Ray Griffiths Fine Jewelry
photo credit by Vogue Living Australia
Australian-born, Ray Griffiths, has over 30 years of experience in the fine art of jewelry-making.
Ray moved to New York 18 years ago with the dream of one day having his own atelier on 5th avenue - a dream which over time he built into a reality.
Ray designs and creates each of his unique pieces by hand, drawing on each gem’s natural beauty with the exquisite metalwork and timeless elegance for which he is known.
Visit the Ray Griffiths Jewelry website
Tell us a bit about your background and how it led to opening Ray Griffiths Fine Jewelry.
I was involved in a jewelry store in the Strand Arcade Sydney called Rox for 17 wonderful years. I won the green card lottery and made my way to NY. I started from scratch and worked my way up one jewel at a time. I actually worked in Saba (just as I had as a kid in Melbourne) when I first arrived. Then I started making jewels out of a little workshop in the Meatpacking district and used each sale to fund the next pieces and so on. I gradually built up my line and am now sold in 40 luxury retailers around the country and have my dream atelier on 5th avenue. I literally built this business brick by brick.
What makes your jewelry unique?
I trained under European jewelry masters restoring crowns, tiaras and heirloom jewelry. When I landed in NY everyone told me I would need to pull a rabbit from a hat to succeed here. Crownwork is my rabbit! It replicates the underside of the crowns and tiaras and takes the weight out of the gold. So my jewelry has immense visual weight but is very light and easy to wear. Jewelry should be effortless to wear and become part of you. Humans have been adorning themselves since the dawn of time!
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am drawn to classical European and Islamic history, from turkey to the north. My other inspiration is architecture (another of the many reasons I live in New York)- I love clean symmetrical lines. My designs are a marriage of clean lines and history.
What is your favorite piece you’ve made and why?
It’s always the last thing I did, I am so involved in every piece I make that I am obsessed with the last piece I made.
How long have you lived in New York and what brought you here?
18 years. I came with the full intention and the knowledge that I wanted to build my own atelier on 5th ave and I have.
What neighborhood do you live in and what do you love about it?
I live in the Lower east side in one of the Seward Park buildings. I love it here. It’s quiet, accessible, I can go for a run in the morning along the river. All my favorite restaurants are within walking distance. I can walk everywhere! I am a walker and a dedicated subway rider.
Where in Australia is ‘home’ and what do you miss most about it?
Sydney is where I lived for my adult years in Australia, I was raised in Melbourne. I miss my friends and family the most. I get back every year for my fix.
What does a typical day for you look like?
There is no typical day for me. I travel a lot doing trunk shows so if I am in NY I get up and go to the gym or for a run along the river, then come home and have my coffee and 2 pieces of fresh fruit. I jump on the subway and head to the studio, I am always excited about going to work. My day can vary between working on new jewels, producing orders for stores, meeting with stone dealers, private appointments with clients for custom pieces, desk sides with editors. No two days are ever the same! I work until around 7 or 8 and then its off to dinner or catching up with somebody, I love to meet a friend for a martini at a bar. Then I head home on the subway and end the day with the newspapers in bed.
What are your plans for the future?
Keep working and make more jewels! This is not just work for me, it’s my life’s passion. I am moving into designing and manufacturing light fixtures and I would love to move on to sculpture next.
How can people find out more about your jewelry and keep up to date with your activities?
I have a fab website www.raygriffiths.com, you can follow me on Instagram @raygriffithsfinejewelry and Facebook @ Ray Griffiths Fine Jewelry. I welcome appointments in the studio if you would like to see the jewels or need something refashioned or remade and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org