By: Emily Bunn x Vaughn Lowery
Oscar Stone LTD is a family-owned jewelry firm based in the Bronx, New York. Oscar Stone sells timeless jewelry, including customizable earrings, watches, bracelets, pendants, chains, and mouth grillz, which are all created from the beginning to the end internally. Oscar’s most popular article, baguette diamond earrings, dazzle his clients with their blinding beauty. Oscar Stone recognizes the value of using durable diamonds and jewelry from the Bronx community.
While lockdown created a lull for other companies, Oscar used the downtime to bolster his burgeoning business. His reach on social media via Instagram featured Oscar to many celebrity customers, including Jojo Simmons, Young Dirty Bastard, and Kid Capri, among others. Oscar Stone‘s jewelry exudes a true dedication to his craft, which is why his extensive list of clients keeps expanding.
The last authentic district of New York, the Bronx, houses the next largest jeweler in New York. Oscar Stone LTD stands apart from other jewelers such as Jacob the Jeweler, Greenwich Street Jewelers, and Martin Busch Jewelers because of its innovative approach to bespoke jewelry and sustainable practices and inspirational dedication to their craft. Oscar’s relentless pursuit of fine diamonds and customer satisfaction during the pandemic has allowed his business to flourish more than ever. Looking to the future, Oscar aims to continue creating custom designs for his customers and grow his business to become a familiar name.
We talked with Oscar about his background in gemology, his favorite custom orders, and his business expansion plans in the Bronx.
How did you get started in making jewelry and performing gemology for Oscar Stone?
I’m a G.I.A. accredited gemologist. Basically, growing up my whole life, [my] family– aunts, uncles, cousins– we all just did jewelry. So getting the jewelry was the easy part. It’s a family trade, really; it’s one of our best-kept secrets.
How did you build your clientele when you began in the jewelry business?
I knew about jewelry; gold wasn’t something crazy new to me. It’s like all your aunts and uncles own auto repair shops–you fix a couple of the tires, do a couple of oil changes, and you just kind of figure it out by yourself. When I had my own spot, building my clientele did really start from scratch. I didn’t have any celebrities or influencers, so I just had to open up shop and see what I could do. Before I did that, I actually did go to GIA (Gemological Institute of America) diamond school. I knew that GIA offered courses for this type of stuff. I spent a couple of months educating myself–[even] just [concerning] diamonds; there’s so many things about diamonds.
Once I finished the education, I decided to really bring in some clients. I was in business for about three years, and then I just started going heavy on social media. Once I started publishing my work on social media, the followers started coming. You know, not[hing] crazy yet, but I started getting a couple thousand [followers]. That’s when the business started taking off. I started hiring friends of mine and a lot of people, [and] my staff grew from four or five people to like twenty-five people. Business exploded when I started getting people who were verified on Instagram and had 300–400,000 followers. Once I started getting those clientele, the ball really started rolling. And that’s where we are now, about a year later.
What celebrities/notable clients have you done jewelry work for?
I would say the biggest guy that I’ve done work for would be, Jojo Simmons from RUN–D.M.C. I’ve done work for Young Dirty Bastard, who is the son of Old Dirty Bastard from the Wu Tang Clan. [Regarding] household names, I’ve done guys as big as Tonio Skits and Darius D.K. [Also,] I’ve done work for [Kid] Capri.
How do you source the best diamonds/gems for jeweling?
I don’t always get the same diamonds from the same supplier. The reason is, once you start working with somebody for diamonds and you guys get comfortable, then they start sending you lesser quality parcels. A parcel is basically like a bag of diamonds, [which come in] a lot of different sizes. They should all be the same clarity, and you sort through them to see that the quality is consistent.
I can buy 50 carats of diamonds this month [or] this week, and then I’ll run out by making all the jewelry. And so, I need to reorder. If the quality starts to become inconsistent with the price that I’m paying, I’ll switch over to another diamond supplier. Most of my diamond suppliers are in India, so I’ve had to fly out there a few times and look at some parcels, look at some factories, and see how they’re all doing it.
[Or, for example,] if I have to build a watch and do it three weeks, and [clients] don’t give me enough time, I have to get [diamonds] local[ly].
What is your favorite jewelry design you sell?
My favorite designs [are] always the custom pieces I make. I always love doing custom work, I just love like how intricate they are. I just did a piece for a client of mine–it’s this huge custom piece that spins when you spin it. I’ve had the most fun working on it, that’s my favorite piece right now. I’m working on another one that might top it, but we’re gonna keep it under wraps for now.
What is your jewelry specialty?
My signature I would say is the baguette earrings, that’s what most people know me for. Out of all my followers, I would say 20,000 of them might have been from the baguette earrings.
I do really, really good with the baguette diamond earrings that are on my website. I could sell as many as 20 pairs a day. A lot of people [who] are from out of state buy that. A lot of people [come] in store as well. The baguette diamonds are just such a popular thing for me right now. I have to make hundreds and hundreds of pairs just to keep up with demand.
What is the most popular order you receive from clients?
The baguette diamonds are just like something you really don’t see out of New York. And so, people love them. It’s also my bread and butter…It’s gonna go, it’s gonna sell, and sell classic.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to be moving to another location on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx–I’m true to the Bronx, I don’t wanna leave the Bronx. So, I’m moving to a store that is down the block from me. It has three times the retail space, and a basement attached to it. I’ll be able to really put a factory down there. As long as the people keep loving my jewelry and what I do, I’m going to keep delivering the best I can. To do that, and to give the best prices, you need to do things in-house. I’m going to have a 1500 sq ft basement where I’ll be able to put ten diamond setters down there and set diamonds all day. The second floor will be an office to do all the online [work]. On the floor-level will be retail and the showroom, so people who want to see things in-person, I can show them right there. That is my short-term goal in the next one or two years. Long term, I want to be a household name, but one thing at a time.
Photo Credit: Anthony Duque