Professional Jeweler Archive: Ready for Her Close-Up

June 2004

Precious Metals/News


Ready for Her Close-Up

Judith Kupermanns jewels won the hearts and minds of dedicated collectors. Now she's working to enlarge her market


Jewelry designer Judith Kupermann has let nature be her guide. Her jewelry is nearly always linked to flora, whether finding a rare carved coral rose to grace a ring or creating a vine tendril peeking through a smoky quartz.

She’s soaked up other sensory experiences that also influence her jewelry. As a child, she loved visiting art museums, gazing up at the masters’ use of color. As a young adult, she studied textile design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. “I’ve always painted, and doing so has given me appreciation for color,” she says. “These experiences sharpened my standards for art.”

Nevertheless, Kupermann sensed something was missing. She discovered exactly what it was while peering through a microscope at a gemstone. There, before her, was nature’s own Impressionist art. It was a turning point.

“I had worked in apparel, then transitioned into jewelry – but I had treated jewelry like any job. The microscope changed it all. It was then I began to develop a feeling for what I was working with.”

The Calling

Studying stones comforted Kupermann because it’s where she knew she belonged. “The gemstones called to me,” she says. The design style she developed replicated nature, from the colors of subtle aquamarines to stunning red corals. She looked for unique gems, developing relationships with dealers who specialize in antique or one-of-a-kind gems. She saw not only color but also texture. “Many of my carved pieces are sculptural,” she says. “You can wear them as jewels, but they’re also miniature sculptures.”

Kupermann prefers to work in heavy karat gold and silver for her rings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants and earrings. “It makes each piece so much more substantial,” she says. “I tried some lower-karat pieces when the cost of gold went up, but they wouldn’t measure up to my standards so I have switched back to 20k and 22k gold.”

Unique Expansion

Her jewelry is rare – until now she sold only to private clients by word-of-mouth. However, she and her husband own a jewelry factory that manufactures production jewelry for large customers, so they already have a studio of jewelers and stone setters. “My line now has some 25 designs and is growing rapidly. I have also consigned some pieces to a couple of specialty shops in Manhattan – and they’re doing quite well,” she says.

Kupermann is readying herself for a bigger stage. Recently, she participated in a Shop NBC Art Fair on television. She did so with other artists, all of whom featured limited-edition jewels. “That went very well, with several unique pieces selling,” she says. “More importantly, the experience validates you in the eyes of many people.”

  • Judith Kupermann Design; (212) 947-4050, www.judithkupermann design.com.

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.

ALL PHOTOS BY ROBERT WELDON

“Bouquet” ring features hand-carved natural white coral in 18k white gold, complete with a vine-and-leaf motif with 3mm cultured pearls on wire tendrils and diamond accents.
“Rio Grande Marquise” (top right) holds a Madeira citrine in 14k yellow gold with engraved leaf and flower motif. “Beehive” (center) has red coral and 26 brilliant-cut diamonds in 20k yellow gold. The wide-band 20k yellow gold ring at lower right features an oval aquamarine cabochon.
Heavy sterling silver ring features a large smoky quartz. Look through the quartz and see a whimsical motif carved into the silver behind it.
Natural-color pink and lavender freshwater pearls and a natural-color blue akoya cultured pearl sit atop 20k and 22k yellow gold rings with engraving and diamond accents.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications