By Michelle Graff
Michelle-blogIt is from Ecclesiastes 1:9 and is part of the verse that reads in full, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

I bring this particular phrase up today because it is the one that pops into my head every time I go to one of the antique jewelry shows, either here in New York or out in Las Vegas. Walking up and down the aisles at these shows makes you realize that nearly every single modern jewelry designer draws inspiration from some point in the past. There truly is nothing new under the sun.

Understand, please, that when I say this I am not being critical of jewelry designers. I am sure this is true across all artistic disciplines, from music to painting to movies and even in writing.

Everyone has somebody, or something, in particular that has inspired them and whom they are, to an extent, imitating or emulating in their work. (For me, they include Susan Orlean, Jon Krakauer and Alice Munro.)

For some it can be a little more direct and personal than others, as is the case with Ross Nacht, who found inspiration for his family company’s new line, “Vintage Brilliant,” while poking around where he wasn’t supposed to be.

[caption id="attachment_3319" align="aligncenter" width="418"]Mulberry-rings-BN My favorite style in the collection is “Mulberry,” a vintage take on the halo that’s set with an emerald ($4,615), sapphire ($2,665) or aquamarine (not pictured, $2,040). I think it’s a beautifully simple ring that could be marketed to many customers. It’s good for the bride-to-be who wants a colored gemstone in lieu of a diamond, as self-purchase/right-hand ring or as a gift for people born in May, September or March.[/caption]

Nacht is the son of Alan Nacht and the great-grandson of Bernard Nacht, who started his namesake jewelry company, Bernard Nacht & Co., in Lower Manhattan in 1906.

Ross said he got into the safe one afternoon while his dad was away—a no-no—and found some original molds Bernard had made in the 1920s and ‘30s.

[caption id="attachment_3320" align="aligncenter" width="470"]Essex-ring-BN This is the white gold “Essex” ring. The suggested retail price depends on the size and quality of the diamond.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3321" align="aligncenter" width="470"]Hester-ring-BN While white metals (platinum or white gold) still are the dominant choice for bridal, I have seen a few designers coming out with some yellow gold engagement rings lately. This is the “Hester” setting in yellow gold. The suggested retail price is $3,600.[/caption]

Creating a new line from these vintage molds, he thought, would appeal to people who love the look of a vintage ring but don’t necessarily want a “used” engagement ring. This could be because they feel the ring carries some sort of negative energy—what if the marriage of the couple who owned it before ended unhappily or tragically?—or they just want something entirely new for themselves.

[caption id="attachment_3322" align="aligncenter" width="414"]Baxter-earrings-BN Vintage Brilliant also includes a necklace, the “Vesey,” and these diamond “Baxter” earrings in yellow gold (suggested retail price, $7,150).[/caption]

Right now, the Nacht family is making the rings in Vintage Brilliant in 14-karat white and yellow gold, which means they hit a great price point, but can do them in 18-karat and platinum if that’s what a customer wants. Ross said they are experimenting with a few styles in rose gold as well.

The stones are GIA-graded where noted while others were examined and graded by the Nachts themselves.

All the rings are handmade in New York from the vintage molds and each is named after a Lower Manhattan Street where Bernard Nacht once conducted business.

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