Leon Megé Jewelry in Martha Stuart Weddings Fall 2013
Le Frisson De La Chasse - French on romance. For the French, the chase is more exciting than the quarry. Occasionally, we feel compelled to give in.
This Holiday season, we offer a wide range of one-of-a-kind pieces to satisfy your partner’s tireless je ne sais quoi by presenting her with a rare Brazilian Paraiba dazzled with mysterious icy fire.
The Windex-blue natural Paraiba contrasts with vivid yellow diamonds covering all surfaces except the edge, set with white diamonds. 3.36 total carats of random pave features a variety of diamond sizes. Slight variations in color and tone are typical for natural diamonds.
Brazilian Paraiba with fancy yellow diamonds in random pave r7504
Unheated 1.61 ct ruby ring r7438
4.13 ct Mon Cheri™ ring r7510
4.90 carat Kashmir sapphire r6319
Shades of Glory By Dana Wood
W Magazine Features the Award Winning Paraiba right-hand ring. Maestro describes the gem as a "sugar cube dipped in Windex."
Featured ring - "Nina" engagement ring with princess cut diamond and micro pave diamonds in the halo and shank - r5852
Pendant Nuptials by Mitzi Zieve
Designers believe in happily ever after as they create a new category of baubles that you can wear long after the wedding night. While there are fabulous long drop earrings and intricate wide cuff bracelets, for me, the trend is toward highly personalized pendants. The bolder statement pieces are wonderful to wear for special occasions but gemstone or diamond pendants are keepsakes the bride can always wear close to her heart. And she can wear them with almost everything in her wardrobe. Some are conversation pieces such as Leon Megé: The Art of Platinum’s two-sided lover’s charm with moonstone/rubies on one side and white and yellow diamonds and rubies on the opposite side.
LEON MEGE, PROPRIETARIO DELLA PIU’ FAMOSA CASA DI ALTA GIOIELLERIA DI MANHATTAN RIVELA I SEGRETI SUI DIAMANTI
Leon Mege: “Anche nella società relativamente democratica di oggi, il simbolo dello status è sempre un diamante”
Un gioielliere russo, immigrato negli Stati Uniti durante il periodo comunista, Leon Mege è ora il proprietario di una delle più famose case di alta gioielleria a Manhattan. I nomi dei suoi clienti non possono essere rivelati, ma i loro ordini, come un ciondolo con il diamante da 89 carati, creato da Mege, parlano da soli.
D-Art ha incontrato il gioielliere per parlare del “sogno americano” e dell’affascinante mondo dell’alta gioielleria.
Nato in Unione Sovietica, sei immigrato negli Stati Uniti durante gli anni del comunismo, e ora sei il proprietario di una gioielleria più rinomata di New York. La tua storia sembra davvero il sogno americano…
Realizzare il sogno americano vuol dire lavorare tanto, sodo, con molta tenacia e devozione. In tutti questi anni non ho mai lavorato meno di 50 ore a settimana, più spesso 60-70 ore. Sembra irreale, ma questo è quello che ci vuole per costruire un marchio e crearsi la reputazione. New York è un posto fantastico per chiunque abbia un sogno di iniziare un’attività e farsi la strada. E’ un luogo pieno di energia e sono stato fortunato ad approdare in questa città quando sono venuto negli USA per la prima volta.
Cosa ti ha spinto a percorrere la strada rischiosa, fare l’imprenditore, il gioielliere, invece di provare un percorso da immigrante più comune? Hai mai avuto dei dubbi? Ti sei mai chiesto “E se non dovesse funzionare?” Hai mai avuto paura di fallire?
Lavorare da solo a New York non è affatto rischioso. New York è una città enorme con tantissime opportunità di lavoro per una persona che lavora sodo, quindi non corri mai il rischio di essere lasciato fuori.
L’alta gioielleria è un campo creativo, con l’enfasi sull’artigianato. I bravi gioiellieri sono sempre richiesti. L’esperienza è la cosa più importante, e un gioielliere virtuoso non può essere facilmente sostituito. Un datore di lavoro è più dipendente dai suoi gioiellieri “star” che il contrario.
Il momento in cui mi sono posto la domanda “Che cosa succederà se non dovesse funzionare?” è arrivato quando ho assunto altre persone.
Fino a quel momento non avevo dubbi sul mio successo, ma una volta che la crescita del business richiedeva più personale, dovevo imparare a gestire gli altri, e non era per niente facile.
Parliamo del tuo lavoro. Leon Mege lavora con le pietre rare e diamanti davvero enormi. Qual è il diamante più grande con cui hai mai lavorato? Quanto potrebbero costare questi gioielli?
Ogni ordine viene tenuto in completo blackout. Non posso menzionare le pietre specifiche altrimenti potrei violare la privacy dei miei clienti.
I più grandi e importanti rivenditori di diamanti e pietre preziose si trovano a New York, quindi qui capita di lavorare con delle pietre enormi.
