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  • Writer's pictureTracey Ellison TDG

Harry Kotlar: Made By Hand, Shaped By History

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

Anyone who has ever picked up a celebrity magazine, or watched red carpet interviews, will have heard of the name “Harry Kotlar”. The jewelry brand, so beloved by red carpet stars has been worn by Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Pink, Celine Dion, and even Michelle Obama. It is synonymous with stylish, tasteful, exquisite jewelry, coupled with the finest diamonds.

You can therefore imagine my excitement when an invitation arrived inviting me to the premier of the short film, Made By Hand, Shaped By History, a movie that takes us behind the scenes and opens our eyes to the true meaning of “made by hand”.

Italian Designer At Work Creating Custom Designs

Despite all I had read about Harry Kotlar, nothing could prepare me for the film. Understanding how each piece is handmade, from design to finish, opened my eyes to the incredible artisan craftsmanship that lies behind every Harry Kotlar piece. The finest artisans, Italian artisans for whom the art of jewelry craftsmanship runs in their veins, are an integral part of the Harry Kotlar team. The artisans, the best at their craft, carefully and painstakingly complete every part of the process – by hand.

The film can be viewed here “Made By Hand, Shaped By History”  . Press the link and enjoy!

Harry Kotlar, a Polish immigrant who began his legacy by selling loose stones in Los Angeles, has a presence that is felt in every frame of the movie. His legacy is clearly alive and well, and thriving under the direction of his grandson, a third generation Kotlar jeweler, David Weiner.  “I think the world has become too mechanized,” says Czarah Cabrera, brand director for Harry Kotlar and the films creative director. “People have forgotten to stop, breathe and take in life’s essential experiences. This film reveals the four pillars that our founder instilled in us, namely love, passion, tenacity, and hard work.”

Left to Right: Tracey Ellison, Czarah Cabrera, Tobias Deml

Chatting to the films Cinematographer, Austrian Tobias Deml,  it was particularly interesting for me to discover that one of his greatest challenges in making the film was getting the light right. As he explained, it had to be sufficiently well lit to show case the diamond correctly but no so bright that you could see every detail of the hand holding the stone, a challenge I can really relate to!

The evening was one of the most memorable and enjoyable I have had in a long time, it even included a surprise proposal! Kotlar had arranged for one of their designers to be at the event, and he was available to hand sketch designs upon request.  After having a ring sketched for them, Skyler Wilson, dropped to one knee and proposed to girlfriend, Alex Smith. Skyler showed me the signed sketch by Kotlar’s master designer, and told me they would be framing it and keeping it for life!

So far so good, but I can’t post this article without mentioning the incredible Kotlar pieces that were on display. Several historic pieces were beautifully displayed, along with the background to the piece (who wore it, where and when it was worn) as well as new pieces that are available for purchase. It’s impossible not to stare at these incredible creations, but if I had to pick one, it would have to be a ring with a Kotlar Cushion. This patented cut has a unique 61 facet arrangement, and is cut to maximize the stones fire and brilliance, earning it the title “the most brilliant cushion-cut diamond.”

Kotlar Cushion


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