"My jewelry is bold, colorful, and made of interesting materials," says New Yorker Nicholas Varney. "I like to think of my pieces as little works of art." Varney, who started his company six years ago after graduating from the Gemological Institute of America in Vicenza, Italy, is much influenced by nature, particularly the garden. "As a child I was very nearsighted and couldn't see a flower until my nose was buried in the pistil, allowing me to focus on the texture of a petal rather than the blossom itself." His pieces, too, emphasize the detail of objects. Varney says he's interested in "the promise of beauty," not in replicating nature. He favors a pastel palette and stones such as green beryl, morganite, and aquamarines. Though this gifted designer creates serious one-of-a-kind pieces, his jewelry manages to be playful. Clockwise from top left: Onion Bulb brooch with pearls, diamonds, demantoid garnets, tsavorite, and rainbow moonstones ($260,000); Turnip necklace of opals, pearls, tourmalines, citrines, imperial topaz, mandarin garnets, and rutilated quartz ($13,400); Burma ruby Swan ring with diamonds ($208,000); South Sea pearl Scorpion brooch with yellow diamonds and Burma rubies ($78,000). For information: 212-223-1043.