Anna Sheffield x Nova = a gem of a perfume

  • Anna Sheffield
  • Julia Zangrilli

Real talk: I wasn’t sure what to expect when I heard about the fragrance collaboration between jewelry designer Anna Sheffield and Nova perfumer Julia Zangrilli. Would the scents have an sharp, metallic edge? Would they have jolting angles to echo the shape of a stone? And how does one assign a smell to diamonds, anyway? (With apologies to the late Elizabeth Taylor, of course.)

To find out, I headed to Sheffield’s atelier on the Lower East Side. It’s a small but lovely spot, a magpie’s heaven of sparkling baubles and pretty little things to covet. I’ve long admired Sheffield’s rings and necklaces because they’re feminine, but with a bit of an edge. For instance, she might pair black diamonds and citrine in a Deco setting, or create earrings shaped like wolves’ claws. A bit more interesting than your usual jewelry, yeah?

There’s a story behind every design, too. Sheffield’s classic-in-the-making Hazeline ring, for example, is based on one of her grandmother’s rings. Using that as inspiration, she updated the design with a rose gold “stone” and a hidden champagne diamond. In shape and style, it feels vintage; in rethinking the usual role of metal and gem, it feels fresh and new.

So, then. How does a ring become a fragrance? Zangrilli explained her thinking to me, and then I felt dumb for not figuring it out on my own. When creating the fragrances, Zangrilli and Sheffield endeavored to translate the visible and tactile qualities of jewelry to scent. Smoky quartz, for instance, is a dark brown crystal that doesn’t reflect much light. It’s a bit mysterious and moody, and so its corresponding scent couldn’t be flowery or sweet.

Consider Hazeline — both the ring and the fragrance. The ring’s rose gold has warmth and sparkle, and so the fragrance does, too. Its nod to rose gold is somewhat literal (Damask rose and currants) but it’s tempered by patchouli and amber, which read as “metal” to me. There’s a bit of sparkle to the ring — that’s where the apple comes in, to my nose, anyway — and the fragrance has it as well.

There are three fragrances, and if you can’t tell, Hazeline is my favorite. (Maybe because I like the ring, too.) To me, this collaboration feels refreshingly creative rather than emphatically commercial… but on that note, the limited-edition collection is already selling out on Nova’s website, and Anna Sheffield’s site may be next. So, you know, if you feel like smelling like diamonds or moonstones, do it while you can.

Nova For Anna Sheffield, available at Anna Sheffield.

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