“I love the way that jewelry changes an outfit in two seconds, that I can travel and wear the same black outfit and by changing my accessories you wouldn’t know it,” Jill Zarin shares of her love of jewelry.
Zarin is best known for her four-season stint on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City. Then came entrepreneurial pursuits including a shapewear line, Skweez Couture, which arrived in 2011, followed by the Jill Zarin Jewelry Collection, which debuted last year, and is now available in stores like Macy’s.
We popped by Zarin’s Upper East Side apartment to get a glimpse of her extensive jewelry collection—a mix of high-octane diamonds, and some of the affordable, yet glam pieces, she’s designed for her namesake line. The takeaway? A little bit of sparkle—whether its on an evening gown or a multi-carat diamond on your finger—goes a long way.
“The first memorable piece was my engagement ring from my first husband,” Zarin shared of the first major diamond in her collection. “I put that in the vault and that is going to be [my daughter] Allyson’s one day.”
As for who buys the jewelry in the Zarin household, she told us, “My mother told me some advice once—never tell your husband you don’t like something he buys you or it will be the last thing that he buys you. I never forgot she told me that. I’ve never told [my husband] Bobby that I didn’t like something that he’s bought me. Still, he’s not the biggest jewelry person because—I’ll tell you the truth—I’ve lost things and things have been stolen. Because of that I have been punished and he told me I am not really worthy of having good jewelry anymore. That’s why I had to start my own jewelry line.”
The shift away from real jewelry towards costume is a choice that Zarin isn’t afraid to flaunt. “I believe in buying as much as you can, buying all of the time, and constantly changing your stuff around,” she says of her jewelry habits.
And of course buying real jewelry these days doesn’t come cheap (just look up the price of gold). Zarin says, “If you are buying something that has already been cut into a piece of jewelry, buy it because you love it, don’t buy it as an investment. Spending $30,000, $50,000, $100,000—you are never going to get your money back. Ever. Don’t buy it because of the value.”
As for how Zarin sources inspiration for her own line, she shared: “I am constantly doing what I do best, which is shopping. Constantly cutting up magazines. Constantly taking pictures on my iPhone. And constantly trying to come up with something that is innovative and creative and different than what everyone else has which is very hard to do—there are a lot of jewelry people out there—but somehow I’ve managed to do it.”
Click through the slideshow above to get a glimpse of some of Zarin’s favorite jewelry pieces.
Photography by: Kelly Bazely