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The Concert for Bangladesh Redux in Westbury

Westbury has not one but two great music venues: NYCB Theatre (formerly Westbury Music Fair), and The Space, a converted movie house on Post Avenue. Last week, to celebrate the birthday of late Beatle George Harrison a tribute concert was planned. Harrison’s renowned Concert for Bangladesh raised millions of dollars for refugees back in 1971 and was the first charity rock concert in history.

Godfrey, Joshua and EstherOne perk of being married to someone who wrote a bestselling biography of Harrison is going behind stage at events like this. My husband Joshua has been doing a tribute concert to George with Long Island based singer-guitarist Godfrey Townsend for more than a decade. The Bangladesh redux was fantastic. People were dancing in the aisles. And we got this great photo with Godfrey. Look for Godfrey at other Long Island venues. He’s the best.

Godfrey with Kenny Forgione, event organizer and guitarist for the group Wondrous Stories

Godfrey with Kenny Forgione, event organizer and guitarist for the group Wondrous Stories

Designing Jewelry Around Colored Gems I Love

When I visit the gemstone trade shows our industry holds each February in Tuscon, I feel like the proverbial kid in the candy store. The shows are vast, and in every direction are precious gemstones from all over the world.

GemstonesOver the years I collected a little “treasure trove” of gems, including Umbalite garnet from the Umba River region of Tanzania, green tsavorite from East Africa, and another wonderful garnet from Madagascar. I also purchased pretty pink, blue and mocha zircons, bright green peridot, and various amethysts, citrines, aquamarines, and a yellow sapphire.

My next step was to find the right designer to achieve the vision I had in my head for jewelry designed around the gems. At the Design Center, I was lucky to find Michael Jensen Designs. Owners Catherine and Michael Jensen have combined their individual talents – she as a graduate gemologist with a passion for art, history and archeology; he as a sculptor and metalsmith – to create a jewelry line where each piece is truly a wearable work of art. I knew right away I’d found the right artists to set the gems I had amassed. I was looking for unique designs that had “edge” and could be worn daily.

Catherine and Michael JensenFrom my archeological background, I’ve always loved the rich, high-karat gold aesthetic that you see in ancient jewelry. Those long-ago jewelers used a very pure form of gold, and I loved that Catherine and Michael incorporated 22k gold in their designs to achieve that ancient-inspired look, while using sterling silver and “ancient” finishes. The Jensens also incorporate little dots of gold on some of their jewels, an ancient technique known as granulation, and bezel set many of the gems, which enhanced their antique look.

The Jensens and I sat together for a very long time at that first meeting. First I looked at each of their collections, to understand the aesthetic of each. Then we began to talk about each of my gemstones: their beauty, luster, unique gemological properties (brilliance, diffraction, hue, durability, etc.). Based on each gem, we discussed how they could custom-design jewelry around them, using elements that we agreed fit my vision for these special jewels.

jensen-6The Jensens returned to their studio, and soon sent through sketches and photos of their process, which fascinated me. After some back and forth, Michael got to work on the fabrication, which he does all by hand, just as ancient jewelers did.

I couldn’t wait to see the final pieces, and I wasn’t disappointed. They are truly beautiful and honor the gems I carefully selected. A few are shown here, and you can see the whole collection by visiting our Michael Jensen collection here. This is a collection that will make you feel like an exotic ancient goddess or queen, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

Raw materials

Raw Materials to be crafted by Michael Jensen

Square Amethyst Ring, 22K Yellow Gold and Sterling Silver

Square Amethyst Ring, 22K Yellow Gold and Sterling Silver – $1,695

Oval Bezel Set Peridot Pendant, 22K Yellow Gold

Oval Bezel Set Peridot Pendant, 22K Yellow Gold – $2,250

Bezel Set Pink Zircon Drop Earrings, 22K Yellow Gold

Bezel Set Pink Zircon Drop Earrings, 22K Yellow Gold – $1,050

Refresh, Renew, Repair, or Recycle!

diamond-ringsAt Fortunoff Jewelry, we have a tradition of helping to refresh, renew, and repair jewelry in January. But recently, I’ve noticed that many of our customers ask us to completely “recycle” their older jewelry, which may no longer be in fashion. We send the jewelry settings to the refiner, who pays for the precious metals. With the cash our customers receive, plus any gems our in-house jeweler has carefully removed, we work together to create a brand new custom-designed piece in the latest style.

