They’re self-acclaimed treasure hunters, for whom travel is a passion and, now, a necessity for sourcing their one-of-a-kind pieces.
Chloe, one of Toni’s five children, studied music and theater in college and never imagined co-operating a successful business with mom Toni. Their shared love for Victorian-era jewelry led them to begin creating custom pieces that eventually launched their brand Toni+Chloe four years ago.
“The brand came about after a trip to London. While visiting a friend, I decided to explore an antique jewelry market and fell in love with a diamond crescent. Once I returned to NYC, I strung the crescent on a loose chain I found in my jewelry box. It was as if I were wearing a magic gem – strangers stopped me on the street to ask where I purchased my necklace. Everyone was in utter awe of it,” says Chloe.
“Regarding Victorian antique jewelry sourced through travel and exploring, we are very sensitive to the fact that each one-of-a-kind piece has had a lifetime before us and likely tremendous history,” says Chloe. “When making a piece, we want to pay tribute to its past and previous owners.”
Toni’s sister, the late Angela Kramer, designed for Fred Leighton. “She was an amazingly creative designer. I am constantly inspired by her,” says Toni about her sister.
The two feel connected to every piece of jewelry they design; each piece’s individuality and the process of creation requires tremendous thought and consideration.
“It is difficult to choose a favorite, but if I had to, I would choose ‘The Iris’ which is an unbelievable star, embellished with diamonds and amethysts. Each link on the chain is hand-embossed with stars. I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Chloe.
One of Toni’s favorites is a gypsy ring she found in a shop in the middle-of-nowhere Europe. “Inside the band is in inscribed, ‘To Sarah love John 1892.’ It feels so romantic to me,” Toni says.
Toni+Chloe showcase their antique products via the most modern platform: social media. “It plays such an important role in generating visibility for our brand and also provides a platform for our message and vision. Customer engagement is very important, but the level of influence celebrities and models have is crazy powerful,” says Chloe. “We work with mom-and-pop vendors who help us source, translating the pieces into modern context can be tricky, as we want to present the pieces in their original state, but also resonate with a modern woman.” Toni jokes, “It’s really amazing to see how powerful social media is, especially since during 99% of my life, social media didn’t exist!”
Another platform for promotion of Toni+Chloe will be a photo book. Since the inception of the brand, they have photographed each of their pieces. “Creating a beautiful book will showcase each piece of our art,” says Toni. “It will be full of our favorite pieces and materials: diamonds, rubies, sapphires, demantoid and opals. Remember, you can never wear too many diamonds!”
Some content for this interview was provided by a former Polo Lifestyles writer