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Nina Runsdorf

Nina Runsdorf (????-) On the official website for Nina Runsdorf’s brand, NSR by Nina Runsdorf, she states, “I could never find jewelry that was precious yet casual and complimented my modern lifestyle. I wanted fine jewelry that could be worn with a t-shirt and jeans or a ball gown — so I created it.”

The website goes on to describe Runsdorf as someone who, “…has long had a keen passion for innovation and a talent for design [which is] what she brings to the rarefied world of fine jewelry with NSR by Nina Runsdorf. Nina also designs a collection of silver and gemstone jewelry called Silver Skin & Stone.

Runsdorf’s interests in fashion, design, and jewelry began when she was 11. Raised on a farm in upstate New York, she was 8 when her family moved to New York City. Nina’s mother, also a designer, had a workbench in the kitchen, and Nina would make jewelry while watching television.

Nina’s mother’s company, Ulla, was the first to bring fake fur to ski-wear in the United States. Her silk turtlenecks that zipped up were in a 1960s style. Today, her mother’s company is called Wild Thymes and Nina attributes much of her entrepreneurial skills to maternal influences.

In her early professional career, Nina and her sister started a company called Nianna – for Nina and Ann – that made watch pins and semiprecious costume pieces. Nina’s first account in the early years was Bergdorf. After that, she was hired by Ralph Lauren where she started in sales.

When she later met Ralph Lauren, it didn’t take long for the two to recognize that they were kindred spirits. When he discovered Nina knew about American furniture, he asked her to buy the furniture for the country store at the Rhinelander Mansion on Madison Avenue in New York City.

Although he wanted her to continue working in that niche which meant going to many antique shows, Nina demurred. Her desire was to design.

At that time, she was making suede bracelets with old harness parts and gave one to Dena Cohen, then head jewelry buyer at Ralph Lauren. Nina made three bracelets and Dena gave one to Tasha Polizzi, who in those years was fashion director for Mickey Drexler at Banana Republic. This led to Nina’s association with BR where she created accessories for the company.

Simultaneously, a brand called Wathne was making bags for Banana. Wathne was comprised of three Icelandic sisters and Nina became their fashion director and stayed ten 10 years until the firm closed.

After that company’s demise and with the added pressure of raising two children, Nina left fashion and began working part-time for her father-in-law at Runsdorf Associates on West 47th Street (the heart of New York City’s Diamond District.) It was while she worked there that she obtained her GIA certification to verify diamonds and learned the business for six years. In 2005, she started NSR with the desire to contribute to fashion and lifestyle choices with her own brand.

Her early works included tabletop accessories—candles with diamonds. Her trademark creations, sliced diamonds, were an almost immediate success. Her rose-cut diamond flip ring was her first design.

Nina’s penchant for hidden luxuries, such as sliced gemstones, catapulted her reputation as a pioneer in fine jewelry design. Nina uniquely cuts precious and semi-precious stones, driven by the organic silhouettes, natural forms, and textures of each stone to create the design of each individual piece.

Her Silver Skin and Stone collection uses sterling silver washed in 18 karat colors of gold and are hand made in the United States. The natural stones are individually chosen and punctuated with accents of diamond, giving the jewelry a sense of modern elegance that boasts beauty, wearability, and structure.

Nina’s innovation is a visually and revolutionary way of using diamonds in a “sliced” style. The result is a cut that produces diamonds that resemble shards of glass with a brilliant sparkle. She pairs the diamond slices with randomly shaped organic stones to stunning effect. With this special cut, earrings can be especially flashy without the heavy weight of more traditionally cut stones.

After her success with sliced diamonds, Nina expanded her repertoire to employ a rainbow of colors with emeralds, rubies, sapphires and other colorful gemstones prominent. She sets her magnificent stones in a hand-set frame of micro-pave diamonds.

One especially noteworthy ring features slice stones surrounded by a 16 carat halo pavé diamond in a sterling silver setting and washed in 18 karat gold. Made in sliced ruby, chrysoprase, rainbow moonstone, and labradorite, it is available in sizes 5 through 8– including half sizes. Its dimensions range from W 0.5 Inches x L 0.6 Inches

Nina has moved on to bigger pieces now that the trend is growing. In her work for Pariba, she made a big bracelet that sold immediately and decided to make a second one because her work is one-of-a-kind to show off the stones.

Nina Runsdorf is a seventh generation jeweler whose lineage can be traced back to the founders of the Antwerp Diamond Bourse in Europe. After her initial success, she made a trip to India for inspiration. This resulted in her Silver Skin & Stone line, or SS&S. This collection has the same look as NSR but with semi-precious stones.

Her lines, worn by elite from coast-to-coast, are defined by elegance both in proportion and materials. Diamond pavé adds crispness to the exquisite colored stones in Nina’s luxurious collections.

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