Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Designer Spotlight: Krementz

Richard Krementz 7 Carat Imperial Topaz Ring

Central to the design of this ring is a 7-carat, untreated Imperial topaz. This cushion-cut topaz is brilliantly colored an eye-clean, reddish-orange. The cut grade is high, with no windowing. It is prong set with double corner prongs in solid 18k yellow gold. Surrounding the stone is a deep halo lined with exquisitely -cut round brilliant accent diamonds of considerable size. Smaller diamonds pave the split-shank shoulders. Everything about this ring - the stunning color, the classic lines, the exquisite pairing of perfect diamonds - screams Richard Krementz.

The feminine beauty of this Krementz ring belies the manly origins of this brand. While today Krementz is associated with flashing colors in every hue on the spectrum, dramatic feminine designs, and precious and semi-precious gemstones from around the world, there was a time when gemstones didn't even factor into the Krementz lineup.

In 1866, a group of German cousins formed a jewelry manufacturing firm. Though the partnership soon dissolved, George Krementz, one of the cousins, went on to establish his own niche at a time when the market was flooded with demand for men's collar buttons. An innovative mind like George's saw the potential in the machines used to make cartridge shells. After six or seven years of experimentation, George finally perfected a method for making a collar button out of a single sheet of solid gold. These were in high demand in the late 1800s.

As time passed, the middle class began to rise, and Mr. Krementz saw a new market emerge. He developed a method for designing collar buttons that were made with a gold overlay, making them far less expensive than his original designs. As time went on, Krementz developed a full line of men's jewelry, including cuff links and dress studs.

As often happens, fashions changed, and collar buttons eventually became obsolete. Not to be dismayed, George Krementz turned his hand to electroplated jewelry. So successful was he in this endeavor that he soon had enough capital to buy out many of Newark's struggling jewelry firms. In 1938, with the purchase of Jones & Woodland, Krementz expanded to include high-end jewelry. Wedding and engagement rings came in 1940 with the purchase of Abelson and Braun.

During the 1960s, George's grandson, Richard, took the helm, leading the way into colored gemstones. These stones were sourced from Idar-Oberstein in Germany, and were swiftly incorporated into the high-end jewelry designs acquired from Jones & Woodland. Richard Krementz had hoped that his son, Richard, Jr., would continue in the family business.

After several years of starting and stopping and starting again, it was decided that Richard Krementz, Sr. would be the last reigning founder of Krementz Jewelry. During the 1990s, many of the firm's holdings were sold off, leaving only the colored gemstones to Richard, Sr.

At the helm of his newly organized company, now called Richard Krementz Gemstones, Richard, Sr. continued to scout the world over for the most fabulous colored gemstones he could find. These stones went into collections designed by premier designers in the industry. Richard's passion for stones remained high until the day he died, which sadly happened on November 21, 2012. As written by Richard Krementz, Jr. shortly after his father's passing, "After 147 years, the Krementz family no longer is in the jewelry business."

The last of their holdings were sold to the Colibri Group in 2009. While it is always a little sad to see the end come, it is a privilege to be able to offer our customers such a beautiful piece fashioned by a company with such integrity in the industry. If you would like to see this beautiful testament to the powerful Krementz legacy, we invite you to make an appointment to visit our showroom.

~Angela Magnotti Andrews, Staff Writer

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