When we spied Robert Procop’s blue topaz and diamond cuff — with its Eiffel Tower hinges — at the spring launch of Saks Fifth Avenue The Vault, The Saks Shops at Greenwich, we were smitten.
And then when we saw the related necklace and earrings — not to mention a pink cabochon sapphire ring — well, we just knew we had to have Procop’s pieces in WAG’s September fashion issue. (If only we had the pieces for ourselves.)
What makes them showstoppers? He’ll tell you below that it starts with the stones. But it’s the way he “paints” with the stones — juxtaposing them to create pattern and texture — that makes his work unusual.
What makes him unusual is the way he applies some of his collections/collaborations in service of others. Procop has collaborated with Angelina Jolie on the Style of Jolie collection, whose angular gold settings are at once ancient and modern, to benefit the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict 100 percent. (The partnership has opened an all-girls school in Afghanistan, not far from Kabul.) Procop and Jolie also give all the profits from emerald sales of their collection to school building projects worldwide. And the tax from Procop’s emerald exports benefits the school near the Muzo mines in Colombia.
The Brooke Shields collaboration/collection, Legacy Brooke, is more romantic with its diamond-studded filigree. Legacy Brooke benefits Los Angeles House of Ruth, which provides temporary and transitional housing for battered women and children. (Procop is based in L.A.)
It’s the kind of work that makes the modest jeweler — who took time recently to talk shop with WAG — “a price above rubies”:
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND GORGEOUS CREATIONS. YOUR WORKS ARE SO RICH – SATURATED IN COLOR AND SPECTACULAR IN DESIGN. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
“I’m inspired by each gemstone’s color, brilliance and shape. Every gem has its own personality and I design around what complements
WHY JEWELRY AS A CAREER?
“My father was a lighting and mechanical engineer, so at a young age I learned to use tools and lighting under microscopic conditions. These lessons added to my fascination with rocks and gems. At 16, I worked a summer job in a jewelry loan store and, with my experience, progressed to trading gems to pay for my university studies. As the stores I supplied needed fine jewels, it was a natural progression to design and manufacture jewelry to highlight the gems. I’ve been taught by some great masters and I’m blessed to have this as a career in a trade so fascinating.”
TAKE US THROUGH THE CREATIVE PROCESS FROM DESIGN TO MANUFACTURE.
“I study the gem in our laboratory and design the cut and faceting. I see how the gem reflects in the morning, at midday and how it captures the light at night. I see how it lays with other gems, how it reflects against different precious metal colors to complement each other. I lay it on my hand and imagine how it would best complement a finger. The gem dictates the design around it.
“After thinking of each gem’s unique combination of shade, color and brilliance and what sculpture would complement the jewel, I start to craft out an initial design, sketch down my thoughts and the process is formed from there.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN A DEDICATED SPACE LIKE SAKS FIFTH AVENUE THE VAULT AT THE SAKS SHOP GREENWICH?
“It is a dedicated showcase in the round. It gives the opportunity for collectors to view a taste of our collections and craftsmanship. In this showcase, we feature a few special, rare color gemstones and highlights from the collaboration with my friend Brooke Shields.”
WHAT ONE PIECE FROM THE COLLECTION WOULD YOU SELECT AS A GO-TO, CAN’T MISS PIECE FOR A WOMAN TO WEAR ON ANY OCCASION?
“There are two unique sapphire rings with naturally changing colors. The jewel that gets the most attention is Brooke Shields’ five-row sugarloaf