The Pro: Michal Kadar, who launched the brand in 2016.
The Place: The sleek, newly completed Cadar atelier in the landmark Fuller Building on Madison and 57th in New York City. The expansive fifth-floor space also functions as the brand’s showroom.
The Pieces: Luminous, contemporary gold designs with innovative movement that allows for cool transfigurations—for example, a central gold pendant from the Reflections line can be flipped around to reveal a diamond. “My jewelry is simple, but each piece has something interesting and unique about it,” says Kadar.
The Process: After perusing the brand’s existing collections, the client will share their ideas for a custom piece with Michal, who will sketch out a rough concept and then sometimes mock it up in silver for a test-drive. “For a completely new design for a special client, I would recommend starting by sampling it in silver, so we can see if the fit and the design is comfortable and make sure we have the right proportions for the look we are trying to achieve,” says Kadar.
Designs are sketched out in New York and then handcrafted locally or in Italy. At the end of the process, which can take up to 4 months, Kadar aims to deliver a piece that resonates with the client and is—most importantly—wearable. “Jewelry is very emotional and personal, and the client needs to really love the pieces that I design and feel comfortable in them,” says the designer. “I believe that jewelry should be worn everyday, not kept in a safe.”
The Pro: Mimi So
The Place: Mimi So’s chic, airy, chandelier-lit Midtown atelier in New York, located steps from Rockefeller Center.
The Pieces: Whimsical designs with energy and character—from bumblebee studs and star-shaped drop earrings to delicate bow-shaped and floral-inspired rings that blossom with colorful gems.
The Process: Clients can kick back on velvety couches and talk through their ideas as Mimi sketches with various colored pencils. “I have always loved the personal time of getting to know the customer,” says So, who launched her brand nearly two decades ago. During the meeting, Mimi will often present different types of settings with stones like sapphires, citrines, and diamonds to help narrow down a look. “We have an extensive library of live materials for clients to compare sizes of stones, different shapes, and widths of bands. This way, it is genuinely customized.”
After a design has been chosen, Mimi will begin piecing it together in the New York studio. “All our designs are crafted in New York because I reside there, and my atelier is truly my home—I live in my atelier more than my own home!” says So. Depending on the complexity of the item, the process may take up to 6 months or—in a true gifting emergency—much less. “We have been known to do some miracles for those very spontaneous couples crazy in love and others who needed a piece yesterday!”
The Pros: Stephanie Wynne Lalin and Jenny Klatt, founders of Jemma Wynne
The Pieces: Fresh, modern pieces with edge and personality—think diamond-embellished pinky rings, angular statement earrings, stackable bejeweled bangles, and delicate gold necklaces perfect for layering.
The Place: The 9-year-old N.Y.C. brand’s glam Daun Curry-designed atelier in Midtown, where jewel-toned couches and chairs contrast with vivid black-and-white rugs and window treatments. Walls boast lots of colorful pop art.
The Process: Sit down and chat with Stephanie and Jenny. “We take some time to understand their personal style and what they are looking for,” notes the design duo. “We ask them how they will be wearing this piece—is it for everyday or for a special occasion? Having strong communication with our clients is one of the most important things to result in a successful custom piece.” The pair typically starts sketching after the first appointment’s brainstorming session.
After a piece has been finalized, its construction takes up to 12 weeks. Clients can be super hands-on or entrust Lalin and Klatt with the details. “We keep our clients in the loop of the process—some love to be heavily involved while others prefer to be surprised with the final product.” Regardless of the client’s participation style, face-to-face consults often ignite a longer-term relationship, something both designers cherish. “We love meeting and working closely with the people that are collectors of our pieces. There are many clients that we have known for years and have become very close friends.”