In the early 80s, I discovered Gump’s, a small luxurious department store in the heart of San Francisco. It sold the most amazing products from jewellery made from jade, precious stones and freshwater pearls to Oriental Art, exotic collectibles from the Far East, rugs, Buddhas and everything for entertaining and gifting…all beautifully curated under one roof.
This is where I met Frank in 1983. I was on my way to Hong Kong, a city he knew too well. As the buyer for Gumps, he would travel to the Orient, and bring back all these treasures. But his passion then and now is pearls.
As an artist who studied in Italy, how did you find yourself designing fine jewellery in San Francisco?
As a student of art, I was interested in working in the creative field. When I arrived in San Francisco, I joined Gumps jewelery department. It resulted in my designing a signature collection for them, custom pieces for clients and being the first designer to be featured in their famous catalog.
Your are well known for designing jewellery with stunning coloured gemstones and pearls from around the world. What drew you to them?
You cannot look into the center of a fine gemstone without being permanently mesmerized and developing an obsession. Seeing all the different varieties and colors of gemstones that exist make you want to be more knowledgeable and more curious about the history that surrounds their origins.
Where and how do you source your jewels?
I work mainly with the best and more well known cutting houses in Europe. Which are only a handful. I used to travel to them but they come to the United States now usually twice a year. They visit a limited number of clients and I am fortunate to be among that select group which includes major companies like Harry Winston and Tiffany’s.
Is there anything I should be buying as a collector?
It’s important to have a jewelry collection that is personal to you. You should buy one of a kind pieces from a designer who uses fine quality materials. You should think of your collection as a jewelry wardrobe. Jewelry appropriate for all social activities.
Tell us about your early days as a buyer in the Orient , it must have been a fascinating time. Do you miss my part of the world ?
It was a joy to travel in the Orient and see the vast choices available with a background of surroundings that were thousands of years old.
Gumps also requested I buy for their Antiquities Collection because they appreciated my “eye” for fine design. I was one of the first people to go into Mainland China in the early eighties after it reopened to other countries. I landed in Beijing to an empty airport at that time and toured the Forbidden City with no one else but a guide. I had many magical experiences in the Orient while acquiring new and exciting collections.
I heard through the ... that you sell to a very elite clientele, can you tell us more ...
Many clients are very high profile which includes, well known socialites, White House politicians, movie stars and CEOs of major corporations.
The Socialites of San Francisco have been my most prolific clients. My design studio is private and my clients are all referrals.
Referrals have allowed all my clients to be of the same demeanor and easy personalities to work with to find them their unique pieces to add to their collection. All my clients are true collectors.
‘Curated by MF’ is a platform where we invite our audience to discover
our friends and to showcase their wonderful products.