Talking Family, Jewelry and Trends with Esther Fortunoff

The Fortunoff name on Long Island is as classic and timeless as the diamonds your mother bought from their retail store decades ago. After the family’s business closed in 2009 Esther Fortunoff was determined to keep the brand’s legacy alive. She launched FortunoffJewelry.com in 2010 and by customer demand opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Westbury. Before the fall-shopping frenzy begins, I spoke with Fortunoff about her store, family and the pieces you’ll rock now and later.

Tell me about the jewelry you stock.
We offer a wide selection of distinctive fine jewelry in styles ranging from timeless classics to modern, often designed by women. I have always had a special place in my heart for unusual gemstones. I make an effort to find gorgeous stones like pink and purple sapphires so my customers can also share my love for these colorful pieces.

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Gorgeous colors make Fortunoff’s jewelry unique

What are some of the lines and collections you’re loving right now?
I have a new line of Ethiopian opals—gemstones with intense colors unlike traditional opals—plus a gorgeous new diamond collection with champagne and cognac colored diamonds. I just introduced the collection by new, local designer Angela George, who designs 18 karat gold jewelry in refined shapes and finishes, and the sterling silver “Straight from the Heart” collection by Long Islander Beth GoLove which is inspired by her message of universal love of self, of others and of the world around us. There are also sophisticated Italian gold collections from a variety of small makers. This fall, I’ll be adding HERA, a new woman designer’s line that is distinguished by its combination of silver, 18 karat gold textures and natural vibrant gemstones.

Speaking of fall, how can Pulse readers transition their accessories from warmer to cooler months? Are there any key pieces they should have?
Transitioning your pieces into fall can be seamless. As we start to add layers, you can keep a hint of summer through your accessories. Think pearls and turquoise items, which evoke the seaside. Also, fall is the time to bring out more earrings since necklines and arms are usually covered up.

Fortunoff Fine Jewelry is stocked with baubles often designed by women

Fortunoff Fine Jewelry is stocked with baubles often designed by women

What is the favorite piece of jewelry you own and why?
My gray Tahitian pearl necklace. I chose it from among many when it was just a loose strand from the pearl farmers of Tahiti. I’ve found that I can dress it up or down and after 20 years I still love wearing it!

What’s your favorite jewelry-related memory?
About five years ago, my mother gave me a diamond heart pin that she had inherited from my grandmother. At the same time, she also gave my daughter a diamond bracelet. She said that she didn’t want to wait until she passed for us to enjoy the pieces. We found that it can be even more meaningful when multiple generations can enjoy the same pieces and feel the joy it brings in real time.

 

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The “Four Corner Knot” pendant with a knot design is intended to signify hope for the end of domestic violence

You’re involved with helping to raise money for domestic violence survivors through your jewelry. Some pieces are specifically designed to support The Safe Center of Long Island, and a portion of every purchase goes to them. What inspired you to do that?
The Safe Center provides vital services including legal counseling, housing, advocacy and referrals. All services are provided by trained, compassionate and nurturing professionals who are making a difference every day helping these victims survive and rebuild their lives. One of our pieces that supports The Safe Center is the “Four Corner Knot” pendant with a knot design. It is intended to signify hope for the end of domestic violence and a hug.

Find the pieces you’ll rock this fall and forever at Fortunoff Fine Jewelry 1504 Old Country Road Westbury or fortunoffjewelry.com.