Ad esempio, in questo momento sto facendo un paio di orecchini con diamanti di circa 30 carati ciascuno. Il prezzo? Poco meno di 3 milioni di dollari. Anni fa ho realizzato un ciondolo con un diamante D-flaw da 89 carati del valore di circa $ 18 milioni.
Capisco il fascino che le persone provano per le pietre enormi, anche se per me, una pietra da 50 carati non sembra così bella come un “modesto” diamante da 10 carati ben tagliato.
In realtà lavorare con le pietre grosse è più facile.
Di recente si sente molto parlare dei diamanti sintetici. Alcuni dicono che la loro qualità è la stessa dei diamanti naturali, ma il costo è molto più accessibile. Quali sono le differenze tra un diamante reale e un diamante artificiale? Come uno può capire se un diamante è artificiale?
Attualmente solo un laboratorio di diamanti come GIA può distinguere pietre naturali da quelle sintetiche. Non vi è alcuna differenza fisica tra la pietra sintetica e quella naturale tranne le minuscole tracce chimiche. Per un consumatore, un diamante sintetico diventerà una buona scelta quando i prezzi scenderanno. Attualmente, il prezzo dei diamanti sintetici è ancora troppo alto. Un diamante naturale è una scelta migliore.
Il platino o l’oro bianco: cosa preferisci? Quali sono le differenze?
L’oro bianco è semplicemente un sostituto del platino. È adatto alla fusione ma non è raccomandato per la fabbricazione manuale. Il platino è naturalmente bianco, è un metallo denso, non ossidante, auto-brunito di scelta per il lavoro su misura. Il platino è più puro – è il 95% di platino puro contro il 75% nell’oro 750.
A cosa bisognerebbe prestare l’attenzione quandosi acquista un gioiello in modo da distinguerne uno di qualità?
Il modo migliore per esaminare la qualità di un pezzo è capovolgerlo ed esaminarlo attentamente. La freschezza e la finitura di ogni parte sono essenziali. Tutte le parti devono avere una calzata precisa.
Parlaci delle tendenze della moda in gioielleria?
Le tendenze in gioielleria sono fortemente influenzate dalle celebrities. Sfortunatamente essere famosi non garantisce un buon gusto. Le persone che cercano di emulare il kitsch finiscono con l’indossare gioielli inguardabili.
Per fortuna, i modelli classici stanno lentamente tornando di moda: i tagli di diamanti importanti come il taglio francese, il cuscino Asscher e Antique.
In questo momento, stiamo assistendo a un minore micro-pave in quanto i consumatori stanno tornando al look classico. C’è un interesse per gli anelli di fidanzamento che sono meno ornati e un po’ più casual e senza pretese come gli anelli classici a tre e cinque pietre.
Trapezi, proiettili e scudi sono le pietre laterali più comuni.
Gli aloni stanno ancora andando forte, ma l’alta gioielleria sta abbracciando semplici solitari con una sola pietra.
Parlando di gioielli da uomo, quali sono i pezzi più richiesti?
I maschi americani raramente indossano i gioielli, ad eccezione dei membri della comunità hip-hop che preferiscono enormi catene e croci vistose. Non lavoriamo con questo tipo di gioielli. Facciamo tanti gemelli e fedi nuziali da uomo.
La tua arte si basa sulla tradizione europea dei gioielli. Qual è la differenza tra la tradizione europea e quella americana?
Gli americani, in generale, tendono a trattare i gioielli come qualcosa di usa e getta, proprio come trattano le stoviglie o addirittura le case. Pertanto, la qualità della gioielleria è secondaria rispetto al suo costo. Non significa affatto che non ci sono americani che apprezzano la qualità e l’artigianalità a un costo premium, altrimenti la mia azienda fallirebbe.
Tuttavia, in Europa, la tradizione di passare i gioielli dai genitori ai figli è più diffusa.
Pensa che i diamanti siano ancora i migliori amici delle ragazze?
Senza alcun dubbio. Anche nella società relativamente democratica di oggi, il simbolo di status è sempre un diamante.
AUTORE: di Veronica Sheynina
LEON MEGE, PROPRIETARIO DELLA PIU’ FAMOSA CASA DI ALTA GIOIELLERIA DI MANHATTAN RIVELA I SEGRETI SUI DIAMANTI
Leon Mege: “Even in today’s relatively democratic society, the ultimate status symbol is a diamond”
A Russian-born jeweler who immigrated to the USA during the communist period, Leon Mege is now running one of the most noted high-end jewelry houses in Manhattan. The names of his clients remain private, but their impressive orders, like an 89-carat diamond pendant, created by Mege, speak for themselves.
D-Art has met the jeweler to talk about the “American dream” and about the fascinating world for high jewelry.
Born in Russia, immigrated to the USA during the communist years, now the owner of a successful jewelry house in New York. The story of Leon Mege sounds like an American dream. Tell us more about your story?
