Wilson Barros, founder of Tabatha Nicolle & Gabriella INC (TNG), is a skilled artisan and entrepreneur who began his journey learning the bench from his grandfather in their native Ecuador.
“My grandfather was the number one jeweler in Ecuador, so I had the opportunity to learn the art of jewelry manufacturing from the best.” Barros recalls, “I remember sitting beside him and watching him power the bench using a foot pedal.”
Over 30 years ago, Barros came to the U.S. and worked in retail, learning store operations and sales while honing his craftsmanship. He was fortunate to become an apprentice to a master jeweler, further developing his skills.
“My drive and determination led to working with two highly-respected manufacturers, where I became the floor manager producing fine jewelry and exclusive pieces for iconic brands and designers,” says Barros.
In 2019, Barros realized his dream and opened TNG in 2019. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the company grew significantly, moving from a small shop on West 47th Street to two full floors on West 46th Street.
Discussing the upcoming trends in jewelry, Barros states that today, the biggest ask from his clients is the demand for high-quality and detailed work. He sees a growing preference for mixing stone shapes, sizes, and colors in asymmetric and unique settings, as well as an increase in bezel settings. Two and three stone designs, high-quality pearl jewelry, and the refurbishing of legacy pieces also gained popularity among clients.
When asked about his proudest design or piece, Barros expressed his love for every piece that comes out of his shop, considering them all a labor of love. However, he singled out two favorites.
“One favorite piece was pearls set into 18KT yellow gold with yellow gold spirals flowing downward. The spirals were also set with diamonds and the effect was just stunning. The movement of the gold was so fluid. These earrings won the BY COUTURE Award. We were thrilled for the opportunity to work on it and for the designer. It was exciting to know that we were part of this achievement.
“Another personal favorite is a collection that I designed. It came to me after watching a movie where I noted DNA strands populating the screen, and it stuck with me. Before I knew it, I was designing a collection that I called DNA, where I could twist the gold and have the strands appear in motion just like DNA strands. I set DNA pieces with micro-pavé diamonds that follow the motion of the gold. It was pretty complex and is a favorite.”
Something that Barros always considers when designing is the security of each piece. He was recently awarded several patents for his innovative closures, hinges, and changeable tiles. “It is not like the U.S. Government hands out patents, so receiving each one means a lot to me,” remarks Barros.
Additionally, TNG is expanding its capabilities by bringing casting in-house, offering customers greater convenience and control over the manufacturing process. The company also boasts state-of-the-art laser engraving equipment, an in-house CAD design team, and the use of high-quality German rhodium.
When asked about the significant benefits of being an AGS member, Barros noted, “The top benefits are the educational and informative resources, supplier and retailer synergy, great AGS Staff, networking, and in-person events like Conclave.”
Learn more about TNG at TNGJewelry.com.