Like his jewelry, Tito Pedrini cuts a sharp figure. Dressed in a uniform of a crisp shirt and slim trousers, the svelte, blond designer and gemologist sits on a sofa in his equally sleek Park Avenue apartment, poring through images of his latest designs. There is a round, brilliant-cut five-carat diamond ring, simple but striking.
Then an oval-shaped four-carat sparkler flanked by two smaller stones with clawlike prongs, one of his signature design elements. Then there is a 12-carat rock that sits alone, intimidating in its unmounted state.
It’s all very James Bond–like—the cold calculations of the diamonds; the quick mention of anonymous, internationally located clients (not to mention his uncanny resemblance to Daniel Craig)—were it not for Pedrini’s trademark Italian hospitality and affection. “Would you like an Aranciata Rossa?” he asks while we look at the stones.
Pedrini’s jewelry is known for being as colorful as, well, an Italian refreshment: blood-orange cabochon carnelian rings, vivid yellow sapphire earrings, and grapefruit-like pink opal necklaces. “When I started, I was tired with everyone talking about diamonds,” says Pedrini. “So I thought, Let’s work with sapphires and other colored stones. And not just the classical ones but the lesser-known ones—peridot, aquamarine, ruby.”
But the designer is now turning his attention back to diamonds, pairing up with some of the most talented stonecutters in Antwerp, Belgium (the diamond capital of the world), to create a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces that showcase colored and white diamonds of four carats and higher. At the moment, only rings are available, but Pedrini will add earrings in October and says he will still work with important colored stones and incorporate his popular signature styles, like the Artigli with its clawed prongs, into custom pieces as he phases out his current jewelry line.
“The world has totally changed—people want something that will hold its value,” says Pedrini, who notes that his direct relationship with the stonecutters will reduce overall costs by 10 to 15 percent. That said, the new pieces start at around $100,000.
“People are still spending money on jewelry,” he says. “But when they are spending a lot of money, they want quality and they want something major. They are buying smart.”
While the overall market value of diamonds has been debated in recent years, the sales of large rare diamonds have continued to reach record-breaking prices at auction. Just last year, Sotheby’s Hong Kong sold a fancy, vivid internally flawless purple-pink 8.41-carat diamond for $17.8 million. The high-end diamond market is a world in which Pedrini feels right at home. Before launching his jewelry line in 1999, the designer was the vice president of Magnificent Jewelry at Sotheby’s New York, a position that put him in everyday proximity to some of the world’s rarest diamonds. And before that, he earned his graduate gemologist degree at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) after spending six years at Christie’s New York and London.
“In the end, I’m going back to being a gemologist,” says Pedrini of his new venture. “I really am a gemologist who became a jeweler, not vice versa. Stones have always been my passion, especially diamonds.”
The round diamond shown here, in Tito Pedrini’s signature clawlike-prong setting, is 5.42 carats in D color with internally flawless (IF) clarity. This particular piece is unique due to its rarity as a type IIa diamond. (Price upon request.) Pedrini can be reached at 212-888-3355 and via his website, titopedrini.com.