The American dream involves a lot of grit, tenacity, and hard work. All these years I never worked less than 50 hours a week, more often 60-70. It sounds unreal, but this is what it takes to build a brand and its reputation. New York is a fantastic place for anyone with a dream to start a business and get noticed. New York is a vibrant place that is full of energy and I was lucky to land in this city when I first came to this country.
What made you fancy a risky choice of working on your own as an exclusive jeweler in America instead of trying some more common immigrant’s path? Did you ever have any doubt? Did you ask yourself “What if it doesn’t work”? Did you ever have a fear of failing?
Working on your own in New York is not risky at all. New York is a huge city with tons of jobs available to a hard-working person, so you never run a risk to be left out. The upward mobility is great, the playing field is leveled for those who are willing to invest time and energy into starting a business.
High-end jewelry is a creative field with an emphasis on a craftsman. Good bench jewelers are always in short supply. Any skilled jeweler capable of doing custom work entirely by hand can always find a job. Experienced, and more importantly, a talented jeweler cannot be easily replaced, the employer is more dependent on his “star” bench jewelers than vice versa.
The moment when I actually asked myself the question “What if it doesn’t work” came when I first realized that I need to start hiring other people.
Until that moment I had no doubt in my success, but once the business growth demanded more manpower I had to learn how to employ others, and that was not easy.
Let’s talk about your work. Leon Mege works with really huge rare stones and diamonds. What is the biggest diamond you have ever made a jewelry piece with? How much may this jewelry cost?
Each collaboration is kept in a complete blackout. I cannot mention specific stones otherwise I might infringe on my client’s privacy.
The biggest, most important dealers in diamonds and gemstones are located in New York, so when you work for the trade you work with huge stones.
For example, right now I am making a pair of earrings with cushion diamonds approx 30 carats each. Price – under 3 million USD.
I understand the fascination people have with huge stones, although to me personally, a 50-carat rock does not look as pretty as a well-cut modest 10-carat diamond.
Another example: years back I made a pendant with 89-carat D-flawless diamond worth about $18 million. Holding expensive stones in your hand is nothing special, just business as usual. Actually working with large stones is easier
Recently one hears a lot about artificial synthetic diamonds. Some say their quality is the same as natural diamonds but the cost is way cheaper. Tell us about the differences between a real and an artificial diamond? How can one who is not a jeweler understand if a diamond is artificial?
Currently only a diamond lab such as GIA can positively separate natural and synthetic stones. There is no physical difference between synthetic and natural stone except minute chemical traces. For a consumer, a synthetic diamond will become a good choice when the prices come down. Currently, the price of synthetics is still too high. A natural diamond is a better choice and a better value.
Platinum Vs White Gold: what do you prefer? Tell us about the differences?
White gold is merely a substitute for platinum. It is not the metal of choice. It is suitable for casting but not recommended for hand fabrication. Platinum is naturally white, it is a dense, non-oxidizing, non-tarnishing, self-burnishing metal of choice for custom work. Platinum is purer – it’s 95% of pure platinum vs. 75% in 750 gold alloy.
What one should pay attention to when acquiring a jewelry piece in a way to distinguish a quality one?
The best way to examine the quality of a piece is to flip it over and carefully examine the back. The crispness and finish of each part are essential. All parts must have a precise fit.
In short – precision, finish, and a minimal amount of bare metal is the hallmark of high jewelry – the type of jewelry we specialize in.
Tell us about the fashion tendencies in jewelry?
Trends in jewelry are heavily influenced by celebrities. Unfortunately being a celebrity does not guarantee a fine taste. Regular people trying to emulate kitsch end up with jewelry that literally hurt eyes to look at. It happens a lot.
Luckily the classics that were in retreat are slowly coming back. At the high-end old-style diamond cuts such as the French cut, Asscher, and Antique cushion are very popular.
What about the bridal fashion tendencies in jewelry?
Right now, we are seeing less micro pave as consumers are returning to the classic look. There’s an interest in engagement rings that are less ornate and a bit more casual and unpretentious such as classic three- and five-stone rings.
Trapezoids, bullets, and shields are the most common side stones.
Halos are still going strong, but the high end is embracing simple solitaires with just one single stone.
Talking about male jewelry, what are the most requested pieces?
American males rarely wear jewelry these days with the exception of the members of the hip-hop community who favor huge gaudy chains and crosses. We don’t make this kind of jewelry. We make a lot of flexible wedding bands for men and sometimes cufflinks. The flexible band is the most requested piece of jewelry by our male customers.
Your art is based on European jewelry tradition. What is the difference between European and American traditions?
Americans, in general, tend to treat jewelry as something disposable, just like they treat tableware or even houses. Therefore the quality of jewelry is secondary to its cost. It does not mean at all that there are no Americans who value quality and craftsmanship at a premium cost. Otherwise, I would not have any business left.
However, in Europe, the tradition and passing an heirloom to the next generation is given much more weight.
Do you think diamonds are still girls’ best friends?
Yes, absolutely, without any doubt. Even in today’s relatively democratic society, the ultimate status symbol is a diamond and nothing else.
