Designer Wendy Brandes is the 2012 winner of Fashion Group International's Rising Star Award for fine jewelry. Her 18K gold and platinum signature line -- inspired by the true stories of powerful women -- is known for its fierce designs, attention to detail and "covert luxury," including hidden gems and pieces that open up, twist into new shapes and even whistle.

Supermodel Christy Turlington summed up the spirit of the collection when she called Wendy's Empress Wu dragon ring "a bit scary, but really a cool piece of art," after spotting the ring on Vogue Paris's website. In addition to Vogue Paris, Wendy's work has been featured in publications including InStyle, Elle, W Magazine and British Vogue, and on Style.com. Her designs have adorned celebrities such as Rihanna, Britney Spears and Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Skylar Grey, and her work has placed in the JCK's Jeweler's Choice Awards and the American Jewelry Design Council New Talent Competition.

Wendy also finds time to be a sly satirist and blogger on fashion, popular culture and history. She led the luxury-goods industry in the social-media realm when she launched her humorous and frank blog in 2007. That playful side of her personality and her social-media know-how are on display in her WENDYB by Wendy Brandes silver diffusion line, which features designs such as a SRSLY? necklace, emoji earrings, and her much-imitated F@#! ring set.

Both the signature and diffusion collections can be purchased via this website.

Prior to becoming a jewelry designer, Wendy spent more than a decade as a journalist at the Wall Street Journal, CNN and People magazine. Today, besides blogging daily under her own name, she writes for the Huffington Post. She received a B.A. in English from Columbia University, where she is currently chairman of the board of alumni trustees for the undergraduate-student newspaper, the Columbia Daily Spectator. You can follow Wendy on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.