If there’s jewelry to be found, Elana Zajdman has seen it, brands small and big, and from both very old and surprisingly new provenance. The veteran fashion editor, most recently at InStyle, where she worked as a senior editor for accessories and jewelry, has now brought her knowledge and design acumen closer to home.
Zajdman launched her own jewelry brand, Estelle Galerie, to address what she felt was a gap in the market. Rooted in traditional style, the brand is handcrafted in New York City and mostly priced under $500.
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Zajdman wants his line to feel like the most convenient of antique stores, providing a window to discovery and allowing shoppers to treat themselves at an affordable price. The collection is made up of equal parts Zajdman designs and curated vintage pieces that have been strung on unique chains for a contemporary twist.
“I noticed the crazy price discrepancy between the cost of making jewelry and what people were selling for. I wanted to do this at a price that I would like myself, and what the product feels is worth to me. It’s too scarce on the market right now, for well-made, desirable pieces,” Zajdman said.
While Zajdman oversaw the broader accessories market at InStyle, as well as other fashion titles like Vogue.com and Marie Claire, she always had a particular fondness for jewelry. Estelle Galerie is named for Zajdman’s grandmother, whose drawers were overflowing with jewelry trinkets that she gave her granddaughter as a kind of aesthetic education.
“I started getting into her jewelry vanity at a young age — she had a closet full of jewelry, costume pieces from the ’70s, really crazy stuff. I was very interested in it and I learned a lot from it,” Zajdman said.
The designer, who now lives between Paris and New York, began laying the foundation for her brand in the months leading up to COVID-19 and decided to double down on the project immediately after InStyle closed in February.
Many of the gems in the collection, such as hand-carved lapis lazuli ornaments, had already been sourced on Zajdman’s brand’s first business trip to India in 2019. All that was missing was his website.
Earlier this month, the site went live, offering what Zajdman describes as a “curation” of vintage jewelry and artifacts, curated for those with a collector’s mindset.
The tight array of statuesque gold-plated cocktail rings, fine pendants strung on 18-karat gold chains or silk cords, and refined drop earrings sit alongside found objects like an antique sterling silver perfume bottle or a Cartier lighter from the 70’s.
The designer has also sought strands of vintage natural stones for necklaces that exude a kind of upscale bohemianism, the kind she dabbles in while flying between Paris and her family’s home in northern Vermont.
Zajdman will release new designs every few months in a drop format and will increase in frequency as Estelle Galerie grows. She’s also in talks with retailers to put together small, exclusive wholesale releases.
For Zajdman, the goal is to offer exclusive markets to a large number of clients, turning it into something of a traveling antiques dealer. “I would like to have curated releases and do different trunk displays or seasonal collections for different venues. I don’t want to follow a fashion calendar, I want to be inspired and have special, one-of-a-kind pieces that are purposeful and feel intentional,” she said.