AUTORE: di Veronica Sheynina
唯一可以取代铂金的其他金属是钯金。 但是钯金很难使用，加热时会氧化。 钯金作为一种珍贵材料的形象相当不稳定。这种金属长期以来都价格低廉，直到汽车工业的需求快速增长，才导致其价格飞速增长起来。
不，我不相信规则。 市场本身将解决由预期产生的所有问题。 我们都知道，有朝一日合成钻石将被大量生产。
扩展？ 不，现在增长不是由于技能或排他性。 它直接取决于营销业务战略，我们在这方面并不强大。
新型珠宝？ 我不确定它们实际上是否可行，因为珠宝中可以创建的所有类型都已被设计过了。 同样，“由设计师创造”的珠宝与之前设计的相同，略有差别，游击式的营销使人们相信设计的独特性和外观。 事实上，这些都是旧的东西，只是以一种新的形式呈现给那些不知内情的外行人。 总之，对大多数人来说是如此。
Editor-in-Chief Rough & Polished
Distinctive custom-made statement ring featuring a Paraiba tourmaline cabochon.
Ring: The Maestro by Leon Megé spells out; the one-of-a-kind ring was inspired by the gramophone, the origin of recorded music. The "Maestro" ring is a definite statement piece. And because it's a statement piece, Leon Megé has designed the ring so that the wearer can decide just what statement they choose to make.
The ring features black ebony wood disks designed to look like records to be played on the gramophone. Music is a curation process, picked and individualized by the listener to their customized tastes. The special and unique ring designed by Leon Megé takes this concept and extends it to your jewelry. It resembles an old fashion gramophone with the blackened silver trumpet that makes up the ring's body.
On the top, an 18-carat gold stud holds the records in place. Because music is individualized art, Leon has made this ring in the same manner. The tiny records that accompany the ring are made from sustainable black ebony wood. Each record individually reflects a different musical artist. In an AC/DC frame of mind?
"Play" it on The "Maestro" ring. The records are interchangeable; you can interchange them to fit your personal tastes. The design of each record is made from tiny, colorful gemstones. Leon created a specialized stand so that when The "Maestro" ring is not being worn, it can be displayed like an art piece. A platform made of silver will accompany the ring to complete the gramophone design. When standing on its own, the ring and platform will look like a miniature statue.
Fashionable and beautiful ring r5793 is featured in the "Fresh + Green" story.
"Blue Fin" ring featuring 12.75 ct. Paraiba Tourmaline cabochon accented with diamonds was featured in The Hollywood Reporter: Cannes 2014 issue
Virginia Bride Magazine showcasing selected pieces by Leon Megé "Hot Picks" section featured the following rings:
r5490 - 13.67-carat Natural Purple Sapphire with Antique Cushion Diamond Halo
r5793 - Art Deco Style Krupp-cut Aquamarine in Diamond Halo
r5852 - Nina™ Engagement Ring with Princess Cut Diamond in a custom halo
r5603 - "Elizabeth" Octagonal Platinum Wedding Band with Three-sided Pave and Ajour
r4725 - True Antique™ Cushion Diamond in a Rose Gold Halo Set with Pink Diamonds
Leon Mege's Masterful Gramophone Ring By Jennifer Heebner
Leon Megé is no stranger to works of art. During his formative career years, he worked as a bench jeweler for Henry Dunay, sometimes carving blocks of ebony into finished pieces—a technique he’s recently revisited. Last week he unveiled his new Maestro ring, crafted in the likeness of turn-of-the-century phonographs, to JCK exclusively.
The darkened silver shank is a fantastic fluted homage to the turn-of-the-century phonograph horn for funneling sound. The ring interior in 18k yellow gold features a whimsical musical note gallery whose silent melody plays for the wearer alone. Most interesting are the carved ebony, customizable, and interchangeable records that can be commissioned and collected over time. To date, just one is complete, studded with tiny inverted black diamonds spelling out the name of one of Megé’s (and this writer’s) fave bands, AC/DC. More are in the works—see plain ebony records inscribed simply with record grooves in the photos below—as is gold and pavé one.
Still, this incarnation didn’t come quickly. Megé abandoned the initial idea of placing a tiny motor inside the ring to make it operational because he thought it would cheapen the concept. And the original gold screw keeping the record held snuggly in place against the gramophone base looked too much like the winding wheel on a watch, so he changed it to a pyramid shape. Finally, Megé wanted to make this piece in platinum, but the cost was just too prohibitive. “At first, we did make it in platinum, but we had to melt it because it was an insane amount of metal—we just put thousands of dollars in metal into the prototype in platinum—and then switched to silver,” he says.
For those wondering if this style is one-of-a-kind, Megé assures that it’s not. “We hand-carved a wax model, turned it into a mold, and cast it in silver,” he explains. “So, this is not a replica yet—this is the original—but I would like to keep this and just reproduce it.”
