Maybe we can talk a little bit about your diamonds? I think that is important to cover.
I learned the trade from our gemologist who was on our staff. I would sit with him in the darkroom and do everything on graph paper. There was a shift after I started, and now it gets intricate and nuanced, because when I came into the business, everything was done with a microscope. Two years into it, they started with all this technology. You put your diamond in a machine and it measures every single measurement from every angle. It was a weird time, because my factory had to move over to that, and it was a huge transition. But for the first two or three years, while I was doing all of that grading by hand, I was also learning all of it by eye. I learned how diamonds were cut and how important the make is. My grandfather would always repeat this silly line of “the magic of the make.” But it really is true. Looking at a diamond from across the room, you are going to want the beautifully cut diamond, even if it’s very imperfect, over the D flawless with a terrible cut. It is not going to matter that the other one is 10 colour grades higher. I employ that into every diamond that goes into my jewellery. I am extremely specific about it and I only work with a very select number of vendors. I also like to work with various sizes of diamonds in each piece, because I think the refraction and the scintillation of a diamond that’s 3.5 mms versus 1 mm sparkles differently, so when you look at them together, it sparkles even more. Because I am not only using this calibrated one size of diamonds across each piece. It sounds really basic, but it is part of my design philosophy.
That makes perfect sense. What is your experience of the role of jewellery today? I feel like it has changed within just the last decade or so. Is your experience that women buy more for themselves now?
So much so! I feel like the core of my client base are self-purchasers. First of all, women are a much bigger part of the workforce and they are not ashamed of it anymore. Myself included. I am not ashamed to say that I love my children, but that my business is my third baby. I give it as much attention as I give each one of my kids. Probably more right now, because they are not babies anymore. They are thirteen. I think women see it as a personal accomplishment and they know how meaningful it is. Maybe because I am getting older, and I have more access to it, I notice it more, but I feel like the prices of luxury goods have gone up so much that at the end of the day, if it costs 8000 dollars to buy yourself a Chanel bag that’s going to be beat up, you might as well buy yourself a piece of jewellery. So, I think women have found a way to justify it more.
And it is much more of an investment than buying a bag?
Exactly. And now especially, in the world of this pandemic, the sentimentality behind it has also come into play. People will say to me, “I am buying this piece and I know my kids are going to wear it one day.” I have a lot of people who want to buy two of something, who’d rather buy two of something less expensive because they want to give it to both their girls.
One last thing, do you have a favourite piece of jewellery or is that impossible to say?
It’s nearly impossible for me to say. I mean, I’ll say this; I have a necklace that I wear every day. It’s a key and it has my kids’ initials on it. I find that it’s a piece I can wear casually, on a long chain, on a loop necklace, and no matter how I wear it, I love it. I touch it if I’m nervous. It’s like my little talisman. At the same time, my diamond heart is the only piece that never comes off. My grandfather gave all the women in our family diamond heart necklaces, so I love it. I take my jewellery off every night except that’s the one piece that I will leave on. Because it makes me think of him and I just love the beauty of it. I love that it’s a diamond, but it’s cut like a heart, and I love that it has this sort of sweetness to it, but that’s not me at all. I am so not a heart person. But I like that I’ve been able to take this heart shaped diamond concept and make it feel not cutesy.
Do you have anything to add?
The only other thing that I would add is about longevity, and how diamonds last forever. The diamond that I am wearing on my neck, I’ve worn for 25 years. I try to employ that same sentiment in my jewellery. In addition to the longevity of the diamond, I really work on the longevity of the jewellery and the wearability of it. And I test drive everything. All my earrings, I wear them myself. If they feel super heavy, I go back to the drawing board.