According to Luciënne Jesse, a perfect piece of jewellery starts with a good conversation. Twenty years ago, this jewellery designer opened a boutique in the Beethovenstraat. Nowadays she has more than five thousand loyal customers – independent, highly-educated women who like making a statement by wearing her hand-made jewellery.
You shouldn’t just read about Jesse Jewelry, you should go and visit this special boutique in the Beethovenstraat. With showcases full of pieces of jewellery containing sparkling gems, one feels like a kid in a candy store!
For woman with a personality
“I was always admiring Jesse’s creations through the shop window until one fine day I allowed myself to go in”, Dilia Meijboom, one of Jesse’s brand ambassadors, wrote in a testimonial. Luciënne Jesse (54) describes her customers as follows: “Women with a distinctive personality. Authentic, strong-willed and with their own unique style.”
In the palm of her hand she holds a pair of teardrop-shaped earrings made of 18 carat gold with champagne-coloured diamonds and petrified wood. “These would look wonderful on you”, she says. Looking and listening closely to her customers without being pushy, that’s her strength. She says that often she only needs a single look to know what type of jewellery would perfectly suit the woman in front of her.
As Jesse herself admits, marketing and PR is not her forte. She tries to avoid networking events; she’d rather sit down and have a good chat with one of her customers. She explains her way of working: “The type of coloured stone, the material, but above all the personality of the person who’s going to wear it – those are the main starting points for my designs. Quality and sustainability are key. We work with the best goldsmiths and setters. They are very refined craftsmen and they know exactly what we expect from them.”
The wall is adorned with certificates from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in New York, where she graduated in 1984 as a gemologist. Diamonds and gems are in Jesse’s blood: her grandfather Bernhard Jesse worked as a diamond-cutter and founded Elion & Jesse Diamond Factory in Amsterdam, where her father, Albert Jesse, learnt the ropes. After the Second World War, Albert started his own diamond business but out of his four daughters, only Luciënne opted for a career in diamonds and she joined her father’s business at a very young age.
“When my father moved his company to Antwerp, I started a business of my own here in Amsterdam. At first, I was buying and selling a line of jewellery but soon I was designing pieces as well. Once well-established in the trade, I discovered my love for coloured stones. These days, I travel a lot to the Far East to buy unique diamonds and coloured stones. Plus, I’ve got my preferred suppliers who know what I’m looking for, such as special stones with two or even three colours.”
She opens a drawer and shows me a ring with a two-coloured tourmaline. When she slowly turns it around, as if by magic the gem changes colours – from deep pink to white. She shows me another ring, containing blue, green and grey sapphires. “I also buy rough gems and have them polished. Virtually every piece gets a unique design, with the gem, pearl or diamond taking centre stage. Every stone is different and that’s why the setting is always made to measure.”
The heavy quality of her pieces of jewellery is one of her trademarks. This doesn’t mean she only creates big pieces but they need to have sufficient gold weight in order to achieve the required body. There are a few very distinct ‘statement pieces’ in her collection, including a gold ring with multiple branches, aptly called The Forest. “You wouldn’t say so at first glance but it is very comfortable to wear! That’s rule number one: a piece of jewellery should always be comfortable to wear. My pieces are never edgy or sharp. I love feminine curves and sensual shapes.”
And she likes to create multifunction designs: a collier that can also be worn as a bracelet, a string of pearls that can hold a pendant, or a ring consisting of various independent rings allowing all kinds of configurations. She has a golden tip for her customers: “Don’t wear too many pieces of jewellery at the same time. One nice piece often suffices to complete an outfit.”
And she challenges people to get out of their comfort zone. “Someone who often wears black will be inclined to opt for black. From time to time, experimenting with something new can be very refreshing.” Customers also ask her advice on pieces they’ve inherited. “Usually, old pieces are kept in a safe somewhere because their style is a bit outdated. What a shame! With a few minor adjustments we’re able turn it into something special. There are so many options, really. If you’ve got an emotional bond with a certain piece, it’s always worth getting it updated.”
Remarkably, some 70 percent of her customers are women buying jewellery for themselves and that’s pretty unique in this industry. Some of her ambassadors are women who bought their first pieces of jewellery at Jesse’s boutique and have gradually expanded their collection over the years. She also has customers from far-away places such as the States, South Africa and even Australia; usually business women who happened upon her shop and always drop by when they’re in Amsterdam.
And there are a lot of former expats who’ve remained customers. Jesse and her colleagues accurately register what their customers buy. “If you come here more often, we know who you are, what you prefer and what you’ve already got in your possession. This enables us to come up with suggestions to complete your collection. And it is very easy for your husband, in case he want to surprise you with a nice piece!”
Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 – 18:00 hours
Saturday: 10.00 – 17.00 hours
T 020 670 89 89