JCK Asks…Lauren K

The lawyer-turned-­designer is ­doing her great-grandfather proud

If things had gone differently, Lauren Kessler might have ended up a lawyer. Selfishly, we’re glad she went into the family business. A fourth-generation jeweler, Kessler debuted her Lauren K line in 1997. Characterized by her veritable rainbow of colored-stone selections and pavé diamond accents, the pieces are beautifully unfussy—low-key enough for everyday wear, yet attention-grabbing in their own way. (They’re also affordable: A yellow gold ring featuring a 12 ct. blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds recently sold for less than $3,000.) Though we’re particularly partial to her rainbow moonstones and multicolored sapphires, even when pressed, the designer can’t pick a favorite: “I like them all—with a lot of interesting flaws or unique markings, characteristics, and inclusions,” she says. And as you might expect, Kessler’s collection incorporates just about every gem you can imagine. Keep an eye out for her—and her newest pieces—at the JCK Las Vegas show. We bet you won’t be able to choose your favorite colored stone either.

Ernie the Havanese

Age: 43

Number of years in the biz: 19

Number of employees you oversee: 5, and a lot of talented subcontractors

Family/pets: Two kids, Sam and Carly, 13 and 10, respectively; Ernie, our Havanese

Describe your personal style: Casual chic

Lauren K 2012 collection rings

First piece you ever designed: Pavé stacking bands in different colors

The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: Our signature hand-hammered Helena link chain, either plain or with moonstones

Best piece of advice you ever received: “Do the right thing.”

Worst piece of advice: “Don’t close any doors.” Not true—some are meant to be closed, and then a window unexpectedly opens!

Helena link chain and earrings

First job ever: Telemarketing for a local newspaper

How did you get started designing jewelry? I worked for my grandfather, who worked for my great-grandfather. I am still in the same office they both worked out of!

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? I would be a child advocate or an entertainment lawyer/agent.

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: Labradorite ring, moonstone Isabella pendant, Helena chain, and ­blackened silver Sprinkle bangles

Rainbow moonstone Layla earrings

Are there any lessons from law school that helped you in the jewelry business? How to read and think critically—and be very quick on my feet

Five items on your desk right now: A ceramic ­penguin pencil holder my daughter and I painted together, my iPad, jewelry models, checks I just signed, pictures of my kids

Five songs on your playlist: “Gravity,” Sara Bareilles; “Can I Get A…,” Jay-Z; “The Anthem,” Pit Bull; “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” Sheryl Crow; “Turning Tables,” Adele


Exercise regimen: Tennis, Zumba, walking

What did you have for breakfast? Chobani yogurt and iced coffee

Guilty pleasure: Jersey Shore (sad, but honest), Words With Friends

Drink (daytime/evening): Coffee/water/wine

First website you check every day (not your own!): Local news/weather


Scent: Narciso Rodriguez

How do you unwind? Reading, tennis, movies, traveling

Favorite thing to do in New York City: Theater

Superstitious? Nope

Book you’re reading: The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore, Benjamin Hale (fantastic)

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: The Invisible Bridge, Julie Orringer

Preferred news source: CNN app

Main means of transportation: My car

Favorite movie: Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella)

Who would play you in your life story? Tina Fey

Personal motto: “Only kindness matters.”

More JCK Asks… on JCKonline.com:
+ JCK Asks…Melissa Joy Manning
+ JCK Asks…Katey Brunini
+ JCK Asks…Michael Beaudry