570 N. Maple Ave.
Katie Diamond—yes, that’s her real name—was in the fine jewelry business for eight years, wholesaling to stores such as Fred Segal and Barneys New York, before opening her shop in one of the oldest buildings in Ridgewood, N.J. She lived up the street and was obsessed with the space until one day, in May 2015, she decided to take the retail plunge. “I always wanted a store,” she recalls, “and my husband said, ‘Just do it.’ ”
Walk into Katie Diamond Jewelry, and you’re immediately struck by its lightness and airy feel. Because the building dates back to 1790, owner and designer Katie Diamond couldn’t make many changes to the interior. But it had plenty of windows and bright white walls, to which she added gold flourishes including modern lighting fixtures and delicate display cases. A gold Moroccan pouf sits near a table with a sign that reads: “Talk to me about my cat.” Diamond describes the decor (and the jewelry she stocks) as “a mixture of East meets West. Exotic but attainable.”
FINE AND ATTAINABLE
Accessibility is key for Diamond, both as a designer and retailer. “I really wanted to open a realistic store for myself and for the community,” she says. Alongside Diamond’s own fine and bridal jewelry—as well as designs from brands including Misa Jewelry, Elisa Solomon, and Christina Kober Designs—sit fashion pieces from the likes of Margaret Solow Jewelry, Hortense Jewelry, and her own Gilded by Katie Diamond. “It’s been so much fun to buy for a store,” says Diamond, whose jewelry taste tends toward a specific aesthetic: thin, delicate, and ultrafeminine.
THE GIFT MIX
The store also features lifestyle items such as soap, candles, smudge sticks, books, scarves, and more—a mix of items that Diamond says meshes with today’s current retail environment. A customer can walk in with less than $50 and walk out with a set of Moroccan tea glasses, a colorful porcelain jewelry tray, or a pair of 2-inch glimmer hoop earrings. “I’m not buying a $1,000 ring every day. That’s a very special purchase,” Diamond says. “It’s nice to be able to come in and purchase a $30 pair of earrings. That’s the way I shop. I think that’s the way most people are.”
Many Katie Diamond customers are well-heeled and well-traveled, and think nothing of heading an hour east to New York City to shop at Barneys or ABC Carpet & Home. But they are equally keen on supporting local businesses—both in person and on KatieDiamondJewelry.com, where they can shop most of what’s in-store. “The customers have really embraced the store and truly want it to succeed,” she says. “We’ve met this network of creative, cool, smart, kind, entrepreneurial women through the store—there is a certain type that’s drawn to it. It’s been amazing personally to befriend these girls and to see this kind of community develop around the shop.”
(Photography by Ball & Albanese; hair & makeup: Margina Dennis)