Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Everyone Can Be Liz Taylor on Jewelry Instagram

Illustration by Nicholas Konrad.

When Sophie Fader and Simone Paasche founded their jewelry-renovation business, Spur Jewelry, in 2018, they imagined it as a concierge service where they would go to clients’ houses, spend an hour combing through their treasure boxes, and envision something new with the gems and gold. “A lot of people our age [millennials], baby boomers too, are inheriting all of this jewelry from their parents and grandparents, but the styles are outdated,” Fader told me. “Many rings are set very high off the hand, and today, with women working and having hands-on jobs,” she said, those rings catch and scratch.

Fader and Paasche had set up their own business to be hands-on, and, when the pandemic hit in early 2020, all those in-person home visits disappeared. Thanks to guidance from Fader’s mother, who works in Columbia University’s Department of Epidemiology, they knew that covid was going to be more than a short-term problem. The solution, from a business perspective, was to take their process online: fifteen-minute phone appointments to look through uploaded photos, a retooled Web site, Facebook ads, FedEx. They also revamped their Instagram to show what they could do in as few frames as possible: “Before-and-afters. It seems incredibly simple,” Fader said.