Hailing from a long legacy of jewelers, Marc Bridge offers a platform that is a treasure trove of hidden gems with At Present.
“We called our company At Present as a reminder— to ourselves as much as anyone else—of the meaning that can be found in the here and now,” says At Present CEO and co-founder Marc Bridge, here with cofounder Monica Chambers.
“We wanted to share the work of the most amazing independent jewelry designers with the world,” shares At Present CEO and co-founder Marc Bridge. “So many emerging designers are creating fabulous jewelry, but the really good stuff—pieces that are unique, stylish, distinctive and high-quality—has been hidden. We wanted to change that,” he says. We polled the brains behind the business for his pearls of wisdom.
What inspired you to launch the business? I spent my life in the jewelry business (I am a fifth-generation jeweler) and saw firsthand how hard it is for independent jewelry designers to find customers and build businesses. At the same time, my partner, Monica Chambers, never saw jewelry that simultaneously inspired her and felt like it spoke to her unique sense of style and self. We were inspired to build a place for designers to share their unique vision and for women to discover extraordinary and interesting jewelry to mark moments in their lives.
How do you think At Present fills a void in the market? At Present is a jewelry matchmaker; we introduce the world’s most exciting jewelry designers to the most discerning customers.
It used to be really hard to find high-quality, unique jewelry. Either you went into a traditional jewelry store and saw the same styles you had seen a hundred times before or you had to wade through millions of Etsy listings of questionable quality and authenticity.
At Present provides both a handselected assortment of exciting jewelry you haven’t seen before and an assurance that the pieces you find are original, high-quality and produced in a socially responsible manner.
How would you describe the point of view or aesthetic of At Present? At Present is a showcase for jewelry that speaks—jewelry that says something about both the artist who made it and the woman who wears it. At Present is the place to discover the things you’ve never seen before—the pieces that make your heart sing. Whether that’s an architectural ear claw from Yu Mono Design, insouciant diamond ear climbers from Meredith Young or a rock crystal hippo ring set in 22K gold from Loren Nicole, our jewelry tells a unique story. At Present is cool—but cool in an ‘I feel amazing in my own skin,’ not an ‘I want to look like I am 22’ kind of way. It’s playful. It’s artistic. It’s fun. It’s about embodying your own style.
What new designers have you discovered recently or are you loving now? For summer, we love the vibrant colors of Objet-a. Their pieces are one of a kind and incorporate faceted and beaded gemstones with gold chains in bold and unexpected ways. We recently introduced a collection from Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based designer Ope Omojola’s Octave Jewelry. Her work balances sharp geometry and soft organic forms and comes to life in unexpected materials like glass, jade, jasper, agate and aventurine. Ear stacks are having a moment. Some of the most fun pieces come from Kimberly Doyle, Labulgara and Noor Shamma. They each see the ear as a canvas for exploration, self-expression and even a bit of whimsy.
What is the best advice you give people when they are purchasing jewelry? Buy pieces you love and want to wear. Far too much jewelry spends its life in the safe and only comes out for special occasions. At Present is predicated on our belief that no time is more special than right now. You should have extraordinary jewelry and you should wear it every day. If it makes you smile when you put it on and then you don’t want to take it off, that’s the jewelry you should buy.