In the summer of 1996 when I was browsing the stalls of the NY Jewelry Show for something marvelous to buy for my shop, I spotted the perfect thing. The jewelry was well made and the styling was classic. I was immediately struck by the quality of the semi-precious stones used throughout the collection. I remembered the name, it was Mazza.
When Bill Mazza introduced himself to me he seemed disappointed when I told him my shop was in Palm Beach! He was protective of his activity in our small town, and he already had one fine old jewelry store there. I finally convinced him that we would not be competition because we were a resort clothing store and we sold jewelry to complete sportswear looks. I placed my first order at that show. And now it seems, we will be
celebrating 25 years of business together!
Over the years, I learned that the Mazza's involvement with the jewelry industry dates back almost two centuries. The family came from a small town just south of Naples called Torre del Greco. Starting in the 1840’s they worked with coral and conch shells for cameos, which they harvested and hand carved in Italy. At the turn of the century Louis Mazza, Bill's father, left Europe to import gems and Mazza carvings to the United States. Over the years from 1950 to 1960 Bill's three brothers joined the business as it expanded. But my friend Bill, who is the third son, started working with his father before then when he was only 12 years old. While his older brothers were away in the military, Bill took his summer job very seriously and he soon started meeting the major designers and jewelry buyers, and he become aware of his own creative skills.
By 1970 he and the family team produced their first collection for
I. Magnin and Bergdorf Goodman.
Bill remembers when he was working all alone as a youngster one day because his Dad was sick in bed and his brothers were not living at home. The buyer from Bergdorf called him and wanted to show a client a selection of turquoise for a necklace. That very hour! Bill chose the turquoise beads and quickly took them up Fifth Avenue from the Atelier in Rockefeller Center. He got a call back after lunch. The client selected the beads and the necklace was to be strung and delivered before closing as the client was flying out that night. Bill called every pearl stringer in his father's Rolodex and ended up stringing the beads himself as no-one could be coaxed into such fast action. And the sale was consummated!
Thirty years ago, Bill was joined by his own boys soon after they graduated from college. Together, Bill Jr. along with Jeff and Steve have continued to practice the fine jewelry techniques passed down from father to son ...And Bill Sr. is now a semi-retired "Snowbird" with a new obsession, golf.
In the old days, Bill recalls, he supplied the Messrs. Cartier, David Webb, Van Cleef & Arpels and even Harry Winston. Winston used the Mazza craftsman for specialty repairs.
Now, the collection is represented in the finest independent stores throughout the nation.
We all love Mazza Jewelry!
Please stop by and help us celebrate our 25th year together this week?