249 Worth Ave., Palm Beach, Fla.
Historic Worth Avenue is home to more than 50 jewelers, so standing out among the crowded Palm Beach luxury market—which includes such coveted brands as Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, and Tiffany & Co.—requires some unconventional thinking. In 2009, in the aftermath of the Bernie Madoff affair and the accompanying market downturn that affected the purchasing power of many consumers in this coastal enclave of wealth, Abhishek “Abby” Patni opened A.R.T., his jewelry salon with a conspicuously hip twist. Contemporary jewels and art pieces appear on an ever-changing and expertly curated display, making clear why this newcomer is such a welcome departure from the avenue’s tradition.
ART OF THE DEAL
South Florida–bred, University of Florida–educated Patni, born in Jaipur, India (“The city of jewels,” he says), was looking to return to his adopted home state after a decadelong stint in the Manhattan jewelry trade. “I heard that Van Cleef & Arpels was moving up the block after a very long run at 249 Worth,” says Patni. The space was owned by Jane (aka “Baby Jane”) Holzer, an Andy Warhol–era superstar with investments in Palm Beach. He contacted Holzer at the recommendation of a jeweler friend they had in common, Nina Runsdorf. “We hit it off immediately,” Patni recalls. The landlord and tenant decided to collaborate on a gallery-style business with Holzer curating in-store shows of paintings, photographs, and sculpture on a revolving basis through the winter season. All the works—by Holzer favorites including Marilyn Minter, Damien Hirst, and, of course, Warhol—are for sale.
A.R.T.’s focus is on one-of-a-kind, individually crafted pieces that appeal to Palm Beach shoppers’ discerning and sophisticated tastes. “They’ve seen it all, and we try to bring them the freshest, less-readily-available pieces by designers we admire,” Patni explains, pointing to emerald jewels by Ashok Sancheti and the newest (and quite elaborate) Hutton Wilkinson for Tony Duquette designs. “We’re a little offbeat, which makes us special in a town where there are so many jewelry connoisseurs and collectors per square foot.”
The store’s stable includes such internationally renowned designers as Neil Lane, Irene Neuwirth, Loree Rodkin, Jacob & Co., and Christopher Walling, most of which are exclusive to A.R.T. in the local market. But Patni also makes a point to champion the work of local designers—Irene Lummertz and Judith Grubman Murat among them. “There’s a lot of talent here in South Florida, Palm Beach specifically, and I feel it’s important we put the spotlight on them, to offer something people can’t get everywhere,” he says. “That makes us special.”
RESOLVE TO EVOLVE
Patni has strived to keep A.R.T. a work in progress, adding lines he sees as vibrant and important “to keep things interesting, not static,” he says. “And we like to offer a range of styles and price points, with pieces starting around $5,000 up to $5 million.” His current interest, shared with many a serious jewelry customer of late, is top-of-the-line colored diamonds. (The high-end diamond jewels at A.R.T. retail in the $10,000 to $2 million range.) And Patni doesn’t hesitate to compare his selection with what’s on display at Graff and other purveyors along Worth Avenue. “We have some of the best there is here,” he says proudly.
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