It’s been a busy year for Olivier Reza. After relaunching the brand founded by his father, legendary master jeweler and stone dealer Alexandre Reza, and opening the doors to his Place Vendôme salon after a four-year hiatus, Olivier has taken on the same one-man-show role that his father held before retiring in 2008: traveling the world to see clients, meeting with auction houses and dealers to size up the next big stones, checking in with jewelers at his workshops in New York and Paris and finding enough pause to sketch designs.
He certainly has some big shoes to fill: His father’s gem empire goes back more than 70 years, and in the 1960s and ’70s, he was one of the largest gem and jewelry dealers to Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Bulgari; Alexandre later designed pieces for royals, from the emir of Qatar to the sultan of Brunei. But for Olivier, a former partner at Lazard, the business is ingrained in him. “My father would have us sit in his meetings with dealers,” he says—and this has proved invaluable as he tackles the challenge of sourcing the same caliber of stones that made his father a rival to only Harry Winston. “The jewelry I know is about showing important stones with a design perspective, and I want to continue that,” he says. He’ll do so in November when Sotheby’s New York debuts an exhibit of more than 40 Reza pieces, among them some of Alexandre’s most iconic creations, like a 134-carat untreated Ceylon sapphire brooch, as well as brand-new designs by Olivier, such as rectangular diamond earrings with 52 carats of Colombian emeralds that would do his father proud.