Paparazzis, cameras flashing, microphones and limousines are just some of the things that one would notice at any red carpet event. And for sure, there would be people and onlookers who would be on the lookout for their favorite stars patiently at the sidelines. The grand venue would be filled with celebrities in shimmering designer gowns, high heeled shoes and of course, luxurious statement jewelry pieces to enhance and complete the celebrity’s look and style. And if there’s one name noteworthy of the glamour and style for his unique and vintage fine jewelry pieces, it would be none other than the famous Fred Leighton.
Fred Leighton is said to be the authority in vintage jewelry pieces and rare collectible jewels. He was often affectionately referred to as “Jeweler to the Stars” since his jewelry pieces are always seen on red carpet occasions and galas worn by the brightest and famous Hollywood celebrities and famous people. The pieces from his collection are often described as extraordinary, rare and one-of -a-kind where each design is deemed to be as timeless and even eternal. These are jewelry that would definitely be passed on to every family for generations as heirlooms.
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Fred Leighton was not Fred Leighton from the very beginning. Born and named Murray Mondschein in the Bronx, he was a taxi driver and served the army in Italy. Irving, his father collected rent from his landlord’s brother while Rene Sosnowsky, his mother, was a homemaker.
In 1959, Murray bought a former Mexican arts and crafts shop in New York on Macdougal Street in Greenwich Village – the name of the store was Fred Leighton which was named after the former owner. A name Murray Mondschein later claimed as his own. He also added wedding dresses in the shop and later on sold Mexican and Native American silver jewelry. His interest in vintage jewelry began for the price it could get him, when a dealer brought him Victorian-era jewelry to sell. The rest as they all say is history. He became drawn to Art Deco items and jewelry from the 1920s. He was called Fred by customers and clients but family and friends still refer him as Murray.
Prior to the 1970s, period and vintage jewelry pieces were often neglected. Gemstones were taken apart from the original setting to be attached onto new designs and pieces. This what set Fred Leighton apart, he ended such careless practice and instead further enhanced the rare beauty and exclusivity of rare vintage jewelry pieces that made them even more desirable and sought-after. This is how Fred Leighton has become known and successful thereafter.
Truly a “Jeweler to the Stars”
Fred Leighton has sold remarkable vintage jewelry pieces to prominent people and style icons such as Josephine Baker, Diana Vreeland, Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot and Jackie Onassis. Nicole Kidman even worn a Fred Leighton 19th Century feather duster earrings when she won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2003. Those diamond earrings really cinched her winning look with her in a black haute couture piece by Jean Paul Gaultier.
And of course, there’s also Meryl Streep in 2012 in a gold lame drape Lanvin designer gown who looked even more queenly and magnificent when she wore a Fred Leighton Victorian gold pendant earring without any gemstones on it and yet the actress stood out in her gold ensemble for being distinctive when everyone else was wearing diamonds.
There’s also Lupita Nyong’o who was decked in Fred Leighton 19th Century yellow gold jewelry pieces from head to the rings on her fingers that matched so exquisitely with her powder-blue Prada designer gown at the 2014 Oscars when she won Best Supporting Actress. Her diamond studded headband and yellow gold earrings, bracelet and rings were all Fred Leighton vintage jewelry pieces.
Contemporary design inspired by historical periods
Although Fred Leighton experts in jewels and period designs still work with vintage and classic jewelry pieces from by-gone-era, the Jewelry House is also into the creation of new pieces that draw inspiration from the past. These jewelry pieces are not reproductions and are often of limited editions and truly one-of-a-kind pieces that would take you back in time while living in the present.
The Signed Fred Leighton Bracelets are of modern design and yet did not completely lost their vintage charm. These bangles and bracelets such as the black jade and diamond constellation bracelets are crafted and designed at the label’s inhouse studio. These pieces are made of gold and jade and other exclusive materials that are inlaid with diamonds and colorful gemstones. They are limited edition pieces and inimitable. Vintage inspired and yet very modern and can be worn stacked with other pieces from the same line for a truly extraordinary look.
Fred Leighton has its flagship store located in Madison Avenue in New York City. The Jewelry House also has other eighteen (18) “salons” as they are called located all over the United States. Jewelry pieces are also sold online at the company’s e-commerce site and at Net-a-Porter.