Christopher Designs (Est. 1981) In an interview he gave before the Luxury Jewelry Show (London, 2014), Christopher Slowinski (b. 1952), founder, president, and designer at Christopher Designs, Inc., told a publicist, “I’m an artist at heart, in all different aspects including oil painted art. Jewelry stood out to me because I started my career in the US as a diamond setter and later on as a diamond cutter.”
Slowinski was born in Poland and his family owned a flower plantation. His childhood inspired his love of oil paintings. He was also influenced by jewelry advertising campaigns that include nature and vibrant colors.
As a young man, Slowinski was a jewelry apprentice and student at a technical college. He apprenticed under master jewelers in his native country and, after he moved to New York City in 1976, with others in the United States. He worked as a stone setter for two years. Before long, Slowinski worked with a friend to start a company that set stones.
According to an article by Manon Crespi in Elite Traveler, Slowinski’s first contract was with the well-known, Borsheims Jewelers that began operation in Omaha, Nebraska in 1870. When Borsheims’ creative director asked Slowinski what else he could do besides setting stones, he replied, “I can do anything!”
Borsheims invited Slowinski to come up with a ring that had an invisible setting. At the time, invisible settings were only done by hand. Slowinski soon realized that he couldn’t make an invisible setting that would be consistent from ring to ring if he had to do it by hand. He turned to his technical training and mathematics to find a solution.
Slowinski was the first to discover a way to create machine-cut invisible settings using his jewelry machinery. He received his first utility patent for this machine-cut method. Slowinski’s innovative approach provided precision, continuity, and prevented waste from mis-cut stones.
Slowinski made his reputation with his unique, invisibly-set jewelry but, as the market flooded with invisibly-set princess-cut jewelry, he looked for a new niche. While in Israel, he came up with an idea to design a diamond cut that would attain new distinction. Through what he calls a “cosmic accident,” he converted a series of bench blunders into an innovative new cut around which he has since built a sizeable jewelry collection, hearty business, and avid customers.
“Over the years, I have always tried to combine my classic jewelry training with the revolutionary technological advantages of the day,” Slowinski has said. “My work has been rewarded with the granting of three United States patents. Two of these are technological patents. The first one is for invisibly-set diamond jewelry and the second is for … machine-set, closed-end channel anniversary or wedding bands.”
Slowinski’s third U.S. patent is for the Crisscut. The term does come from his name, but describes the “crisscrossed” facets that give a diamond superior brilliance and fire. The Crisscut enhances the look of the crystal maximizing its appearance. Experts have said that this signature design can be described as Slowinski’s “eureka moment.”
He discovered the idea while working on a new invisible setting technique. He accidentally made an unintended cut while faceting one of the diamonds. The error turned out to be a blessing in disguise when he noticed the stone sparkled brighter at the area of the accidental cut. Excited by what he saw, he made more renderings and showed it to his partners who helped him perfect the cut. After years of patient trial and error, he was able to get the technique patented and into the market.
With 77 facets compared to the 44 used in normal emerald cut stones, Slowinski’s Crisscut diamonds are unmistakable. The increased number of facets, along with the way each stone is cut adds new dimensions of beauty, radiance and perfection to the creations.
Over the years, Christopher Designs expanded the Crisscut diamond to four varieties. The Crisscut Emerald is a rectangular cut with crisscrossed facets that make the lights bounce off one another resulting in depth, brilliance, sparkle, and glitter. The Crisscut Round came out in 2008. Cut from an AGS ideal “triple-zero” diamond, the cut has 121 facets with a dozen arrows pointing the eye to the center. The light bounces off 12 straight walls and 12 sides giving the illusion of delicately scalloped borders and creating an exceptional burst of brilliance.
Soon thereafter, the company launched a new version of the Crisscut called the Crisscut Cushion. Using a cushion-shaped diamond, this version of the original emerald cut also utilizes 77 facets and inspired a new collection called the Cushion Collection.
