RM: What is Minata and what role does it play within the designer jewelry market?
LK: Before our start in business in the early 70s, there was not much in the way of designer jewelry anywhere in this area. We have been fortunate to introduce many of today's most successful designers by displaying their new ideas and styles.
RM: What defines a more contemporary designer versus the more traditional designers?
LK: Traditional designers create fine jewelry utilizing precious metals with precious stones. These pieces were designed to be worn only on special occasions maybe one or two times a year. When the jewelry was not being used, it was kept safely away. Today's contemporary designers work in semi-precious stones and metals with everyday function and usage in mind. Where items of equal beauty in the past would cost thousands; these new designs now run in the hundreds; very real art at very real prices. The designers of today are creating fun wearable jewelry that is being worn by young professionals and are made to be worn, seen, and enjoyed.
RM: You bring up a very interesting point which concerns the future and future collectibles. Are we creating new family heirlooms?
LK: It's true we are not designing any new cameos, but on the other hand we are definitely creating heirlooms and keepsakes for generations to come.
RM: What trends do you see in contemporary jewelry?
LK: We are quite proud to have been associated with and to have introduced designers in this area like the late Aldo Cipullo whose work is on display in the Museum of Modern Art and Elsa Peretti who now designs exclusively for Tiffany's. We presented David Yurman and Charles Krypell. One of my favorites is Michael Good who was the originator of the Anticlastic Raising metal forming technique. This particular design utilizes a single piece of metal hammered and shaped into a very pliable but incredibly sturdy and functional piece of jewelry. This is in contrast to the process that melds more than one piece of metal by welding.
RM: Are there any rising stars on the designer jewelry horizon?
LK: Two that come to mind are Sonia Guttierez Becher and Kai Smith. These two women are without a doubt very bright lights that will most likely be influential designers.
RM: You display a diverse collection of designer tabletop art alongside the jewelry. What's the connection?
LK: Being a designer myself I believe in the philosophy of functional art. Just as our jewelry is designed to be worn and enjoyed, these original tabletop pieces have great function and are usable everyday art. Our place settings are fun and shouldn't be hidden away. The eating utensils are decorative and fun to use. I have the same passion for our tabletop accessories as I do for the other designer items.