As concepts go, luxury is more nuanced than most. To some, it’s a breezy day on a pristine beach with nowhere to go and all day to get there. To others, it’s the tangible product of years of expertise and unparalleled craftsmanship—whether it’s a one-of-a-kind jewel, a hand-embroidered couture gown, or a bespoke pair of shoes. To distill the essence of a word many of us use on a daily basis, we asked 15 exhibitors at the 2018 LUXURY show in Las Vegas to reveal what luxury means to them. What they told us had nothing to do with opulence and everything to do with their own personal worldviews. Frank La Roux, senior vice president of sales and merchandising at New York City–based Color Jewels, summed it up thusly: “Jewelry is luxurious because it is handcrafted from precious metals and rare gemstones, but the biggest luxury jewelry brings is happiness to the person receiving or purchasing it.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
Founder, John Atencio
“Luxury is that perfect blend of quality, uniqueness, and comfort. It tends to be understated and, for me, it is most often experiential. It is usually associated with a new place or new experience. It may be as simple as luxurious towels, an exotic bath oil, or an unexpectedly fragrant candle. Or, perhaps, a warm personal greeting and fine service in an elegant setting. It is that unique and unexpected attention to quality and comfort. Each creates a lasting feeling and each adds to the luxury experience.”
Polar diamond earrings in 14k white gold with 0.21 ct. t.w. diamonds; $1,185; John Atencio; 720-445-5292; johnatencio.com
Founder, My Story Fine Jewelry
“Luxury, to me, is a state of being. It’s what feels indulgent. Something I wouldn’t do, eat, or buy for myself every day. As a full-time working single mom, free time is a luxury. And time alone (even if it’s only business travel) certainly feels extravagant to me. A warm bath and a glass of wine after a day at the beach, with sun-kissed skin, is a dreamy feeling to me. Maybe luxury is anything that makes you feel special. At the place I am in in my life, extra time feels special and makes me feel like when I get it, I truly deserve it.”
Amelia ring in 14k rose gold with diamonds and multicolored baguette gems; $1,675; My Story Fine Jewelry; email@example.com; mystoryfinejewelry.com
Founder, Erica Courtney
“Luxury is waking up on soft, delicious sheets in the morning. It’s a perfect start to your busy day. Luxury, to me, is about a feeling, sometimes as simple as an outdoor dinner, with a perfect breeze and a nice bottle of wine. (Thinking of Pemba beach in Africa right now.)”
18k gold Etoile ring with 7.71 ct. paraiba tourmaline, 1.81 cts. t.w. paraiba tourmalines, and diamonds; $103,400; Erica Courtney; 323-938-2373; ericacourtney.com
“Most people think of expensive things, like Champagne and fancy cars, when they hear the word luxury. But to me, luxury is when you can take simple pleasures in the quality of something you own or an experience you enjoy.
“For nearly 40 years, I’ve designed handcrafted fine jewelry for everyone—no matter the budget or style. My customers wear my designs on the red carpet and also to the grocery store. That is luxury. It’s a state of mind.”
Sunset Opal collection pendant in 18k white gold with Ethiopian opal and diamonds; price on request; Effy; 212-944-0020; effyjewelry.com
Founder, Lauren K
“Luxury is more discreet than it used to be. It could be a wonderful, candlelit bath with soft music after a long day, a great book, a dream car, a nap on a beach, some jewelry to make you feel pretty, a beautiful drive, an amazing trip, or an indulgent day of shopping, theater, and fine dining in the city. All of these things are unique; some have hefty price tags associated with them, while others cost nothing. That’s the point. It’s all about the connection one has to their own idea of luxury.”
Joyce earrings in 18k yellow gold with 14.07 cts. t.w. pink and green tourmalines and 0.07 ct. t.w. diamonds; $3,650; Lauren K; firstname.lastname@example.org; laurenk.com
FRANK LA ROUX
Senior vice president of sales and merchandising, Color Jewels
“I grew up working on a farm in southern Illinois and luxury back then meant being able to afford a good pair of work boots and warm clothes. It’s funny how that perspective changes as we get older. To me luxury never really revolved around material possessions but was more about being able to afford a certain lifestyle for your family.
“Having a nice home, driving a nice car, wearing quality clothes, providing a great education for your children, and the ultimate luxury of good health are things I am grateful for every day.”
18k white gold ring with 13.59 ct. tanzanite, 0.29 ct. t.w. baguette diamonds, and 1.18 cts. t.w. round diamonds; $18,500; Cirari; 212-764-2823; cirari.com
Designer and CEO, Le Vian Corp.
“Luxury is the experience that says, ‘I’m worth it.’ Once a guest walks through our magical doors, we must flawlessly and passionately deliver a five-star experience of the finest quality, inspired originality, great value, and superb service.
“We are trusted to symbolize our guests’ most important milestones in life. Luxury is making it memorable.”