Christopher Designs’ most recent creation, the L’Amour Crisscut diamond is noted for its beauty and simplicity. Its distinctively new and different design features 50 facets and two straight sides with subtle curvatures at the top and bottom that create a luminously mirrored reflection that makes a powerful and luxurious statement. L’Amour made its debut at the Las Vegas jewelry show in May, 2014 and has gone on to make its mark on the New York and global scene.
L’Amour is available in a range of sizes and customized styles with sizing 40 to 50 percent larger than a comparable emerald-cut diamond. It is an excellent choice for women seeking a bold yet romantic piece of jewelry that’s both modern and classic. The L’Amour also offers significant value for its size.
Slowinski is one of only two jewelers in the world to hold a patent for this type of setting. Aptly named LaserCut, Slowinski’s method uses a special microscopic diagonal cut in the sides of each diamond to hold the stone. The cuts are so small that they are completely invisible when viewed from the top of the setting. He also uses a special alloy of 18K gold to fabricate the invisible settings which makes them as strong as they are beautiful. Slowinski has also utilized this cut on sapphires.
While the Crisscut happened by accident, Slowinski’s amazing invisible setting took years to develop. It is his talent as a master jeweler and skilled lapidary, along with many painstaking years of research that finally enabled him to develop and patent the new technique.
As Slowinski has developed new technologies, he has now been granted no less than six patents – three U.S. and three International. Slowinski owns both a U.S. and International patents for his revolutionary cut.
On the company’s official website, Slowinski writes, “[My] never ending pursuit of perfection and focus on innovation led [me] to work on redefining the generic round as [my] next project. I have always been intrigued with taking something established and making it even more beautiful. That’s why the technological side of jewelry making has always been as important [to me] as the aesthetic value of my collections.”
While ‘designer diamonds’ have come and gone, the Brilliant Crisscut has earned its trademark for remarkable engineering. This unique stone has 109 facets. Although it appears round, the Brilliant Crisscut has 12 straight walls and 12 sides, creating the illusion of an exquisitely scalloped border.
Christopher Designs also creates superb customized jewelry to suit personal styles. Christopher Designs says it can transform ideas into signature creations. Each exclusive piece is designed to express individuality incorporating classic beauty with a contemporary look.
Christopher Designs utilizes its patented cuts on its jewelry pieces along with other outstanding crafting techniques. As for materials, it uses only the most impeccable diamonds and other precious stones set on platinum or white and yellow gold.
Seasoned artisans turn these raw stones and metals into polished, intricately decorated emerald rings, tourmaline bracelets, sapphire and colored diamond pendants, as well as its highly desirable engagement rings and wedding bands.
In the interview he gave in advance of the 2014 London Luxury Jewelry Show, Slowinski said he is most proud of the Crisscut Emerald diamond ring. “I’ve always had a passion for long Emerald diamonds, he said. “Their long measurement allows me to create so much side detail. This design won several awards including 2007 Best Bridal Design of the year out of 15,000 different pieces submitted.”
He also revealed that he was still looking to master the shape of an oval diamond and was in the process of developing it.
After many years of ground-breaking techniques and high quality delivery, Christopher Designs is a highly respected name in the diamond-making industry. The brand has proven itself in terms of innovation, cost-efficient solutions, and faultless craftsmanship in all its gems. Many of its pieces are featured in fashion magazines and worn by Hollywood celebrities as well as other prominent figures in the international scene.
In 2014, Christopher Designs was the honored recipient of a prestigious JCK Jewelers’ Choice Award for outstanding design.
The company’s official website prominently displays Slowinski’s and Christopher Designs promise to customers. “There isn’t a stone that is cut or a setting that is cast in our New York City factory that I don’t personally inspect. We are proud of our work and stand by every piece that leaves our workshop.”
Top retailers for Christopher Designs include Borsheims in Omaha, Diamond Cellar in Dublin, Ohio, Hyde Park Jewelers in Denver, and Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry in Rogers, Arkansas.Sell Christopher Designs aka Crisscut All Artists