Our blog

  1. Catbird Classics Spotlight - Threadbare

     

    Our Threadbare Ring is deceptively simple. We have honed and perfected them over years and years! We are especially proud of the $44 price tag, which is especially significant as they are made with solid gold... 14k yellow & rose gold, to be exact.

     

    Threadbares are made one-by-one by #catbirdjewelers in our Brooklyn jewelry studio. We actually filmed the entire process for you - check it out here! And find out more about our Brooklyn studio here.

    Fun fact!!  In 2014, Meghan interviewed us for a story called "The Art of Stacking" on her now retired lifestyle blog The Tig !! And we've been spotting Threadbares on her hands ever since.

    Now -- let's take a look at how we are stacking them!

    Hannah ( @freshpesche ) wears a single Threadbare on her finger.

    Lindsay ( @lindsay_may ) wears Threadbares paired with other stacking rings. On her thumb she pairs a Threadbare with a Twisted Stacker Ring, and with a Famous Letter Ring on her ring finger.

    Stephanie ( @stephvlzqz ) wears a Threadbare sandwich! Two yellow gold Threadbares with a Classic Hammered Ring in the center.

    Zoe ( @zoerisherphotography ) wears a big stack of Threadbares - five, to be exact- on her ring finger! Topped off with a Dewdrop Ring.

  2. Designer Q & A : Anthony Lent

    Anthony Lent is a master jeweler with 50 years of experience at the jeweler’s bench. From studying the grand traditions of goldsmithing in Europe, to serving as head of the jewelry department at FIT (where he taught many of our own in-house jewelers), Tony’s surreal, figural work brings a sense of play and humor to our Catbird world. Get a closer look at his designs by visiting our Wedding Annex or Bedford Ave locations! Not in New York? Our concierge team is happy to help with extra photos galore!

     

    What does jewelry mean to you?

     

    Simply put, jewelry is my blank page to play, spin, and weave visions and tales.

     

    Where do you look for inspiration for your designs?

     

    Inspiration can be found everywhere! Everywhere from the history of art to the squirrels on the trees outside of my window, Today the vein structure of some dried leaves on my table is driving me to make some gold critters on a leaf.

     

     

     

    Who is the Man in the Moon?

     

    Science has answered that as best they can for now. For me he is the doorway to dreams and fantasy of another time and place. I like to refer to my particular iteration as The Moon of The Collective Unconscious because although he is an original sculpture, the face is something we have all seen before and just seems to fit.

     

    What originally sparked your interest in goldsmithing?

     

    I was a sculpture student at Philadelphia College of Art when I discovered the drawings and designs of Albrecht Duerer. The other renaissance jewelers and their metal work attracted me to the world of classical goldsmithing.

     

    What was your favorite thing about teaching?

     

    Retirement! I do miss the interactions with students. The legacy of my many years of teaching and seeing so many former students having success in the jewelry industry make me feel good.

     

    What is the symbolism of the hands in your jewelry? And are they modeling after something? Or someone?

     

    Hands are one of the  instruments that define us as human. The neolithic cave paintings in France have images of and using hands, the art of almost every culture has drawn painted, and sculpted hands in every form. My hands are sculpted from various models. One of the more interesting pieces is we have copied a little girls hands in an old analogue process, and reduced them for a tiny hands earring design.

     

    The hands in your work are often wearing jewelry -- do you wear jewelry?

    No I do not.

     

     

    The texture of the scales of the Gold Ouroboros Snake Ring is incredibly detailed! How did you create this when you were modeling the ring?

     

    The scales on my serpents and snakes are an act of insane demand for surface detail, and frankly a compulsion; I can not stop carving them once I start! I say I will not do that again but I fall into the abyss of carving scales under a microscope far too often. The detail is achieved by not just carving into the wax but actually making process molds where I can refine a silver model and engrave the sharper details with much more precision. The unique look on my snakes is a result of that process.

     

     

     

    What is one of your favorite pieces to make?

     

    One of my all time favorite pieces is the One Hand Band. I love this piece because it is so hard to use a hands motif in jewelry that has not been seen before. I feel that this is one of the most unique uses of that motif.

    What do you hope customers feel when they look at and wear your pieces?

     

    I hope they smile and say hello to a long relationship with the pieces and become life long collectors. I hope they see my jewelry as not just an accessory but also a work of art worthy of becoming an heirloom.

     

     

  3. Photo Journal: Brian

  4. Rony Q&A Vol. 2

    Do you have a particular love of delicate jewelry yourself?

    I do! I always have. I like to not be fussy so small, easy pieces are, well, easy. I like to leave my jewelry on all the time. #lazystyle 

    What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur who wants to start a jewelry company?

