We’ve been fans of Lauren Priori’s ever since she opened her custom and antique jewelry studio, L. Priori Jewelry, in Rittenhouse this time last year. We were fans, too, of the collaborative collection she did with local bridal stylist Lauren Hartman of Trousseau Style—and so it comes as no surprise that we’re sitting here drooling over her latest sparkly efforts, as well.
While antiques have always been an important part of Priori’s business, she’s recently decided to expand her estate collection, which will be added to and rotated once a quarter, or every three months. (Partly, this is due to Priori’s goal of making her business as green as possible; she also uses only recycled gold and platinum in her custom designs.) For her first new wave of beauties, she’s searched everywhere from NYC to Tucson, scouring estate sales and jewelry districts across the country, and working with the trusted network of antique dealers she built up during her years of working on Philly’s Jewelers’ Row.
Priori has a discerning eye and extremely high standards for the pieces she chooses to add to her collection. First, of course, the ring has got to be beautiful. Next, she looks to make sure that it’s a true antique, and an archetype of its time period. “For retro 1940s pieces, I’m looking for warm rosy gold, bold geometry, and single cut diamonds and rubies,” she says.”If a piece is from the Art Deco 1920s-1930s, I’m looking for clean lines, black onyx, and fine gems like sapphires and emeralds.”
Next, she grabs her loupe to check the craftsmanship, making sure the stones match and that the setting work is consistent. Then, as long as the piece has great value—”Estate and antique rings typically retails for 30 to 50 percent less than their newly manufactured counterparts,” she says—the ring comes home with her. After a visit to the expert European goldsmith she works with to authentically restore each piece (only antique diamonds are used to replace missing stones, for instance), it’s ready to be sold and slipped onto the finger of a lucky Philadelphia bride.
We’ve got a few pretties below that are currently in Priori’s collection—but be sure to click over to her site to see the rest before paying her a visit.