Opinion

Leo Ingwer Redesigned My Mother-in-Law’s Engagement Ring and This Is Why

Flourtown, Pa. Nov. 20, 2018. When my mother-in-law Gretchen decided that she wanted her engagement ring redesigned, we had a lot of decisions to make!

First, there was the look. Gretchen knew she wanted her traditional-looking prong-set round-brilliant diamond center with a trio of side stones flanking either side remade into a more modern ring. Plus, she had a slender band of tiny single-cut diamonds that she wanted incorporated into the new style. Gretchen had acquired her engagement ring at Christmastime in 1958 but stopped wearing it more than 20 years ago after the center stone fell out. Even after the center diamond was replaced, she was fearful of another loss and tucked it away.

My mother-in-law's old wedding set circa 1948

My mother-in-law’s old wedding set circa 1948

After so many years of not wearing it, though, and after the loss of my father-in-law nine years ago, she started getting sentimental; she wanted to wear it again but with a newer mounting. We talked about what she wanted and who among my jewelry friends would make it. Gretchen wanted all the stones bezel-set into a sleek band with a low profile for daily wear, and she wanted all the tiny stones scattered like a constellation, seemingly rotating around her half-carat colorless center. With such a specific look in mind and old diamonds to work with—not every jewelry designer will work with old stones—who would we connect with to do the job? It didn’t take me long to answer my own question: Danielle Ingwer-Cohen of Leo Ingwer.

Advertise

Jennifer Heebner Connecting Jewelers and Collectors

To advertise, contact Nicole@thejewelrybook.com.

My friend Danielle Ingwer-Cohen of Leo Ingwer working on my mother-in-law's remount.

My friend Danielle Ingwer-Cohen of Leo Ingwer working on my mother-in-law’s remount.

Danielle is a treasured friend with whom I have worked on the board of the New York Metro Chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association. She was our chapter president a few years ago, and now I am in that spot. Her family founded Leo Ingwer in 1939. I knew she would work with Gretchen’s old stones and that she would be open to our ideas for design. I adore, respect, and trust Danielle, so it was logical for me to trust her to restore Gretchen’s ring and the memories it inspires. This jewel packed a lot of meaning!

I brought Gretchen’s rings to Danielle’s office in the Diamond District. I also showed her my father-in-law’s band so she would have an idea of the look we had in mind. Gretchen wanted a wider version of his yellow gold band with her diamonds inset. Danielle took some notes, took the rings, and went to work. I was so excited for Gretchen to finally be able to wear her jewelry again! I also knew that Danielle, her sister Ashley, and cousin Todd, the next generation leading the diamond house into a new arena of bespoke jewelry experiences, would do an outstanding job. All of Leo Ingwer’s jewels are made right in New York City, even when so many other firms outsource jobs all over the world. Leo Ingwer keeps its diamond jewelry experiences all in the company’s local family, which includes upwards of 20 employees—most of whom have been on staff for at least 15 years.

Advertise

Jennifer Heebner Connecting Jewelers and Collectors

To advertise, contact Nicole@thejewelrybook.com.

The finished piece? Well, you can see in the photos that it’s fabulous! Gretchen loves it! It’s exactly what she had in mind and also what she has on her finger almost daily. Family heirlooms can only be entrusted to those who will treasure them as much as the owner, and the Ingwer family makes that happen in every client interaction.

My mother-in-law's redesigned engagement ring from Leo Ingwer

My mother-in-law’s redesigned engagement ring from Leo Ingwer

 

Jennifer Heebner LLC

This content is copyright protected and may not be reproduced.

Opinion

Why New York City Jewelry Week Is Meaningful

New York City. Nov. 13, 2018. The first annual New York City Jewelry Week kicked off yesterday (it runs Nov. 12–19), and everyone in the industry should be pumped! That’s because it’s a stellar effort from founders Bella Neyman and JB Jones, a curator and writer and a design director and fashion editor, respectively, to drive attention to our sparkling industry in the city.

I met the pair during the Jewelers of America New York Summer show. We attended a Women’s Jewelry Association New York Metro Chapter cocktail event together, and I heard firsthand about their enthusiasm for their project. Their contacts, I learned, were broader on the art jewelry side compared to mine, which are firmly entrenched in the fine world. I was impressed by their humble nature, not trying to sell me hard on their project but earnestly attempting to cast a spotlight on our world and to hopefully better bridge art and fine jewelry.

Advertise

Jennifer Heebner Connecting Jewelers and Collectors

To advertise, contact Nicole@thejewelrybook.com.