When not in wear, the ring can perch proudly on a sterling base with an 18k gold crank arm atop a marble pedestal. The entire unit took two years to make. Inspiration hit when Megé happened upon some ebony for sale on eBay. The color reminded him of records, and he decided to re-create a record player reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour. He sees the finished creation as part jewelry, part prize. “I think it’s the equivalent of the Super Bowl ring for the musically inclined,” he muses. Megé intends to copyright the design and applies for a patent for the stamp on the bottom of the shank. And while the cost of adding this piece to your personal collection is still TBD—“it’s hard to put a price on it,” says Megé—one definite exists: the designer took third place, or bronze, in the A’Design Awards in Como, Italy, on April 14, 2013, a competition he took first place in last year.
Award-Winning "Maestro" ring with Pedestal and Interchangeable Records
Designer finds niche in the handmade jewellery scene
By Marie Feliciano
Known for his "bench made" jewellery pieces, New York-based Leon Mege loves creating wearable treasures with his own hands — from forming various shapes out of metal sheets and wires to setting polished gemstones into his special mountings.
In an interview with JNA, the award-winning designer talks about his love for bespoke platinum jewellery; his fascination with "Pigeon blood“ rubies.
Kashmir sapphires and Windex-coloured Brazilian Paraiba tourmalines: and his business plans tor 2017.
JNA: What made you decide to start your own jewellery brand?
Leon Megé: An overabundance of uncompromising creativity.
JNA: How did you manage to carve a niche in a market that is highly competitive?
Megé: By focusing only on high iewellery made entirely by hand. no casting. no CAD/CAM: I earned a significant following among people who appreciate only the finest. I am committed to the slowly dying art of making jewellery by hand. There are plenty of designers who make Jewellery by hand but not the type of the iewellery I am specialising in - platinum couture.
JNA: How do you strike a balance between the business side and the creative aspect of the business?
Megé: Art is a work without a middleman between the Artist and Nature.
Since being an artist is more important for me, I always err on the creative side at the expense of business success. Making money is nice, but it‘s not the ultimate goal in life. What is the ultimate goal? I don‘t know. Once I am done rereading Tolstoy. I‘ll email you the answer.
JNA: You love using coloured gemstones in your jewellery pieces. Which are your favourite gems and why?
Megé: I consider the following three gemstones my favourites: Pigeon blood rubies. Kashmir sapphires and Windex-coloured Brazilian Paraiba. I would need to spend days explaining why, but I don’t have that much time.
Ruby - my birthstone is the most passionate gem ever, it's "crystallized love" the way l see it.
Kashmir - the most amazing and mysterious, with its magical velvety colour. Once I saw one. I was floored. One day, I said to myself, I will own a Kashmir. Not Ceylon, not Burma, but Kashmir — a cosmic galaxy in a speck of a blue abyss.
Paraiba is an essence of happiness that you can take with you no matter where you are. Its electric colour will jolt you back to happiness, no matter who is president.
JNA: What differentiates your jewellery creations from those produced by other designers?
Megé: I am a traditional minimalist I create pieces that are subtle. their shapes and forms are classic, and they are all floral-based. As a designer, I feel I am closer to a florist or a composer. A florist doesn't create beautiful flowers but simply arranges them.
A composer doesn't create new notes. They already exist, as well as the piano and other instruments. But what we do — we add a new property to the subiect of our art, be it flowers, gemstones, sounds that don't exist in nature — a power of composition.
JNA: With social media. has it made it easier for independent jewellers to break into the mainstream market?
Megé: Yes and no. Social media blurred the distinction between a real designer and a self-promoting hack. So tar. the hacks are winning.
Unfortunately. people are gullible to trust those who have more lnstagram followers than real professionals who actually work with their hands and don’t have time to like, chat, follow and comment.
JNA: Which of your most recent accomplishments are you most proud of?
Megé: My latest accomplishment is Cleopatra — a kitten I adopted from a shelter. She has six paws due to a rare genetic mutation. She is very cute.
JNA magazine - Asia's leading magazine for the Jewellery and gem industry
JNA: What exciting projects are you working on for 2017?
Megé: I created a new category of iewellery — “affordable couture" (to be trademarked). This is something new and exciting — the finest lewellery that even a person with a relatively small budget will be able to afford, yet made with the same duality and precision as other pieces worth millions.
Two Leon Mege engagement rings were featured on the cover of the 2013 Wedding Ring Book - r4725 and r5943
Leon Megé, a designer and diamond expert, specializing in engagement and bridal jewelry, has come a long way from the 25-year-old Russian refugee who arrived in New York in 1988 with $150 in his pocket.
Recognized for his unique handcrafted, bench-made designs, Megé has built a thriving business in the heart of Manhattan’s historic Diamond District. But it was no easy journey. “Being a jeweler was a necessity for me,” says Megé, who had enrolled in trade school in St. Petersburg in order to stall his obligatory service in the Russian military. “I fell into this because I had a trade-in Russia – jewelry.”
