Behind the doors of his spacious store in Rittenhouse, jewelry designer Craiger Drake houses his exclusive designs in a stylish, yet welcoming ambiance.
Drake's luxurious designs are in an assortment of styles, from bright and bold baubles to delicate and dainty strands, all of which are wonderfully indulgent pieces to splurge on. The local designer spoke to Philly.com about his inspirations, the hottest trends and of course - the details on what to expect from him next.
How did Craiger Drake grow into the reputable jewelry brand that it is today? How did it all begin?
I have been in the jewelry business since 1988 and during this time have really developed a strong knowledge of the industry and manufacturing. This paired with my design background allows me to have a unique position in the industry. I opened my showroom four years ago and since then our business has grown because of our ability to understand our clients' wants and needs. 99.9% of our business comes from word of mouth and we really pride ourselves on that.
Along with dainty, thinly-chained necklaces and bracelets, there are a lot of bright, ornate baubles in the current collection. What influenced you to design these vintage-inspired pieces?
I have always been a fan of vintage and especially love the deco era, which I am heavily influenced by. I always strive to design timeless pieces with a modern twist.
Do other designers' works influence your jewelry design? If so, what are the current fashion trends and/or runway looks that inspire your designs?
I tend to design more for the individual, than going with trends. However, a lot of the Fall runways showed looks reminiscent of the punk era and we do have some great understated, punk inspired pieces, like thin cuffs with diamond studs.
I am influenced by colors of the season and one that has been hot and that has been requested a lot recently is purple. There are some beautiful stones with purple hues: Sapphires, Tanzanite, Amethyst...
We get a lot of requests for long pearls. These are great because they are inexpensive and fashion forward, yet timeless.
Have you noticed any particular trends in engagement rings lately, if so, what are they?
The most popular cuts are cushion and round. We have also been seeing more requests than ever for stones, other than diamonds. Also, people are looking for a ring that is unique and not like everyone else. We will custom design each engagement ring. The customer can choose their stone individually and then we will custom design a setting for them.
What are concerns that clientele have when choosing jewelry, especially engagement rings?
The truth- "Is she the one?" But all kidding aside, most men are really looking to make sure they get a ring that she will really love and for it to stand out. This is where our specialization in custom design vs. off the rack rings really comes into play.
What can we expect from Craiger Drake's upcoming collection?
Definitely some major pieces that are not just meant to be worn for special occasions, with ball gowns, but fine jewelry that can be worn everyday.
We are also working on some interesting long diamond chain link necklaces with unique shapes, instead of the typical round cut- marquis, emerald, etc.