With a background working for both powerhouse media outlets and enviable fashion brands (InStyle, ELLE, The Row, Chanel…) she certainly knows a thing or two about fashion! It goes without saying we’ve picked up on a new jewelry trend or two (or three) over the years.
Whether Ruthie is stepping out in Roxanne Assoulin pastels and pearls, a ladylike vintage Patek Philippe watch, or a Fetish necklace scored in Woodstock, her love of jewelry knows no bounds. We were thrilled when she agreed to share her collection with us.
In addition to her adventures in fashion, this stylish lady devotes considerable time and energy to helping others. Ruthie is co-founder of The Chain, non-profit peer support network for women in fashion and entertainment struggling with eating disorders. The Chain aims to create a safe place to share experiences and gain insight through conversation, support, and community.
Ruthie invited us into her enviable uptown apartment (the Guggenheim is a neighbor) to talk her favorite adorned moments, untraditional engagement ring by Alison Lou, eclectic assortment of jewels, and the stories behind them. -Jenna Wise for The Stone Set
How did you develop a love of jewelry? What significance does it have in your life?
I think it started by admiring the jewelry collections of so many of the people I worked with, to be honest. The first time I interviewed Brooke Garber Neidich and heard her talk about her family’s history/her love of jewelry, I was completely captivated. I was at ELLE at the time and worked with Maria Dueñas Jacobs, who has the best taste in jewelry out of anyone I know. And through work, I’ve become friends with so many jewelers — their love and appreciation for what they do really speaks to me.
The history and science behind jewelry also is just so intriguing. My best friend Sam Broekema has taught me so much about stones and settings and verbiage — it’s a language you get to learn. It’s very romantic.
What pieces do you wear every day and never take off?
I have three bracelets on my right arm that I only take off if I’m required to (which is basically only in the instance of getting an MRI). One is a Cartier Love Bracelet that my mother bought me after I accomplished a major milestone in my life. The second is a diamond tennis bracelet that my dear friend Alison Chemla (better known as Alison Lou) designed for me for my 30th birthday, another gift from my family.
And the third, a Tiffany T gold chain bracelet, which I just think is the chicest piece ever. On my right hand, I always have Roxanne Assoulin with me — whether it’s a phrase string bracelet (my personal favorite “Faith Not Fear” or just one of her classic colorful bracelets). And since December, another piece I never take off: my engagement ring, also designed by Alison Lou.
What are your favorite jewelry designers and houses?
What a loaded question! I have a very deep love and connection to both Roxanne Assoulin and Alison Lou. Not only because I love the pieces aesthetically, but because I think both designers really aim to invoke this sense of happiness. Raphaele Canot is another designer that I adore. I have a pair of pierced rubies that I wear almost everyday. My best friend (and fellow jewelry lover) Sam Broekema introduced me to her and her jewelry, and I don’t think she makes one thing I don’t love.
Brooke Garber Neidich of Sidney Garber is the epitome of everything I aspire to be. She as a person and her jewelry. And I can’t wait to see what Francesca Amifitheatrof (formerly of Tiffany & Co.) will do at Louis Vuitton.
What in your collection is most unusual or special?
I have a gold chain that belonged to my grandmother—my father’s mother. It’s simple and probably doesn’t look like much, but it’s definitely the most special piece to me.
Do you have a most beloved jewelry memory?
One of the “perks” of the job has been being able to borrow jewelry from some of the most beloved houses in history. One of my most beloved jewelry memories was getting to wear the Chanel diamond Camellia earrings to InStyle’s annual Golden Globes party. I was recovering from the flu, felt like shit, but never felt more beautiful in those earrings.
Tell us about your stunning engagement ring.
I was very clear with my fiancé that I didn’t want a solitaire ring. Not because they’re not beautiful — but because I really have always loved the way a channel-set infinity band looks. Even though my parents are divorced, this is the ring my father gave my mother and I always thought it was the most beautiful piece of jewelry ever. Luckily he knew just who to call. Alison Lou makes this ring with other stones in different sizes (I love the one she does in ruby), so having her do it in diamond was a dream come true. I love it so much.
You acquire special pieces along your travels. What traditions or pieces stand out?
When I worked on the brand side of things at Chanel and The Row, I had this tradition of always buying myself a piece of jewelry after a fashion show. It wasn’t always a “serious” piece. But as the years went on, the pieces became more and more significant. I am pretty terrified of flying, and the idea of “gifting” myself — even if it’s something small and kitschy — helps me look forward to trips instead of feeling anxious.
So it sort of became this tradition: to collection something from the place I was going. I have an amazing turquoise necklace from the 1910’s that I got in Marfa, Texas. A vintage gold Patek Philippe watch I found at The Real Real (post Fashion Week one season). And my newest favorite: a Fetish necklace from a tiny vintage store in Woodstock.
What’s on your wishlist?
So much! If I were to name one thing, I would say Chanel Camelia Brode earrings with pearls, which are the earrings I want to wear to my wedding.
Photography by Emerald Carroll for The Stone Set