The story of Oscar Massin goes way back to the 1800’s in Paris, and travels through time to the present day. Oscar Massin was born in Belgium in 1829 and worked as journeyman starting at age 12, obsessively crafting jewelry for Kings and Queens. He was dubbed “The Diamond Reformer” for the very unorthodox manner of using the gem in his designs and became well known in Paris.
Fast forward to 2022 when three Harry Winston, Cartier and DeBeers veterans launch a heritage jewelry brand with the master jeweler’s name. Using Massin’s unique design perspective of making metal look like lace, the new iteration of the brand puts sustainability in the lead by using grown diamonds in settings of 100% reclaimed gold and platinum, creating the first legacy brand to do so. Marrying the legacy of the Massin name with the very modern approach of growing diamonds in a lab, creates a best of both worlds scenario.
But it’s not necessary to know the history and backstory to appreciate the pieces and their delicate filagree designs. Currently there are three collections available for sale: Lace Flower, Beaded and Filagree. Each stands beautifully on their own merit and are reasonably priced even though it still is an investment. The collection is quite different from much of what’s out there and it is certainly worth a bride’s time to take a look at the sustainable pieces to see if it sings to her.
Given the choice between Olympic wrestler and jewelry designer, Rafka Koblence chose the ladder. Fleeing Latvia, and The Soviet Union early in life, he landed in the United States where he has been quietly creating jewelry for over 50 years at his New York City diamond district studio. As a child he stumbled upon a book featuring jewelry by Peter Carl Faberge’ and became enthralled with the detailing and design of the work. Somehow his passion for creating jewelry trumped his skill as a potential Olympic wrestler and he pursued the jewelry path. Rafka & Co was born in the mid-nineties and he continues to craft and design at his diamond district salon where clients can work with him one on one.
Although he is well known for his “I do” collection, he doesn’t stop at engagement rings. Rafla strives to incorporate intricate designs into all his pieces. His collection include a variety of precious gems beyond diamonds, with his favorite stones to work with are Columbian emeralds. They are well-known for their quality and vibrant color and unique soft character.