Megé’s parents were scientists who waited over a decade for permission to emigrate to the U.S., and Megé ended up having to serve two years in the Army anyway. When emigration approval was finally granted, it sadly came only months after his mother’s death. Megé and his father were told to prepare for immediate departure, and days later arrived to an uncertain future in New York. For Megé, it was his jewelry skills that helped him start his life over.
“I had to rent an apartment. Buy a pair of blue jeans. Everyone was looking for jewelers, so I went to work.” Relying only on the English he learned during a two-month crash course before leaving Russia, he began to apply his skills working as a bench jeweler. But after a couple of years, he grew restless and studied to earn a Graduate Gemologist diploma from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). Upon graduation, Megé quickly discovered there weren’t many jobs for gemologists. So he went back to the bench, turning out jewelry on demand for brands whose salespeople he never met. It was during this time that Megé felt his talent really develop along with his ability to translate other people’s visions into beautifully finished pieces. Less than 10 years after he arrived in New York, Megé took a chance and started his own label, Leon Megé, in 1997. “Starting out as a jeweler is like playing the lottery,” says Megé. “And I always lose when I gamble. This is the only gamble I’ve taken where I have won.”
After years of doing trade work for other companies, Megé experienced the design freedom – and clarity – of working with his own clients. Because of his experiences in the trade with unhappy customers returning jewelry because a salesperson didn’t properly interview the client, Megé instituted a very careful intake process. He also developed a “punch list” detailing the anatomy of each ring, including the type of pavé, size of the stone, style of the shank, the outline of the halo.
Not stopping there, Megé dives into exactly what each client means by such subjective descriptions as “sparkly,” “high,” “simple,” “antique.” He leaves nothing to chance. “I’ve even talked clients out of more expensive rings just to keep them happy.” His questions to customers sometimes result in a ring that has evolved into another style or category altogether. Working from his penthouse studio in the Diamond District, Megé’s team of jewelers and diamond ambassadors create only bench-made designs. “Here we take a piece of square wire… rolling, cutting, hammering, filing, soldering. Megé is proud that there is no casting, machinery, or templates used in his studio. All work is finished with hand tools. “This work is very slow,” he says. While the design work could be done by CAD, it would then have to be cast – the process of pouring liquid metal into a form. “Even if you have a perfect form, and you pour metal into it, it comes out rough,” he explains.
At Leon Megé, they make everything in parts and then hand assemble the final design so it is flawlessly clean and beautiful when put together. Megé compares the quality of his bench-made rings to a bespoke suit made on Savile Row. “That is the jewelry we make. An Armani produced at factory sold at Neiman's is still high-end and expensive but it is not bespoke.” Megé’s customers appreciate the finer quality and handmade touch he provides. With all his success, the immigrant refugee from Russia still has ambitions. One is for his teenage twins to take advantage of the education America has to offer – an opportunity he gave up in order to practice his trade.
The other is a personal vision of true success: “I read a story in a travel magazine that described where one could find the shoemaker responsible for turning out the most exquisite handmade leather shoes in Italy ‘Make a right turn, then a left, down an alley and behind the third door on your right… that’s where you will find him.’ I realized – I want to be that guy! New York’s best-kept secret.”
By Brooke Conner Sevenau
The rankings can serve as relevant information to anyone looking into good designs, from businessmen, economists, and even journalists specializing in the design industry. The rankings come in a wide range of variations, showing how some countries and individual designers excel in certain categories over others.
As of December 29, 2015, the United States of America ranked first out of 83 countries in the World Design Rankings for the year 2015.
United States of America’s Top Rank Statistics
While it has received awards from across the categories, the 2015 top ranking country has proven to excel at Furniture, Decorative, Items, and Homeware Design after receiving a total of 47 awards. The United States of America also got 27 awards for Jewelry, Eyewear, and Watch designs, and 20 awards for Packaging Design.
Jewelry, Eyewear, and Watch Design.
Ranked as the 6th most competitive category in the list, this category focuses on the world’s best watches, rings, bracelets, and other jeweled accessories. Leon Mege of the United States was the third top designer, following Connectedevice Ltd from Hong Kong (1st) and Brazil Murgel Contemporary Jewelry from Brazil (2nd).
Leon Mege had received awards for his Maestro Ring design in 2012, and his La Petite Necklace and Charm collection in 2011. Mege has had a passion for jewelry since his college years, despite having both parents in the sciences.
Other US designers that also got into the top ten of this category were Samira Mazloom (6th), Takayas Mizuno (7th), and Jimin Jung (8th). There are a total of 9 US designers awarded under this category.
