Since 1907, Kwiat Diamonds has adorned the wrists, fingers, earlobes, and décolletages of the upper echelon with their bedazzling creations. This summer, the company celebrates its 101st anniversary with its first ever flagship store on none other than New York City’s Madison Avenue, featuring the Decades Collection that will be sure to dazzle with vintage and modern bon ton alike.
By Felicity Sargent
It can easily be agreed upon that celebrities and diamond buffs alike have eyes alert and ears perked for the latest in diamonds from Kwiat.
The steps to becoming an icon seem relatively simple: create a style all your own that will be emulated for years to come; be extreme in everything you do; and understand that no matter what, people will be watching. Since there are only a handful of true style icons, there clearly must be more to it. For one, what is an icon without her diamonds? Where would Holly Golightly have been without Tiffany’s? What would have topped Grace Kelly’s flawless up-do other than her sparkling tiara? And what would the Oscars be without Harry Winston? It makes one wonder if diamonds are the real icons and celebrities the accessory to the precious gems. The legendary Kwiat’s Decades Collection leans towards the latter.
Since it’s founding in 1907, Kwiat has vowed allegiance to three things: family first, integrity always, and quality diamonds that will dazzle for decades. The fusion of these three traits has proven to be more than a success, as the company is celebrating their 101st anniversary this year by opening an inaugural flagship store on the esteemed Madison Avenue in New York City. And even more reason to celebrate is the fact that company founder Sam Kwiat’s grandsons Sheldon and Lowell are still running the company with assistance from their children, making Kwiat inclusive to four generations of family. Kwiat’s originator would be proud to see how his once vintage jewelry and auction market has evolved. He instilled honesty and integrity in the company that was quickly recognized and appreciated by patrons and fellow jewelers. This respect followed Kwiat and allowed them to prevail when no one else could during the Great Depression. Later, their move to 47th Street established the area as the Diamond District. To further ascertain Kwiat as the center of all things diamonds, in 1965 David, son of Sam, made jewelry history by purchasing the largest diamond of the time: 126 carats. From this remarkable gem he created the famous 50-carat pearl shaped “Tear Drop of Africa” diamond for Harry Winston.
Though clearly integral to the industry, Kwiat was thought to be more behind the scenes, since the house lacked the advertising and tag lines that so many other jewelers were using as means of promotion. Instead, the company relied on their impeccable reputation to lure in new and loyal customers. It was not until the 1970s that the aforementioned grandsons Sheldon and Lowell created the brand slogan “Simply Brilliant,” which proved to be wildly successful. It is still the motto of the company today and is advertised extensively through top fashion magazines as well as leading retailers.
Following the highly responsive catchphrase came one of Kwiat’s largest markets: Hollywood. Covering celebrities in diamond’s from head to toe for the red carpet is something in which Kwiat has triumphed for years. The brand astounded celebrities and fans alike at the 76th Academy Awards when they collaborated with Oscar-worthy shoemaker Stuart Weitzman to dress country singer Allison Krause’s feet with $2 million diamond encrusted “Cinderella slippers.” More recently, the label has outfitted the likes of Natalie Portman, whose style and grace is reminiscent of the ever-classic Audrey Hepburn; fashion guru Sienna Miller; and the boisterous actresses of Wisteria Lane on Desperate Housewives, Marcia Cross and Teri Hatcher. Also fans of Kwiat are Hollywood heartthrobs Johnny Depp, George Clooney, and Patrick Dempsey, who all sported either cufflinks or buttons of the brand at the 2008 Oscars. Now a seasoned veteran of Tinseltown, Kwiat has a celebrity-filled list of loyal clientele that anxiously await luminous diamond creations for their upcoming red carpet appearances.
With a niche market in wedding and engagement bands for their perfectly matching diamonds, Kwiat has been the recipient of numerous jewelry accolades and is now stronger than ever with Janice DeBell, newest addition to the team, serving as the director of design. DeBell’s reputation precedes her thanks to design positions at Harry Winston and Tiffany’s on her résumé. Since joining the team, she has added new design elements to collections such as Art Deco-inspired diamond cuffs and onyx and emerald touches intermixed with Kwiat’s flawless gems. A seasoned pro in the diamond field, DeBell has taken her knowledge and all inspiring avant-garde vision to help head the celebratory 100-year anniversary Decades Collection.
This collection is unquestionably worth revelry to any diamond aficionado; the pieces included represent each decade of Kwiat’s existence and every era from 1907 until present, and range from classic diamond earrings set in platinum to Art Deco-inspired necklaces and earrings. Standing out for its vintage appeal, ornate intricacies, and sentiment is the diamond and pink sapphire brooch set in rose gold. The piece was created in 1940 by founder Sam Kwiat for his stunning wife Sadie in celebration of their anniversary, making it the perfect median to the collection in both its elegance and conviction.
Equal in vintage allure is the diamond and orange sapphire ring with 11.65 carats of diamonds and 4.51 carats of orange sapphire that acutely displays the playful fashion eccentricity of the 1970s era. Pieces such as these are contrasted with modern classics-the diamond and platinum headpiece made in 2007 takes the flowery motif of the original 1907 Art Nouveau tiara, and adds to it contemporary round cut diamonds, as well the fit of the now more commonly worn headband; thus merging classic and modern sensibilities in perfect harmony.
So let us revisit our ideals of icons and see how Kwiat measures up. The company has successfully created a style unsurpassable within the diamond industry that has heightened quality and style standards around the globe with diamond pieces destined to be family heirlooms. Its open commitment to family is unique to the industry, making interactions with Kwiat a very personal experience that keep clientele returning for more. It can easily be agreed upon that celebrities and diamond buffs alike have eyes alert and ears perked for the latest in diamonds from Kwiat. With the first ever flagship on Madison Avenue, Kwiat Diamonds is ready and equipped to offer up their jewels to see and be seen wearing. Plus, if $2 million dollar Oscar slippers aren’t extreme, what is?
With the company’s infinite love affair with perfect diamonds, Kwiat’s lines, both old and new, will gratify clientele with pieces that will surely be passed down through generations for decades to come. Since 1907, Kwiat has achieved what many only strive to be: simply brilliant.
Kwiat is available through Traditional Jewelers.
Fashion Island, Newport Beach 949.721.9010
The Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Drive, Laguna Niguel 949.489.5823
Country Mart, Cross Creek Road, Malibu 310.317.9100