The Jeweler and Jolie
At age 16, Robert Procop spent his summer working at a pawn shop in the Mid-City district of Los Angeles, where he learned how to buy and sell diamonds. The income he earned from his trades allowed him to open his first retail store, Diamonds on Rodeo, in Beverly Hills barely a year out of college.
Procop developed a reputation for handling fine stones, eventually leading him to London, where he served as CEO of the crown jeweler Asprey & Garrard from 1999 to 2000, while it was the subject of a legal dispute between the sultan of Brunei and his profligate brother, Prince Jefri. “The year I took over, the company had a 100 million sterling loss,” Procop says. He helped it break even before selling it to the Tommy Hilfiger group.
Procop then returned to Los Angeles in 2000 and began developing his Beverly Hills–based business around “exceptional jewels” worn by heads of state and A-list celebrities—A-plus, in some cases.
In August 2010, Procop began working with Angelina Jolie on Style of Jolie, a collection of sumptuous gemstone pieces distinguished by saturated colors in streamlined 18k gold settings. “We have a long-standing relationship through jewels I’ve done,” he says. “We wanted to do a collection with big jewels, but she doesn’t do anything unless it’s for charity.” (All proceeds from the collection fund Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, a nonprofit that helps educate children in conflict-stricken areas.)
Style of Jolie earrings with 17.40 cts. t.w. cushion-cut emeralds in 18k rose gold; price on request
The process of designing a line bearing Jolie’s imprimatur began with storyboards that paired images of historical cushion-cut gems with Renaissance-era paintings of full-bodied women. Jolie, Procop says, was drawn to the cushion because she thought its rounded edges evoked a woman’s curves.
To translate her preferred palette of green, black, and yellow into gemstones, Procop selected the finest-quality specimens of Colombian emeralds, black spinel, and “honey citrine” and set them in high-polished 18k rose gold. The monochromatic jewels start around $4,000 retail and top out at seven figures (for a rose gold necklace set with some 103 cts. of Colombian emeralds in a glowing, Platonic green).
The Procop alliance has gone so well that even Brad Pitt, Jolie’s longtime partner, has gotten in on the action. In early April, Jolie was spotted with a sizable diamond ring on her left hand. A statement from the jeweler confirmed the engagement: “Brad had a specific vision for this ring, which he realized over a yearlong collaboration with Robert.”
“American clients are very shy on buying, but they still want to spend on gifts—though not more than $15,000, compared to $100,000 five years ago. That’s why we have semiprecious offers. We had a woman looking at a large pinkish-amethyst ring for $6,000. Then you have Chinese clients. They’re obsessed with brands.”
—Gerard Riveron, executive director, Dorfman, Boston