Monica Rich Kosann
Monica Rich Kosann (b.????) Jewelry artists often have multiple creative interests usually closely related to their creations, however it is rare for a fine art black-and-white photographer to make a jump from her original discipline to establishing a jewelry, home décor, and accessory company.
According to Monica Rich Kosann’s official website, “Monica’s lifelong love of art, design and photography led her to become a fine art portrait photographer. The personal nature and heirloom quality of her portraits informed her interest in jewelry design and to the brand’s singular creation and re-invention of lockets and charm oriented styles as modern heirlooms for a new generation. Today her collections are offered in her own boutiques in New York and Los Angeles, her lifestyle shop(s) at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and over 100 fine jewelry and specialty stores.”
Kosann was born in New York City and began studying photography during a summer at the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts, in Salzburg, Austria. She later attended the International Center of Photography in New York, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the École des Arts at the Sorbonne in Paris. She received a bachelor’s degree from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Monica received her first Rollei camera when she was sixteen. She quickly began taking art-quality photos. Today Monica’s client list includes well-known personalities such as Usher, Maria Bartiromo, Jennifer Lopez, and Marc Anthony. While based in the New York area, Monica travels extensively to work with clients in and around their homes or on location to create heirloom photos that will remain in their families for generations.
Kosann also specializes in ways to display photos. She began designing photograph frames in 2002 by recycling antique compacts and cigarette cases. A cigarette case-shaped photograph holder she designed sells for up to $1450. Kathy Hilton gave photograph frames for her daughters Paris and Nicky for Christmas 2005 and Kosann has designed image cases and jewelry for Madonna and Katie Holmes.
Monica believes that every woman has a story to tell. Her background in fine art photography and portraiture led her to create distinctly personal jewelry. Her collection of lockets and charm bracelets are created to hold special photographs or messages that reflect the wearer’s life and memories.
Incorporating luxurious materials including sterling silver, 18-karat gold, diamonds and precious stones, Monica’s collections maintain a modern style. Designed for versatility, the pieces allow each woman to discover and combine the pieces that bring out her personal style, building her own collection and adding to her story.
A storyteller at heart, Monica Rich Kosann’s collection of heirloom quality jewelry celebrates personal memories and moments.
Each of her pieces is crafted from sterling silver, gold, calfskin leather or glass fired enamel. The collection she launched in 2003 was inspired by vintage cigarette cases, powder compacts, lockets and daguerreotype cases that she collected from flea markets and antique shopping.
Again, according to her official website, “A Monica Rich Kosann Locket embraces the fusion of old world artisanship and modern technology. Available in sterling silver and 18K gold, [the] lockets are designed down to the finest detail and incorporate the delicate balance of artistry with moving parts and hinges.”
It is craftsmanship you can see and hear. Talented artisans and jewelers from around the world bring her collections to life.
The creations embrace the click. In Kosann’s gold lockets there are often multiple sets of hinges and interior doors that click shut to hold the contents in place. In her silver lockets, she uses white gold closures to insure the pieces stand the test of time. Closing one of the lockets produces the “click” that assures the contents are safe.
The brand uses similar methods and techniques throughout its many collections. Whether it is a secret compartment in one of the charms, a bezel set stone in pocket watch keys, or gold wire posts in the line’s sterling silver earrings, buyers are assured of the highest level of workmanship, technical innovation, and skill. Celebrities known to wear Kosann’s pieces include Carrie Underwood, Goldie Hawn, Caitlyn Jenner, and Emma Stone.
In an undated interview with Bella Nyman, a New York based gallery director, curator, and journalist who publishes in 1STDIBS, Monica explained what motivates and inspires her.
“My mom always had such interesting jewelry: her brother was a major world traveler and would always bring his sisters amazing jewelry from around the world. She gave me a gold necklace he had brought her back from Peru. My mom also always wore a charm bracelet that held charms from her life and her travels. Both of my daughters as well as myself have started our own bracelets and we all now wear them almost every day. I love that these charm bracelets have become our modern day heirlooms that we will all pass down.
“I love the idea of a mom and her daughter both wearing pieces from my collection. It should feel like something they always owned and will wear every day. I also want to create jewelry that empowers women. I want my daughters to wear jewelry that makes them feel good, and gives them confidence. For example, much of my jewelry is themed around carpe diem, which holds a different meaning to each wearer, or a locket where they can hold a secret message or photo of something that is important to them.”
Monica is a member of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America). According to that website, she has published “Living With What You Love” with the Clarkson Potter division of Random House, and her most recent book, “A Possession Obsession” was published in the fall of 2016 by Glitterati Incorporated.
Notable jewelry pieces include an 18K yellow gold, one-of-a-kind locket with 5.93 carats cushion-cut sapphire and 0.31 carats diamond priced at $48,500, a leather bracelet with a Mokume clasp and citrine for $450, and another 18K yellow gold, unique locket with 7.05 carats blue-green tourmaline and 0.48 carats diamond that sells for $29,500.
The lockets can hold as many as six images. Kosann includes a hand-painted rendering of each of her one-of-a-kind lockets with a purchase. In addition to lockets, Kosann creates beautiful charms for necklaces and bracelets as well as artifacts for the home.
Her collections have been featured editorially in numerous publications including W Jewelry, Departures, Newsweek, In Style, Town & Country Magazine, People Magazine, In Touch, the Robb Report, ELLE, and LA Confidential. Monica and her work have also been featured on CNBC, Martha Stewart, E! News, and Entertainment Tonight.
A portion of proceeds from certain items in the Poesy ring collection gives back to charities through Kosann’s Monica Cares initiative.