Los Angeles-based jewelry designer Rona Pfeiffer of Rona Pfeiffer Jewelry favors Old World techniques and rose-cut diamonds.
Headquarters: Los Angeles
Year firm launched: 2009
Signature style: “Every piece I create includes contradiction, asymmetrical symmetry (my long wrap necklaces can wrap many times around the neck or wrist, or can be used as a belt), and duality. My tribal wear incorporates diamonds, pavé, rose-cut diamonds, and unusual silhouettes like colorful beaded collars à la Massai women that are actually not tribal at all—but are. This includes my cast pieces as well. Visually, you know it when you see it because it has an eclectic feel of Old World, modern, and high-low elements such as such as antique beads, fossilized ostrich eggs, and coconut discs from my travels that can’t be found anywhere else.”
Training, education, and design process: “Before I made jewelry, I was an agent for film and TV. My foray into jewelry design was born out of a project with my daughter, Audrey. She was making jewelry—stringing ceramic beads with images on them of animals and such—and after three hours of watching her, I gave it a go. For my beaded pieces, I create every single one by myself; for my cast pieces, I sketch the designs and have all of them created under my supervision. I make many of my components, and I hand paint my metals. I travel the world—treasure hunting, if you will—looking for unusual pieces like ancient coral and bone that is so old that the carving has been distorted in some way, with which to make elements for my lines. Old gems have character and originality to them.
“Most of my jewelry is made in Los Angeles, but some is made in Jaipur, India, as I find the traditional way of setting rose-cut diamonds—using the technique of foiling instead of prong setting—most appealing to me.
“Oddly enough, though, I feel uncomfortable wearing my own jewelry because I don’t self promote. I want someone else to validate my work by wearing it. Although I did wear a pair of my own earrings for the Dark Shadows premiere.”
[Editor’s Note: Some of Pfeiffer’s jewelry appeared in the film.]
Materials of choice: “I use silver, 14k and 18k gold, and I work with all stones—I do not discriminate! I seek out imperfect, interesting stones that contain a pattern within the stone. Rose-cut diamonds that look like old shattered mirrors are my favorite. The response I have had to this visual has been phenomenal.”
Starting retail price: “In general, prices start at $400 and go up to $30,000 retail.”
Retailer buy-in: “The buy-in depends on the store, but my usual buy-in is $10,000.”
Accounts: “Currently, Rona Pfeiffer Jewelry is available in eight retail locations, including all three locations of Elizabeth Charles. At the Elizabeth Charles New York City location, I have my very own shop-in-shop, which makes for a very special shopping experience. Currently, we don’t have any international locations, but our U.S. stores sell to many international customers.”
Jewelry trade show exhibits: “None at this time.”