And nowhere is this happening more than with older diamond jewelry. If you’re lucky, you’ve received or purchased some beautiful pieces through the years, and, those diamonds are every bit as precious as they were the day you acquired them. I think you’d be surprised if you looked through your own jewelry collection to realize how many pieces with diamonds you may own.

Today, we jewelers often say “the next diamond mine is located in the jewelry boxes of Americans” – because of this treasure trove of inherited gems. If that describes you, then here are two stories and photos of custom designs we recently completed for our clients to whet your appetite.

Ring in the New
jeannieJeannie came to us with a little baggie of diamond rings, containing various sized diamonds, none of which she wanted to wear. Our onsite jeweler gently removed the diamonds and cleaned them until they sparkled again. Then, we recycled the precious metals in her settings, using the proceeds of the sale to defray the cost of a new ring. Reaching out to a designer we love, we asked for a custom design making the four different-sized diamonds look graceful in the setting. Voila! Here’s the result. Now Jeannie wears her diamonds every single day, and is thrilled when she looks down at her hand.

Swingin’ Diamonds
barbara-1bBarbara came in to see us, holding a ring that glittered with diamonds, in a style that was quite popular in the 1970s and 1980s. It featured invisibly set princess-cut diamonds in rows on the top, with round pave-set diamonds on the edges. Over time, as her ring size changed, she tried to have it made larger, never to her satisfaction. In the end, a couple of the diamonds were lost, and a few others broke. Eventually, she stopped wearing it.

barbara-2cBut now, she wondered if we could do something with the diamonds to enable her to wear them again. She wasn’t committed to another ring, so we suggested a station necklace, a style that Tiffany & Co. made famous with its version, which it still calls “Diamonds by the Yard.” Working with one of our favorite designers in New York, we made a stunning 48-inch long necklace in 14k white gold, alternating the princess-cut and round diamonds along the chain in a scattered style. The diamonds were secured in very protective and durable bezel settings, so she wouldn’t lose any more of her precious gems! You can see what a fabulous look it is. From abandoned in a jewelry box, to decorating a long, flapper-style chain, these diamonds (and Barbara) are swinging again!

If you have jewelry you’re not wearing, Fortunoff Jewelry – Westbury boutique during January, and we’ll work with you on a brand new custom jewelry design. It may have been a marketing slogan, but it really is true: A diamond is forever.

Helping Engaged Couples Realize Their Diamond Dreams

One of the best parts of being a jeweler is working with engaged couples to design the diamond jewelry of their dreams. Fortunoff Fine Jewelry has a robust capacity to help you choose and set any shape or size diamond. We use a rich network of designers – most local to the New York area – to help you create exactly the ring you want.

If you’re thinking of using inherited diamond/diamonds for your ring, we welcome you. If you’re looking to buy a diamond, Fortunoff has access to an amazing inventory of gems, from among the finest diamantaires in the world, most located right in our New York Diamond District. We are really lucky in where we live.

To whet your appetite for the exciting process of choosing diamonds and settings, here are a few stories of couples we’ve helped recently.

Like Father, Like Son
Larry came to see us for the best of all reasons: He was planning to propose to his girlfriend, Leah, and needed a diamond engagement ring. We were particularly delighted because he is the second generation of his family to trust us with this most important diamond purchase. His Dad, a longtime customer of ours, told him: “There is simply nowhere else for you to go, but Fortunoff!”

Larry, who I’ve known since he was a child, knew that Leah had admired oval diamonds, so we reached out to our network of diamantaires in New York City and selected the prettiest oval diamonds we could find. (Oval-, pear-, and marquise-shaped diamonds, by the way, seem to be having a moment with brides!) Larry made his choice, and we asked one of our wonderful bridal jewelry designers to honor the gem with a setting that made it sing. Just a few weeks later, Leah shared her joy on our Facebook page: “Thank you for my amazing engagement ring!! It is so beautiful and the centerpiece of a dream come true!” We loved these photos that Leah posted!