We talked about sponsorships, their event schedule, media partners, and their growing Instagram presence. Their roster of events is impressive—90 are listed on their website at nycjewelryweek.com. You can shop jewelry with David Yurman, attend a lecture at the Pratt Institute or 92nd Street YMCA, or see an exhibition at the LALAoUNIS Gallery. You can also cocktail it up tomorrow night with your fellow gem besties at another monthly Mix and Mingle event at the Elsie Rooftop at 1412 Broadway on the 25th floor, an affair organized by the WJA New York Metro Chapter. Still want another option? See the winners of the annual International Pearl Design Competition from the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA) at the Clay Pot in Nolita. Full disclosure: I am the CPAA’s part-time executive director and had serendipitously planned months ago for our contest winners to be placed in this New York City destination this week.

South Sea and akoya pearl earrings from Adam Neeley took the President's Award in the International Pearl Design Competition from the Cultured Pearl Association of America. They, along with the other contest winners, are on sale this week at the Clay Pot in Nolita.

South Sea and akoya pearl earrings from Adam Neeley took the President’s Award in the International Pearl Design Competition from the Cultured Pearl Association of America. They, along with the other contest winners, are on sale this week at the Clay Pot in Nolita.

For the benefit of us all, I am hopeful that Jewelry Week takes off, and because of their sincerity, I would love to lend backing to future efforts. Neyman and Jones aren’t seeking the limelight for themselves but are working to cast a spotlight on the rest of us, and this sort of massive new project is daunting without support.

Advertise

Jennifer Heebner Connecting Jewelers and Collectors

To advertise, contact Nicole@thejewelrybook.com.

 

They do have quite a few endorsements, but more always helps. To date, Ronnie Vanderlinden, Deirdre Featherstone, and Fern Mallis, among others, serve on their advisory committee. Sponsors include the Mahnaz Collection, Circa Jewels, Alex Sepkus, and more. Mentorship of emerging talent also plays a role. The possibilities for the future are endless, and Jewelry Week could evolve into the consumer-facing jewelry effort for which many in the industry have been longing. I look forward to helping its founders continue developing a strong identity for their baby in any way I can.

Jennifer Heebner LLC

This content is copyright protected and may not be reproduced.

Opinion

It’s a Thing: High-Profile Designers Talk About Heart-Shape Gemstone Jewelry

NEW YORK. Heart shapes inevitably inspire a wide range of emotions, from groan-and-eye-roll combinations among those opposed to the syrupy sweet symbol to happily surprised exclamations from those who like kitsch. And since hearts have been steadily making appearances in the collections of some of jewelry’s toniest artists (think Irene Neuwirth), I decided to find out why.

Heart-shape opal necklace from Irene Neuwirth Credit: @ireneneuwirth on Instagram

Heart-shape opal necklace from Irene Neuwirth
Credit: @ireneneuwirth on Instagram

Deirdre Featherstone, a longtime platinumsmith with a penchant for motorcycles and big diamonds, didn’t really consider the shape as one to use until her daughter was born. “I always thought hearts were overly sentimental,” she explains. “It’s not a shape I would have used until I met my own child.”

So, with those feelings in mind, when she visited the Coober Pedy opal mine in Australia in 2014 and spied an opal cut into a heart shape, she was instantly smitten. She purchased it, later spotting two other opal shapes at a different mine that combined to form an exclamation mark; these, too, she purchased. She brought them home and let them sit in her safe for months—as designers tend to do with gemmy acquisitions—until inspiration struck. She would make a graffiti-esque homage to her daughter. With a fat black Sharpie, she inked “I” and “CEM” (her daughter’s initials) on paper, then tracing and cutting them from sheet metal to make playful platinum cursive letters with diamond pavé and “milgrain defining and dividing the letters,” she notes. She sandwiched the opal heart (bezel-set into a platinum and diamond frame) between the letters with the opal exclamation mark capping off the wearable sentence. The piece commands so much attention that she snagged a custom order for a similar style from a client at Bergdorf Goodman over the weekend.

A heart-shape opal necklace from Deirdre Featherstone. The sentence is a love note to her daughter.

A heart-shape opal necklace from Deirdre Featherstone. The sentence is a love note to her daughter.

For Kimberly McDonald—the designer who put framed geodes on the map—the heart also has an understated place among her offerings. After all, it has limited appeal, but when found in an unusual material (like the crystal opal in her personal collection), they are fun. “You get a different play of color and a different reflection of light when you have different angles and curves,” she explains about heart-shape opals.

Heart-shape opal necklace in the private collection of Kimberly McDonald

Heart-shape opal necklace in the private collection of Kimberly McDonald

Meanwhile, for Lauren Kessler of Lauren K., hearts have appeal for their classic nature. “There will always be women who adore hearts and men who enjoy presenting heart jewelry to the ones they love,” she says.

One of her favorite styles are opal and diamond heart-shape stud earrings. “They are the perfect size, are easy to throw on, and mix with well with all types of fine and fashion jewelry,” she adds. They are also so popular that they’re often out of stock; luckily, the pair below is available now.

