Diamonds are a girl's best friend - and there's no better matchmaker in town than Briony Raymond.
As one of Manhattan's most sought after jewelers, Briony does it all - sourcing incredibly rare estate pieces from across the globe, designing bespoke and limited edition creations for her signature Briony Raymond Collection, dreaming up bridal treasures and reimagining heirloom pieces from her clients own jewelry boxes.
Curious to know how her obsession with gems and accessories began? Or which piece she cherishes most?
When did you fall in love with all things jewelry?
I have loved jewelry for as long as I can remember! Some of my earliest, happiest memories are sitting on the floor of my mother’s dressing room with her jewelry boxes spread out around me… I was so enamored of all the sparkly, shiny treasures!
How would you describe your personal style?
Timeless, classic, comfortable… with an ever evolving arsenal of hefty gold jewelry!
Has it changed much over the years?
I used to sacrifice comfort for style and was always teetering around on 6 inch heels... that ship has sailed! Now I’m a loafer or wedge gal during the day while I’m running around the city seeing clients and visiting our workshop. I save the towering heels for evenings out only!
What was the first piece of fine jewelry you ever bought yourself?
I remember so clearly the first piece of jewelry I bought. It was a sapphire and diamond ring that I spotted on an afternoon trip to the mall with girlfriends one summer in middle school. They were busy obsessing over outfits at Abercrombie & Fitch… while I was drooling over gems at the jewelry store next door! The ring was yellow gold with three oval sapphires and little round diamonds between each stone; the second I saw it I decided I just couldn’t live without it.
All summer I did everything I could to earn the money to buy the ring, from weeding in my mum’s vegetable garden to ironing my dad’s hankies. My very obliging mother invented all sorts of odd jobs around the house so that I could “earn” the money to buy this hallowed ring with which I had fallen in love. As summer waned, I finally had enough money saved and I was SO proud and excited the day I marched into the jewelry store and bought the ring! And to this day, I adore sapphire and diamond rings above all other colored gemstones and even my engagement ring is sapphire and diamond (vintage Van Cleef so a wee bit of an upgrade from my mall purchase!).
Do you tend to buy things on a whim or really think over a purchase?
I am definitely more of the “let’s get on with it” type of person in all areas of my life and tend to make decisions quickly and do not tend to mull over much!
I have a very clear sense of my own aesthetic and know pretty quickly if I want to acquire something.
When it comes to your jewelry philosophy, are you 'less is more,' or 'more is never enough?'
It really depends on my mood - but generally I subscribe to the "more is never enough" philosophy.
Whose jewelry box would you love to raid?
Elizabeth Taylor's and Rihanna's. Dramatically different but equally cool. I think Elizabeth probably had some of the most epic Bulgari ever made. And I love Rihanna's penchant for mixing vintage and contemporary.
What's something you rarely wear but will never part with?
The sapphire and diamond ring I bought for myself!
Which piece of yours do you treasure most?
My late father’s watch.
How do you keep your personal collection organized?
If left to my own devices, it would be total mayhem in my jewel box as I’m always stripping off looks to change my jewels according to my mood! Thankfully I have an AMAZING team who helps keep me organized and they have all my jewelry laid out in neat trays that slide easily in and out of the safe.
If you could only wear one piece of jewelry for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I plead the fifth!
Has there been anything you bought to sell but then couldn't part with?
Oh Lordy, do not get me started! I am hopeless! I fall in love with pieces “for inventory” all the time and then cannot bear to sell them!!
What's one question everyone should ask themselves before investing in a piece?
Do I really love this and will I actually WEAR it?
What's been your greatest estate find?
A fabulous set of Van Cleef & Arpels medallions made for French actress Marie Belle, a trailblazing force of nature who wore them every single day! Chic, chic, chic and RARE, RARE, RARE!!
Is there anything you're still on the hunt for?
I am perpetually on the hunt - it is the heart and soul of what I do!
What's the biggest trend you're seeing as of late?
Zodiacs. Personalization. Revamping heirloom jewelry to make it modern and wearable again.
What are you most excited for next?
We are currently working on a beautiful new showroom and I’m so excited for everything of which I’m dreaming for the interior to come to fruition!
[Photos courtesy Briony Raymond]