PaperCity Magazine

May 2018- Houston

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crystalline gem that recalls the color of the most azure ocean. "Paraíbas are very, very, very rare tourmalines," she says. "Cost- wise, they can be more expensive than big diamonds." The Paraíba, which hails from Brazil and Mozambique, gets its intense blue from the presence of copper, and it made its fi rst appearance in a Sutra cocktail ring in 2012, and remains one of the line's most impressive creations. Spinels, bucking the expected black, appear in rare shades of red and pink; their origin is Tanzania. "I love combining different gemstones," Arpita says. She pulls out a pair of dangling earrings where the opals' iridescent pallor contrasts with the tender pink of sapphires. Delicate peach-colored angel-skin corals dialogue with amethysts in bracelets and rings. Dynamic blue turquoise, sourced from Arizona's Sleeping Beauty mine, is far from Western — in Arpita's hands, it's highly polished into cabochons and paired with diamonds. Turquoise has also been set among sapphires in a cocktail ring, arranged in an arabesque design echoing Mughal shapes. Arpita lays out a pair of ruby-and-diamond fan earrings in rose gold, similar to the Sutra pair J.Lo wore with her fl ame-red Versace gown for the Met Costume Institute Gala in 2015. Other collections are downright dainty yet stunning in their infi nite attention to detail — the Deco-inspired Tassel; the Feather with its ode to the national bird of India, the Peacock; and the Butterfl y, inspired by encounters in the Mumbai Gardens that would thrill any lepidopterist. FUTURE GAZING The Navlakhas credit individuals from First Lady Michelle Obama to Houston's Zadok family, as well as Neiman Marcus, for facilitating the successful story that is Sutra. Regarding FLOTUS' endorsement, Divyanshu says, "What was amazing was the fact that someone so important would wear a baby brand. Normally, the First Lady would wear classical Cartier or classical Bulgari — like a string of pearls — but First Lady Michelle Obama had the guts to go a different route, and she wore someone who wasn't well known; maybe she saw something in it. She gave so many young designers the opportunity for exposure, which is amazing." Obama wore Sutra for important evening appearances: state dinners for the presidents of France and Mexico, ceremonies including the 2013 Oscars telecast where she presented the award for Best Picture to Argo, and, this past February, she wore Sutra diamond feather earrings for the unveiling of the President and First Lady's portraits at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. When Michelle Obama attended one of her fi nal Kennedy Center Honors as First Lady, her apricot-hued Monique Lhuillier gown was accessorized by a pair of Sutra earrings set with exotic pink gems. The couple insists that Sutra will remain headquartered in Texas; their global strategy will be enacted from Houston, where they fi rst dreamed up their collection. Sutra is already in the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia) and throughout Asia, but there's more of the world to consider. "We defi nitely would like to expand to places that we are not currently," Arpita says. "Australia, Africa … There are so many markets where people are hungry for something different." Divyanshu confi rms that freestanding Sutra boutiques are also a possibility. "I think if we were to open our fi rst store, we would do it in Beverly Hills or the Los Angeles area," he says. They are also striving to expand their customer base: While most pieces are priced $30,000 to $50,000, with one-of-a-kind works hitting six or even seven fi gures, Sutra recently introduced jewels priced under $20,000 — making their colorful take on gemstones accessible for the emerging jewelry buyer. Like the multitude of colored stones that burn brightly across Sutra's Mosaic Collection, the future is abundant and shining. Sutra is at Zadok Jewelers in Houston. JEWELS WITH A PAST Anthony Hopenhajm. "It may not always be appropriate to wear diamonds, but shells or stones never offend. It's the ultimate in good taste." Schepp's cult of understated chic was the height of fashion in the 1940s, embraced by Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Katherine Hepburn, and Wallis Simpson, along with such American aristocrats as the Kennedys, Mellons, DuPonts, and Roosevelts. Even Juana Castro was a fan, says John Traina, author of Extraordinary Jewels; she fell in love with a pair of bracelets she'd seen in a magazine ad. "To make the purchase, she dispatched her two brothers, Raul and Fidel, who paid with many, many traveler's checks," Traina says. Hopenhajm adds, "Our clients are independent women who are sensitive to being well-dressed without calling attention to themselves. They need wearable jewelry they can travel with. Their earrings go on the nightstand at the end of the day, not in the safe." Relaxed, yes, but Seaman Schepps' jewels are also loads of fun: cabochon e m e r a l d s t h e s i z e of jelly beans, ear clips of coral k o i f i s h s w i m m i n g t h r o u g h turquoise and pearls, and a charming bracelet of carved amethyst snuff bottles sparkling with diamonds. Born in 1881 on Manhattan's Lower East Side, Schepps is said to have been named for a nearby Seaman's Bank. He opened his first jewelry store in Los Angles in 1921, but soon moved back to New York City, opened a store, lost it all in the 1929 crash, and reopened in 1934 on Madison Avenue. The store has been located at 485 Park Avenue since the 1950s. Schepps died in 1972, leaving an archive of more than 5,000 renderings and 650 molds, from which current-day pieces are still made. The renderings and molds are also used to create new designs in his style. Everything exudes the joie de vivre, wit and cosmopolitan style Schepps was famous for. "Our jewelry never goes out of style," Hopenhajm says. David Webb and Seaman Schepps at Tenenbaum Jewelers. (continued from page 31) Above: Sutra Paraíba Pear Perfection ring from the High Jewellery Collection with Paraíbas and diamonds in 18K white gold. Above: Seaman Schepps' Rigate Cuff in ebony wood and diamonds, $29,500. (continued from page 34) 36

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