Judith Ripka (Est. 1977) In a July 2017 Jupiter Magazine article, Judith Ripka, a New York native, is said to have cut the charms off her mother’s bracelet at age five, fastened them to a baker’s string, and called it her new necklace. The article also states that Ripka remembers exploring her friend’s mother’s jewelry box trying on every necklace, earrings and rings inside it.
Ripka later studied art at Hunter College in Manhattan but left school early to take a job as an assistant buyer at May Department Stores Company. She worked for Dawn Mello, a legendary figure in the retail industry and the eventual president of Bergdorf Goodman.
At 20-something, she started working in her home’s living room and crafted handmade pieces for paying customers and personal friends. The popularity and success of this enterprise led to her opening of the first official Judith Ripka store in Manhasset, New York.
Today, Ripka is known as the Queen of Hearts. Eventually graduating from the Parson’s School of Design, her passion for life and art combined to create pieces to accessorize any woman’s outfit. From 18k gold to diamonds, and multi-gemstone pieces to cubic zirconia, she created collections to fit almost anyone’s individuality.
Judith Ripka was a jewelry dreamer in a time when the market was dominated by men and she has often stated that this is one of the main reasons she worked as hard as she did to build her business. Some of her most popular pieces include her sterling silver rings, drop and stud earrings, and use of canary crystal, green quartz, white sapphire, and blue quartz.
Judith Ripka necklaces are instantly recognizable, as are her link bracelets and necklaces. The recognizable nuances found in Judith Ripka pieces often show off a specific closure or clasp or embrace a brightly colored precious stone as its main feature. The sterling silver metals and precious stones make the pieces easy to maintain and keep clean.
Judith Ripka incorporates a matte finish, texturing, vibrant color, and, of course, hearts into almost every design. Attention to craftsmanship is evident in the intricate detailing and use of the highest quality stones and metals. Ripka is recognized for her distinctive celadon gold alloy, 18k gold matte finish, and custom faceting of colored gemstones and diamonds.
A January 2018 Forbes Magazine article describes how Ripka took her marketing strategy to an expanded audience. While her designs made the Judith Ripka brand one to be coveted, her personal connection with customers was further nurtured through her many QVC television appearances. It was a step that took the brand to the next level.
Since QVC’s founding in 1986, jewelry has been a flagship category and Judith Ripka was its first woman jewelry designer to have her own shopping show. After growing her company to include 16 retail stores, the Judith Ripka Company was acquired by Xcel Brands in 2014. At that time, the company closed its stores and Xcel realigned the brand to its premiere platform, QVC, as well as to distribute designs online and through specialty retail stores including Lord & Taylor that exclusively sells the Ripka 14K gold collection.
Ripka’s personal interactions with customers nurtured her connection with viewers and made viewers feel as if they were friends with the designer rather than potential customers. This dynamic is one that has been described as a ‘social’ business before the advent of the Internet’s social networks.
Ripka is not only acclaimed in jewelry circles but also as a business woman. In November 2017, she was honored with the “Accessory Pioneer Award” at the 2017 Women’s Entrepreneurship Day celebration at the United Nations. She has also been named as one of the top five jewelry brands in the U.S. by Women’s Wear Daily, and been a recipient of the DeBeer’s Award for Outstanding Jewelry Design.
Judith Ripka pieces include rings, pendants, earrings, cuffs, bracelets, and necklaces featured in collections named Judith Ripka Ltd., Bella, Boca, Empire, Estate, Eternity, Juliette, La Petite, Martinique, Rio, Romance, Sanibel, and Santorini.
Founded on Judith’s desire to share her passion for fine jewelry, The Judith Ripka Companies, Inc. uses only the finest diamonds, colored precious gemstones, pearls, and unique one-of-a-kind stones sourced worldwide by Judith herself.
The Judith Ripka Companies, Inc. not only offers bracelets, clip-ons, earrings, necklaces, and rings online and on TV but also through outlets, boutiques, authorized retailers, department stores, and independent fine jewelers in the United States and internationally. It also has boutiques in Bal Harbour, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, Long Island, New York, and Las Vegas; with outlets in Orlando, Sawgrass, and Woodbury. As of April 2014, The Judith Ripka Companies, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of JR Licensing, LLC.