April 16, 2013
Behind the Diamond: Jewelry-Making at Oscar Heyman
Posted by Jaime Buerger
Last week, a small team of Weddings staffers, myself included, had an awesome—and rare—opportunity to poke around Oscar Heyman’s NYC headquarters. A family-run business since 1912, Oscar Heyman is a charmingly old school mom-and-pop luxury jeweler, handcrafting all pieces that bear their name in their Madison Avenue workshop. During our tour, we were given a glimpse of the jewelry-making process, from the conception of a piece and its hand-drawn rendering, to having the gems certified, and on through to melting metals and setting stones. It’s largely trial-and-error, with a single necklace sometimes taking the better part of a year to complete.
The biggest highlight, of course, was being up close and personal with all of those glorious jewels, including a 43-carat, totally flawless yellow diamond. Estimated cost? A cool $20 mil. (My birthday’s in January, in case you’re wondering.)
1 After watching craftsmen at work designing and setting jewelry, we were treated to a small sample of finished products. (And, yes, we pretty much tried everything on!)
2 The designer working on this project was sketching out two different bracelet designs using star sapphires, so called for the subtle star pattern that emerges on their surface when a light is shone directly on them.
3 Since 1912, every single rendering of Oscar Heyman's jewelry designs has been cataloged in these old-school file cabinets.
4 This Art Deco-y advertisement dates back to the 1920s.
5 Men at work! The shop has dozens of such craftsmen, each filling a different role in putting together a jewelry piece.
6 Before committing stones to a necklace (or bracelet, ring, etc.), a wax mold is made. Gems are set inside to give buyers a clearer idea of what the finished product will look like. That way, adjustments to the design can be made more easily.
7 The 43-carat yellow diamond that caused more than a few gasps among our group, as modeled by deputy art director Genevieve.
8 That's me, sporting super-sparkly diamond danglers.
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