I love a personal touch: a handwritten note on a monogrammed card, special gift wrapping, remembering a birthday. As a young boy, I have this memory of my mother getting a fur coat (I know, the ’70s!), and inside the coat, her initials were embroidered on the lining. I was so taken by that personal touch.

Being attracted to typography, I have always wanted to design a complete Jay Strongwater alphabet of jeweled charms, but making 26 brand-new models all at once is a daunting project. Luckily, our very talented designer Dawn was up for the challenge! Hard to believe we started this about two years ago. Looking at old antique alphabet samples, one in particular caught my eye: a serif letter highly decorated with scrolls, leaves, and flourishes from 1889.

We then made drawings of how our Jay Strongwater alphabet could look, a classic detailed letter wrapped with leaves.

Slowly, over a period of months, all 26 letters were completed in meticulously carved clay sculptures. Of course each one is as beautifully detailed on the back as the front, with delicate flowers and amusing butterflies, dragonflies, and ladybugs.

As in all our metal designs, molds were made of each letter, poured in pewter, and finished in 18K gold. I then worked with Allyson and Cecilia in the New York studio to paint the enamel colors: verdant greens with blue, purple, and red accents on a warm amber base. Each letter was then completely paved in brilliant, hand-set Swarovski crystals.

I find the excitement starts with the package itself. It was important to me that each alphabet charm be presented in a box worthy of such a beautiful design. The final tooled-leather-wrapped, hinged box has our name embossed in gold leaf and is lined in deep fuchsia satin.

How nice to have this most perfect, personalized gift for everyone on my list. See our website for the full collection.

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