Kara RossFounder & CEO, UNLEASHED
Kara Ross fell in love with the art of jewelry making after a trip to Africa as a teenager where she brought home a native gemstone. Upon returning to her hometown of Philadelphia, her mother took her to Jeweler’s Row where she designed a square cut ring on an 18 karat gold band with diamonds. Kara has said that creating something wholly original at a young age really affected her and has guided her vision as a designer.
Following graduation from Georgetown and a short stint in advertising at Harper’s Bazaar, Kara decided to pursue a career in jewelry. Kara became a certified Gemologist and for many years she used diamonds, pearls, and 18kt gold to create one-of-a-kind custom pieces for private clients.
Her most famous private client to date is President Obama and the First Lady, for whom she created exclusive gifts made from magnolia wood that originated from the White House lawn. While the initial piece was created for visiting heads of state, the collaboration has continued, and Kara continues to design gifts for esteemed visitors and employees of the White House.
Kara launched her eponymous company, Kara Ross New York, in 2003 with the vision to create jewelry that has character and imagination. Alternative materials like jet, lava, and wood as well as precious and semi-precious gemstones in their raw, organic forms inspire Kara. The company debuted with a stunning Fine Jewelry Collection, which received rave reviews from editors and clients alike.
Recognized as pieces of art, Kara’s fine jewelry can now be seen at museums around the country, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York and the San Diego Natural History Museum. A special exhibition recently took place at the GIA museum in Carlsbad, California. Kara’s pieces have also been included in Ruth Peltason’s book “Living Jewels – Masterpieces from Nature”.
Kara Ross is an award-winning designer. In 2014, she won the GEM Award for Design from the Jewelry Information Center. In 2012, Kara was chosen as one of the International Designers of Distinction by The Silver Promotion service and was also honored with the Women’s Jewelry Association Excellence in Design Award. In 2008, she was honored with Fashion Group International’s “Rising Star” Award for Jewelry Design.
In 2013 she opened the first Kara Ross boutique at 655 Madison Avenue in New York; interior designer and architect Tony Ingrao partnered with Kara to create an environment that highlights Ross’s fine jewelry and handbags. The result is an urban feel with warmth: an excellent mix of function and style.
In 2014, Kara redesigned her own engagement ring; during that process she found herself wondering why, with all of the change women’s empowerment has seen in today’s society, do diamonds still have such an antiquated meaning? She made it her mission to create a brand that surrounds and supports a cause which she strongly believe in – women’s empowerment.
When you look at the adjectives that pertain to a diamond — beautiful, strong, multi-faceted, unbreakable and brilliant, you see that they also represent women. We are taking the symbol of a diamond and having it represent women’s strength. Our goal is to have women think of THEMSELVES as diamonds.
In 2015, Kara launched DIAMONDS UNLEASHED whose mission is to inspire confidence + create educational and microfinance opportunities for women and girls globally, because if you provide a girl with an education it not only changes her world, but the world of those around her.
DIAMONDS UNLEASHED is a company with a social purpose – all net profits support these causes that provide education opportunities for girls and microfinance opportunities for women.