A jeweler via heritage-both father and grandfather sat at the bench-Jack Kelege took his bloodline and made magic of metal and stones. Born in the former Soviet Union, Kelege came to the United States in 1971 with little more than a talent and desire to create stunning jewelry. Unable to speak English, Kelege’s skills as a diamond setter, engraver and bench jewelers spoke for him as he slowly built up a clientele that had no trouble understanding his deft attention to detail and love of fine jewels.
Now, 34 years later and countless one-of-a-kind pieces later, Kelege’s work defies description. Crafted from hand-worked platinum, the finest diamonds and gold; each ring, bracelet, earring or necklace is a unique piece of art.
ESTABLISHED: Jack Kelege & Co. established 1972
BASED IN: Los Angeles, California
KNOWN FOR: Handmade platinum and diamond jewelry created with the finest engraving and filigree. Striking engagement rings that are modern by way of a classic style and influence.
INSPIRATION: Carl Faberge, legendary jeweler and proprietor of the Russian house of Faberge. “He took jewelry to another level. His work is the biggest inspiration in my life, and I am fortunate to be close friends with his granddaughter, Tatiana Faberge.”
HOW IT BEGAN: After arriving in Los Angeles, Kelege rented one bench in a two-bench shop from a friend. A fellow Russian then gave him work designing special orders in platinum and diamonds.
FUN FACT: Kelege knew at an early age that he’d follow in the family tradition of jewelry making. At seven years old, he wanted to create a piece but had no metal, so he raided the family flatware. “My mother had an old solver set. I melted a spoon and made a ring, and to this day she hasn’t forgiven me.”
HIS CUSTOMER: “One who wants the finest quality possible, not necessarily the most expensive. I put the same attention to detail in a $2,000 piece as in a $200,000 piece.”
HIS PASSION: Design. “I create five to six new pieces every week, and I’m designing every day. My standards are very high, and every creation is based on quality and simplicity.”