The Polish-born designer and LUXURY exhibitor built a brand on getting more bling for your buck
Like many great inventions, the Crisscut happened by accident. “I made a mistake while cutting a diamond,” confesses Christopher Slowinski of his trademark stone, which took two more years to perfect and patent. But Christopher Designs is about more than just extra-faceted diamonds. The jewelry brand’s newest brainchild: Memory Cuff bracelets. “No matter how many times you stretch it, or how wide you stretch it or twist it, the cuff immediately springs back to its original shape,” says the designer. “I think it’s exactly what today’s consumer wants and needs.”
Number of years in the biz: Just over 40.
Number of employees you oversee: Over 100.
Family and pets: My wife and I have a daughter, a son, a Yorkshire terrier, and a cat [pictured].
Describe your personal style: Tailored casual.
Best piece of advice you ever received: It was given to me by a jewelry industry friend and mentor, Ike Freedman: “Stick to what you do the best and protect it.”
Worst piece of advice: I cannot think of it—I guess it wasn’t worth remembering.
First job ever: My first job out of engineering college was as a sound technician for the movies in Poland. Of course, it wasn’t as advanced as it is today; we had to deal with reels of recording tape.
How did you get started designing jewelry? My first job in the jewelry industry was setting diamonds. I would work to bring somebody else’s design to life and think, This would have been much better if it had been designed this way.
If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? I’d probably be an engineer or teaching engineering.
Jewelry you’re wearing right now: My Cartier Ballon Bleu watch.
Five items on your desk right now: Water (important to stay hydrated), pencil and paper for sketching, a diamond scale, and a crystal Buddha carving.
Five songs on your playlist: “Atomic,” Blondie; “42,” Coldplay; “Amapola,” Andrea Bocelli; “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar),” the Doors; “Already Gone,” the Eagles.
What did you have for breakfast? Eggs sunny-side up with toast and tomatoes and coffee.
Guilty pleasure: A glass of red wine with dinner at the end of a long day.
How do you unwind? I love to paint. I find it very relaxing. I often paint cityscapes or New York scenes [pictured, top l.]. Often my painting is with my glass of wine—perfect evening!
Book you’re reading: Dead in the Water by Stuart Woods.
Book you’ve been meaning to get to: Origin by Dan Brown.
Favorite movie: Romancing the Stone. It’s funny every time.
Who would play you in your life story? Although I’d like it to be someone young, tall, and thin, perhaps with an accent, like Gilles Marini, I’d probably have to be a little more realistic. He’d have to be a bit older. Hey, maybe Harrison Ford!
Personal motto: There are two that I live by. I’m drawn to a quote by Deepak Chopra: “Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box.” Another comes from Vincent van Gogh: “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
Top: ring with 10.05 ct. L’Amour Crisscut, 1.4 cts. t.w. fancy-cut, and 0.55 ct. t.w. round diamonds in platinum
(Romancing the Stone: ™ & © 20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett; tape player: tttuna/e+/Getty; wine: courtesy of Josh Cellars)