JCK Asks…Jack Kelége

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but designer Jack Kelége might beg to differ. His favorite gemstone? Naturally, diamonds. His favorite cut? Round brilliant. Of course, what would you expect from a man who makes his living creating jewelry—engagement rings, especially—with some of the most spectacular specimens of that stone you’ve ever seen? “The best thing about being a bridal designer, for me,” says Kelége (pictured), “is designing something that is not only a symbol of commitment and love, but will be cherished for a lifetime.” Check out his sparklers in person at JCK’s LUXURY show May 31–June 6. 

Age: 66

Number of years in the biz: 50-plus 

Number of employees you oversee: 20-plus


Family and pets: Molly is our Pomapoo. We also have a parrot.

Describe your personal style: I’m drawn to anything classic. I think that comes through in my designs as well. 

First piece you ever designed: When I was 10 years old, I melted my mother’s silver spoon to make a ring for my girlfriend. My mother wasn’t very happy, but my girlfriend was. 

The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: I would have to say that I’m most proud of my wife’s wedding ring—it’s our heirloom. 

Best piece of advice you ever received: “Work hard, don’t cut corners.”

Worst piece of advice: “Sometimes you’ll have to settle for less than perfect.”

First job ever: I’ve always been in jewelry. From my first job to today, I’ve been a jeweler.

Kelége 18k white and rose gold diamond band

How did you get started designing jewelry? I’m a third-generation jeweler and learned the craft when I was a young boy. 

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? I cannot imagine myself doing anything else. It’s in my DNA. 

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: Oddly, I don’t wear much jewelry; I rarely ever do. My wife on the other hand—that’s another story. 

Items on your desk right now: Loupe, parcel of diamonds, pictures of my family, a tray of jewelry that needs to be shipped, and 2016 LUXURY show exhibitor contract.

Songs on your playlist: It’s on shuffle, and it ranges from jazz to classic rock. 

Drink (daytime/evening): Water/Beluga vodka.

Exercise regimen: I try to do half an hour on the treadmill five times a week.

What did you have for breakfast? I typically have coffee and a protein bar for breakfast.

Guilty pleasure: Anything with sugar—I have a sweet tooth! 

First website you check every day (not your own!): Each day, I catch up with The Wall Street Journal.

Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Desert Oud

Scent: Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Desert Oud cologne.

How do you unwind? Nothing helps me disconnect from the busy days like spending time with family and friends. 

Superstitious? Not at all.

Book you’re reading: It’s the busiest time of the year as a jeweler, thus no leisurely reading at the moment, unfortunately. 

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: Things That Matter by Charles Krauthammer.

Preferred news source: Fox News, CNN, WSJ.

Main means of transportation: My car is my main way of getting to and from. 

The Godfather

Favorite movie: The Godfather.

Who would play you in your life story? If it’s my decision, then George Clooney would play me. 

Personal motto: “Be honest and work hard!” 

Top: Kelége’s 18k yellow gold and diamond cuff, rubellite and diamond earrings in platinum, and 18k gold and diamond bangles

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