In the 1990s, Judith Ripka was synonymous with statement jewelry for powerhouse women. Almost 30 years later, it has been reinvented with its first brick-and-mortar store since Xcel Brands Inc. took over the jewelry label in 2011. The new Judith Ripka at The Westchester in White Plains is both your mother’s and grandmother’s Judith Ripka and something different.
“I think it’s still the same,” says Janice Winter, president of Judith Ripka. “It’s designed for the woman who wants things she can wear from day to evening.”
At the same time, Winter – who worked for Judith Ripka, the company and the woman, from 1993 to 2007, returning when Xcel bought it – says that life has gotten more casual. And that’s reflected in the collections. In the past, they used 18-karat gold, diamonds and other precious stones. Today, they’re made with silver, sometimes teamed with 18-karat gold, and semiprecious stones, which appeal to a younger clientele. (Prices range from $295 to $25,000, with the sweet spot being around $2,000, Winter says.)
The collections – as seen on a recent tour of the boutique, led by Winter – reflect a passion for culture and history. The Isola Collection’s multichain bracelets and watches, with netlike patterns over the faces, evoke sailing vessels and the sea. The Vienna Collection’s filigree cuffs and rings conjure the grace of that city’s performing Lipizzaner horses. The Max Collection – named for Max Abramovitz, the late architect and Pound Ridge resident who designed Avery Fisher Hall (now David Geffen Hall) at Lincoln Center – contains earrings with ball pendants that recall the chandeliers in some of the center’s buildings.
Another collection, the Eros, features a bracelet with a particularly meaningful backstory. The Love Bracelet – more formerly known as the 3707 Bangle Bracelet – opens and shuts, just like the padlocks that lovers attach to the Pont des Arts in Paris, throwing the keys into the River Seine to seal their love forever. The bracelet contains an 18-karat gold vermeil “3707” magnetic plate that you can insert into the bracelet before “locking” it. The “3707” was a code that Xcel chairman and CEO Bob D’Loren used in his correspondence with his daughter. Turn it upside down and it spells “Love.” Like all Judith Ripka’s silver pieces, the bracelet is finished in rhodium to brighten and protect it.
There are many other collections, all housed in a 1,200-square-foot selling space designed to suggest The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan – white walls, black slate floors, glass cases and vitrines. The gallery setting is underscored by objects that are also on sale – jewel-colored glass vases by Feyz Design Studio and butterfly accented photographs by Laurent Badessi.
So not your mom’s Judith Ripka. And yet, Winter says, Judith Ripka is still about a commitment to customers and jewelry that empowers women.
For more, visit JudithRipka.com.