She married the son of an Austrian prince at eighteen, founded her dress business at twenty-three, and was soon immortalized in an Andy Warhol silk-screen portrait, but Diane von Furstenberg is no factory girl. She is a consummate entrepreneur who introduced and reintroduced the wrap dress and built her persona into a brand. These days she’s obsessed with a line of fine jewelry she designed and launched in conjunction with H. Stern, called the Diane von Furstenberg by H. Stern collection. Power Rings, bracelets, necklaces, talismans, and earrings are crafted in 18K gold and versions of each piece are encrusted with sparkling diamonds and precious gemstones. Everything is bold and dramatic. Much like its designer. I chatted up von Furstenberg about baubles, bling, and more spiritual things.
You’ve been pining to design a jewelry line.
“I knew I wanted to work with H. Stern but it took me twenty-five years before I finally convinced them. Finally Roberto Stern (H. Stern creative director and son of H. Stern founder, Hans Stern) came to my house and saw that I was a jewelry connoisseur. After that he understood the line.”
“I wanted it to be bold. Jewelry is two things: it’s power or a symbol.”
The designs are spiritual?
“Everything in the line has a symbol. I engraved the Sutra bracelet with all of my sutras. I meditate with it in the morning.
“First buy a bracelet. If you want to wear it as a necklace, get a beautiful grosgrain ribbon and tie it onto the bracelet.”
Ready, set… where did you start?
“The first piece was the Sutra bracelet. It was based on one I owned.”
What about the other designs in the line?
“I wanted crystal. I wanted big rings. I love gold. You can’t fake jewelry. Everything in the collection is made by hand and engraved by hand. There’s one guy in Brazil who knows how to do it.”
Your favorite piece?
“Look at the diamonds. I get it wholesale and I can’t afford it!”
You’re incredibly prolific with clothes, swimwear, and now jewels.
“I like to think that I create a buffet and you pick and choose.”
Your daily régime?
“You think of what you’re going to do first. Then you dress. The jewelry is the punctuation.”
How do you select jewels?
“Jewelry is not seasonal. I only go big. Classic, bold, and large.”
Diane von Furstenberg for H. Stern jewelry, from $420 to $178,000, at H. Stern and select Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus locations.