In the Lauren K Collection, each gemstone is handpicked, crafted in 18 karat gold and finished with delicate micro pave. Very few stones are chosen for unspoiled beauty—designer Lauren Kessler believes most stand out for their characters and flaws which give the finished piece its own distinctive personality and unique look. Each piece is crafted in New York City and is used to create a feminine yet edgy and fashionable collection.
We caught up with Kessler to learn more about her journey in the jewelry industry, her design process, what she’s looking forward to at Luxury 2020 and much more.
How did your journey in the jewelry industry begin?
I am the fourth generation in my family to work in the jewelry industry. I began working with my grandfather in 1989. After his passing, I launched Lauren K Fine Jewelry in 1998. It was almost by accident. I had made a few pieces and brought them over to the buyer (at that time) for Saks Fifth Avenue, Carolyn Kelly. She encouraged me to build on the collection, which I did, giving birth to my brand and making Saks my first customer. She was instrumental in my launch.
Can you give us an idea of your design process?
My design process is very organic. I am inspired by nature so it’s logical that I first find a stone that speaks to me then design around it. Sometimes the design will be apparent to me right away; Other times, I find myself playing with the stones, mixing them with other colors, and sometimes, just putting them aside for a while until I feel what needs to be created. In all of our designs, the stones are the star of the show.
How about a favorite piece?
One of my favorite pieces I’ve made for myself is a rose cut abstract tourmaline flower pendant. I wear it short or long and it’s just so pretty and perfectly imperfect and looks great with practically anything!
Are you partial to any particular stones or hues?
Typically, I am drawn to stones that are unusual and organic, like boulder opals and watermelon tourmaline, or stones that are beautifully and artfully cut, like mirror cut aquamarines or abstract shaped sapphires. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate a perfectly cut emerald or tourmaline-and we use plenty of those as well! We don’t discriminate! All are welcome!
You have a number of different collections. Do you have a personal favorite?
The collection has changed a lot through the years, but one thing that has always been signature is the flower motif. The “Gemma” flower was introduced a few years ago and continues to be a best-seller. Each one is one of a kind and is as unique as its wearer. Because 90% of the line is one of a kind, we can stand out in a world of mass produced jewelry.
How would you describe your target audience?
My designs tend to lean toward the bohemian but have an elegance that transitions from day to evening wear seamlessly. In that sense, my target audience is a woman who knows how to put herself together. She is stylish and does not shy away from bold statement jewelry. She is confident and loves color and accessories and appreciates unique pieces, has her own sense of style, and enjoys a individualistic approach to her jewelry.
How has Luxury helped your business?
I find that I attract the kind of retail store that is looking for beautifully executed artisan jewelry. The Luxury Show has been a wonderful platform on which to meet such retailers. At Luxury, I encounter high caliber stores looking for a collection that can stand out in a sea of ordinary.
What are you most looking forward to for Luxury 2020?
I am most excited to find what Luxury 2020 will bring to the table this year as they are always thinking up new and exciting ways to invigorate our industry…oh, and Sting. I am very excited about Sting this year in Vegas.