Jewelry Designer Penny Preville on Luxury, Blue Gems, and Guilty Pleasures



In honor of our luxury-themed issue, we asked designer Penny Preville what luxury means to her. “It’s something that gives you great pleasure—the perfume of fresh ­flowers, indulging in a piece of chocolate, wearing unique and beautiful jewelry that evokes emotion,” she says. And Preville knows from beautiful jewelry: She’s been making it for four decades, and loving it ever since she was a child poking around in her grandmother’s jewelry box. “Luxury is an expression of confidence,” she continues, “and is ageless and everlasting.” So meet Penny Preville, luxury designer.

Preville aquamarine scalloped ring

Age: 62, but feel much younger

Number of years in the biz: 38 Number of employees you oversee: My husband and partner, Jay, oversees our employees. I focus on design.

Family and pets: Two sons and their wives and three little grandsons, currently no dog, but…

Describe your personal style: Bohemian luxe and “stylishly” independent

Pear-shape opal and diamond drops

First piece you ever designed: Sterling silver large cuff bracelet with a prancing horse motif

The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: ­Difficult to limit it to one, but I designed a wide diamond intensive Swirl cuff. It was ­Edwardian-inspired and had a 13 ct. diamond Garland swirl and Chantilly lace bracelet that was worn by Nicole Kidman.

Best piece of advice you ever received: “Believe in yourself and follow your passion.”

Worst piece of advice: “It’s too difficult. Don’t even try.”

Snake ring in 18k gold with diamonds

First job ever: Fabricated jewelry in a small NYC retail store.

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? Raising horses on a ranch in Colorado

Favorite gemstones (or current favorites): Well, my favorite color is blue, so blue sapphires, rose-cut aquamarines, moonstones, and blue Australian opals.

Favorite pieces from your grandmother’s ­jewelry box: A Cartier Art Deco gold and diamond large emerald-cut blue sapphire bracelet

Moonstone and boulder opal ring

On your desk right now: My newest inspiration board (colors and patterns that will inform my future designs); proofs of my new ad campaign by 3rd Strand featuring Sara Ziff; pictures of family, friends, and pets; pictures of celebrities wearing my jewelry; design tools; candle; antique mirror; Apple laptop; dream catcher mobile

On your playlist: Beyoncé’s “Halo,” Alicia Keys’ “No One,” Rihanna’s “Stay,” Adele’s “Someone Like You,” Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Train, Neil Young, the Beatles

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Beyoncé

Exercise regimen: Yoga, walking

What did you have for breakfast? Stone-cut oatmeal and blueberries

Guilty pleasure: Brownies and diamonds!

Drink (daytime/evening): English breakfast tea with steamed milk all day long/pinot grigio

First website you check every day (not your own!): Style.com

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: Large aqua and diamond pear-shape drop [opal] earrings; a diamond choker with an emerald-cut diamond center; an ­Asscher-cut diamond eternity band surrounded by pavé diamonds, hand-engraving motif, and an understated, elegant diamond pavé twist; and engraved oval-shape bangle bracelet—all my designs except my grandmother’s 1920s Harry Winston platinum diamond Art Deco ­trillion and baguette ring

Scent: Chanel No. 5

How do you unwind? Listening to music, family time, vacation travel

Wireimage/Getty Images
Jennifer Lawrence

Superstitious? Yes, very much so

Book you’re reading: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Preferred news source: The New York Times (the print edition!)

Main means of transportation: My car—I love the quiet time.

Favorite movie: It’s a Wonderful Life

Who would play you in your life story? Jennifer Lawrence

Personal motto: “Believe in yourself and follow your dreams.”