London Jewelers’ president Candy Udell shares the best baubles for every kind of mom
Ask Candy Udell — president of family-owned retailer London Jewelers — about Mother’s Day and she doesn’t hold back. “It’s just the most wonderful and cherished holiday. Moms do a lot of the heavy lifting and I think every mother deserves to be recognized. It’s very important to make them feel honored and appreciated.”
But snaring the perfect gift requires a bit of research, Udell notes, including assessing what the recipient already has in her collection. “A lot of women want to start with the basics before they get into other add-ons.” She suggests beginning with diamond studs, a tennis necklace or bracelet. “These are such an important part of the jewelry wardrobe and many women aspire to have them — they should be a go-to.”
Moving on, classics like yellow gold and diamonds are trending across the board. “It’s become really stylish because people are wanting a more casual look for wearing jewelry every day,” says Udell.
After that, personalized charms with engraved initials or children’s names spelled out in diamonds are surefire hits packed with meaning. Loving symbols such as hearts are also “very big this year” for gifting, she notes.
Once the basics are set, let the layering begin. Udell says the possibilities are endless with London’s signature “arm parties” (stacks of different styles of bracelets), “neck messes” (staggered necklaces of varied lengths to be worn together), and “ear parties” (constellations of sparklers worn on lobes and cartilage). “People like to dress their ears, and these days, they have a lot of different piercings, which they’re filling with studs and hoops in yellow and white gold as well as diamonds,” she says.
And with spring and summer arriving, moms are embracing jewels in a rainbow of hues. Udell suggests wowing them with statement-makers, like single color, emerald-cut bands in luscious shades (think: blue topaz, green tsavorite and pink and yellow sapphires) or a double-width pink-sapphire ring embedded with a glittering white-diamond heart. “It’s just so pretty and a little different.”
As for those who have all of these bases covered? Udell points to precious pieces that are “not so well-branded or well-known — something distinctive that shows individuality, [like] wearable art.” To this end, London offers a broad selection of choices such as opal baubles surrounded by sapphires or aquamarines and “fresh and hip” treasures in black titanium. She adds that blingy, dressier pieces — including eye-catching strands of diamonds in unusual shapes — are in demand for those reentering a world of weddings and graduations.
Still stumped? “We are very good at designing here as well,” she notes. “We’ve been making some really impressive things — stunning pieces tailored to fit your personality. Gather up the jewelry they’re not wearing, things that are just sitting there, and we’ll make something unique from it.”
Udell, in fact, still wears jewelry inherited from her grandmother and mother. (Her husband Mark’s grandfather, Charles London, founded London Jewelers in 1926 and the business is still run by multiple generations of the family.) She says heritage gifts like these go far beyond the material.
“I truly believe when you receive a piece of jewelry that has been passed down from someone you love, you can feel their heart beat.”
London Jewelers’ flagship is located in Long Island’s Manhasset, with additional stores in Southampton, East Hampton, Glen Cove, Wheatley Plaza in Greenvale and downtown Manhattan.
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For moms of steel “This just-launched model has generated amazing interest and feedback. It has the heft of a men’s watch with an unusual bluish-gray dial that catches the light in interesting ways, but shows its feminine side by way of a sparkly diamond bezel.”
For golden goddesses “This style is a major statement maker with its monochromatic rose-gold case, bracelet and gilded sunburst dial. The case is set with a staggered double row of diamonds for added impact.”
For majestic matriarchs “The eye-catching aubergine dial of this watch gives it a major wow-factor, enhanced by the glitzy jolt of its diamond bezel and 6 o’clock hour marker. It’s a versatile piece that goes from day to night.”
For mysterious mamas “This pendant watch does double duty. It’s done up in the most iconic and best-selling Van Cleef Alhambra motif — a good luck symbol. It looks beautiful, can be layered with other pieces from the collection and offers the extra bonus of telling time.”
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Emerald edge “Emerald-cut diamonds are being used in such interesting ways lately, whether they’re set at an angle or surrounded by a yellow-gold bezel. They’re playing a major role in today’s most fashion-forward jewelry.”
Wrap rings “A spiraled ring can make the same impact as a stack, but with the ease and comfort of a single piece. We have so many in store, ranging from natural floral styles to more architecturally inspired designs.”
Graduated diamonds “Varying the stone sizes is a special detail that really adds an edge. We’re seeing it on earrings and necklaces, definitely appealing to the modern woman.”
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Choker necklaces “Diamond choker tennis necklaces have been trending like crazy. They can sit tighter on the neck or be worn at two or three different lengths to layer with other necklaces. They’re incredibly versatile and go with everything from jeans and a T-shirt to evening looks.”
Classic studs “Women aspire to have a beautiful pair of diamond studs in their jewelry collection — it’s the first thing they want after an engagement ring. They’re timeless and the safest bet of all. Round-shaped diamonds are the most popular, but emerald and cushion cuts are also available.”
Personalized pieces “Anything engraved with kids’ initials, birthdates or even mom’s initials is always a hit. You can put her name in lights with diamonds or keep it simple with a monogrammed gold bar on a chain.”
Eternity bands “The newest option these days is to do a diamond eternity band in mixed shapes — round, radiant, pear — set all together. The classic is a band comprised of diamonds in just one shape, and we can match it with her engagement ring.”