A Radiant Couple
Jenna and John are a young couple we know locally, who were certain early on that they were a “forever” couple. So I wasn’t surprised, though I was delighted, when John came to us to design Jenna’s engagement ring. After some discussion, we found an almost 2-carat rectangular radiant-cut diamond, and John immediately knew what design he wanted.

Like our other custom designs, we selected a bridal ring designer we knew would do a superb job with that particular stone, and would honor John’s other design ideas. This is a polished and well-dressed couple, so the ring needed to be smart and sophisticated. According to the happy couple, we hit the mark!

A Beach Wedding

kerry-1What happens when two redheads find each other and decide they want to spend their lives together? Lots of laughs, and journey to stand under the chuppah and be joined in marriage. Kerry and Mati chose Long Island Sound at sunset for their nuptials, and the setting is as gorgeous as the photo suggests.

kerry-2With a honeymoon in Hawaii as their plan, we thought it was delightful to craft Kerry’s rings using a twisting vine pattern, not unlike the flower leis that we knew would be placed around their necks when they arrived in Hawaii. Aloha and congratulations to you both.

6 Jewelry Pieces You’ll Love This Fall

It was wonderful to talk through the fall trends this year with Beth Ann Clyde of LI Pulse magazine – she did an article that appears below:

From statement to understated, the jewelry trend forecast is all over the map. Let Esther Fortunoff of Fortunoff Fine Jewelry help you sift through the bangles, cuffs, silver and gold.

Multiband and Stacking Rings
“The ring stacking trend is not new, but it is certainly here to stay.” This season, multiband rings are taking the guesswork out of getting ready to go out and providing another way to achieve levels of interest with a single piece.

Fortunoff’s silver ring set will add a little extra sparkle on a big night. The texture and understated gems on the stacking set of gold and gemstone rings make them perfect for a day at work that you know will end in happy hour.

Stackable rings at Fortunoff Fine Jewelry take the guesswork out of accessorizing

Gemstones add something different to your look

The open waves on Fortunoff’s Wavy Wire Cuff Bracelet make the piece extra special

Statement Cuffs and Bracelets
Bangles, bracelets and cuffs were all over the runways during fashion week. Expect to see multi-strand bracelets and wide hinged cuffs in various metals, with and without gems. “For fall, you really can’t go wrong because they stand up to the bold patterns of the clothes.” The open waves on Fortunoff’s Wavy Wire Cuff Bracelet add a fun element of surprise that won’t get lost against the dark floral-printed skirts people will be wearing this fall.

The Alice Earrings in sterling silver with 18K rose gold plating are lovely and graceful

Geometric Shapes
Minimalists will love this one: geometric jewelry with defined shapes and angles are en vogue. Often petite and understated, these pieces are cool without trying too hard and are office and date-night appropriate. “Designers are also playfully balancing negative and positive space.” Rock the trend yourself by donning this rose gold pendant.

This Oval Loops Gold Necklace is a great way to amp up your jeans-and-t uniform this fall

Return to Yellow Gold
Time to break out of that silver-and-white-metal rut. “Yellow gold is having a moment right now. Some of the petite pave set diamonds will stand out against the yellow gold, and bold new designs are coming from the influence of the 70s and 80s.” We love the oval shapes and double chain on this eye-catching gold necklace, available at Fortunoff Fine Jewelry. Let it makes its statement and keep the good 70s vibes going by pairing with a t-shirt and wide-legged jeans.

Elegant back-and-front 18-karat yellow gold earrings with pave diamonds are sure to sparkle this fall

Elevated Earrings
Earrings will shine more than ever this year. From tiny sparkly studs to threaders in front-and-back styles, there’s no wrong way to go. “Large and small earrings may be worn together and the proliferation of multiple piercings allows for over-the-top creativity.” One of Fortunoff’s favorite is an elegant back-and-front 18-karat yellow gold earrings with pave diamonds.

