If you turn back time on the Hollywood red carpet to the late-1990s and early aughts when minimalism was the fashion rule, Martin Katz jewelry was among the few bright lights for the big nights. Stars that wanted to shine flocked to the young jeweler based in Los Angeles for his glorious vintage pieces.
Katz’s refined collection included impactful pieces that did not have to be piled on. Each individual design made a statement creating some of the most iconic red carpet moments of all-time. To name but two Oscar highlights: Nicole Kidman unforgettably paired Mughal Indian earrings from Martin’s estate collection with her chartreuse Dior gown in 1997 and Angeline Jolie lit up that famous Dolce & Gabbana white pant suit with an art deco wide bracelet from Martin’s collection in 2001. Sharon Stone became such a fan of the jewelry she even took Martin down the red carpet with her once to introduce him to the press.
As time went by, Martin began to turn his focus to creating his own extraordinary collection inspired by the art deco and Edwardian pieces he loved. “The first designs were done because I was filling a void,” explains Martin. “The amount of vintage you can find is finite and sometimes there is a need for things that just aren’t available.” The collection rapidly became Martin’s obsession and just as quickly attracted world class collectors.
The elements from vintage jewels Martin carried over into his own designs included signing and numbering every piece, employing the highest level of manufacturing and the finest stones. His signature design detail is micro-pavé set gems. “I first saw examples of the micro setting on eighteenth century jewels,” remembers Martin. “The stones were so small and elegantly set. I thought, if they could do it 200-years ago we should be able to do this today. It took quite a while to set the stones in the way I wanted with very little metal, but we perfected it.”
The micro pavé can be found not only on the front but also on the back of some of Martin’s jewels in places where no one will see it when the piece is being worn. “I want pieces to be a ‘wow’ when they are held and examined in the way that vintage jewels are extraordinary,” explains Martin. “That kind of detail is the magic, the couture element that makes it truly special.”
Throughout his almost thirty-year career, Martin has only sold the collection at his Los Angeles boutique, exclusive trunk shows and in Bergdorf Goodman’s fine jewelry salon. Now for the first time, ever his extraordinary jewelry is available online in a 30-day trunk show on Moda Operandi ending May 26, 2017. The offering features 30 jewels that are a blend of classic items and one-of-a-kind creations. “I wanted to show a range so people who may not be familiar with the collection could see a variety of styles,” explained Martin. Several of the pieces are illustrated here. Go to Moda Operandi to see it all.