As ladies who love estate jewelry, it's no surprise that we met Sarah Hendler at a Christie's event and immediately bonded over old gemstones. But then we found out that she has her very own collection of fine jewelry, made entirely in Los Angeles and inspired by vintage treasures, so we had to learn more. We were immediately smitten with details like rope bands and gemstone-dotted Victorian starburst motifs, paired perfectly to create something with old bones but very accessible, modern-day appeal. (There's even simply elegant brooches, like something my Grandmother wore, and minimal prong-set gemstone rings that emphasize substance over of-the-moment style. We likey.) If the jewelry connection weren't enough, we then realized that our mutual love for food sealed the deal. (Sarah's husband, Vinny Dotolo, is a owner/chef in the famed LA restaurant group that includes hotspots like Animal and Trois Mec.) So we settled in at one of our faves, Jon and Vinny's, to talk baubles over polenta with this Long Island, NY native, and the rest is history.
Click on the images below to enlarge and then read on to hear from Sarah!
So, Sarah, we know that your Grandmothers really inspired your love for jewelry. Tell us about them and some of your personal jewelry back story.
Thanks ladies for this question which is near and dear to my heart. My Oma is still here at 96 years young, while my loving Nana passed away in my late 20s. Both women were strong and passionate about adding a little something special that makes YOU special. They both wore bolder pieces. Rings and brooches. A product of their generations and times but those statement pieces have stayed with me. My jewelry background is not that of gemology school or working in a shop, but I have always been a collector, whether back in my teens with my love for silver and turquoise or later when I discovered Victorian-era pieces with rosecut diamonds. My story is that of a girl who wears jewels that people always ask questions about: where I found them or if I could make them something. So now in the busy world of being a mama to two young boys and having a husband who owns a few good restaurants in town I embarked on being a jewelry designer!
There's definitely a vintage-inspired vibe happening in your collection. How would you describe the pieces to someone who has never seen them before?
I always tell people they are classic, fun, estate jewelry in tone but super wearable.
They will pair with the current modern structural trends of today. "Trend" in the sense that people are always trying to reinvent themselves due to a bad break up or change of job or their age. My pieces will stick with you through all the juicing and the skinny jeans. Birkenstocks or Manolos. It will be the piece you always want to have on or want to wear to an important event in your life.
You also curate estate jewelry, a pursuit close to our own hearts. When you're treasure hunting, what turns you on?
I heart estate jewelry. It has lived a life. The stones, the workmanship, the love that was brought to all of it. I believe that if you are buying it, you wear it. This is from the mouth of a collector: I wear almost all my pieces on rotation. Yeah, I have pieces that hang out in a box for a while but I always try to find the right moment to give them some love. I'm currently diving deep into Victorian pieces. Alessandro Michele at GUCCI is really taking it to a whole new level with his costume jewelry (and love for the major ring stack) letting a younger generation of women get excited about Victorian-style jewels.
Let's talk food as, well, we're always hungry. Your husband is the chef/owner of some of LA's best restaurants. What are your favorite dishes at each of them so we can make sure to try every single one?
These are my babies you are talking about!!! To pick my favorites?! How dare you?! But, I will lead you to my top choices at the current establishments!
The Turkey leg. I know we just had thanksgiving but this ain't your Dad's pretty bird. It's a big old leg and the meat falls off the bone. It's awesome.
SON OF A GUN:
Smoked Fish Dip. My go to for a lunch.
JON AND VINNY'S:
The Chicken Cutlet. Pizza and Pasta are incredible but I can't eat that every time I go. As you can imagine I go A LOT. The cutlet and chicory side salad are delish.
The onion soup and the bread and butter. It is the best in town. Vinny and I have a thing for bread that is served to you warm. So that is how it is done.
The menu changes so often I honestly can't keep track! But, I can promise you it is an awesome dining experience. Not stuffy and foody and obnoxious. It's just beautiful.
Man I have only been twice! But my love is deep for the polenta dish and the churro french toast with salt and straw ice cream.
What's currently in the works for you?
I am in full on design mode. So expect some new pieces from me in the new year. I am also going to have a selection of estate pieces and some of my collection at a store in Los Angeles. Finalizing details. Trunk shows and maybe some national retail...2016 is looking bright and busy!