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Through Rose-colored Glasses

William Kissel

Custom eyewear designer Nader Zadi, known for artistic eyewear made using antique components, is making rose-gold frames from an alloy of 12- and 14-karat gold mixed with copper. The frames will be available in a range of lens shapes from standard round, oval, and almond to more inventive triangular and hexagonal forms.  Because every design is produced from 19th and early-20th-century components that  Zadi searches for in the warehouses and stock rooms of defunct eyewear makers, many of the designs, available in both ophthalmic or sunglass frames, also feature elaborate filigree work that was commonplace in an earlier era. “Apart from the frames being made from rare and one-of-a-kind materials, it’s what I apply to the components that give them an artistic spin,” says Zadi, whose rose-colored designs, priced from $750 to $5,000, often include such distinctive elements as lace-like spring bridges, mother-of-pearl nose pads, and cable or telescopic temples. 

Zadi’s interest in antique eyewear goes back to a trip to New Orleans he took while in college. He wandered into an antique jewelry store and fell in love with a pair of eyeglasses from the 1850s made of solid gold that featured extendable telescopic temples. Although he didn’t need glasses at the time, Zadi found himself captivated by the quality and craftsmanship that went into the design and purchased them. That initial purchase started a lifelong passion for collecting vintage eyewear, which now fills his Manhattan atelier, and ultimately led to the creation of his signature collection produced entirely from antique components. (212.249.5609, www.rareframes.com)

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