Before Nadine Aysoy started her jewelry brand, she would often politely receive a gift of jewelry only to rework it until it became something she wanted to wear—including her own engagement ring.
No offense was intended, but when you grow up counting and cleaning diamonds like Aysoy did, you tend to have stronger-than-usual opinions about how jewelry should look. Maybe it was her grandfather’s guiding spirit—P.N. Ferstenberg was a famous diamond dealer known as the “Dean of the Diamond Industry” in Belgium.
Or perhaps it was her own internal compass, longing to get back into gemstones after two decades in the banking industry, where she often found herself more interested in developing relationships than aggressively chasing deals.
Whatever the reason, Aysoy believes jewelry is her calling—although it took a bit of time and career transition to get her here. Today she is the London-based designer behind the Nadine Aysoy jewelry brand, which offers fine jewelry that emphasizes colored stones, playful elements, and sustainable manufacturing.
“I am a late bloomer,” Aysoy says. “Creating jewelry is my second life and my real passion, and I feel blessed that I can build my brand and all it takes to achieve my goal.… It is probably in my DNA. I would like to share my passion for designs, my vision of aesthetics, my love of colored stones and diamonds, and probably also the hunger to recapture the legacy of my grandfather.”
Aysoy was born in Antwerp, and she describes her early childhood as happy, creative, and artistic. Her father and grandfather worked in the diamond industry, and her mother always had elegant jewelry for every gala and gathering. One of her favorite childhood jewelry memories is of her grandfather’s rare colored diamond collection, which he would show to Aysoy and her sisters from time to time.
“My grandfather was grander than life—a very charismatic and generous man as well as a great cook,” Aysoy says. “He was hardworking and very determined. Impossible was not a part of his vocabulary. His memory is with me at all times, and when things get difficult or complicated, I always wonder what he would have done. I regret that he passed away when I was only 15.”
Around that time, Aysoy’s parents divorced. She moved with her mother and two sisters to Zurich, Switzerland. This changed her life, in part because she grew up quickly and became more pragmatic about her decisions. Rather than continue to focus on piano and dance, she decided to study economics so she could earn her own living.
After graduating from the French lycée in Zurich, she earned a bachelor of arts at HSG (University of St. Gallen) in Switzerland. She also has a master’s in marketing from Duke University, which she received in 2001.
“After my education, I worked for American banks such as Merrill Lynch, Citibank, Prudential Securities, and Credit Suisse, to name a few, in Switzerland and the USA,” Aysoy says. “I met my first husband and lived for 10 years and had my first child in Los Angeles during the 1990s.”
Besides constantly switching roles between mom, wife, and banker, she had to learn and adapt to American culture and the corporate world. It was a lot of pressure, Aysoy says. But the skills she developed—taking care of the client and managing conflicts—are ones she now employs in her jewelry business.
Aysoy met her second husband while working in London for Credit Suisse in 2003. They had a daughter in 2008 and moved back to Switzerland. Aysoy took a few years off from banking, then decided to go back to school to study gemology in 2014. She began to design jewelry, working with an atelier in Antwerp.
When her family returned to London in 2016, Aysoy knew it was time to start a brand of her own. Nadine Aysoy debuted in 2017.
“I have worked all my life to promote other brands, and I want to have a project that is me and my heart,” Aysoy says. “I find jewelry making very therapeutic, and above all I love creating pieces for my wonderful clients. It keeps me young, alive, and switched on.”
Top: Nadine Aysoy worked in finance for two decades before returning to jewelry, an industry her family has been a part of for generations. (Photos courtesy of Nadine Aysoy)
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