Madison, CT—With nearly a half-century of industry experience and top brand pedigrees between them, Jaime Polk and Katherine Rosenberg-Pineau know a little bit about jewelry that women like. From heading up design teams to running global salesforces for brands like Hearts on Fire and Scott Kay, the two met at an opportune time when both were at personal crossroads and trying to figure out the next ‘big job’ of their careers. Image: A dog tag pendant "after" created by 21C Designs.
For answer, they looked within—and that’s what they’re now helping women do with their own jewelry boxes. Their new partnership, 21C Designs, sustainably helps clients re-imagine jewelry they no longer wear into new, modern designs they do want to wear every day.
“We realized that so many people have jewelry boxes filled with pieces they no longer wear,” explains Jamie Polk. “These pieces are outdated, hold old memories, or are simply forgotten about. We work with clients to identify these hidden treasures, and transform them into new, sustainable pieces they will live in and cherish for a lifetime.”
The five-step process begins with an initial consultation, allowing the women to get a sense of a client’s personal style and design preferences. For those clients re-purposing pieces, values are analyzed. For those starting fresh with a custom design, a vision board of ideas is created. Design and sourcing follows, utilizing the founders’ experience and strong industry connections. Finally, the piece is created and delivered.
The "before" pieces that became the dog tag at top of page.
21C Designs in based in a studio in Connecticut but its redesign services extend far beyond the local neighbourhood and they will work with retailers, says Polk. “We partner with jewelers on marketing and sharing of profits, depending on the project and event,” she toldThe Centurion. It’s particularly helpful for jewelers that would like to offer a redesign service but don’t have the time to work at the bench or don’t have a skilled bench jeweler on staff. Polk and Rosenberg-Pineau work with a few exclusive U.S. manufacturers to produce the finished jewelry.
Consultations can be done in clients’ homes or, in these times, via Zoom and Skype. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, 21C Designs also worked with clients who would host jewelry parties. The host would invite all her friends for wine and appetizers, while the 21C team would meet with each woman individually for free consultation on her jewelry. “It was a women’s night out,” says Polk. The party service will resume in the future.
“So many times, clients underestimate what they already own and what the future potential is,” says Rosenberg-Pineau. “One of our favorite parts of this process is discovering the old, never-worn items and starting the design discussions to create something a client would have never imagined.”
That rarely means fancy, she adds. “The world, in terms of formal, high jewelry, started to evolve years ago, and the past five months of adjusting to a ‘new normal’ or ‘WFH life’ has only hastened that change. We are helping clients transform their collections to fit their lifestyles.”
An ordinary tennis bracelet, above, became a set of modern bangles, below.
“We are reimagining all categories, including fashion rings, engagement rings, necklaces, earrings and even some bracelets,” echoes Polk. “We help clients transform more formal jewelry into wearable, everyday jewelry. It’s all about jewelry wardrobing and accessorizing for today’s lifestyle.”
A 1980s cluster ring, above, became a distinctive cigar band ring, below.
21C Designs also provides a full wardrobing service, allowing them to truly assess clients’ needs and offer advice on the latest trends and what other women are doing with their collections.
In addition to re-imaging existing pieces, 21C Designs also specializes in custom jewelry designs, including engagement rings. For more information about 21C Designs’ offerings and to see a gallery of their transformations, visit their website www.21c-designs.com.