Simply walking inside of Philip Press is an experience unlike any other. Once you are buzzed through, you immediately face a marble staircase from the 1920s. Articles and achievements line the walls. The main showroom has lush gray carpet, comfy black and white chairs and intricate black chandeliers. Display case after display case is filled with Philip’s platinum jewelry: bracelets, earrings, necklaces, brooches, rings, watches. An entire wall encompasses stunning wedding bands and engagement rings.
His specialty in platinum jewelry and art deco, Philip and his team create pieces that have never been seen before by experimenting with facet parameters and creating settings that are made for the stones. Their techniques include filigree, pave and engraving, and they use remarkable gems from emeralds and opals to rubies and morganites.
“We do platinum probably better than anyone anywhere,” Philip said. “The processes and the technologies that we use are state-of-the-art.”
But his experience as a master crafter didn’t come out of nowhere. Philip learned everything about jewelry from his mentor in New York.
Where to Begin?
Philip’s journey as a master platinumsmith began in Buffalo, New York, when he was 13 years old. He was at a friend’s house when his friend suggested they go meet his uncle, a European master craftsman and platinumsmith jeweler. After riding their bikes across town, they met the uncle, who had apprenticed in Place Vendome in Paris where he worked with platinum jewelry.
“He was the guy,” Philip said. “He had this magnificent workbench that was covered with sheets of stainless steel. All his tools were perfectly laid out. The place was immaculate.”
Philip eventually started going to the jeweler by himself; he offered to sweep the floors and clean the windows, but he was really watching what the jeweler was doing. If he threw out an old tool, Philip would take it home.
When he was 15, he created a necklace melted down from silver dollars he received from his bar mitzvah.
“I stayed up all night, and I made this necklace, and I couldn’t wait to show him,” Philip said.
When he showed the jeweler his necklace, the jeweler took the necklace – and smashed it on his workbench. But then, he told Philip to sit down, that he was going to show him how to properly make the necklace. And that is how Philip started learning the trade.
Over the Years
In 1991, he opened Philip Press at the Antiquarius. He spent five years there before realizing he wanted to go to the next level, which meant a new location. He saw a “For Lease” sign at Sunset Plaza one night and spoke with Francis Montgomery. After initially being told there was no room, Philip spoke with Francis again and three days later, he had a lease.
Philip eventually built up his space to a two-story, 5,000-square-foot store. After the 2008 recession, when other jewelers around him went out of business, he remained, but he pulled back to the smaller, more intimate store that it is today. He also decided to become an appointment-only store around this time, which created an extraordinary level of customer service as clients deal with him directly.
“I’m still here,” Philip said. “Unlike most other jewelry companies at our level, I have no financing. I have no bank loans. I have no partners. I have no investors. Everything you see here is mine.”
To this day, he is one of the oldest tenants at Sunset Plaza. In that time, he has also built up a team of five employees who have been with him for years. The “newest” employee was hired 14 years ago.
“These guys individually in each task that they do are the best that I have ever encountered,” Philip said.
Services Offered at Philip Press
Unlike other jewelry retailers, Philip separates his business by being a part of the process from the start. Instead of simply selling mass-produced jewelry made from a third party, Philip customizes and creates his masterpieces from scratch using the best materials and finest workmanship and technology, including high-resolution 3D printers and computer-aided design, or CAD.
His main facet of the business, though, is customized jewelry.
“You can come here, and if you have an idea, a concept – you give me a picture, there is nothing that we cannot make for you,” Philip said. “There is literally nothing that we can’t do.”
Philip also offers restyling and restoration. For him, restyling has become a unique part of his business, as he works with both the stones and metals to create a new piece.
“I really feel that we have an extraordinarily unique niche in that the styles and pieces that we make, the ability to create literally anything and everything, the value that we offer and our prices are extraordinarily reasonable, the quality of the workmanship and materials is second to none, and the experience that you have coming to a very private space that nobody will be looking over your should – this is what we have evolved into,” Philip said.
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