Jeweler Steven Lagos, dressed in a custom Nehru blazer with his company's signature deep purple as the silk lining, reminisced about the gold of old.
Back in 1977 when he started his Philadelphia-based company, gold was $40 an ounce, so the wavy-haired designer was able to build his collection around the stately metal.
Over the years, however, as the price of gold went up and up and up, Lagos focused on metals that appealed to his working-woman target audience. So the company became known for its bold and gleaming silver and platinum pieces, of which roughly 100,000 are sold per year. Bangles became Lagos' signature.
Today, thanks to falling prices, gold is popular again and driving fashion trends. With gold especially strong this holiday season, the company - with price points between about $250 for a pair of earrings to several tens of thousands of dollars for a solid gold and gemstone confection - is featuring gold front and center.
I spoke with the 57-year-old designer about the gold of yesteryear and today, and the metal's impact on holiday wardrobes and jewelry boxes.
Question: Why gold? Why now?
Answer: Gold is on the rise for a number of reasons. Although gold is still expensive [about $1,100 an ounce now], it's still much more affordable, and there are techniques we use to make pieces that are lighter so [customers] don't have to buy a $17,000 necklace but can enjoy a $500 ring. The consumer is also ready now. They bought silver for years, and it's time to step it up.
Q: How many ways can we wear gold this holiday season?
A: The amount of ways we are wearing it is infinite. I do yellow gold with rose gold, white with yellow. And we mix silver in sometimes. The beauty is that we can mix it. That was unheard of years ago. It was one or the other.
Q: What's the perfect holiday gift for the woman who is making the transition from silver back to gold?
A: I would start with earrings. I like long silhouettes right now - everything is a little more dangley. But really, it's all about layering. You can pile on a lot of pieces - especially bracelets - and be right on trend.
Q: What does every woman need in her jewelry wardrobe?
A: A great set of bracelets, a long chain, and a pair of studs.
Q: Are you a brooch guy?
A: I love brooches. I haven't done one in years. You will see them next year at this time.
Q: Do they work best in silver or gold?
A: I've done both. But this time around, they will be two-toned.
Q: Do you like to mix jewels, too?
A: Absolutely. I don't do it a ton because they don't sell as well. People have a hard time with color, and especially two colors. If you do something in all blue topaz or all white diamonds, it works. But when you do two colors, you start to limit the people that understand. [Still], I have a collection coming out next spring that mixes stones.
Q: Speaking of color, are you going to work garnets into your collection? After all, last week, Pantone deemed "marsala" the 2015 color of the year.
A: Oh, yes. We follow the color trends. But garnets are hard to get. People think diamonds are rare, but when you go to a store, there are diamonds everywhere. I know everyone is out trying to get garnets in more supply.
Q: Are you a silver or gold person?
A: I wear both. They have their own different properties. They carry different energy.
Q: Talk about how gold fits into your new campaign, "My Lagos My Way."
A: Our campaign speaks to women who want to wear our jewelry her way. It's not about what we want, but what she wants. We decided to work gold into the campaign because, well, it's time. We can't do a "My Lagos My Way" campaign and not give her gold. Then it would be "Our Lagos Our Way."