- Martin, tell us how does your wife’s style inspires you to create everlasting pieces of jewelry?
My wife, Kelly, has always been my muse. I often look to her to offer her perspective on my designs, as she herself has the same discerning taste as most of the Martin Katz clientele. Her style is tasteful and definitive. I really value her input when I am designing as she gives me great feedback on what women like and want to wear.
- What was the inspiration behind creating microbands and redefining such delicate micro-pave artistry in your pieces?
I remember seeing an antique flower/rose pin which was probably created in the 18th Century and I recall admiring the extremely small diamond pave work done on it. I was fascinated by how smooth it was- it was the best work I had seen up to that point. That piece stuck with me, and I decided to try my hand at that exceptionally small diamond pave work, with the hopes that I could do it even better, and perfect it even more. I started with a simple eternity band ring (what has become my famed micro diamond band ring). I wanted to make it with the least amount of metal as possible so it felt completely flat and you could barely make out where the metal prongs were. My production team thought I was crazy- each time telling them to take away even more metal and to make the prongs even thinner yet. It was a lot of back and forth. Them saying, “We can’t take away any more metal, the diamonds will fall out!”, and me sending it back saying, “Let them fall out then…just try!”. Eventually, we got there, and I pride myself on the fact that Martin Katz micro pave is like no other micro pave setting– and to this day my microband is the most imitated and copied item I have ever created.
- In an instantly evolving bridal world, how would you describe your bridal collection? Classic, modern or best of both worlds?
I am always focused on creating designs that combine classic engagement ring details with contemporary design elements to make them unique. I get inspired by ways to make my designs special and perhaps with a dash of deco design elements to them. For example, many of my settings include micro diamonds that are hidden underneath the setting. I like to do this as an added detail that acts as a fun secret that only the wearer knows about. In some, I employ the use of care cut diamonds or old French cut diamonds as accents on the bands ushering in the influence of old-world jewelry in a contemporary setting.
- What is your favorite diamond shape for engagement rings?
It’s hard to pick one favorite, so I’ll choose three. Asscher, cushion and oval cuts top my list.
- Would you recommend gemstones for engagement rings?
I think colored gemstones are great options for the less traditional bride. I have been seeing more of that lately, women opting for sapphires and emeralds. It really all depends on the bride’s personality and what she wants but I prefer a classic diamond for the engagement ring.
- What is your favorite stone to work?
Colored gemstones are the most fun to work with because of the color variations and different shapes I like to employ in my designs. Currently, Paraiba Tourmaline tops my list, as well as Australian Black Opals—of course, I always love a great emerald and sapphire to work with too.
- Tell us about the most unforgettable piece you have sold!
It is difficult for me to choose my favorite child. One of them most certainly is my berry pin. I made 4 of them in the limited series. Ultimately, they found their way into the collections of two US Ambassador’s wives and the others went to prominent San Francisco and Florida families. Unforgettable, are also the very important Blue and Pink diamonds I have sold over the years, many of which were sold well into the high 7 figures.