Nicole Landaw: Charm Life

Portrait of Nicole Landaw

If there’s anyone who understands the importance of sentimental jewelry, it’s fine jeweler Nicole Landaw. “My husband Mark’s father—coincidentally—was also a goldsmith. Both of Mark’s parents passed away while we were dating and at some point, I helped the family break down his father’s jewelry studio,” she explains. In the safe, they found diamonds that were earmarked for earrings for Mark’s mother, one of which later became the diamond for Nicole’s engagement ring.

“Faced with the challenge of proposing to a jewelry maker, Mark proposed to me with a ‘make your own engagement ring kit’ which included this diamond and a few others and some gold,” says Nicole. “I sat with it for a few months trying to think of what mounting would affirm the diamond’s height and represent both us and my work.” The result, she says, is “wonderfully dense with meaning. It speaks to my marriage, our family and my work simultaneously.”

Half of the 14k & rainbow moonstone stacking ring

So it’s no surprise that the latest creations to emerge from the Brooklyn-based designer’s bench are also loaded with significance. Debuting at August, Nicole’s show-stopping lockets are each centered around a single, prized stone. What’s more, the pieces also have a special connection to the boutique.

“I have made lockets before—a very long time ago when I was in grad school,” explains Nicole, who launched her own namesake line in 2004 after stints with John Iversen and Ten Thousand Things. “I actually did substantial academic work on the impact of the miniature and sacred spaces in conjunction with lockets and other meaning-laden jewelry and their cultural history (momento mori jewelry, lockets, Victorian hair jewelry, reliquaries).”

14k & green tourmaline story necklace

But it wasn’t until recently when she was inspired by the precious family photos of an August client that the designer felt compelled to revisit them and “make them very limited and special and in my design language,” she says.

For Nicole, that means spending a lot of time musing over stones—“selecting them, playing with them and looking at colors and shapes and balance. I work with a lapidary as well to tailor stones to my own specifications,” says the designer, who gravitates towards colored stones like tourmalines and sapphires in her designs. “That’s so fulfilling. I get to blend both the stone and the metal into the other so that it’s seamless and everything is anticipated and authored.”

14k & blue – green sapphire band

In addition to showing lockets at her upcoming trunk show with August, Nicole will also introduce a new grouping of playful, gemstone-driven pieces. “Stones of different shapes and colors hang like mini-pendants on the same chain or stack in a line and are bisected by the chain,” she says. “These are an exciting departure from prior collections that were gold-intensive and form-focused with either one important stone or a scattering of small stones.” Rings and earrings round out the collection.

Who does she have in mind when she designs? That’s simple. “She loves jewelry and she treasures her collection and enjoys growing it—but does so really carefully and practically,” says Nicole. “She’s just as passionate about collecting meaningful pieces as I am about making them.


Jewelry Photo Credit: Ann Cutting