My Commitment to Community Service

Here I am at the Brava Awards, with my friend, Joan Axelrod-Siegelwax, President/CEO at EmPowered Possibilities Coaching, who was my co-winner.

Here I am at the Brava Awards, with my friend, Joan Axelrod-Siegelwax, President/CEO at EmPowered Possibilities Coaching, who was my co-winner.

I’m honored to be one of a number of women who received a Brava Award this month from SmartCEO Magazine, at an awards gala held at the Westbury Manor on Long Island. The Brava Awards program recognizes female CEOs and executives who combine entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for mentoring and giving back to the community. Each year, an independent committee of local business leaders selects winners based on company growth, community impact, and mentoring.

I take my commitment to community service very seriously. I live and work on Long Island and its various causes mean a great deal to me. I serve on the board of the Long Island Association, which promotes cooperation among the business, labor, educational, scientific, technology, not-for profit and civic communities here. LIA gives me a good helicopter view of what going on in the region, such as how our population is changing (we’re getting older, and losing more of our young people). LIA supports improvements in transportation, expanded job opportunities, investment in smart energy initiatives, environmental conservation, equal rights for our workers, better family leave policies, and opportunities for our college students.

walk-in-her-shoesI also serve on the board of The Safe Center LI, a group that provides vital programs and services for local victims of domestic and child abuse. This summer, I attended “Walk in Her Shoes,” at Westbury Manor, a fashion show and event that raised more than $23,000 for the Safe Center. I’m proud we were able to accessorize the models with jewels by Fortunoff Fine Jewelry.

My love of nature and the incredible environment we enjoy on Long Island has driven my commitment to the Long Island chapter of The Nature Conservancy, where I served on the board for many years. From our water quality and nature trails to our farming and fishing, I am passionate about this cause for sure.

Fortunoff also supports the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Long Island, and in May, provided jewelry for its inaugural fashion show, at which “Bigs and Littles” walked the runway together modeling a range of looks from “thrift store chic” to formal wear. It was very moving to see the special closeness between the Bigs and Littles, and the funds raised at the fashion show will assist BBBSLI in its efforts to match many of the children on its inquiry list with a Big Brother or Big Sister of their own.
bbbsli fashion show
Please join me in supporting these worthy organizations or others of your choice. I smiled recently when I saw a hashtag on Instagram that read #communityserviceisthenewblack – it’s always a good day when giving back is in vogue. If you’d like to learn more about my Brava Award, click here.

July’s Birthstone – Ruby

Throughout most of recorded history, ruby has been the world’s most valued gemstone. Even diamond was considered common in comparison to the supreme beauty and value of this glowing red gem. Ruby is that boldest of colors: the gem of the heart, of desire, passion, courage, and emotion.

We recently had the pleasure to work on a special request to create a one-of-a-kind ruby ring. This young man, a member of our Armed Forces stationed far away, envisioned a beautiful ruby and diamond ring for his beloved. During his quiet moments, he created the design himself, using his laptop (see his design below). Our job was to guide his dream to reality — without ever meeting him!

ruby-03We began the search first for the stone and showed him many. He chose the very unusual octagon-shaped ruby on the bottom left side. [Photos were sent to him by cell phone.]

We put together all the elements and below is the final ring. Breathtaking! And of course, she said Yes! It was our honor to be part of this dream come true.

ruby-ring-01 ruby-ring-02

In all its shades, from hot pink to dark red, we love ruby and you will too! Interest in these dazzling red beauties has skyrocketed, but at Fortunoff Jewelry, we keep our pledge to offer prices that make sense. Browse our selection of genuine ruby jewelry to surprise that special someone born in July, or treat yourself to something unforgettable. We also have a much larger selection of unique beauties in store.

From Gem to Jewel – Part 1

We just returned from Las Vegas, the largest jewelry trade show of the year. After walking miles and visiting countless jewelry designers, manufacturers, and gem dealers, our heads are full of new ideas!

Over the past months, I had been accumulating a little “treasure trove” of gemstones, taking my time, thinking about how I might like to set each one. I knew that eventually each one would tell me what it wanted to be! A few suites, like this one, lent themselves to hand-crafted drop earrings – including these. But still I had not found just the right style for many others.


