Classic with a twist

Classic with a twist

Classic with a twist


Bleecker & Prince

A classic ring and earrings with a twist of a stone are beautifully displayed on a table.

Bleecker & Prince combines the personal touch of its founder with vintage and heirloom pieces to create timeless but contemporary jewellery

Jewellery is personal, reflecting a person’s character and style. For Leehe Segal Paris, the founder of fine jewellery brand Bleecker & Prince, this notion rings true. It is essential that her custom creations celebrate and enrich the personality of the wearer, capturing their soul and sense of self. She achieves this by using her skill and intuition to collaborate on something personal, unique and powerful enough to contain a lifetime of precious memories.

“Our customers want to be part of something not everyone has, which chimes with why I came into this industry in the first place,” says Leehe. “My designs will usually be conversation pieces, so they appeal to confident people with their own sense of style. But they are not flashy; they are usually minimalist, and you need to get close to see the details. The brand is for people who appreciate craft and artwork and want something special for themselves. This is not mass production, it’s a treat, a present or reward to yourself.”

Leehe founded Bleecker & Prince in New York, where she studied fine jewellery. She named the company after two different, unconnected streets – the historic street of Bleecker, with its rich history and long association with American bohemia; and the short, hip Prince Street in SoHo. She felt these two contrasting streets reflected the contradictions in Bleecker & Prince’s approach to jewellery – timeless but contemporary. Bleecker is the name for the company’s annual line of 15 to 25 pieces, while Prince is reserved for bespoke jewellery. Everything is handmade, with Leehe overseeing design and working alongside handpicked craftspeople to create exceptional rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

Although Leehe now lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, she visits New York several times a year and its bustle remains an inspiration. “What I love about New York is that you can never be sure how the day will end,” she muses. “There is so much opportunity and so much to be inspired by. There’s great art everywhere. It could be something in a gallery or it could be the shape of a doorknob.”

These inspirations coalesce in her jewellery, drawing on Art Deco or symbols that have personal resonance. When working on custom pieces, she ensures her clients’ passions are reflected in the work, while the Bleecker line allows her to explore her own fascinations. One recent line, Unfolding of a Realm, combines different techniques, stones, styles and settings as well as a snake motif, to symbolise transformation and feminine energy. “I put more intention in the pieces, so they have more meaning rather than simply looking pretty,” she explains.

The custom department allows her to do this for other people. Every engagement ring is unique to the wearer. While Leehe sources diamonds and creates new pieces, she also works with vintage jewellery and heirlooms, creating new designs from old pieces to retain significance, but in a way that is more appropriate for today.

“I am very connected to what I create,” she says. “Over the years, people have been able to identify with the brand and what makes it unique, as everything is classic but with a twist. There’s an edge to it; even if it’s a simple floating diamond necklace, there will be a unique setting or unusual way to connect with the chain. There are always fine details that are playful, discreet and different that show the attention and energy we put into the piece.”