From his studio perched high above Manhattan’s East 57th Street, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia is unveiling tray after velvet tray of one-of-a-kind creations—things like a paisley-shaped brooch with a transparent 10.5-carat Colombian emerald ringed with rubies, sapphires, and yellow diamonds—in between sipping freshly steeped tea and nibbling on galette des rois. It’s a fitting tableau vivant for a man brought up in the environs of Versailles and born into a lineage that includes every single bejeweled royal family in Europe. After leaving top posts at the jewelry departments of Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury, in 2007 the Prince started his own jewelry design firm, where he has crafted couture pieces—including a Masai-inspired ebony and diamond necklace that took more than a year to create—that have attracted a worldwide, if select, following.
With the unveiling of a new line, Symbols, Prince Dimitri’s singular pieces can now be had at prêt-à-porter prices (most cost between $3,000 and $7,000). While less opulent than his couture designs, the collection features his signature paisleys and crosses, rendered in the same precious metals: Platinum wins out over white gold, and 24 karat over 18—and all of it is mixed with unique accents of wood, leather, dazzling cabochons, and even pebbles.
“People think minimalist means simply not adding many things,” he says of a standout from the collection, a spectacular pearl pendant set in 24-karat gold dangling from a thin leather cord. “It’s not true; it’s adding very few perfect things.”