The Kwiat Family
“This is a happy business to be in,” muses Greg Kwiat of Kwiat. “We deal with people at happy moments in their lives, and that’s a wonderful career to have.”
Now in its fourth generation of jewelers and diamantaires, the Kwiat family proudly upholds a long tradition of dealing in fine diamonds and jewels. Founded in 1907 by Sam Kwiat, the company is privately held and family-owned, unusual in an era when many luxury companies are owned and marketed under the aegis of a massive, multi-national conglomerate. Greg Kwiat does not see such an arrangement in his company’s future. “In an industry like ours, there’s a lot of artistic creativity,” he says. “There’s a lot of personal pride involved and, in our case, a lot of family pride as well.”
In order to connect with its customers more directly, Kwiat opened a boutique on New York’s Madison Avenue last year. It’s a chic and elegant space, located at the center of New York’s Upper East Side, the city’s matrix of money, style and taste.
Among the denizens of the Upper East Side and other well-heeled and well-bred enclaves around the world, Kwiat is synonymous with engagement rings, and Greg Kwiat wouldn’t have it any other way. “In an uncertain economic climate, it is the category of jewelry that not only remains stable, but is growing,” he says. “I called my 93-year-old grandfather, who started in the business when he was 17 at the height of the Great Depression, and asked him how he handled it back then, and he told me to focus on wedding jewelry, as we always have. People are willing to buy fine diamond jewelry because of its long-term value, even in the current economic climate.”
Part of the Kwiat philosophy is to maintain the integrity of the vision: Design Director Janice DeBell, aided by “the whole family,” concentrates on a rigorous and reliable classicism. Kwiat designs are timeless, elegant and rarely experimental. A Kwiat piece, whether it’s an engagement ring, a diamond pendant or a pair of earrings, is intended to be worn and enjoyed for years and, ultimately, passed on as part of a family legacy. “It’s a big responsibility and a privilege to design inheritances,” says Kwiat. “We’re honored to do it.”
The understated elegance of Kwiat diamonds appeals to many, including celebrities with a sense of individual style. Tom Cruise wore Kwiat cufflinks in classic leading-man style to the Academy Awards a few years ago, and Halle Berry, Natalie Portman and perennial fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker are also Kwiat fans. Kwiat has a boutique in the Palazzo Hotel amid all the flash and glitter of the Las Vegas Strip but, ultimately, Kwiat diamonds are more likely to be seen walking down the aisle than on a casino floor or red carpet.