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“It’s about being accessible, it’s about bringing jewelry back to the basics and celebrating what’s involved in the craft. The stone and the strand; we really just wanted to focus on that,” says Stone & Strand owner Nadine McCarthy Kahane. As a longtime collector of jewelry, Kahane soon realized the online space had a distinct lack of platforms offering a curated, personalized buying experience for jewelry. Her desire to fill that space and make both emerging and established jewelry designers more accessible soon found a kindred spirit in Brooke Magnaghi, who she hired as Stone & Strand’s creative director.
Offering personal shopping consultants, custom design, after care instructions, style tips and practical educational pointers on the different metals and stones found in their pieces, Stone & Strand aims to do more than merely sell their customers a product. They want to educate their client and help them fall in love with their jewelry.
“Buying jewelry is such a personal and intimate experience,” Kahane said. “A lot of people find purchasing fine jewelry to be a bit intimidating and it shouldn’t be.” Stone & Strand’s open, highly editorial format takes away that intimidation by putting the information at the customers fingertips.
Each designer is featured with in-depth information on their practice and brand history. “These are the stories we want to tell,” Magnaghi said, displaying a hand-painted 18k gold and silver cuff from Jamaican-born designer Anna Ruth Henriques. The oversized cuff bears a cobweb motif and is heavier than expected, yet delicate and almost gothic in its appeal. “Her work is inspired by a sense of transformation and how nature inspires it in people. She’s such an inspiring woman, she’s also a poet.” Kahane more than merely rattles off these facts; she knows the jewelers, admires their work and takes it upon herself to be an ambassador of sorts, communicating their passions and artistry to Stone & Strand’s clients.
Another extension of Kahane’s efforts to bring the client into the world of the designer is the site’s private club called “The Strand.” The club will give members the opportunity to go behind the scenes and visit the studios of designers like Christine J. Brandt who painstakingly hand carves most of her wood and natural gemstone pieces. “The studio just speaks her personality,” said Kahane of Brandt’s New York workspace which is the first scheduled visit for members of The Strand. “It’s sort of just covered in wood and crystal; you could almost do a sideline and tell fortunes because it’s just so spiritual.” As Kahane and Magnaghi continued the tour, sharing anecdotes from their favorite designers and insights into the craft, it was apparent that for them there is truly something spiritual in the business of jewelry.