Powerful, unique, feminine - those are some of the words we would use to describe Ruta Reifen fine jewelry. You can see her jewelry is rooted firmly in goldsmithing techniques but a lightness is added with her gemstones selection and setting. Chic rings, adorable studs, this is the kind of jewelry you see your girlfriend wearing and you totally jack her style and buy the same piece.
We were lucky enough to interview Ruta, who is an absolutely lovely individual with a great passion for her craft. The irony of the interview is this jeweler doesn't wear any jewelry but you will have read the interview find out more about that conundrum.
Tell us how you got started?
At the age of 17, my family and I were living in London. I was studying drama and acting full- time after being a theater actress for all my teen years. I took an evening class at Central Saint Martins College of Art in Goldsmithing and completely fell in love with the craft. It was love at first solder! I went to every class I could and found myself in the studio at CSM every evening and weekends.
Following my mandatory army service in Israel (my homeland), I started my undergraduate degree in Jewelry Design at Shenkar College of Design in Israel, knowing I wanted to further expand on my academic record and experience I continued to my Master's degree at Rhode Island School of Design in the US.
Since graduating with high honors in 2011 I’ve been working as an educator as well as a designer for a large variety of high-end fashion brands and maker for several jewelry lines, all while maintaining an art studio and presenting my artwork in galleries and museums.
I launched my own fine-jewelry business in summer 2015, after nearly a decade of developing a product for others. The transition both to creating my business as well as from art jewelry to fine jewelry feels like coming home.
What is your favorite part of working in the jewelry business?
I have two top moments, one is when I’m alone at my bench just creating for hours, the second is when a client chooses a piece from my designs. Whether through a store or directly from me, it gives them true satisfaction. How lucky am I, to continue the long tradition of creating jewelry that translates into symbols of love and happiness!
Where do you look for inspiration?
Growing up by the Mediterranean, forms from the sea have punctuated my life with slivers of joy. Their flowing lines, endless shapes and colors, are the source of my creative work. A synergy of classic silhouettes, coral-like texture and evolving color story create the romantic feel I wish to extend to the wearer.
What are some of your favorite pieces you make?
Rings, in constant movement, every view is important. Wearability and functionality are key, worn as signifiers throughout the history of adornment, rings are often the starting point of my work.
What trends do you see happening in the fine jewelry industry right now?
Individuality; mix-matched or single studs, asymmetrical designs, organic shapes and themes, layering of gold pendants etc.
Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry you own?
My collection of jewelry is a total of 7 pieces. I do not wear any jewelry, I don’t have my ears pierced. For several reasons, I come from a line of women that barely put lipstick on let alone a string of pearls, secondly we have no “family jewels” as my grandparents left Europe to Israel post second world war with no precious belongings.
Lastly, as a kid I lost a most precious ring a ring from my grandmother Golda, I remember it clearly, tiny delicate with a beautiful Ruby. Then in grad school, the only ring I had from my great grandmother was also lost as I took it off to solder. Rosa made this ring for my mother with a jeweler in Tel-Aviv in the early 60’s. The image attached is the only memory I have (pic was taken right before I lost it in 2009), the loss of this ring goes to show how much meaning jewelry carries. Finally, my mission is to decorate others and that is my true passion.
Do you have a dream ring?
A vintage Cartier ring from the 50’s, platinum and diamonds, preferably worn by Grace Kelly.