    1. Start small! Go big only when it counts. 
    2. Find your voice. 
    3. Trust you gut, but ask tons of questions from every kind of person you have access to - and listen with an open heart and mind. 
    4. Listen to every episode of “How I Built This.” 

    Oldest Catbird piece that’s still around today? 

    Our Classic Hammered Rings (in silver and gold). 

    What’s your favorite dinner order?

    Greek salad with anchovies and coffee, milk no sugar.

    Sweet nothing bracelets on both wrists… any thoughts?

    Yes, I love symmetry :) Also a big fan of layering bracelets - Forever & clasped!

    Where did you get funding to start Catbird? 

    I was - and am still - self funded. When I started in 2004, I used the 16k I had in savings which covered my security deposit and some rent, some merch, and the build-out that we did ourselves with floor panels from Costco. I was scrappy! (See photo!)  At the time 0% credit cards were a thing, so I used those instead of bank loans. It was a different time! 

    What's something you had to learn the hard way?

    Allowing my fear of confrontation to guide me… When someone is a bad fit, passively waiting for it to get better is a bad idea. Letting it go on too long is damaging to your business and your people.

    How did you know it was time to expand?

    Great question. At critical junctures when you are experiencing different kinds of growing pains - that’s when it is clear that it’s time to make changes. When you need more space, or new software, or a big new hire… maybe things you can’t quite afford yet or don’t feel ready for - those changes are usually instigated by some sort of pain! You’re losing people, you’re working too hard, customers are mad, there are too many mistakes, etc - time to look inward and explore if there is a better way to do things. There was a period of time where space was a HUGE issue for us, so we made our plan to move our HQ to the Brooklyn Navy Yard where we moved in the Spring of 2018 - and we are still growing! We do tours, actually -- come visit us!  

    Is it ok to get jewelry wet? 

    I leave all my jewelry on, all the time. But traditionally one should be gentle with pearls and very gentle with opals. We actually have a full jewelry care guide, which you can find here

    What’s your fave piece?

    Here are some of my favorite pieces that I also wear daily: Diamond Pinprick Necklace, Greco Lariat Necklace, Elisa Solomon Viola Ring, Old World Classic Wedding Band, Welded Sweet Nothing bracelet, a threadbare. 

    What is your favorite candy?

    Ooh what a question! I love caramel and I love coconut. My head is spinning because I don’t know!! Can ice cream be my favorite candy?

     

    Is deciding what to stock a gut feeling or more technical process of what might sell?

    Both Leigh and I do tons by instinct but we also rely on data and information to backup decisions. If we love something and the data goes against us, we will do it anyway. 

    Here is a great quote from the brilliant Mickey Drexler, “Instincts are knowledge, history, looking around and seeing what’s going on.” (From his podcast with David Chang.)

    Favorite Williamsburg drink or lunch spots? 

    We have a whole sheet that we edit fairly regularly about this very subject!

    Such a small thing, but the logo is dynamite…

    Thank you! Not a small thing at all! I love it too. It was drawn by a wonderful human who is an incredible artist - she was a sales associate for years!! 

    How do you manage to continue when you struggle?

    Hmm. There are many ways to answer this question. If I am struggling personally, then work is really a respite - where I can solve problems and be busy and it feels good. If I am struggling AT work, that is much harder but there really is no choice but to power through. I am responsible for people’s livelihoods and my troubles just have to be worked out for the greater good. Too bad, me! At those times especially I am so grateful to have such an incredible staff.

    The dainty style Catbird brings is amazing, do you plan keep the style the same?

    YES!! Always. 

    How’d you START? Like what were your literal first steps?

    Here is a really great article from Rookie where I talk all about this!  

    What’s the proudest accomplishment in what you’ve done?

    Building a company where people stay, for a long time, is the most gratifying thing. Everything else that I am proud of stems from that!

  5. Smitten, Bitten

    Oh, oh here I go off into Mulleavy wonderland, down that Rodarte rabbit hole! They are back in New York and I can feel their sister presence! Last time they showed here, I was home with my newborn and their women were draped in baby's breath, and I felt like I had a telephone line straight from here to there. The time before that, I read the ticket to the show wrong and spent a morning in the West Village instead, which was a mistake that I recovered from with coffee and pastries.

  6. Photo Journal: Jules

    Recently, we visited our friend Jules (and Winnie - her dog!) in her beautiful new dance studio, Good Move, just a short walk away from our Bedford Ave. store! We dressed Jules up in #catbirdstacks and she showed us some of her moves - shimmering, glimmering, shining! 

     

    Shop the story:

    Snow Queen Necklace
    Mermaid's Treasure Charm
    Baby Cygnet Ring
    Dollhouse Locket
  7. Hotel Holiday

    Shop the Story:

    Diamond Kitten Mitten
    Dollhouse Heart Locket
    Sweet Nothing Ring
    1976 Bracelet

    Special thanks to our friends at Chantecaille for making our shoot extra beautiful!

