Store We Adore: Marisa Perry Atelier in New York City



636 Hudson St., New York City

On a lovely corner in Manhattan’s West Village, the staff at Marisa Perry Atelier greets shoppers with a glass of bubbly and a heart-stopping array of diamond engagement rings and wedding bands.
Douglas Elliott Marisa Perry
“We’re making a product for people who are in love. It’s wonderful,” says Elliott (with wife/partner Marisa Perry).

Marisa Perry, a vivacious brunette, is the face of the business. Her husband, Douglas Elliott, dressed in black from head to toe, designs rings with an emphasis on the finest micro-pavé settings. Together, they offer a product and level of service that attract a high-end clientele fueled by word of mouth. The secret, says Elliott, is simple: “Every day I ask myself, How can I make the most beautiful engagement rings and wedding bands in the world?”

Dynamic Duo

Crystal chandeliers, sheer curtains, and a photo mural of a model dripping in diamonds create an ethereal vibe at Marisa Perry Atelier, but the stars of the show are the owners and their sweet dog, Max. Perry and Elliott form the yin and yang of their business, bantering in a manner that attracted an offer for a reality TV series (they declined). They met at a bar in 2001, when Perry worked in marketing and Elliott was designing a namesake line for Neiman Marcus. At the end of their first date, he gave her an eight-strand pearl necklace and two rings, declaring, “This doesn’t obligate you to see me again.” She countered, “If I was going to do something with you, I wouldn’t do it for pearls.” Chuckling, he says, “I knew I had found my muse.”

Marisa Perry diamond ringsMarisa Perry diamond bands

 

With This Ring…

“There’s nothing stuffy about our store,” says Perry. “The guys are already scared about asking a woman to marry them.”

When grooms-to-be enter the store, Perry or one of two trusted sales associates invites them to peruse a vertical display case of diamond rings in varied shapes and styles. “We put people at ease,” she says. “Millennials want to interact with someone side by side, like at the Apple store, before sitting down to look at loose diamonds face-to-face.” Behind the main gallery, a small sales desk offers greater privacy; another space displays Forevermark diamonds. Rather than asking a client’s budget, Perry zeroes in on the size of the center stone, showing what’s possible for, say, $25,000, which is an average sale. It helps that Elliott offers hundreds of settings, many of them available for preview on the store’s newly redesigned website and Instagram account. “We’ve been to the Fifth Avenue jewelers,” Perry says dismissively, “and we have more options than all of them combined.”

Bigger and Better

Marisa Perry case
”I like a responsibly sourced diamond,” says Douglas Elliott. “I want my customers to know where their diamond comes from.”

Driven by trends in fashion jewelry, Marisa Perry clients prefer a large center diamond—2 carats, says Perry, is their “basic stone”—in a delicate setting, which plays to ­Elliott’s strength in micro-pavé. He specializes in ­diamond-encrusted wedding bands as thin as 1 mm, designed to fit flush beneath the engagement ring. His micro-pavé stones are set by hand under a microscope in individually drilled holes, with prongs that are virtually invisible from the side. “The New York woman doesn’t want what other people have,” Elliott says. “We’re constantly changing, constantly listening to our customers.” Perry, he adds, can make even the most demanding client happy. “We stay in touch,” she says with a smile, “and soon they’re back with a baby stroller buying a push present.”

(Photography by Ball & Albanese)