipline where you’re applying the rules of something else,” he explains. “I think that’s always going to make something more fresh, being inspired by something that’s not jewelry.”


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Torero earrings in 20K rose gold, bi-color tourmaline, black spinel and Ethiopian opal. PHOTO BY CLAY GRIER

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Armstrong did not always intend to dabble with gemstones. He studied architecture at the University of Texas and finished his degree from the Plan II honors program before pursuing a New York fashion career. “I really was just following my heart,” he recalls. After landing a job with a pattern maker and working in the industry for four years, Armstrong returned to Austin in 1996 to start a textile company. He and his business partner switched to creating jewelry in November 1998, and by May 1999, Neiman Marcus was carrying their pieces designed to “move like fabric,” and the duo won a coveted award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). “The world was so ready for something different,” Armstrong recalls.


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Double Ruched Ribbon ring in 20K rose gold and diamonds. PHOTO BY CLAY GRIER

In 2009, the partners split, and Nak Armstrong, the brand, launched two years later. Celebrity stylists and journalists went wild for his sparkling designs that resembled ruched, pleated and tufted fabric. Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw is repeatedly seen wearing several pieces from his Nakard Collection over two seasons of And Just Like that. And just last year, the designer debuted his Split Circle Collection at a Bergdorf Goodman pop-up to much fanfare. Featuring predominantly half-moon-shaped gems often divided by tapered baguettes made of opal, black spinel or bi-color tourmaline, these “big ticket items” were exactly what shoppers sought. “High jewelry. Things that are really different. They were looking for art,” he says.


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Talisman earrings in 20K rose gold, rubellite, bi-color tourmaline, green tourmaline and diamonds. PHOTO BY CLAY GRIER

Now Armstrong is back in Austin and says he is eager to debut more inspired, dazzling creations: “Expect a lot of newness coming out in 2024.” As if we could imagine anything less. nakarmstrong.com

Photography by:





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