Couture ring in 18k Vanilla Gold and 18k Honey Gold with 4.25 ct. Chocolate Diamond and 1.125 cts. t.w. Vanilla Diamonds; $94,297; Le Vian; 877-253-8426; levian.com
Principal designer and owner, Sylvie Collection
“My lifestyle is so fast-paced that a feeling of total disconnect in time and space is what luxury means to me. My most memorable experience of true luxury was when my husband took me to a small island off the coast of Thailand. The fact that I didn’t have to plan or think about anything was luxury for me. I was surrounded by beauty and extreme tranquility for a few days.
“To be able to step back and breathe in my surroundings is to experience true luxury.”
Engagement ring in 14k white gold with 0.82 ct. t.w. diamonds; $3,895 (without center stone); Sylvie Collection; 800-992-3426; sylviecollection.com
Designer and vice president, The Mazza Co.
“What an easy question, I thought, sitting at my desk full of some of our finest work. Then, I really started to think about the definition of luxury. After discarding the clichéd, I came to the conclusion that for me, time disconnected from the responsibilities of work and life—phones, email, etc.—is the greatest luxury. Whether it is a long weekend with my wife on our boat, a hike with the whole family, or even a quiet cup of coffee with no time limit, all represent what I truly yearn for every day.”
Aquamarine cabochon earrings in 14k yellow gold with sapphires, diamonds, and removable tassels; $4,750; The Mazza Co.; 800-654-3400; mazzajewelry.com
Head designer and president, Omi Privé
“Luxury is an emotion. It’s the opportunity to enjoy something you wouldn’t normally have access to, and it makes you feel exclusive. It’s not just something that’s expensive or out of reach; it’s something you don’t have the opportunity to do often.
“Luxury is family. I’ve worked very hard to build Omi Privé and outside of business, a huge luxury is time with my family. Luxury is celebration. Enjoying a fine glass of Hibiki 21 scotch and a Cohiba Cuban cigar with friends or a meaningful trip with my wife to Taormina, Sicily, are great luxuries.”
Platinum ring with 6.73 ct. cushion-cut sapphire, 1.94 cts. t.w. cushion-cut sapphires, 1.24 cts. t.w. round sapphires, and 0.86 ct. t.w. diamonds; $100,000; Omi Privé; 877-664-4367; omiprive.com
Founder, Yael Designs
“Luxury is a rare combination where the right amount of elegance meets just the right amount of comfort. Providing personable, refined service that creates one-of-a-kind luxurious experiences is our goal. Yael Designs creates wearable works of art by personally picking the best-quality gems and checking every Yael creation after production. Luxury is timeless. Creating unforgettable jewelry heirlooms that will last throughout the years and be cherished forever is our goal and a standard of luxury.”
18k rose gold bracelet with 2.71 ct. morganite, 1.14 ct. white opal, and 0.37 ct. t.w. diamonds; $6,042; Yael Designs; 415-989-9235; yaeldesigns.com
ASHWANI K. “SONNY” SETHI
“Traditionally, luxury was about extravagance not obtainable by all, but today luxury is more about the quality of one’s life.
“Luxury is making a woman feel her best when she puts on a Tara Pearls necklace that took me seven years to collect. It’s not just about acquiring a materialistic object but having social responsibility while creating art.
“Luxury is scouring the world and exhausting all my efforts to create one special masterpiece. Luxury is the blood and sweat that goes into these creations and the resulting appreciation and joy that each brings to the wearer.”
Museum collection day-to-night necklace with graduated color 15 mm–16 mm Tahitian pearls, 1.49 cts. t.w. diamonds, and 18k white gold clasp; $47,985; Tara; 888-575-TARA; tarapearls.com
“Luxury is legacy—building on decades of tradition and heritage, and redefining creative direction and designs with a refreshing emphasis on creating pieces that mark every moment that matters to the customer.”
RoyalT platinum wedding bands with 2.81 cts. t.w. diamonds, $13,990, 3.05 cts. t.w. diamonds, $18,490, 5.56 cts. t.w. diamonds, $27,190, and 2.27 cts. t.w. diamonds, $11,790; Tacori; 800-421-9844; tacori.com
Founder and CEO, VTse
“For me, luxury means that a personal desire is added into my real life, whether it’s an item, a place, an experience, or quality time with my loved ones.
“The harder I work to make an aspirational goal into reality, the more significant the luxury is to me. Sometimes it’s splurging on a limited-edition Gucci Ophidia embroidered shoulder bag, and other times it’s being able to leave the office early to watch my son in a rowing competition alongside my other three kids and husband.”
18k rose gold earrings with 29.8 cts. t.w. unheated multicolored sapphires and diamonds; $19,000; VTse; 626-577-9288; vtsejewelry.com
SUSAN KLEMT WILLIAMS
Vice president, Artistry Ltd.
“Luxury is sitting on Mauna Kea Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii during sunset. It is being unconsciously aware of the sound of the ocean lapping against the shore, the quiet chatter from other adults, and squeals of joy from children as they all relish the gifts of Mother Nature. Turning to the left, there is a beautiful bluff. To the right, the historic Mauna Kea hotel is nestled unassumingly into the landscape. This is luxury in paradise.”
Colors of Paradise ring in 14k white gold with 8.49 ct. pink tourmaline and 0.17 ct. t.w. diamonds; $3,550; Artistry Ltd.; artistrylimited.com