A Jewelry Editor’s Guide to Shopping in Palm Beach
Insider tips on where to find the best (and biggest) diamond designs.By Jill Newman |
Palm Beach is the land of eternal sunshine, palm trees, parties and diamond jewels! Yes, diamonds. Women wear their diamond jewelry (think big rocks) all day, from the tennis court to lunch at Sant Ambroeus and even lounging poolside at the Colony.
What defines “day jewelry” in Palm Beach is different than any other town, says Natalie Betteridge, an owner of Greenleaf & Crosby on Worth Avenue. “At the Brazilian Court salon on any given morning, you will be hard-pressed to find a diamond ring under six carats,” she says. And, don’t be surprised to see women at Pilates class or grocery shopping at Publix wearing large diamond rings and stacks of diamond bracelets.
“In Palm Beach, bigger is always better,” says Betteridge. What defines big? “A jewel must be able to be seen seven tables away at the club, as one customer once informed me.” That’s why the bestselling diamond engagement rings at Greenleaf & Crosby are between 6 to 12 carats!
Betteridge has seen Palm Beach’s evolution from a preppy-style old-moneyed town to an international destination with a vibrant cultural and social scene for all ages. Along with hot new restaurants, boutique hotels and shops, the streets are lined with fabulous jewelry stores both new and old.
Here is my list of this town’s best jewelry shops – and what you’ll find. Hint, there’s much more than just big diamonds.
Hemmerle | Royal Poinciana Plaza
The vibe: One of the world’s most coveted jewelers now has a seasonal private salon at the Royal Poinciana Plaza. The next showing is February 10-18 or by appointment.
What to expect: Owning a Hemmerle design is like being part of an insider’s club: Hemmerle’s hard-to-get jewelry (there is a limited production of these handmade pieces) is instantly recognizable, so you can easily identify who has good taste and is part of the exclusive club. Striking in its simplicity, Hemmerle jewelry is a favorite of art collectors who appreciate the strong sculptural shapes, innovative use of materials and dedication to craftsmanship.
Come to Hemmerle for head-turning diamond rings. Each stone is selected for its distinctive character and set in a striking gold and iron or bronze design. The bonus: Nobody will have another ring like it because each is one-of-a-kind.
The house’s signature Harmony bangle, which comes in a range of metal hues and gemstones, is also a favorite.
Lugano Diamonds | Worth Avenue
The vibe: Contemporary diamond jewelry, including rare fancy-colored diamonds, shown in playful and unexpected styles. If you prefer discretion, request the private viewing room.
What’s hot: A favorite of South Florida’s elite equestrian set, Lugano created a diamond Horse Bit necklace with over 52 carats of multi-colored diamonds. An example of the house’s daring style is the 6.3-carat Columbian emerald ring flanked by two large diamonds in a vibrant tinted green titanium setting. For diamonds with an edge, check out the diamond bracelet with more than 18 carats of rose-cut diamonds set in gold and laced with black rubber. It’s easy to be distracted by the stylish designs, but Lugano also delivers serious diamonds, such as the fancy pink cushion cut diamond earrings weighing 17 carats total.
Graff | Worth Avenue
The vibe: Graff is the international destination for exceptional big diamonds, think hard-to-find 20-carat D flawless. Don’t be intimidated because the store also presents a range of diamond sizes, and it’s a welcoming shop where clients often come in after their morning workouts for an espresso or pop by for a glass of Champagne before their dinner reservation.
What’s hot: For the romantic, Graff is one of the few places you can find exceptional heart shaped diamonds, including a heart ring surrounded by two pear shape diamonds (26.23 carats total). Graff highlights a stone’s inherent sparkle and beauty with designs that conceal the metal setting, so the diamonds appear to float on the skin. The house’s ethereal diamond butterfly is a signature style, which comes in large rings and smaller pendant necklaces.
Richters | Worth Avenue
The vibe: For over a century, Palm Beachers have flocked to Richters for its curated selection of stylish and collectible vintage pieces. The latest family member to join the business is fifth generation Emma Richter.
What’s hot: “The diamond pieces that sell best in our store are signed, bold and fun wearable pieces,” says Emma Richter. Those include signed Mid-century jewels, spanning from the 1950s to the early 1980s. What’s hot right now are diamond chandelier earrings, large dome cocktail rings, and bold gold and diamond bracelets. Two stand out pieces are Van Cleef & Arpels’ diamond snowflake necklace and Harry Winston’s diamond Cluster earrings.
