In this climate of the Covid 19 pandemic, every little piece of good news is relished with delight. One such sparkling news is the opening of a new pop-up store by jewellery designer Christopher Walling.
Located at 485 Park Avenue (at the northeast corner of 58th Street) in Manhattan, Christopher’s new store has four rooms with a very comfortable, parlour-like feel to them. Decorated with an eclectic mix of furniture, people stepping into the store are immediately struck by its calm ambience, a world away from busy Park Avenue outside. Ensconced in the serene interior of the store, clients can be seen chatting with Christopher and planning their next fine jewellery purchase.
I caught up with Christopher and asked him about his new store, the safety protocols he has put in place for his clients and most importantly what fine jewellery treasures his clients can hope to find at his new premises.
Congratulations on the opening of your new store! What an exciting new chapter for Christopher Walling Jewelry. Could you tell us something about the location of your store and what drew you to this location?
Thank you, Reema! And it IS very exciting: not only was it occupied for 64 years by the iconic jewelers Seaman Schepps, not only is it a beautiful store in a perfect location (Park Avenue and 58th Street), not only is it my first free-standing store in NYC – in 49 years – but…it was OFFERED to me “out of the blue!” (I was in free-standing stores in Aspen for 24 years – two of which were my own.)
In this time of the Covid 19 pandemic, what steps and protocols have you instituted to ensure the health and safety of your clients?
No one without a mask will be allowed in. We have four rooms so that – should more than one client at a time arrive – we can all not only social-distance but also have privacy. We offer gloves (and masks) and every room has hand disinfectant…and we have a small window in the back of the store which we keep open, ensuring excellent circulation.
Do your clients need to have a prior appointment to meet with you or is this a walk in store as well?
Both! Walk in clients are welcome and we are always ready to accommodate anyone who wants to set an appointment with us. And as happened when I opened my Fifth Avenue showroom in 1990, I know that friends and clients will want to “break the ice” to celebrate its opening and to support an American artist by acquiring a new CW jewel for their collections!
What can your clients hope to find among the jewellery offerings at the store?
As you know, Reema, I have shown in museums from Honolulu to Istanbul, am included in 17 books on jewelry, have been featured in two PBS documentaries, have been to as many museums which have jewels around the world as possible and describe my work as a marriage of tradition & modern. So this store showcases my signature pieces…which derive from all those experiences and, of course, include many and varied pearls – given my life-long love of pearls. I am also creating variations on my themes, like any good “musician;” my life-long interest in color; and work in metals and gems I’ve not used before (or occasionally not even known of until recently) which are equally a “nod” to the mores as well as the economics of our pandemic era. Including silver…and magnetite!
Apart from finished jewellery pieces, do you also offer bespoke services at your new store? If so, how does that work?
Of course! A good example is the 46 ct. tanzanite – as well as the two huge South Sea Pearls – I recently posted on both Instagram and Facebook, with the suggestion that someone who falls in love with them come in and design a jewel WITH me, around them! Having grown up in New England more than anywhere else, I have also always loved the concept of “re-cycling:” of clients bringing me their own stones for re-setting. To my clients’ surprise – sometimes – I won’t, however, take apart a lovely piece by an important designer but will suggest incorporating the entire jewel in a new one…and in such a way that the original jewel can be later removed, intact.
I love the décor of your store. The colours are warm and inviting and the furniture is very “you.” Would you like to tell us something about the beautiful furniture you chose for the store and why it spoke to you as a jewellery designer?
Thanks again. The light beige suede-covered walls (with a subtle pattern) I found already in the store, totally lent themselves to all the “brown” furnishings I have. My father admired the great furniture artist, George Nakashima, beyond words and instilled that respect and admiration in me. In fact, we made a pilgrimage together to Nakashima’s workshop outside New Hope, Pennsylvania, in 1968. Over the years I’ve collected what works of his I could – which includes a truly sensational and unusual desk, and which is in effect, the centerpiece of the store’s design! I also like Biedermeier furniture and bought a beautiful suite when I opened my wonderful showroom on Fifth Avenue in 1990, which is still open, by the way. I commissioned the rising art-world star, Randy Polumbo, to build it (his very first commission) as well as eight Grecian-temple-like standing cases of dark red mahogany…all of which flowed together to create an instant store for me now. And one, quite frankly, which feels nurturing and like a home to me! For a three-month “pop-up!”
So, if you are in New York City and are looking to buy fine jewellery for yourself or for a loved one this Holiday Season or even into the New Year, head over to Christopher Walling’s new store on Park Avenue. Not only will you find exquisite jewellery pieces to swoon over, you’ll also get an opportunity to admire, in real life, some mesmerizing pieces of original Nakashima furniture.
Christopher Walling Jewelry, 485 Park Avenue at 58th Street (North East Corner), Manhattan, New York City, New York. Monday-Friday 11am -5 pm, Saturday 11am-5 pm. Phone: 917-261-4637
You may also be interested in finding out more about Christopher Walling in my conversation with him about his jewellery journey, his jewellery creation process and some of his most iconic jewellery designs.
You can find our more about Christopher Walling and his jewellery pieces at www.christopherwallingjewelry.com and can follow Christopher Walling Jewelry on Instagram at @christopher_walling_jewelry and on Facebook at Christopher Walling Jewelry
Featured Image: Baroque Pearl and Tanzanite Necklace, Christopher Walling Jewelry
All images used in this post are the property of Christopher Walling Jewelry. Any person or organization not affiliated with Christopher Walling Jewelry may not use, copy, alter or modify any of the images used in this post, without the advance written permission of Christopher Walling Jewelry