Visiting the Design Center, when I met husband-and-wife team Catherine and Michael of Michael Jensen Designs, it was clear that I finally had found the right homes for these gems. I had first “met” Catherine in a telephone call a few months before. She and Michael have combined their individual talents – she as a Graduate Gemologist with a passion for art, history and archeology, he as a sculptor and metal-smith – to create a jewelry line where each piece is truly a wearable work of art.

I sent them my gemstones, to allow them to think about how they might set each one. Here are some pictures of just a few pieces they’ve made in the past – to give you a taste of what you will see when MY project is done!


Weekend of Pearls

Dramatic necklace features different shades of grey and black Tahitian pearls in a variety of shapes and sizes – $1,495.

I am so pleased to be hosting a Pearl Trunk Show and Restyling/Restringing Event at the store this weekend. Hope to see you there!

I love to wear pearls — all types, all colors. They’re so versatile! Pearl jewelry can be simple and elegant … romantic and feminine … cool and edgy. They’re beautiful on their own and when combined with gemstones or other jewels.

Once accessible only to royalty (queens AND kings) and the rich and powerful, pearls today are as perfect with jeans as they are with elegant evening wear. Thanks to pearl-loving (and wearing) icons Coco Chanel (“A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls”), Jacqueline Onassis and TV supermom June Cleaver, pearls have become a jewelry box must-have.

Lustrous pearl necklaces light up the face, and they practically glow against suntanned skin. Not surprisingly, pearls are a favorite choice for graduation gifts and mementos for members of the wedding party. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Freshwater Cultured Pearls 50 Inch Mixed Sizes, Sterling Silver

At 50 inches, this beautiful strand of cultured pearls can be worn long and loose, or doubled, twisted, knotted… the possibilities are practically endless! White cultured pearls from 5 mm to 8 mm, made by hand in New York – $450.

Natural Grey-Hued Tahitian South Sea Cultured Pearls

These are definitely not your grandmother’s pearls! Natural Tahitian South Sea cultured pearls in shades of light to medium gray are carefully matched and strung by hand in New York. Every lustrous strand is unique and includes a sterling silver ball clasp. About 18 inches – $695.

Stay Serene with Aquamarine

Serenity - Pantone color I’m delighted that the Pantone Color Institute, which helps the fashion world predict color trends, has named the lovely color of aquamarine as one of its two colors of the year 2016. Calling the shade “Serenity,” Pantone says it speaks to consumers’ desire for “mindfulness and well-being, as an antidote to modern day stresses.” That’s something we all could use a bit more of during this rancorous election season, right?

The tranquil color of aquamarine, March’s birthstone, has long attracted gemstone connoisseurs as well as fashionistas. The Romans likened it to gazing into limpid pools of water (aqua) or the sea (marine). Many ancients believed that aquamarine, which belongs to mineral family called beryl, made its wearers amiable and more intellectual.

When you wear an aquamarine ring or earrings, or place an aquamarine necklace against your skin, you can almost feel its soothing peace. We have a stunning selection of aquamarine earrings, necklaces, and rings, as well as a sexy cuff bangle that’s on sale, so whether you’re a March baby or not, you can still invoke your inner meditative state any time you want.

“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil.” That quotation by yoga master Sri Gurudev, sums up how aquamarine makes me feel. Share the glow.

Oval Aquamarine and Diamond Dangle Hoops, 14K White Gold

Aquamarine and Diamond Dangle Hoops, 14K White Gold – $1,150

Emerald-Cut Aquamarine Ring, Sterling Silver and 18K Yellow Gold

Emerald-Cut Aquamarine Ring, Sterling Silver and 18K Yellow Gold – $350

Aquamarine Cuff Style Bangle Bracelet, 18K Yellow Gold

Aquamarine Cuff Style Bangle Bracelet, 18K Yellow Gold – $1,395

Pear-Shape Aquamarine and Diamond Pendant, 1 Inch, 14K White Gold

Pear-Shape Aquamarine and Diamond Pendant, 1 Inch, 14K White Gold – $595