By Manon Crespi
One of Frederic Sage’s earliest jewelry memories is standing in front of a jewelry store window when he was nine-years-old. He’d made a habit of occasional visits to his father’s office after school, but this time was different. Something in the window next to his father’s office caught his eye. Through the glass, an array of rubies, sapphires and diamonds gleamed from a necklace, beckoning him to step closer. Then, after taking inventory of all that was artfully displayed, he systematically decided how he would change each and every piece. This should have been the nine-year-old’s first clue that jewelry was in his future. Little did Sage know then that it would take a detour, a setback and ultimately a risk to fulfill his destiny.
Sage’s passion for jewelry began to grow in his early teens when he was sorting parcels of precious gemstones at his father’s import company. He also loved languages and excelled at Spanish and French in high school, graduating early at 17. The first in his family to attend college, Sage went on to complete his bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance with a minor in Italian.
The jewelry journey seemed logical for Sage when he began working with his father’s gemstone import company again after college, but he felt restless. So restless, in fact, that he began night classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology where he studied art, history and fashion. Then came the detour.
At 21, Sage accepted a job with a textile company that would make full use of his fluency in many languages, as it required him to live in Europe part-time. He flourished as an assistant designer, and ultimately became vice president of sales for the company. Sage developed his eye for color and his sensibility for textures. He was making a nice income, too, but then came the setback. After nine years with the textile company, Sage learned that it had been sold. The company’s new direction was in conflict with his principles, and he chose to leave. Sage ultimately saw the setback as an opportunity. He would take it, but he knew it wasn’t an opportunity without risks.
Leveraging all of his credit cards, Sage created 25 one-of-a-kind high-jewelry pieces and launched his company, Frederic Sage, out of his New York City apartment. Within the second year, he and his only employee, his mother, set out to their first jewelry trade show, and nearly sold out of his entire inventory.
Sage came from a textile background that brought a new perspective to jewelry design. His use of two-tone metals, heavier shanks, unusual cuts in gemstones and interesting color pairings in gemstones quickly set his one-of-a-kind high-jewelry pieces apart. He later expanded his offerings with diamond fashion jewelry, natural shells of mother-of-pearl and abalone with diamonds, and even bridal collections.
Sage has proved his talent as a jewelry designer and an astute businessman for nearly 16 years. He admits, however, he didn’t completely come out of the box this way. He credits his father for his business acumen and ethics, his mother for his sense of style, his wife, Marina, for his confidence and his children for his drive. With the combined support of each of his family members, Frederic Sage not only had his date with jewelry destiny but he’s also made the most of his opportunities to live it.
For more information, visit fredericsage.com