  8. Q & A with Rony!

    Hi - it's Rony (the Founder of Catbird). This is the first time I've ever done an Ask Me Anything, and I'm so excited! We had a LOT of incoming questions on Instagram, so unfortunately I wasn't able to answer them all. But we will definitely do this again -- transparency is a top priority here at Catbird. So stay tuned, and without further ado - let's get to it!

    Q: Please tell us the story behind the name “Catbird?”

    A:  I was a graphic designer and wanted a name that looked good and could change with time. I got it from this beautiful Audubon poster and thought it was such a sweet name.

    Q: How many people work at Catbird?

    A: 140 right now – it’s extra because of the holidays!

    Q: Is it possible to work at Catbird? Need experience? How can we do it?

    A: Check out our careers page! Hot tip - at the bottom it says “If you are interested in interested in joining our team but don’t see a position listed that you are suited for please email us!”

     

    Q: How’d you fund early prospect designs? How’d you get into fine jewelry without training?

    Q: How do you balance your personal self with your public and professional image?

    A: My personal, public, and professional image are all one and the same. Despite the fact that I don’t really have to put myself up front much, I only have one image. Anything else sounds exhausting!

    Q: How the h*ck did you create this incredible company that I feel so much love for?

    A: Slowly!

    Q: What pieces do you wear every single day?

     

    QHow many piercings do you have?

    A: A humble five! 2 on my right ear (Petite Angel Stud and Snow Queen Hoop), 3 on my left (Snow Queen Hoop, Baby Pearl Hoop, Snow Queen Stud).

    Q: What advice do you have for someone wanting to quit their job and start their own business?

    A: Do your homework before quitting, consider working part-time while you’re starting. I started when I had a rent-stabilized apartment, no debt, no kids - I didn’t have much to lose. But I still worked part time when I started. Prepare for lots of hours and no money.

    Q: What would you tell 26 year old you at this point in your life?

    A: Relax. Trust yourself more.

    Q: Will you be expanding your ring sizes in the future to be more inclusive?

     

    Q: How do I get a job as a jewelry maker? 

    A: The basic things we look for in a bench test is soldering skills, prong setting skills and following specs. We also require good communication and listening skills, ability to take feedback well and a good interview. A strong portfolio is helpful. Laser skills are great but most people don’t have those coming in. And of course, a lot depends on our current studio needs!

    Q: What is your favorite book? Where do you get inspiration from?

    A: I don’t have a favorite book but I did just re-read Olive Kitteridge which is sublime. So is The Shipping News. Also, Anne of Green Gables is way up there. 

    Inspiration is everywhere! People on the street, songs, overheard snippets, dreams, thunderstorms, everywhere. 

    Q: Do you use consignment or wholesale approach for the jewelry you carry from others?  

    A: When I started I did almost everything on consignment (even stationery!) but now we buy at wholesale and only do consignment in a few rare cases where it works for the designer as well. 

    Q: How did you find Leigh? And how did you know she was the right fit for Catbird’s vision?

    A: I found her in my dreams! Kidding, but it almost feels that way. We met because I carried her beautiful stationery line in 2005. When I had my daughter, I needed people to work in the store and she was one of the people who answered my email. I wasn’t thinking much about the vision then - her role has evolved over 13 years as we’ve grown. I am so so SO happy that I get to work with her every day.  This is a photo of us from when Dore came to visit our studio!

    Q: How do you organize your jewelry collection? 

    A: Messily. 

    Thanks for reading! Want to learn more about our studio and brand? Follow this link!

  9. Wedding Annex Q&A

    We took a trip to our Wedding Annex recently with Saskia from our concierge team. She is the expert in ALL things wedding & engagement! With a little help from our Instagram followers, we worked through a small sampling of some of the questions you guys had. Let's get started!

    Q: How do you find your ring size?

    A: We highly recommend visiting a local jeweler in your area (if you aren't local to New York) to find the best ring size for you! We also have a Ring Sizing Guide on our website and we do sell a nifty little Ring Sizer. If you are in New York, swing by one of our locations and our staff will gladly size you!

     

    Q: Should the fit of a ring be tight or loose? Doesn’t finger size change with seasons?

     

    A: The fit is up to you :) Some people prefer their rings to fit  loose, while others prefer it to be more snug. I personally like my rings to fit loose as my fingers will swell so much in the summer. It’s best to find a happy medium, something that is only a little tight in the summer and only a little loose in the winter. (Tip: You can always add a simple stacking ring on top to hold your ring in place in the winter - if needed!)