Leon Megé Maestro Ring
Leon Megé La Petite Collection
Владелец этой компании – ювелир Леон Меже, уроженец Петербурга, взявший вместе со своими сотрудниками за правило создавать каждое изделие только вручную и в единственном экземпляре, как, например, бриллианты «Бруклинские близнецы», о которых он упоминает в этом интервью, рассказывая о своем деле и своей команде – целеустремленных и увлеченных своим делом профессионалов, стремящихся превратить каждое украшение в произведение искусства.Ювелирный дом Leon Mege, находящийся в Нью-Йорке, давно и прочно утвердился на ювелирном рынке в качестве источника великолепных украшений, в которых платина и бриллианты часто блистают вместе, привлекая всеобщие взоры, но будучи доступны лишь некоторым, поскольку компания работает в сегменте дорогой продукции.Владелец этой компании – ювелир Леон Меже, уроженец Петербурга, взявший вместе со своими сотрудниками за правило создавать каждое изделие только вручную и в единственном экземпляре, как, например, бриллианты «Бруклинские близнецы», о которых он упоминает в этом интервью, рассказывая о своем деле и своей команде – целеустремленных и увлеченных своим делом профессионалов, стремящихся превратить каждое украшение в произведение искусства.Расскажите, пожалуйста, нашим читателям о том, как вы стали ювелиром.Я покинул Советский Союз в 1987 году после 8 лет ожидания выездной визы.
После подачи заявления на визу я фактически стал «врагом государства», и мне запретили поступать в институт. Так что я пошел в ремесленное училище, чтобы отложить призыв в армию (не помогло).Мой выбор состоял в том, чтобы стать ювелиром или плотником. Я стал ювелиром.Поскольку я довольно креативен, это было хорошим занятием, и, будучи ювелиром, я пользовался значительным успехом.
Используются камни буквально любого цвета. Мои фавориты – голубые турмалины параиба. Я очень неравнодушен к бразильским параиба, в частности, тем, которые, как мне кажется, обладают огромным инвестиционным потенциалом в дополнение к своим потрясающим виду и цвету. Я предпочитаю яркие, насыщенные цвета.
Почему ваша компания уделяет такое внимание платине? Вы полагаете, что рынок платиновых ювелирных изделий находится на подъеме?
Платина - единственный драгоценный белый металл, подходящий для высококачественного ручного изготовления украшений с бриллиантами.С точки зрения ювелира, свойства платины, например, ее температура плавления и отличная пластичность, идеально соответствуют требованиям тонкой ручной работы.Единственным другим металлом, который может заменить платину, является палладий. Но с палладием трудно работать, и он окисляется при нагревании.
Имидж палладия как драгоценного материала довольно шаток, поскольку в течение бо́льшей части своего существования он был очень дешевым, пока на него не вырос спрос в автомобильной промышленности.Как только большинство автомобилей станут электрическими (через несколько десятилетий), палладий снова станет бесполезным.Существует также аспект традиции: платина использовалась в течение более столетия в дорогих оправах для бриллиантов, и ее облик не поблек (каламбур здесь преднамеренный).
Как представляется, бриллианты занимают видное место в вашем ассортименте. Они соответствуют этому месту в продажах?
Leon Megé позиционирует себя как «вертикально интегрированный» бизнес, который делает все внутри компании, включая огранку алмазов. Это окупается? Почему это лучше или, возможно, дешевле, чем покупать бриллианты у производителей?Огранка алмазов не является важной частью нашего бизнеса.
Мы осуществляем специальные виды огранки, а камни основных видов огранки, таких как круглая огранка и прочие, мы находим на открытом рынке.Огранка алмазов позволяет нам производить камни, которых просто нет - например, антикварные «кушоны» и камни французских видов огранки.
Какой самый низкий и самый большой вес бриллиантов, которые вы граните?
Самые маленькие весят меньше карата, верхнего предела нет; только что закончили огранку «Бруклинских близнецов» (“Brooklyn Twins”) - чуть более 40 каратов каждый, которые были сделаны из одного цельного сырого алмаза.
Откуда вы получаете свои необработанные алмазы?Канада, Россия.
Сотрудники с маленькими детьми, утомляет необходимость следить за тем, чтобы все выполняли свою работу и приходили вовремя, разбираться с личными драмами и ситуациями.
Вы используете выращенные в лаборатории бриллианты в своих украшениях?
Пока нет, пытаемся держаться подальше от «камней Франкенштейна», но они неизбежно будут распространяться и будут подавлять нижнюю часть алмазного рынка.Я считаю, что это будет полезно для высококачественных натуральных камней.
Что вы думаете о спорах вокруг природных и выращенных в лаборатории бриллиантов?
Мы продаем напрямую населению, поэтому мы не выбираем рынок. Иногда мы выставляем вещи на аукционы, такие как Sotheby's или Christy's, но они получают такой большой кусок прибыли, что нам лучше подождать, пока клиент не обратится к нам напрямую.
Есть ли у вас какие-либо планы по расширению или намерение предложить своим клиентам новые виды украшений?Расширение?
Нет, сейчас рост не обусловлен мастерством или эксклюзивностью. Он напрямую зависит от маркетинговой бизнес-стратегии, а мы в этом не сильны.Новые виды украшений? Не уверен, что они на самом деле возможны, поскольку все, что можно было создать в ювелирном деле, уже создано. Опять же, ювелирные изделия, которые «создаются дизайнерами» - это то же самое, что существовало раньше, с небольшими вариациями, а партизанский маркетинг заставляет людей поверить в уникальность и внешние особенности дизайна. На самом деле это те же самые старые вещи, подаваемые в новом облике для людей, которые не являются тонкими знатоками. Короче говоря, для большинства людей.
