Monthly Archives: May 2017

The American Jewelery

She was a student in Florence, Italy, when her mother paid her a visit—she’d flown in from their hometown of Roanoke, Virginia—and asked to have an ancient coin set in a necklace. St. Clair, on a mission to find the perfect craftsman for the job, hit the Florentine streets. She tracked down a goldsmith, and that was her first introduction into the jewelry world.

While the New York Times recently reported on the lack of jewelers left in Florence and the historic Ponte Vecchio (above), St. Clair continues to work with some of the same circles of craftspeople and artisans she met over 30 years ago—including the Florentine Jewelers Guild.

“Barneys didn’t even have a jewelry department,” she says. “I came to New York and showed them a few things that I was doing, and that was the beginning of their jewelry department,” she says.

“I’m lucky I have a few of the very senior goldsmiths in Florence still working with me. They’re very passionate about what they do, so they fortunately retire very late in life. We just celebrated my oldest goldsmith’s 80th birthday last year,” she says.

What drew St. Clair to the masters of Florentine jewelry is the way they work. “Their hands are so developed, in terms of the natural ability. They’re like tools,” she explains. With the city rapidly loosing the need and desire for skilled goldsmiths and jewelers, some of the jewelry designer’s partnerships have evolved to include the sons of the original goldsmiths with whom she first worked.

For St. Clair, it wasn’t easy getting the Florentine craftspeople to trust her, and that’s why she’ll never stop working with them. “I was in my 20s, I was a woman, I was American,” she says, ticking off the list of many reasons why it was hard for her to break into their circle. But as fate would have it, she beat all odds. “My mother brought me up to fear nothing, so I made myself a part of their world and was accepted as part of their family.”

Today, the designer heads to Florence frequently. Most recently, she’s been visiting every four to six weeks to work on her Golden Menagerie collection, which is about as close as jewelry gets to Haute Couture. Think: some of the rarest gemstones in the world, meticulously set into detailed, luxurious gold, touched by the hands of some of the world’s most prestigious goldsmiths.

A ST. CLAIR CRIMSON ROSELLA RING

COURTESY

But how exactly does St. Clair obtain these rare gems? Similar to the relationships she built with the Florentine craftspeople, she has close ties with family-owned mines around the world. “While the diamond world is a big sort of industry-type business, colored gemstones are very personal. The people who deal in these various colored gemstones are usually highly specialized and very passionate about their materials.”

Take, for example, the Burmese Star Sapphires she used for a piece in her Golden Menagerie collection, which she got from a small mining family from Burma, run by the family’s matriarch. Some of the gems she uses have been passed down from one generation to another. “It’s like you’re dealing with Indiana Jones. Things like this aren’t coming out of the ground anymore,” she says.

Million Worth of Jewelry

Supermodel Miranda Kerr has returned $8.1 million worth of jewels gifted to her by an ex-boyfriend—who may have given them to her as part of a money-laundering operation, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The case surrounds Malaysian businessman Jho Low, who reportedly dated Kerr for about a year, before she started dating her now-husband, Snapchat cofounder Evan Spiegel. According to a complaint, Low bought her a 11.72-carat diamond pendant, designed by Lorraine Schwartz, for Valentine’s Day. That gift cost $1.29 million. He also allegedly bought her an 8.88-carat diamond pendant that was worth $3.8 million, and then bought her matching earrings, a bracelet, and a ring. A lawsuit claims Low bought the jewelry by misusing money from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund, or 1MDB.

Kerr, who is not a defendant in the lawsuit against Low, has fully cooperated with authorities and gave the jewelry to the U.S. Justice Department, Reuters notes. “The transfer of the jewelry gifts from Ms. Kerr’s safe deposit box in Los Angeles to government agents was completed on last Friday afternoon,” a spokesperson for Kerr said in a statement. “From the start of the inquiry, Miranda Kerr cooperated fully and pledged to turn over the gifts of jewelry to the government. Ms. Kerr will continue to assist with the inquiry in any way she can.”

Other assets included movie posters and artwork given to Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as rights to the movies “Dumber and Dumber To” and “Daddy’s Home” from Red Granite. The Guardian reports that the U.S. Justice Department is still looking for more than $1 billion in assets they claim were bought with money stolen from the Malaysian government.

