When you first see Ray Griffiths' work, you might be tempted to think that he's some stodgy old master jeweler. Because, honestly, the attention to detail is incredible, the craftsmanship is sublime and the overall vibe is one of divine elegance. But dig a little deeper and you'll quickly find the playful touches of a contemporary artist – a duality that we absolutely love. Plus, who can resist that smile? Read on to find out why we are head over heels for this Aussie who now calls the Big Apple home.
Let’s have dinner at your favorite neighborhood restaurant. Where do we go and what do we eat?
Bacaro on Division street in the Lower East Side, I sit at the bar with my vodka martini and I have the beef casserole on soft Italian polenta and an Arugula salad.
If you could buy any piece of contemporary jewelry from another jeweler, what would it be?
I would love one of of Victor Veylan’s Buffalo horn rings.
The vacation spot that you keep going back to over and over?
Australia – it’s home to me but also one of the greatest vacation spots in the world. You simply cannot beat Sydney in summer.
What’s the last book you couldn’t put down?
I am more of a newspaper man. And I love an old school physical copy of the Sunday New York Times that I read cover to cover, can’t put that down.
What's your go–to cocktail?
Vodka martini straight up with 2 olives please.
The gemstone you’re currently lusting after is . . .
Opals. I suffered “opal trauma” for most of my career and I think I am finally over it. When I was first starting out, in the first month of my apprenticeship, I dropped an opal and it shattered to pieces. I never quite got over it and have always avoided them. In the past year I just fell in love with too many opals and have slowly been introducing them into my collection.
What’s your favorite piece that you made in the last year and why?
My Regency rings – so classical. The bones of the style is a beautiful classical masterpiece, but it can be manipulated in so many ways to be very modern and I am just having the best time playing with them.
You have 30 minutes to work out – what do you do?
I run a mile and quarter on treadmill and then do a 15-20 minute set with 15 pound weights, high reps to keep up the cardio and low weights on my abs and back.
What was the first piece of jewelry/watch you bought for yourself?
I swapped some old English coins when I was 8 for a pocket watch from the 1780s with verge movement. I still own it and it’s still in perfect working condition. Quality and solid workmanship will never fail (it’s something I strive to always bring to my own pieces).
If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Salvador & Gala Dali, they were crazy (the best kind of crazy) and it would be the most amazing experience. They were a very social and fun couple and their brains work just differently. Love them!
What's the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own and tell us the back story.
My grandfather’s wedding ring, my mother gave it to me when I was a little boy to put on my left hand. I am very dyslexic and when I was young telling my left from right could be challenging. So, I had my grandfathers ring on my left hand so I would always know which way to go.
What’s your preferred mode of transportation day-to-day? (Tell us about your car, motorcycle, bicycle, taxi, Uber, skateboard…)
My feet – I would walk everywhere if I could.
Top 5 bands in your playlist - go!
Curtis Mayfield, Nina Simone, Everything But The Girl, Ella Fitzgerald, Ashford & Simpson.
You’re having guests for the weekend. What’s your signature dish that you cook?
I would serve polenta with a chicken and vegetable casserole. It’s a big meal and can serve lots of people. When I cook I like to use lots of fresh herbs and spices.
Be honest – who’s your celebrity crush?!
What’s your dream watch to own?
Vintage Gold Rolex.
What’s your favorite piece of technology and why?
I am a technophobe – it would be my phone because I am used to it.
If you could sit front row at any fashion show, which would it be and why?
Alexander McQueen in his heyday, I love his clothes and his vision. The shows were a performance and the clothes were the stars of the show.
Tell us your grooming secrets (think: any skincare products or salons you love?)
Face scrub and really great moisturizing cream – I use apricot face scrub every day and Shisedo moisturizer.