When a Park Avenue socialite grew disenchanted with her multimillion-dollar collection of jewelry, most of which sat dormant in a vault, she turned to Alexandra Kindler-Mulitz for guidance. As a jewelry consultant, Kindler-Mulitz helps clients build distinctive and personalized jewelry wardrobes that are not only wearable but also represent good investment and heirloom potential.
“We assessed each individual piece,” explains Kindler-Mulitz, who formerly managed the Angela Cummings boutique at Bergdorf Goodman and before that worked at Tiffany & Co. She suggested that her client sell certain pieces that would command top dollar and retain others as heirlooms for her two daughters. Kindler-Mulitz, who has been consulting for two years, also advised her client to dismantle several pieces so that the stones could be used in new designs. She then arranged to have some polished gold items updated with a matte finish, and she helped her client acquire new pieces to complete the collection. “She no longer keeps her jewels in the vault—now she wears them,” says Kindler-Mulitz, whose fees for such services are based on a percentage of what the client spends on acquisitions or redesigned pieces.
Kimberly McDonald is another consultant who counsels patrons on jewelry acquisitions and refining collections, just as an art consultant advises about collecting art. “Over time, people accumulate pieces that don’t work together or don’t necessarily fit their lifestyle anymore,” says McDonald. “A jewelry wardrobe should have flexibility and should suit a person’s individual style.”
When assessing a client’s collection, McDonald determines which pieces can be easily sold and which have sentimental value and should be treated with more sensitivity. She recently brought a client’s family heirloom to New York designer Nicholas Varney to create a contemporary custom design using the stones. On another occasion, a client wanted to find the perfect piece to complement a new off-the-shoulder black gown, and McDonald commissioned designer Lorraine Schwartz to make a bold diamond armband. “My clients want jewelry that is uniquely theirs,” says McDonald. “They don’t want things that are immediately identifiable or recognizable status symbols.”
Aside from important stones and diamonds, McDonald is increasingly recommending that clients acquire unusual stones such as spinel, mandarin garnet, alexandrite, and tsavorite, because they are less common and can represent good value. In her opinion, a comprehensive jewelry collection should include the following: an authentic Art Deco bracelet, a fine ruby piece, an untreated Montana sapphire piece, a vintage Tiffany item (particularly diamond and pearl designs or floral enamel pins), a one-of-a-kind Henry Dunay piece, a Verdura design (preferably from the 1930s), and an old mine-cut diamond. “These are classic items that are versatile, enduring, and simply beautiful,” she says, “and colored diamonds, when purchased wisely, are also an excellent investment.”