Some of the items at issue were provided to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation for a charity auction. A spokesperson for DiCaprio said that those items, and an Academy Award won by Marlon Brando which was given to DiCaprio as a set gift by Red Granite to thank him for his work on The Wolf of Wall Street, were voluntarily returned.

Young For Good Jewelry

For friends, parents, and grandparents willing to spend, it’s not the idea of gold and diamonds but the recognizability of the items that gives pause. “Parents want to symbolize a milestone in a child’s life, but if you get them a Rolex watch it’s pretty obnoxious, and if you get them teeny diamond studs, they’re going to lose one,” says writer Holly Peterson.

 Among girls in New York, California, and Texas, there is a keen awareness of the brand-name options. “A lot of girls at my school wear expensive jewelry,” says Millie Felder, a 16-year-old in Manhattan who prefers three unfussy studs in each ear and a digital watch. Maddy McGuire, an 18-year-old in Dallas, is hoping for the Lana cross necklace for graduation, but she says she can wait to wear the diamond hoops she loves on her mom.

The screw-on supernova, the Cartier Love bracelet, is more divisive. Tiffany Masterson is the founder of Drunk Elephant skincare and a Houston-based mother of four. She says her 16-year-old daughter Chloe mixes David Yurman with chokers from Urban Outfitters, but “all she really wants is a Cartier Love bracelet, which I feel is in-appropriate for her age.”

It’s not just the price (they start at $4,050) but the fact that anyone could easily tally up how much a teenager is wearing on her arm, especially since many girls wear two, or even three, together. “Everyone covets it,” says Cayla Volandes, a 15-year-old in New York City (and the niece of T&C’s editor in chief). “But sometimes I notice they will get the ring instead.” (Ed.: Her aunt notes that she does not own one.)

Debbie Ellick Wallace, of the jewelry shop Barbara Ellick outside Philadelphia, says her teen customers “see what their camp friends from New York get for bat mitzvahs” but end up with “trendy, cute jewelry” that starts at $250.

Pieces that are personalized or have obvious humor also stand out. Aerin Lauder loves engraving important dates on Jennifer Creel’s Zodiac necklaces for gifts, and Jay Hartington, of Marissa Collections in Naples, Florida, sells plenty of $300 emoji earrings by Alison Lou. Somehow a pair of those feels fitting and, yes, appropriate. While taste and budget ultimately guide a purchase, Peterson points out one rationalization parents use for the Love bracelet: Once it’s on, it’s not going anywhere.

This summer’s jewelry

Dainty Gold Chains

Layer up dainty gold pendants, chokers, body chains, and more this summer. Mix and match delicate gold jewelry for the perfect look. You can find layering inspiration on runways, red carpets, and even on the streets.

Asymmetrical Earrings

A style that has gained popularity in recent months is mismatched earrings. Asymmetrical earrings add a bold, unexpected element to your look. Experiment with different shapes, designs, metals, and colors.

 Rose Gold

Rose gold originated in the 19th-century in Imperial Russia. After a dip in popularity in recent years, rose gold jewelry has returned to the spotlight. Rose gold is made from a combination of gold, copper, and sometimes silver. The warm hue can be found on everything from rings and bracelets to earrings and necklaces.

Ear Climbers

From bold to minimalist, ear climbers come in an array of sizes, shapes, and designs. Add an edgy, romantic, or chic aspect to your outfit with an on-trend ear climber.

Anklets

To spice up your summer sandals, opt for an anklet. Whether you choose a fabric or metal design, an anklet will add a subtle pop to a bare leg.

Hoop Earrings

“The bigger, the better” is true when it comes to this summer jewelry essential: hoop earrings. For an easy, stylish look, don a pair of hoops.

Toe Rings

Add some glamour to a bare foot or sandal with a toe ring. For centuries, women in India have worn toe rings as a ritualistic adornment. After being brought to the US in the 1970s, toe rings have increased in popularity in recent seasons.

Chokers

One of the biggest jewelry trends this summer is chokers. From collars to thin chains, chokers have risen in popularity in recent years. Just about every celebrity, from Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian to Katy Perry and Rihanna, has been spotted wearing a choker.

Colored Stones

Colored gemstones are the perfect bright summer look. Gems like ruby, sapphire, and emerald are bold, exciting choices this season. If you would like to upgrade your ruby, sapphire, or emerald jewelry for a more modern choice, simply fill out the online form and you will receive your initial valuation shortly.