The perfect couple - platinum and diamonds
The Jewelry House of Leon Megé located in New York has long been firmly established in the jewelry market as a source of magnificent jewelry, in which platinum and diamonds often sparkle being married together and attracting everyone’s eyes, but are only available to some, as the company operates in the segment of high-end goods. The owner of this company is jeweler Leon Megé born in St. Petersburg, who together with his employees, made it a rule to create each product only manually and in one copy, such as, for example, the Brooklyn Twins diamonds, which he mentions in this interview telling about his business and team - goal-oriented and enthusiastic professionals who are keen to turn every piece of jewelry into a work of art.
Please, tell our readers about how you come to be a jeweler.
I left the Soviet Union in 1987 after waiting for 8 years for an exit visa. Once a visa application was filed, I effectively became “an enemy of the state” and was barred from being admitted to a college. So, I went to a trade school in order to delay the military draft (which didn’t help). My choices were to become a jeweler or a carpenter. So, I became a jeweler. Since I am pretty creative it was a good fit and I enjoyed a fair amount of success being a jeweler.
What is the palette of gems used to produce your jewelry pieces?
Literally any color. My favorites are Windex-colored Paraibas. I am very partial to Brazilian Paraiba in particular which I think has a huge investment potential in addition to its stunning look and color. I prefer vivid, saturated colors.
Why does your company make such focus on platinum? Do you think the market of platinum jewelry is on the rise?
Platinum is the only precious white metal suitable for high-end hand fabrication and setting of diamonds. From the jeweler’s standpoint, the platinum’s properties, for example, its melting point and perfect malleability fit perfectly the requirements of the fine hand fabrication. The only other metal that could substitute platinum is palladium. But Palladium is hard to work with and oxidizes when heated. Palladium’s image as a precious material is pretty shaky since most of its existence it was very cheap until the demand for it in the car industry spiked. Once the majority of cars become electric (a matter of a few decades) palladium will become worthless again. There is also an aspect of tradition, Platinum has been used for over a century in high-end diamond settings and its image is untarnished (pun intended).
Diamonds seem to occupy a prominent place in your product mix. Do they match this place in sales?
Diamond sales are less important for revenues, labor is the main source of income. Diamonds are no more than building blocks, they can be replaced by other stones when the tastes change.
Leon Megé positions itself as a ‘vertically integrated’ business doing everything in-house, diamond-cutting including. Does it pay off? Why is it better or maybe cheaper than buying polished diamonds from manufacturers?
Diamond cutting is not an essential part of our business. We produce specialty cuts, basics like rounds, etc., are sourced on the open market. Diamond cutting allows us to produce stones that otherwise are simply unavailable - for example antique cushions and French cuts.
What is the lowest and largest weight of diamonds you are cutting?
The smallest are less than a carat, there is no upper limit, just finished cutting “Brooklyn Twins” - just over 40 carats each, from a single piece of rough.
Where do you source your rough diamonds from?
What is your worst headache in this business?
Babysitting employees, making sure that everyone is doing their job, show up on time, and dealing with personal dramas and situations is exhausting.
Do you use lab-grown diamonds in your jewelry?
Not yet, trying to stay away from the Frankenstones, but it’s inevitable that they will proliferate and will depress the lower end of the diamond market. I believe it will be beneficial for the high-end natural stones.
What is your take on the controversy around natural and lab-grown diamonds?
I think it was expected, a natural evolution of a gemstone. It’s exactly the situation we were facing at the end of the 19th century when the first synthetic rubies were created. At first, they were treated like precious stones but in a relatively short span of time, their price dropped to the level of Swarovski glass.
Do you think the latest version of the FTC Jewelry Guidelines will put an end to this confrontation?
No, I don’t believe in regulations. The market will heal itself from all the problems created by what was expected to happen. We all knew that synthetic diamonds will be mass-produced one day.
Could you describe the markets your jewelry is being traded on? Which of them gives you the best sales?
We sell directly to the public, so there is no choice of marketplace for us. Sometimes we put pieces into auctions like Sotheby's or Christy’s but those take such a big chunk of a profit that we are better off waiting for a client to reach out directly to us.
Do you have any expansion plans or intention to offer some new types of jewelry to your customers?
Expansion - no, right now the growth is not driven by craftsmanship or exclusivity. It is directly dependent on the marketing BS and we are not proficient in that. New types of jewelry - not sure they actually possible, since everything that could be created in jewelry is already done. Again, the jewelry that is being “designed” is the same as what existed before with small variations, it’s the gorilla marketing that makes people believe in the uniqueness and superficial qualities of the design. In reality, it’s the same old stuff regurgitated for people who are not refined. In short, to most people.
Vladimir Malakhov, Rough&Polished