Sylvie Levine on the Highs and Lows of Bridal Jewelry Design



The best thing about designing bridal jewelry, says ­Sylvie Levine, is the joy that comes with an engagement. “I feel good knowing my work ultimately makes a difference in the lives of others,” she says. And the toughest thing about bridal design? “Incorporating such detail in a very tiny landscape,” she says. “I often wish the consumer or retailer knew [what] went into one finished piece. In total, there are approximately 150 steps from conception to execution.” Think about those 150 steps when you look at the new Sylvie Collection rings at JCK Las Vegas—“new and interesting designs that feature smaller total carat weights and boast accessible price points,” says Levine. “Oh, and double halos are the new halo! You heard it here first.”

Sylvie Collection engagement ring in 18k gold with 0.55 ct. t.w. diamonds

Age: 45

Number of years in the biz: 25

Number of employees you oversee: 12

Family and pets: My husband of 19 years; my two boys, ages 17 and 15, who are my greatest source of strength; and our little Yorkie

Describe your personal style: I’m known for my all-black wardrobe in the winter, but I do enjoy white and the occasional pop of color during warmer months. I would say my style is modern-meets-classic, but comfort is key.

Levine with her husband and sons

First piece you ever designed: My engagement ring

The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: A 10 ct. t.w. diamond bracelet I designed to wear for my son’s bar mitzvah

Best piece of advice you ever received: “Take care of the downside and the upside will take care of itself.”

Worst piece of advice: “Take it easy.” Life is too short for that!

Diamond bracelet in 18k gold with 9.7 cts. t.w. diamonds

First job ever: At age 20, I started working for a diamond manufacturing company in my hometown, Antwerp.

How did you get started designing jewelry? I was born and raised in the diamond industry. As fate (and luck) would have it, I married a man who also happens to be in the business. My husband, Ian, is originally from South Africa. His native land inspired him to create a life in this industry and Spectrum Diamonds was born. I moved to the U.S. to build a life with Ian and a professional partnership evolved naturally. As the ­business grew, jewelry design was a natural extension.

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? I really can’t imagine doing anything else. ­However, one thing is certain. I’ve always been a “people person.” So I would need to be in a position where I’m surrounded and am constantly interacting with people. 

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: My engagement ring and my classic diamond studs

Five items on your desk right now: New design ­artwork, a digital picture frame with pictures of ­family and friends, JCK magazine, printouts of the visual ­layout for my new website, and lots of Post-it notes

Five songs on your playlist: “Piano Man,” Billy Joel; “Hotel California,” the Eagles; “Someone Like You,” Adele; “Father and Son,” Cat Stevens; “Tears in Heaven,” Eric Clapton

Exercise regimen: Pilates and walking

What did you have for breakfast? My special plant coffee and scrambled eggs

Guilty pleasure: Everything chocolate

Levine’s engagement ring: 18k gold with 2 ct. center and 0.92 ct. t.w. diamonds

Drink (daytime/evening): Hot tea, always

First website you check every day (not your own!): Facebook to see if my brother and sister-in-law posted new pictures of my baby niece, whom I am obsessed with!

Scent: Mademoiselle by Chanel

How do you unwind? I love taking baths, reading, and spending time with my family.

Superstitious? I am not superstitious but I do strongly believe in the law of attraction. In other words, you bring about what you think about.

iStockphoto

Book you’re reading: The Midwife of Venice, Roberta Rich

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese

Preferred news source: The Wall Street Journal

Main means of transportation: My car, although I would love to be able to walk to work. Sadly, not in Texas…

Favorite movie: The Intouchables

Who would play you in your life story? Andie MacDowell

Personal motto: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson