Ella Gafter: “Diamonds are a Must”

Ella Gafter, an American with Italian descent has been a jewelry artist for more than 30 years. In fact she has built for herself a solid reputation in the very closed circle of very high jewelry, and continues to dazzle a select clientele looking for perfection and creativity in the tradition of Boivin, Belperon, Verdura and … Jar.

The headquarters of her company “Ellagem” are in New York where her daughter Talila Gafter, PhD, manages the business. From her atelier on the 31st floor of a skyscraper on Fifth Avenue, Ella dominates the situation and tells us about her lifelong love story with her fetish stones, diamonds:

“When I was a little girl, the shine of diamonds was mesmerizing and I continue to be fascinated. The relationship with precious stones and, of course, with a finished piece of jewelry, is personal and complicated. It is not a question of money. It is truly a love affair between you and the diamond or the jewelry piece, even if you cannot afford it. For me, it was “Love at first sight”, or “Le coup de foudre”, as they say in Paris.

I am not a precious stone dealer but a jewelry designer with many years of experience, so I will speak to that art:

A piece of fine jewelry is all about the proportions, an art made very complicated since the jeweler deals with miniatures which he builds with very expensive raw materials. You need to have an aesthetic intelligence, savoir-faire and fantasy all in a state of high alert to put together width, length, depth, curves, and everything has to be not only pleasing to the eye, but also smooth to the touch and a wearable adornment to the body. It took me and maestro Pierpaolo Esposito 4 years to make this incredible set “The Basilisk Snake” with fancy yellow diamonds and countless white diamonds. Imagine the complications involved in such a project, all around the issue of planning and proportions. No mistakes allowed!

It is the same thing with a diamond. If it does not have the right proportions, that’s not good. It’s very tricky, both a science and an art.

Personally, I do not have a favorite diamond cut. I love them all and create my jewelry around them and with them.

I use a lot of Australian and Tahitian pearls, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, in my designs. But it would never occur to me to create a piece without diamonds, sometimes as the centerpiece and always as enhancement to the beauty of the whole. What would this magnificent basket brooch executed by gran maestro Pasquale Zicchieri look like without diamonds? To me, without diamonds, there is no piece of jewelry! Diamonds are a must and they never have or will go out of fashion”.

Didier Brodbeck