    Q: What karat gold would you recommend for an engagement / wedding ring?

     

    A: Normally for Wedding & Engagement rings we recommend either 14k gold or 18k gold. Most of our styles are available in both of these karats. We do offer bands in 22k gold, though this karat is a bit too soft for stones, so we do not recommend 22k for engagement rings.

    Q: What is the largest size diamond you carry?

     

    A: We carry a wide range of carat sizes starting at  .1 ct and the largest stones clocking in around 1ct. (including Juno the Swan & the Knife Edge Ring by Erstwhile)

    Q: What's the difference between Anna & Odette the Swan?

     

    A: The main difference is that Anna the Swan has a brilliant cut center stone and Odette has a rose cut center stone!  Rose cut diamonds have a flat bottom and all of the facets are cut on the top of the stone, making for a softer sparkle. And brilliant cut diamonds are a traditional diamond shape, and have a lot more facets on the inside allowing the light to bounce around so it appears brighter & whiter!

    Q: How do thin bands fare as an everyday ring? What's the wear and tear like?

     

    A: Thin bands can absolutely last a lifetime if cared for properly. Gold is a relatively soft metal that will want to mold to the shape of your finger over time. But that is perfectly normal! We generally recommend removing your jewelry if you are going to be going to be doing something that might be hard on your hands like moving furniture or lifting weights or gardening for example.

    Q: Do you have engagement rings without stones?

     

    A: Yes of course! There are no rules. We have many wonderful rings without stones. See a few of our favorites here. Click the photos to shop!

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    Q: How are customers choosing their rings while keeping the surprise of a proposal?

     

    A:When shopping for an engagement ring people usually take into account the other person's style, maybe take a look at their pinterest boards or their Instagram for ideas. You can usually get some hints from the jewelry they already wear too, like do they more yellow gold or rose gold. Also, talking to their close friend or family member helps because they may have spoken with them about what kind of ring they would like.

    Q: Are your diamonds GIA graded?

     

    A: All of our brilliant cut Swans come with a GIA certificate. (They are also all recycled diamonds! Learn more about our recycled diamond program here.) Some other center diamonds can be certified as well. Diamonds in rings by other designers can also sometimes be certified. If you have questions about a specific ring, contact us - we can find out!

    Q: What alloy is your white gold / are they plated?

     

    A: Our white gold is not rhodium plated, as we prefer the natural color of white gold to shine through so it’s a little bit more yellow. Our white gold alloy contains pure gold, usually some zinc, copper, silver, and trace amounts of nickel. Some of the designers we carry do plate their white gold, so if you have a question about a specific piece please contact us! :)

     

     

     

     

    Q: What is the best engagement ring metal for someone with a nickel allergy?

     

    A: Generally we recommend platinum because it is a hypoallergenic metal. Gold can have trace elements of nickel or other metals that might cause allergies as it is an alloy of various metals. Many of the wedding an engagement styles we carry can be ordered in platinum - here are some of our favorites.  Click the photos to shop!  ➡️ ➡️

    Q: Are emeralds a bad choice for a swimmer? 

    A: Emeralds are a bit sensitive, so we highly recommend removing them before going swimming or taking a shower, doing dishes, applying lotions / creams, spraying hairspray etc. Prevention is ALWAYS the best jewelry care! Do you have questions about jewelry care for a different stone? Check out our Jewelry Care Guide or reach out to our concierge team!

    Q: Ring insurance. Do people buy it? Is it worth it?

     

    A: People do! We think it is. You never know what might happen. We offer appraisals for insurance companies for all rings purchased with us - if you are interested in getting an appraisal please email us!

     

    Q: How do I keep my diamonds sparkly and clean forever?

     

    A: We have a pretty amazing jewelry care guide on our website (see it here)! If you are local, you can also stop by one of our locations and we would be happy to do a quick cleaning for you, you can also visit a local jeweler. If you want a deep clean at home, we would suggest looking into investing in an at-home ultra-sonic machine. We also sell a Sparkle & Shine Kit for quick clean ups. So many ways to sparkle!

     

    Q: Best way to choose a wedding ring to pair with my Catbird engagement ring (not in NYC)?

     

    A: Contact our concierge team!! We are so happy to help and send lots and lots of photos of different pairings :)

  10. Photo Journal: Shania

    Shining, Shimmering, Going Places!

    A different kind of commute. Still quite gritty but with a little more glimmer. We met Shania at the Sweetgreen in Williamsburg around the corner from our store, and we asked her if she would like to take a ride on the G train with us.

    Shop the story!

    Baby Pearl Hoop
    Papillon Charm
    1976 Choker
    Kitten Mitten
    Snow Queen Hoops
    Peaceful Girl with Fist Charm

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