NEW YORK. The Store at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in Manhattan knows a good thing when it sees it. That’s why it brought back a jewelry sale event featuring contemporary designers that struck a resounding cord with shoppers last fall, and again in spring 2017. Franci Sagar, vice president of brand and retail development, already had a strong fan base for eclectic store gifts like sculptural ceramics, and decided that fine jewelry, too, should get a present-day boost. So after success with her first two RE:FINE (initially dubbed Redefining Fine Jewelry) sales events in The Store, she enlisted the help of Beth Bernstein, a seasoned jewelry figure—and most important, my friend—and editor of BeJeweledMag.com to co-curate the designers for the holiday 2017 selection.
Like me, Beth is a jewelry editor with a passion for modern design and a desire to help emerging artists succeed. Unlike me, Beth has inked several books on jewelry (she keeps asking me when I’ll write mine!) and is a familiar face in the MAD museum since she lives near Columbus Circle, where MAD is located. Living at the mouth of the Upper West Side, Beth knows something about the neighborhood that may come as a shock to those outside of the city: there’s a dearth of jewelry stores there with forward-thinking inventory mixes. So, when Franci asked her to team up to help curate an event full of some of the industry’s brightest modern masters, it took but a moment for Beth to say, ‘”Yes!”
“Due to MAD’s commitment to championing designers who challenge traditional notions of jewelry, it’s the perfect outlet for designers because there are mainly only conventional jewelry stores on the Upper West Side,” Beth explains.
And since The Shops at Columbus Circle—across the street from MAD—and the Museum itself are such tourist destinations, it makes sense to have a store with cool, uncommon jewels.
“MAD attracts people who are really into art and design, so they love the jewelry options brought in for this event, and so do the neighborhood residents,” she adds. “The concept of the event is to blur the lines between what was once considered precious and what is precious today in fine jewelry. When guys buy jewelry for their wives and girlfriends, they’ll buy something like diamond studs because they’re a safe choice, but the pieces in this sale are expressive, often colorful and meaningful—pieces that women would buy for themselves.”
Some 32 international artists and designers (think Alberian & Aulde, Moritz Glik, and Loriann Jewelry, among many others)—including eight jewelers with strong alternative wedding jewelry options—will have collections in The Store through the end of January 2018. Some works may stay on after that time, depending on patron interest, but a robust presentation is on hand now through the holidays and New Year.
RE:FINE officially kicked off last night in an invitation-only VIP affair with MAD members, and a press preview happens today (I’ll be there!), where I’ll be able to mingle with most of the artists. For sure, these collections are not ones you’ll see in mainstream jewelry stores, and that’s a relief given that much of what is sold today looks the same. Stay tuned for photos of available pieces on my Instagram account, and look for another story on the event that will appear tomorrow.
This content is copyright protected and may not be reproduced.