The Upper Eastside Michelin starred restaurant, Rouge Tomate, was the scene of a press event September 21 showcasing about 40 luxury products and services, ranging from high-performance automobiles to cosmetics and scents. In the center of it all—along with the complimentary sour tequila with cranberry juice; and apple juice, ginger and vodka cocktails—were six luxury jewelry designers: Alberto Parada, Christine Carson, Christopher Designs, Donna Distefano, Georland, and Jewels of Ocean.
Environmentally responsible products and services was a major focus of the event, and for good reason. There is no consumer segment more prepared to purchase goods and services based on its sustainability practices than luxury connoisseurs. It is these consumers who have the finances, education and experience to be able to make choices based on a brand’s commitment to sustainable practices. Of course, the product or service better be able to have all the qualities that will appeal to these well-heeled, knowledgeable buyers. In the case of the jewelry companies at the event, known as the “Luxury Review featuring Eco-Luxe,” they all presented highly stylized, well-crafted fine jewelry using a variety of materials that would easily attract those with even the most refined tastes.
The intricate styling and technique of the hand-made pieces by Georland may have been the evening’s stunner. The Parisian firm with its headquarters at Place Vendôme and an office in New York, presented jewelry fit for a king—which isn’t a stretch for a company that includes the Sultan of Oman as one of its clients.
The family-owned business uses nature as an inspiration, such as an 18k gold frog paved with yellow diamonds that sits on an emerald centerpiece of an 18k gold ring studded with yellow and white diamonds (top picture). As if that wasn’t enough detail, the ring was topped with a gold starfish. The pave setting on a pair of earrings was so tight that it felt smooth to the touch. A white gold bracelet and pendant (left) dotted with diamonds and with a center gem had an open mesh pattern that made it appear light and delicate, but when held had substantial weight and structure. This combination of delicate and robust would describe much of the jewelry from this company.
The personable New York based jewelry designer wears her eco-credentials on her sleeve. All the precious metals in her hand-crafted jewelry are 100 percent recycled and procured through independently certified refiners. In addition, she uses fair trade gems that are sourced in an ethical and environmentally sensitive manner. She believes in giving back with a percentage of her sales donated to international outreach organizations, such as OneKid OneWorld, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Women for Women International.
Distefano employs traditional goldsmith techniques to create which she says “is a bridge from the past to the present” with her own a personal flair, exemplified by a 22k gold sapphire and ruby pendant she wore during the event. Her display at the Eco-Luxe event contained high-karat gold jewelry with a variety of gemstones, even a cameo pendant, all inspired by traditional European design.
|The petals are made of mother of pearl|
Jewels of Ocean
The New York based company is one of the largest importers of South Seas pearls and one of the largest sources of baroque pearls in the world. Raymond Hakimi, the company’s CEO, says he loves to create jewelry with pearls because of their organic nature. They need no polishing or other refinements. In many cases it’s the pearls themselves that dictate its use in the jewelry design. Even its colored pearls are natural and their supply is so great that they can make full necklaces with pearls of matching colors.
Their pride in their supply was in evidence during the evening with their display of what is believed to be the world’s largest baroque necklace, with pearls measuring from 17 to 30 millimeters. The pearls were harvested from Australian waters.
The Washington, D.C.-based designer has been at the forefront of the Green jewelry movement. He uses 100 percent recycled gold, conflict-free diamonds and Fair Trade gems. He is skilled at using space and geometry in his designs as well as showcasing his South American heritage.
This was particularly evident in his most recent 18k rose or yellow gold necklace designs that were on display Tuesday night. Many of the square and rectangular-shaped pieces had narrow openings that enhanced the geometric nature of the pieces. The jewelry was often centered with floating diamonds or other gemstones. Most recently Parada has been creating 18k gold charms.
This Midwestern born and bred designer was the new kid on the block at the Eco-Luxe event. In addition to her roots, Carson is equally influenced by her world travels where she sources materials for her fine jewelry.
Carson, like Parada, uses geometric shapes for her collections. Her pyramid collection of 18k gold jewelry with gemstones and diamonds is based around this simple, solid architectural aesthetic. She also had on display thin 18k gold square bracelets with round edges in various colors and rings and pendants in circular patterns with a center stone surrounded by diamonds.
What would a luxury event be without diamond jewelry? This New York based company—already known for its Crisscut diamond collection, with its 77 facets for diamonds and gemstones in a variety of shapes—was promoting its Crisscut Brilliant Collection, created for its 121-faceted cut for round diamonds.
The new cut was featured on rings, pendants and other pieces, alongside its Crisscut diamond collection.
The Luxury Review is produced by Rand Luxury. In addition to press, the event attracts affluent clientele, personal shoppers and corporate buyers. The next Luxury Review will be held Oct. 19 at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles.