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Nina Runsdorf, a forerunner of incorporating diamond slices in her signature line NSR Nina Runsdorf, is introducing the company’s first collection in color.

This story first appeared in the August 24, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Diamond slices were once used for industrial purposes and they appear in amorphous shapes and myriad shades of white and gray, from a cloudy looking shard of glass to a crystalline drop of water. They were once considered waste material within the jewelry industry, but today they are harder to find and costlier than just a few years ago due to increased demand from other brands. Runsdorf spent nearly a year developing cutting techniques to create slices of colored precious gemstones such as rubies, star sapphires and even emeralds, which are known to be a soft, fragile stone.

“I fell in love with their organic beauty,” said Runsdorf of her fascination with slices, which she typically sets in a custom-made bezel coated in pavé diamonds. Each piece is one of a kind due to the irregularity of the stones.

At first, Runsdorf said, “The retailers were very intrigued, but few were ready to commit to slices as they are now. The consumer loved the idea of organic diamonds that are understated, yet hold a strong presence when worn.”

The colored collection includes star sapphire pendant earrings with micro pavé diamond details, pink sapphire slice earrings, which are rose cut on top for a glittering surface, and a ruby ring set in yellow gold. Prices range from $4,500 to $25,000 at retail, with an average of $12,000. The look is less flashy than a traditionally cut and polished stone, a characteristic that bodes well for Runsdorf’s clients who continue to shop, but are looking for pieces that aren’t ostentatious.

Neiman Marcus, Meridian in Aspen, Col., Judith Anne in Houston, and London Jewelers are among the jewelry boutiques that have picked up the collection.

Runsdorf declined to divulge sales projections for the line.

A native of New York, Runsdorf has had a long career in fashion with stints at Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic as accessories director and Wathne, where she helped launch the accessories firm as fashion director.

She’d dabbled in jewelry design in the past but delved into the fine jewelry realm when she took a job working for Runsdorf Inc., the venerable diamond jewelry firm owned by her father-in-law, Lee Runsdorf, whose family’s roots in the diamond trade go back 32 generations.

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