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“I’m lucky to have made great contacts in the industry – I have access to so many beautiful things without having to carry millions of dollars of inventory myself.  With an edited inventory and a small showroom instead of a retail storefront, I provide great value and an intimate, personal experience to my clients.”

L. Priori Jewelry specializes in creating custom and antique engagement rings.  This private Philadelphia jeweler gives an intimate experience to her clients, leaving them with worthwhile moments and precious jewels that will be cherished for a lifetime!  Lauren Priori is not only an amazing ring designer, but she works with Philly In Love to provide couples looking for rings with well needed information and guidance.  Lauren is passionate about her work and it shows through the beautiful personalized designs of L.Priori Jewelry.  We had an amazing chat with Lauren, to discuss her evolution as a jewelry designer and learned how she became a connoisseur of lovely estate jewels.

Lauren Priori

What lead to you beginning your work with jewelry? How did you first establish your business L.Priori Jewelry?

Jewelry combines three of my favorite things – art, history, and science!    After graduating from Wharton, I took courses to become a gemologist while most of my peers were starting jobs on Wall Street.  I’ve worked with friends and family on custom pieces over the past few years while  managing an estate jewelry company.  Last year my client base grew exponentially and I knew it was time to pursue my business full time.  Luckily I still get to work with the talented craftsmen on Jewelers’ Row!

What is the process like creating custom jewelry? Where do you grab your inspiration? We’d love to know about your design process—choosing materials, and design development.

The design process starts with an initial consultation with my client.  Clients often come to me with an abstract idea – whether it’s the shape of the diamond or a setting style they love – but sometimes they need a lot of guidance!  I ask a lot of questions about the couple’s love story, lifestyle, and the jewelry they love to wear the most.  Using that input to create a few sketches, I’ll work with the client to refine our vision.  The whole process is very collaborative and a lot of fun!  When sourcing diamonds, I’ll often sort through dozens of stones to find three or four that are truly superior.  Once we have selected a center stone and a setting style, I work with the best hand fabricator, stone setter, and engraver to create the sparkling finished product.  The fabrication process can take between 2 and 6 weeks, depending on the design and the season!

Take us through your “typical” day at the showroom.

A typical morning starts with checking Instagram, local news, and the NY Times.  If I have a client meeting that morning, I’ll review any stones I’ve sourced and start brainstorming setting designs.  New client meetings are my favorite – I love to find out how the couples met and share in one of the most exciting times of their relationship!  After a client meeting, I’ll reply to emails and skim jewelry and wedding industry blogs to keep up to date.  The afternoon might take me to Jewelers’ Row to check in with my diamond dealers on their new arrivals and check progress on any rings I have in the works.  If a ring is ready, I’ll contact my client to make a special delivery!

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What was the first piece of jewelry you ever made? How have your designs evolved?

My career started when I was 7, selling friendship bracelets on the playground.  The principal didn’t quite support my entrepreneurial spirit, but I was hooked!  I moved onto semi precious stones and wire wrapping in high school, eventually learning about the fabrication of fine jewelry at the Gemological Institute of America.  Over the past few years, my designs have evolved to include the special touches that you only see in custom pieces – fine double claw prongs, hidden engravings, and seamless lines.

What is it about engagement rings? What has been your most memorable creation experience?

An engagement ring is the most personal piece of jewelry we own.  It symbolizes so many beautiful things – commitment, love, and a decision to take on life as a couple!  My most memorable rings were created for two lovely women I’ve known for many years.  They both have step cut center stones is classic platinum mounting, each with a slightly different take on a classic style.  Both rings are classically beautiful and one of a kind – and like the couple themselves, complement each other perfectly.

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Who do you envision wearing your custom antique rings? Do you think about this when you work on designs?

I love creating rings for anyone in love!  To me, an engagement ring should look as good at age 60 as it did at 30.  Classic doesn’t necessarily mean boring!  I always think about the client and how her ring will fit into her every day style.  Does she love bold rose gold designs from the 1940s?  Or does she prefer modern pieces with clean lines and minimal prongs?  It’s all about what will fit into her lifestyle.

How do you personally define estate jewels?

Estate jewelry encompasses any piece that has been owned and adored before.  Estate pieces can be anywhere from 1 year old to 200 years old!  Some of the most popular estate styles are from the 1920s and 1930s.  With their clean geometry and sparkly antique diamonds, they’re easy for any bride to love.

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The most meaningful piece of jewelry I personally own. . .

are the sparkly diamond studs from my beautiful mother!  My mom wore them almost every day when I was a little girl.  She passed them down to me two Christmases ago and I almost never take them off.

Tell us about your three core philosophies of growing your brand and why they are important to you.

Honesty – As a gemologist, I’m adamant that my clients know what they’re buying.  I’m always up front about a stone’s quality because in this business, trust is everything.  Authenticity – Luxury can feel stuffy, but my business is all about comfort and approach-ability.  Why shouldn’t the most important purchase of your life feel relaxed and fun?  Joy – the jewelry industry – and particularly the wedding ring business – is such a happy niche.  I love sharing in one of the happiest times in a couple’s life!

How does living in Philadelphia influence your design style?

There are so many things to love about our vibrant city.  If you walk 18th street from Rittenhouse down to Washington Ave, you’ll take in everything from historic brownstones to fabulously lush flower boxes to slick new homes in Graduate Hospital.  I love that our city has a rich history but is constantly reinventing itself and staying fresh and modern.  I use that same sensibility in my ring designs – marrying timeless style with modern lines.

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Describe your aesthetic.

I love classic styles that have a feminine twist and unexpected details.  Whether it’s a double claw prong detail or a secret engraving inside the ring, I create pieces with personal details.

What are some new pieces you are working on?

I’m working on several super secret rings for some very special ladies!  Aside from the usual engagement ring fun, I’m excited to be working on push presents for a few glam mamas.

What are your plans for the coming future?

I’m looking forward to working on wedding bands for all of my newly engaged clients!  Beyond that, I’m partnering with other local businesses on some really fun projects.  I can’t wait to share!

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lauren@lpriorijewelry.com