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The famed Los Angeles jeweler has designed a luxury Manhattan hotel suite and a Big Apple themed jewelry collection.
On the 53rd floor of the newly renovated Towers at The New York Palace in Manhattan, last minute work is being done to one of its premier hotel suites, a display of new jewelry was still being put together and final meetings were finishing up in preparation for two days of media appointments.
Since I was the first appointment and I arrived a few minutes early, I was able to see the final behind-the-scene flurry of activity. Surprisingly, the calmest person in the room is famed jewelry designer Martin Katz dressed in a crisp blue suit. I say it’s surprising because the new jewelry on display isn’t the only thing that was designed by Katz. The hotel suite itself is a creation of the luxury jeweler.
“There’s nothing like it in New York,” he says.
He might be right. The three-story, 5,000-square-foot suite includes a two-story, 20-foot “waterfall of diamonds” chandelier, along a grand stairway, a 10-seat dining room, an indoor-outdoor entertainment space with a wood burning fireplace (a rarity in New York) and outside whirlpool. The living room on the 53rd floor has 15-foot windows with views of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building.
Nearly everything in the Art-Deco themed space was designed or specified by Katz and represents his 25-year history as a jewelry designer. Original artworks (photographs, paintings and other works) throughout the space represent some of his iconic jewelry lines. For example, his circle pendant necklace motif was used as a dome on a light fixture and a glass etching in a circular window. A rotating collection of his jewelry, including pieces loaned by clients, are displayed gallery style in the foyer.
As Katz showed me around I asked him how difficult it was to branch out into interior design. “It was easy. Just like designing my home.”
It has all the amenities that one would expect for a suite that costs $25,000 a day plus some unusual extras, such as an iconic Martin Katz microband ring and, if desired, a free consultation with the jeweler. There’s also an “Ultimate Proposal” package starting at $50,000 a night that includes a private consultation with Katz for the creation of a custom-designed engagement ring and/or wedding bands, and a private dining experience for two.
To coincide with the suite being opened to the public, Katz has released a new line of jewelry using architectural shapes based on the New York skyline.
Katz is known for his diamond jewelry and his micro pavé work. However, during the past few years he has been focusing more on creating pieces with a variety of colored gems and this collection shows this. A 13.18-carat oval Mexican fire opal serves as a center stone of a ring with its colorful flames extended by fiery colors of green tsavorite garnets and orange-red sapphires. “I spent years trying to acquire this stone,” he says.
A 17.56-carat pale blue Burmese sapphire is accented with two trapezoid diamonds and microset with white diamonds and blue sapphires.
Of course there are white diamonds, including long earrings with Art Deco details that appear like skyscrapers.
The details of the work are a signature of Katz’s jewelry. He says he makes the designers and gem cutters crazy when producing a piece of jewelry.
“I approach things for true design and without concern for the difficulty and cost of making it. I become really picky with the stones I choose and even pickier with how to mount them,” he says. “What I come up with is something that reflects a deep passion and vision. I’m not completely sure what I’m looking for but I know it when I get there.”