Sylvie Levine has been surrounded by diamonds her entire life—talk about living all of our dreams! Born in Antwerp, Belgium, the center of the world’s diamond trade, she learned everything she possibly could about the diamond business from her family. She moved to the United States to start a new life with her husband, which grew into their professional careers centered on, you guessed it, more diamonds!
Currently Sylvie designs jewelry for 14 original collections, which make up the Sylvie Collection. Her mission is to help every bride find her perfect ring and to be fully committed to offering each of her customers the best service possible.
Sylvie is a 2013 winner for Best in Show of the Platinum Guild International USA (PGI) JCK Jewelers’ Choice, and has been recently nominated by the Women’s Jewelry Association for the Award for Excellence in design and manufacturing. This week she took the time to share her story with us as well as a look at the highs and lows of her professional life and, of course, her personal style!
Describe your day in three numbers.
Zero minutes of downtime, five cups of coffee, and one hot bath.
How did you get started in the industry?
I was born and raised in the diamond industry. As fate (and luck) would have it, I married a man who also happened to be in the business. My husband, Ian, is originally from South Africa, and his native land inspired him to create a life in this industry, and Spectrum Diamonds was born. I moved to the U.S. to build a life with Ian, and a professional partnership evolved naturally. As the business grew, jewelry design was a natural extension.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Inspiration is all around me, all the time, in the most unexpected places.
I come from a background of beautiful diamonds and fine jewelry, having been brought up in the diamond capital of the world, Antwerp. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited nearly every continent in my life, and I have gained (and continue to gain) much inspiration from my travels: architecture from different times, buildings, museums, street markets, fashion, fabrics, nature, everything around me. My design ideas in bridal are, for the most part, classic and timeless, with a mix of trend, yet I always ask myself, “Would one be wearing this in 20 years?”
I like clean and modern lines as well. Details need to be subtle rather than “in your face”—I lean toward the “less is more” idea.
Best career advice you’ve ever received?
“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think JCK?
Describe your personal jewelry style in five words or less.
Classic, timeless, feminine, delicate, and confident.
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
My quiet time alone every night. It’s an absolute must for me. I enjoy my own company very much.
Last book you read or TV show you binge-watched?
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, a book by Jan-Philipp Sendker. I just started watching The Crown—I have always been fascinated by the British royal family!
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
French is my native language, so sometimes I must ask the meaning of a word and I make sure to tell the person I ask that English is not my first language. Otherwise, they probably would wonder why I don’t know the meaning of the word.
What’s the biggest challenge of your career?
Learning every aspect of the continuously changing industry. I feel like every aspect of my business is linked with each other. I can’t be successful just being involved in the design area. There are so many factors that dictate one’s success.
The biggest reward is the personal notes I receive from either a consumer who shares with me that I made their dream ring, or a retail partner who takes the time to write and mail me a note about how they love my product and the incredible service they receive from my team. This always makes my day! I am very driven by outstanding service to my partners, and my team works very hard to do just that. Our company mission is to provide our clients with excellent customer service and offer the best-quality product in our market. It makes me beyond proud to hear feedback from our retail partners that we continue to exceed their expectations.
I’m always proud of the entire Sylvie Collection team, and all the time and detail we invest in each piece we create.
Where do you see your brand in five years?
I see it in 400-plus retail stores!