is one of our Core Values
Every one of our pieces is signed, because we believe in exacting craftsmanship and lasting quality.
This is our Story.
There’s a tremendous amount of space between conceptualizing a design and bringing it to life. Seeing an idea in your mind’s eye, coaxing it out, teasing it to reality and raising it to what you envisioned… well, it takes more than you might imagine.
At SSC we’ve been doing exactly this for a long time. A couple of decades actually. As a team we have well over 100 years of experience – and as a team we operate much like a well-tuned orchestra (well… most of the time). Each section contributes to the overall finished symphony of beauty and sparkle.
It starts with an idea. Sometimes an idea that’s born fully formed, sometimes discussed and argued over at the break table or bench. Always refined to perfection by our indispensable in-house CAD team. Ready to Wear prototypes and all that gorgeous Couture work are painstakingly cut (so, so slowly…) by hand, the old fashioned jewelers way.
Sometimes changes get made at this stage – which never makes anyone happy but there you are. Our team ethos is “make it perfect”, which we don’t always hit (we are human after all), but no design escapes the scrutiny of many sets of very, very picky eyes.
Once changes are decided on, the raw metal goes to the hot room, where our solder team works all day with fire – how cool is that, bending metal to your will? Each post, tag, ring, each metal join is a separate operation. No carved out rings here – each one is soldered on by hand using traditional jeweler techniques. That’s what you’ll see if you walk into our studio.
After soldering, each piece goes to the polishing team. Occasionally a few don’t make it through this process. A cold solder joint, a weak post, something that isn’t quite 100%. I’m thrilled when a piece fails in polishing, because I’d rather lose it in-house than in your hands. Here it’s an easy fix. In your hands it’s a disappointment, and we try very hard to avoid that.
Final stop before stoning is plating – Pure Alchemy. Watching this magic never ceases to amaze.
If there are any flaws on a piece, here is where they jump out; far from covering them up, the plating process exaggerates the tiniest pit, scratch or piece of dust. Perfect in, perfect out. Anything less… back to polishing.
When the plating is done, we have some quite gorgeous jewelry that would look very at home in a lot of boutiques. But of course, we’re just getting started….
We’ve argued the lines. We’ve discussed the size. We’ve gone over the footprint. At this point, the shape is (mostly…) set.
Now it’s time to get in the ring over the sparkle.
You see, there are two kinds of leaders. You have the ones who tell you how to do it. Then you have the kind who value your opinion. When you have a team with as much experience as the SSC Team…it would be a little crazy not to take advantage of it.
So we have a lot of discussions.
Do we want a fine look, or a chunkier look? Or one of a myriad of stoning techniques that we have our own “code names” for? Wait, someone has a thought..
“Let’s try it both ways and see…”
“I have a crazy idea…”
Sometimes a piece arrives fully formed and there’s no discussion. But that’s rare.
Then here’s the dissection once the piece is done.
“No. Here.. this is too heavy. It needs to be finer. It’s top heavy.”
“I see a bare spot. Under here. I’ll fix it.”
“Center stone is.. Something is… I don’t like it.”
“You’re right. That would be better. Good call.”
“Sigh…. I’ll re-do it….”
Some days are better than others. Some days it’s,“OMG that’s AMAZING! You hit it out of the park, that is PERFECT! We are not changing a thing. Did you take pictures along the way so you know what you did?” “Yes ma’am!”
Like Streisand sang, “Art isn’t easy..”
From thought to finish? Oh that’s a tough one. Sometimes, days. More often, months. Once in a while, a year or more. Of course the pieces that are designed for a client with an impending event tend to move quicker, simply because they have to – we tweak later. Plus the inspiration of a gown and set color palette always helps move things along.
We re-design frequently too. We have designs that have been evergreen for us for over a decade, designs that we adore, that need a little lift.
Sadly, we also have designs that have been stolen and copied by so many other… “designers”… that occasionally we just drop them.
As you’ve seen, our design is a long, complex process – so is our actual production. I’d love to be able to flip open a website and just pick and choose our next design. How much time that would save, how much debate, (how much metal!), how much angst! Especially when you already know it sells.
What a nice ride that would be.
Not really. I couldn’t sleep at night, but I guess everyone’s different.
This is why we talk about Authentic Design
Each piece that leaves our studio goes through the whole crazy, winding, circuitous process above – processes learned, created, honed, defined and practiced over decades.
Literally. Over decades.
The Stefanie Somers® jewelry you love has been painstakingly finished. No rough edges, no sharp corners. It feels good in your hands.
It feels even better to wear. Lightweight, balanced. It doesn’t wear you. It flows with you.
We’re only human though, and things happen. When they do, we’re here. Our Limited Lifetime Guarantee means that when bad things happen to our jewelry, we come to your rescue – even if that means restoring a 20-year-old piece.
Why “Limited”? Because not everyone treats their jewelry like we wish they would, and jewelry that’s been mistreated or mishandled, on occasion can’t be saved – or requires extraordinary measures. Let’s be real: if you’ve been a bad jewelry parent, you need to be accountable. But we’re still there for you.
Yes, we groan a little when we see a piece that’s been mishandled. But you’d be amazed at what can be restored.
You know what a really bad day is for us?
When someone contacts us about a repair on a well-loved piece of SSC, and we have to tell them it’s not ours. You’d be surprised how often this happens. Usually something bought on the resale market (but not always…) It just kills us.
We’ve seen a well-known jewelry company promote “just like Stefanie Somers” designs (yes, those words were actually spoken to several of our retailers). We see numerous entities continue to freely and brazenly treat our site and social media as a candy store.
Consider: If they weren’t doing anything untoward, why do you suppose our corporate social accounts would be blocked from theirs?
We know there’s little we can do. You’ve always been able to buy a Louis Vuitton knockoff from a street vendor selling from a blanket in NYC – now it’s just easier, thanks to the internet. It just breaks our hearts that people think they can shortcut our quality by stealing our designs
I’ll add here that we hold ourselves to a standard to protect other’s designs as well. We are – not infrequently – asked to provide a piece based on a design found somewhere else. We don’t. We’ll do our best to find out the essence of what appeals, and create a new design based around that thought. We think that’s the way it should be.
So we appeal to you. Think before you buy. Who do you want to support with your dollars?
Do you want to support authentic design, hard won, from the ground up, and the quality and guarantee that goes with it – or are you happy to give your money to those with lesser ethics, and the experience to match?
We know we’re expensive. This page tells you why. If you’re on a budget, talk to us, and let’s see what we can come up with.
But please – don’t buy knockoffs.
If you know of someone who has copied one of our designs, please let us know. We’ll take it from there. You can do this anonymously if you wish, but if you’d like to give us your contact info – an if this is a new one we aren’t aware of – we’ll send you an SSC Digital GIft Card as our thanks.
Years ago a friend (and pageant queen) walked into our hot room, looked at me and said, “Wait. You mean you actually MAKE THIS HERE?” She knew… but she didn’t actually get it until she walked in and saw the torches, the plating tanks, the polishing equipment…
Bit by bit, putting it together
Piece by piece, only way to make a work of art
Every moment makes a contribution
Every little detail plays a part
Having just a vision’s no solution
Everything depends on execution
Putting it together, that’s what counts!
– Stephen Sondheim
If you know of someone who has copied one of our designs, please let us know. We’ll take it from there. You can do this anonymously if you wish, but if you’d like to give us your contact info – and if this is a new one we aren’t aware of – we’ll send you an SSC Digital GIft Card as our thanks.