Since 2008, Emily Satloff, Larkspur & Hawk’s founder, has married 18th century techniques with a thoroughly modern sensibility, designing jewels with a timeless beauty. A lifelong scholar of art and design, Emily’s graduate studies in decorative arts at both Sotheby’s and the Cooper-Hewitt led to her career as a curator at The New-York Historical Society and a curatorial consultant for The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Working in decorative arts gave Emily an intimate knowledge of and deep appreciation for historical objects, spanning a breadth of periods and media only available in a museum setting. “I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to examine, touch and research so many varied objects,“ she recalls. “I developed a critical and curious eye, which is something I rely on daily as a jewelry designer.”
I grew up surrounded by antiques; they were very much a part of my childhood. My mother always collected Americana and folk art, so I went to many antique shows and auction houses. That was the beginning of my passion for art and for objects that have a story and history.
Through her work with antiques, Emily developed an avid interest in jewelry. She began to build her own collection of esoteric jewels from the past, items such as cut-steel, jet, and paste. “It was endlessly exciting to me because researching jewelry was really no different from the research I conducted for museums, with the added perk of being able to wear a piece of history!” It didn’t take long for people to start taking note of Emily’s collection, enquiring where they could find such treasures. Soon enough, the first iteration of Larkspur & Hawk was born, with Emily dealing a range of antique jewelry that bore her singular taste for oft-overlooked art from bygone eras.
Emily quickly cultivated a passion for the foiled jewelry of the Georgian era. “The beauty, the delicacy, the mystery of it — I was drawn in immediately.” Smitten with Georgian jewelry’s romantic origins and subtle sparkle, Emily delved into researching the lost art of foiling.
I am attracted to the high-low quality of Georgian jewelry; it can surely be elegant, but it’s often understated. There’s something extremely compelling about jewelry that can be both casual and precious.
Foiled jewelry began as a practical solution for 18th century jewelers who didn’t have the stone-cutting techniques to create brilliant, faceted stones, and was designed to glow in candlelight, the predominant light source at the time. “So, by all accounts,” says Emily, “we don’t need to do it today; we have great stone-cutting technology and electric lights.” But there’s a look to foiled jewelry — the play of light and color — that stones alone can’t ever replicate.
A burning curiosity to try out her own designs led Emily to create modern, foiled jewels. Although a career change wasn’t her intention, an almost immediate demand for her original designs led Emily to launch a fully-fledged collection. “With satisfaction,” she says, “I transitioned from the role of vetting and authenticating jewelry that existed before me, to the role of designer, creating jewelry that synthesized my decades of work, studies, and love of antiques.” Equipped with an authoritative knowledge of craftsmanship, gleaned over years of research, Emily was able to resurrect Georgian jewelry’s signature radiance in fine-jewelry designs suited for modern women.
Georgian rivières were always my most favorite silhouette to collect, so it is not surprising that they are my favorite form to design. When I begin designing a new collection, I always start with sketching a rivière, which sets the tone for the rest of the capsule.
The rivière, a continuous river of stones that flows around one’s neck, and a staple of Georgian jewelry, has become one of Larkspur & Hawk’s signatures. In addition to a core range of classics, Emily designs two to three new collections annually. Each of Larkspur & Hawk’s collections is a very personal distillation of Emily’s extraordinarily diverse interests. “Sometimes inspiration comes from a 200-year-old pair of earrings, a Vienna Secessionist painting, a 19th century doorknob, a turquoise sea, the colors of spring peonies, or even an early American crazy quilt.” Emily’s unique eye for style, reflected in all of her designs, has made Larkspur & Hawk a perennial favorite of the world’s most discerning women, frequently making appearances on and off the red carpet and in the pages of leading fashion magazines.
Emily works out of her design showroom in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood and currently resides on the Upper East Side with her husband, two sons, and two Maine Coon rescue cats, Clementine and Mojo.