Mish | Phipps Plaza
The vibe: A visit to Mish’s colorful, art-filled design studio and boutique is a must when you are in Palm Beach. Here, the designer is at work creating pieces inspired by the local flora and fauna and more, and he’s available for custom consultations.
What’s hot: Come to Mish for a bespoke diamond engagement ring that tells your personal story. The designer recently created a ring using a client’s family diamond in a design that reflected the bride’s Vietnamese heritage. He’s known for a wide range of colorful baubles and signature pieces like the Honeywood cuff, a gold and diamond statement piece with a honeycomb pattern, and the Elizabeth rings with white or brown diamonds.
Hamilton Jewelers | Worth Avenue
The vibe: “Our Palm Beach clientele isn’t afraid to go big for every day,” says Anne Russell, executive vice president of Hamilton Jewelers, a fixture on Worth Avenue for 65 years. “Sure, there are plenty of occasions to dress up, but they wear their elevated diamond classics to go from school drop-off to tennis, and to the juice bar before heading to the evening’s affair.”
The diamonds: It’s the place to come for the best classics and custom designs, and they will even work with you to restyle your old jewelry in contemporary new ways. Bestsellers in Palm Beach are chic diamond stretch bracelets in a range of sizes, and diamond rings of every size and cut. For its 110 anniversary the jeweler unveiled a series of one-of-a-kind designs including a 15.34-carat emerald cut engagement ring and a Mosaic necklace with nearly 38 carats of diamonds.
Marissa Collections | Royal Poinciana Plaza
The vibe: A fashion favorite in Naples, Florida for decades, when Marissa Collections opened in the Royal Poinciana two years ago, it became this town’s new hangout to shop, meet up with visiting designers and get your ears pierced (so you can buy more earrings).
What’s hot: It’s the place to uncover the hottest jewelry trends from Foundrae, Irene Neuwirth, Melissa Kaye and more. Think layered looks, dreamy pink enamel and diamond pieces, stacks of stylish bangles and ultra-large drop earrings. It’s the only spot in town with a big selection of David Webb jewelry, a brand that epitomizes this town’s bold, playful spirit.
Greenleaf & Crosby | Worth Avenue
The vibe: Everyone in Palm Beach knows Greenleaf & Crosby. Their mothers, grandmothers – and even great grandmothers came here to mark special occasions with jewelry. Its boutique on Worth Avenue goes back to 1933, and today its owned by Natalie and husband Win Betteridge. If you can’t get to the store, they will hand-deliver purchases and repairs, and even bring a selection of jewelry or watches to a client’s home.
What’s hot: In addition to the big 6 to 12 carat diamond engagement rings, the store is the place to come for coveted pieces from Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Verdura. “When Palm Beachers want to impress, jewelry is of course an integral part of their look,” says Natalie. “Wrists are bedecked with a tasteful stack of signed bangles while necks are layered with yellow gold and diamond accented necklaces.”
“Palm Beach is still a place where a suite of jewelry thrives in the evening – including the well-positioned brooch.”
Seaman Schepps | Worth Avenue
The vibe: The interior is a calm, elegant 1920s celadon living room that Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers could call home, says owner Anthony Hopenhajm, whose store opened in 1995.
What’s Hot: Palm Beach clients come to Seaman Schepps for the house’s signed and numbered iconic signature pieces. A best-loved piece is the gold and diamond Mousetrap bracelet, a 1930s style inspired by, as expected, the coiled metal on a mouse trap. It’s even better when worn in multiples. My personal favorite is Turbo shell earrings wrapped in a line of diamonds. They are the quintessential Palm Beach accessory.
Jewelmer | Worth Avenue
The vibe: Once you see Jewelmer’s dreamy gumdrop sized golden pearls, you won’t go back to the pristine white variety. The Jewelmer family owns several pearl farms off the pristine Palawan Islands where it produces the largest share of the world’s golden hued pearls. It opened its first US store in 2019 in Palm Beach.
What’s hot: It’s the only boutique with a range of golden pearls (that’s because the farm saves the best pearls for Jewelmer’s jewelry). At the heart of every design is an exceptionally rare golden pearl surrounded by diamonds in designs that range from drop earrings to elaborate undulating floral designs.