Broken English: On the Rocks

Broken English is perfectly positioned for the current ascent of fine jewelry. Owner Laura Freedman sensed the opportunity back in 2006, when she opened the first location in LA’s Brentwood Country Mart. Walking into Broken English is like stepping into a jewelry box with a hip golden glow. Contemporary jewelry and curated vintage pieces are artfully presented and convey a beautiful story of discovery.

Laura’s unique journey to opening Broken English began in childhood. Her mother was a Las Vegas showgirl, and she split time between the bright lights and glamour of Vegas and the wild beauty of Zion National Park. The two backdrops had a hand in sculpting her appreciation for jewelry and gemstones.

On a recent spring afternoon, we visited with Laura at Broken English’s SoHo outpost on Crosby Street. Collections ranging from Larkspur & Hawk, Spinelli Kilcollin, Mizuki, Foundrae, and Jennifer Meyer had us feverishly stacking on rings and trying on diamond ear climbers. Read on for insights into her bicoastal business, personal style, and expansion into homeware. -Jenna Fain for The Stone Set


The Look
I’m wearing an Isabel Marant bodysuit, a vintage belt, a skirt by Saint Laurent, boots by Saint Laurent, and a Chloe sweater. The laid-back combination of vintage-meets-bohemian has always been my favorite look. I try to keep my style as easygoing as possible. I love outfits that seamlessly transition from day to night with little effort or fuss. Simple and fresh, so I don’t really wear a lot of makeup. I do love my Tom Ford concealer, Chantecaille mascara, and Serge Lutens blush, and a few sprays of Gendarme Carriere perfume!


The Drink
I’m sipping on an Arnold Palmer, maintaining the relaxed vibe in the store. Broken English is synonymous with laid-back luxury. We offer our clientele a thoughtfully curated mix of contemporary and vintage jewelry in effortlessly chic, intimate surroundings. We showcase jewels with the intention of both setting trends and reaching beyond them. Whether it be delicate, everyday pieces or bold statement jewels, we have something for every woman and every occasion.


I’m also venturing into homeware for the first time, with a mix of contemporary brassware and ceramics as well as rare antique and vintage finds. Just as with jewelry, it’s important to have beautiful objects in your home that you can pass down from generation to generation. Both existing stores are reflective of these values and laid-back yet luxurious style.


The Jewelry
In 2006, with only a couple of years of jewelry industry experience under my belt, I was offered the opportunity to open my own store in LA’s Brentwood Country Mart. I was so brazen as a young person and thought that I could accomplish anything, so I just put my head down and went for it. Our Brentwood location is now celebrating its 11-year anniversary, and we’re opening our third location this spring.


I’m wearing two necklaces by Foundrae: the Strength Medallion Necklace and the Long Triangle Chain Necklace. Their pieces fit so well into my everyday wardrobe, and I love the bit of drama that they bring to my style. I’m also wearing a set of linked rings by Spinelli Kilcollin. His linked rings are some of our most desired and eye-catching pieces. It’s impossible not to fall in love with them! They’re also some of my personal favorite statement pieces and are perfect for a night out.


The bracelets have been welded onto my wrist by Hannah Keefe. She’s such an innovative designer with a unique way of connecting with her clients. Every couple of months or so, we invite her to come to our stores and continue her permanent jewelry project where she welds gold bracelets onto clients’ wrists. The events are always very popular, and women love to share the story of how they’ve had a piece of jewelry permanently welded on. They’re so simple and classic, making them perfect for permanent wear.

Photography by Emerald Carroll for The Stone Set