Heart-shape stud earrings in 18k gold with 1.85 cts. t.w. Ethiopian opal and 0.31 ct. diamonds, $3,795; Lauren K. For purchase: Email info@laurenk.com or call 212-719-2067.

Heart-shape stud earrings in 18k gold with 1.85 cts. t.w. Ethiopian opal and 0.31 ct. diamonds, $3,795; Lauren K.
For purchase: Email info@laurenk.com or call 212-719-2067.
Credit: @laurenkfinejewelry on Instagram

 

One-of-a-kind pendant necklace in 18k white gold with black rhodium and a 56.31 ct. heart-shape black opal with blue sapphires, $45,925; Kimberly McDonald For purchase: Call Bergdorf Goodman at 212-753-7300.

One-of-a-kind pendant necklace in 18k white gold with black rhodium and a 56.31 ct. heart-shape black opal with blue sapphires, $45,925; Kimberly McDonald
For purchase: Call Bergdorf Goodman at 212-753-7300.

 

Jennifer Heebner LLC

This content is copyright protected and may not be reproduced.

Opinion

London Jewelers x WJA Emerging Jewelry Designers Reception & Sale

NEW YORK. On Wednesday night, I attended a cocktail party and meet-and-greet with a trio of under-the-radar jewelry designers at the London Jewelers store in the Oculus downtown. The event was organized by the retailer and the New York Metro chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association, a national nonprofit on whose board I sit (I become the chapter president in January 2018). My purpose there was two-fold: to support my WJA sisters (all three of the designers are WJA members) and to cast a spotlight on the store, which is trying different events to help drive traffic and awareness to artisans who can’t afford to advertise in mainstream (and expensive) publications. While last night’s affair was for press, everyone can meet the designers in store this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1-2.

London Jewelers x WJA Emerging Designer sale

Longtime designer Fern Freeman, a master of bold, sexy 18k gold styles with oversize disc elements and loads of tassels, was among the three featured talents. I adore Fern, having known her for years and having featured her work in many of the photo shoots I worked during my tenure as a staff market editor for one of the trade magazines. When you need editorial (read: statement-making) pieces, Fern is your go-to source! Not surprisingly, she had a number of pieces like these in the cases last night, plus a brand-new pair of massive tribalesque doorknockers dangling from her petite ear lobes.

Fern explained to me that she took part in the event because of the well-respected name of London Jewelers in the New York metropolitan area (London also has six locations throughout New York state, five of which are on Long Island). Plus, the timing is great—it’s officially the holiday season! And the Lower Manhattan location is rich in tourists and Wall Street executives alike.

So, what’s in Fern’s cases? Plenty of flexible rings in gold with gemstones (Fern calls them tennis styles), turquoise ear climbers, wave-motif earrings, a bracelet, and a two-finger ring (a big wave choker has already sold!), and some newer tribal-inspired pieces like the aforementioned earrings. However, she is most excited about her fringe-laced earring backs, a new look for her. “I’m selling a lot of those,” she says. “They go with everything and can update basic diamond studs, or you can just wear one because the whole mix-and-match thing is still happening.”

The Wave cuff in 18k yellow gold with diamond accents from Fern Freeman

The Wave cuff in 18k yellow gold with diamond accents from Fern Freeman

The other two artists, Gina Ferranti of Gigi Ferranti and Lindsey Scoggins (who worked behind the scenes at one of big chain-store jewelers for many years), had plenty of covetable numbers as well. Gina proudly showed us a new pair of mismatched earrings with pinkish-purple spinel that she has just finished, and Lindsey—whom I just met last night—impressed me with her Roman numeral-inspired Time collection of stackable wedding bands. For sure, those who visit the store this weekend will have plenty to try on, and, fortunately, the designers will still be on hand to meet.

Choker in 18k rose gold with diamonds from Gigi Ferranti Jewelry

Choker in 18k rose gold with diamonds from Gigi Ferranti Jewelry

London’s senior vice president of business development, Scott Saunders (whom I’ve known since his days working at Pluczenik) explained to me that he and the rest of the London team were thrilled to be able to offer lesser-known designers such a great platform for exposure. “We hope this will become a pilot for other stores around the country to model,” he said.

Stackable anniversary bands in 18k yellow gold with diamond-dusted Roman numerals to mark the year by Lindsey Scoggins

Stackable anniversary bands in 18k yellow gold with diamond-dusted Roman numerals to mark the year by Lindsey Scoggins

Saunders said they will choose three artists a year for this opportunity, and if the collections are well received by shoppers, the lines will be considered for permanent positions throughout their other locations.

In Manhattan this weekend? Do drop by the London Jewelers shop in the Oculus downtown to meet Fern, Gina, and Lindsey, and to try on some of the badass jewels—they are bringing extra just for this Friday and Saturday—they have on hand.

 

Jennifer Heebner LLC

This content is copyright protected and may not be reproduced.