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BEVERLY HILLS — Beverly Hills just got a little glitzier.
This story first appeared in the August 20, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
After 13 years as celebrity jeweler Martin Katz’s right-hand man, Jay Carlile has started his own fine jewelry outfit, Jay Carlile & Co., blocks away from his former stomping grounds.
Produced in Antwerp, Belgium, the 70-piece collection of one-offs retails from $5,000 to $75,000 and sells via private appointments in the company’s Beverly Hills headquarters and at Silverhorn in Montecito, Calif. Carlile hopes to begin wholesaling to boutiques in the U.S. and Asia this year.
“I wanted to make pretty fine jewelry that isn’t too over the top to wear to lunch or dinner. Not everything has to be red carpet,” he said. “I think our line would also have broad appeal in the Asian market.”
With an emphasis on colored gems and designs featuring intricate, multicolored pavé settings and oversize center stones, the pieces are a far cry from the traditional white diamond and platinum pieces that are the bread and butter of most Rodeo Drive jewelers. A large orange fire opal ring, for example, is flanked by an intricate pavé scallop pattern of mandarin garnets and sapphires that play up the opal’s colorations. Larger pieces such as a whimsical chameleon or dragonfly pin take months to make, as do cocktail rings with three-dimensional crown settings and overlays.
There are a few white diamond pieces as well as narrow diamond bands starting at $1,500. Carlile also makes custom engagement and wedding rings. His fans include women who know their way around a red carpet: Elizabeth Banks, Helen Hunt, Brenda Strong and Jennifer Westfeldt.
“The celebrity endorsement isn’t really important to my clients, but if famous women I have relationships with want to wear the pieces, I’m happy to dress them,” he said.
Prior to working with Katz, Carlile was the general manager of Ralph Lauren’s Rodeo Drive boutique and also headed its West Coast p.r.
“I love anything that is fine and luxurious, whether it’s a garden or a car or a necklace,” he said. “But unlike clothing, with jewelry you just have to make one piece and it stands on its own as art. I love the immediacy and the emotional connection people have with their jewelry.”