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Designer Profiles

Designing Lives: Leslie Greene

Designer taps into her customers’ desire for a sense of individual style.

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LESLIE GREENE KNOWS what women want to wear. Since she launched her own collection in 2001, she has had her finger on the pulse of fashionable fine jewelry that inspires woman to layer, add on, and, as Greene says, “think a bit outside of the box” from what they might traditionally purchase. “These are styles that become favorites, that women love putting on each day,” Greene adds. “Each piece can have a wide range of looks depending on the woman wearing it, the clothes she wears or the other jewelry she mixes it with.”

IN THE BEGINNING “My father owned a knitwear company, and as a young girl, I would dress up and go with him to work and play with the colored fabrics in his office. I loved mixing and matching, creating palettes with the swatches and dreaming up designs which finally led me to study fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology.” [/li]

CHANGING COURSE “I started scouring flea markets and finding incredible antique fabrics, vintage clothing and decorative items and realized that what I loved most about design was the tactile nature of certain materials, like lace and embroideries, vintage clothing and even decorative items. It felt natural to transition from fashion into jewelry since these elements translated extremely well, as did the textures, details and use of colors to which I am attracted.”[/li]

THE PHILOSOPHY “In 2001, the Leslie Greene collection was launched. My original philosophy, which I still believe in today, is that jewelry should be as versatile as the little black dress and be able to be worn forever. I wanted to design pieces that could change with different women’s personalities and with what other pieces or accessories they might add to their outfits. No piece should ever just lie around in a jewelry box. With each collection, I try to improve on this original idea.” [/li]

DESIGNING WOMEN “Like most women, I have varying moods and don’t feel the same every day — sometimes I want a look that’s a bit more feminine, other times a bit more edgy and other times I am feeling more colorful. All of these moods are part of who I am and I think part of who most women are. I think about this when I am designing my new lines and building upon my past ones and try to include pieces that can appeal to my customer’s needs. I think we can have our own style, but that doesn’t mean we can’t mix it up a bit.” [/li]

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WEARING IT “Personally, I never take off certain bangles, but now I am stacking them with beaded and dangling charm-style bracelets. For the retailer, layering in pieces that are different offers them the opportunity of add-on sales if they can teach their customers that it’s OK to try out new styles. It also helps women realize that an older piece can have a brand new life depending on the way in which they wear it and the other pieces they wear it with.” [/li]

MOST INSPIRING “The small details and unexpected elements that I see in an ironwork gate, a great building in the city or an incredible piece of antique French lace that I’ve found at a flea market — these are the things that inspire my work most.” [/li]

FAVORITE FASHION DESIGNER? “Have a few: but really love Balenciaga and Chloe. I wear a lot of vintage lace pieces and my vintage Chanel pieces are also among my favorites.”[/li]


Rough stone thin cuff bracelet in 18K gold


1. Labradorite and 18K gold pendant with diamond accents
2. Moonstone and 18K gold ring with diamond accents
3. Gate-inspired 18K gold and diamond earrings

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DESIGNER’S PICK

DESCRIPTION Laurel cuff in 18K gold with gold rutilated quartz and diamond accents.

INTEREST Feminine openwork cuff with floral accents in juxtaposition to the boldness of the width and the larger stone in the center.
MATERIALS Gold rutilated quartz was cut specifically to add dimension and texture to the piece.

INSPIRATION An early 19th century gate I saw on my travels and the vines that were growing and wrapping around it.

Beth Bernstein is a published author of three books and jewelry and fashion expert with 18+ years experience. A broad knowledge of the history of jewelry and fashion coupled with a background in "the story", writing, trends, design concepts has earned Beth a proven track record.

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Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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