"Instead of trying to find new ideas I look for moments of freedom and curiosity."
Tunisia is a storied land that pulses with the energy of many cultures. The Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Andalusians, and Ottomans all imprinted their knowledge, legends, and artifacts, weaving a diverse tapestry of human experience. This was Adel Chefridi's childhood playground.
When Adel came to New York City in 1998 and first experienced the Big Apple's rich diversity, he felt right at home. Inspired by his passion for gemstones, he was always on the hunt for color and light in the famed Diamond District. Adel taught himself the craft of jewelry-making before studying at both GIA and the Studio Jewelers School to fine-tune his skills in metalsmithing.
The first studio was located in the kitchen of a walk-up in Brooklyn before it was moved to SoHo. Adel built a following by showcasing his work at "maker markets" and in 2008 expanded the business to partner with retailers. Around that same time, Adel and his wife Corinne Jacobson decided to relocate to the Hudson Valley to raise their two daughters, and they moved the jewelry studio to Woodstock, then later to Kingston, and finally to Rhinebeck, where together they maintain the showroom and studio today.
One of Adel Chefridi's signature design elements is the engraving, which stems from his fascination with the beauty and meaning of inscribing symbols and patterns on stone or in metal. Not only is the etching or engraving an early form of human expression, but it's also a common language and an essential element in Tunisian design - from jewelry and architecture to textiles.
Adel is most captivated by dots and lines, the simplest forms. The brand's signature mark includes four dots arranged like the four cardinal directions on a compass. They symbolize balance and represent the harmony within and throughout nature and people. The vertical dots remind us that we can be grounded in reality while we strive to become ideal versions of ourselves, and the horizontal dots remind us to reach outward - to others and to nature - and to be open to receiving from the outside world.
"Beauty is a language that we all accept without effort because it is the raw material of our own essence, more intrinsic than intellect and culture. More subtle than understanding. Naturally universal."
Adel's designs have their own way of communicating with anyone who beholds them, transcending both language and time. A person from any part of the world can relate to the free and boundless concept of beauty, which is meant to inspire, uplift, and unify. Beauty honors the past, is grounded in the present, and looks forward to the future.
Adel has always been drawn to beauty. As a result, he has spent years looking for new ways to express it, and gemstones give him one outlet to do so. Like looking for antique coins in the old roads of Carthage, he is always on the hunt for the most striking gems - like moonstones, sapphires, tourmalines, and turquoise.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit Tunisia, you'd see how it could inspire a sense of wonder and the lifelong pursuit of beauty. With the Mediterranean Sea as a backdrop, a wanderer can find treasure everywhere: pieces from ceramics, and fragments from old Roman mosaics. The origin of those objects is ancient, but the experience is new - and individual to every person.
The same way a traveler may be drawn to an intriguing destination, our customers are captivated by the ways our jewelry makes them feel. We love seeing them glow when they come to our showroom to try a coveted piece for the first time. They often look like they've uncovered a treasure.
"Whenever people use beauty as a language to communicate, the outcome is always acceptance. Our opinions and ideas can define who we are on some superficial level, but our deeper identity is defined by what we love. And love’s official language is beauty."
"Harmony is a pervasive theme. A song can make one fall in love with a whole culture, or a region or generation. Building bridges between people through beauty is a trade I always wanted to master."
Above all, we treat each other and our clients with respect and kindness, and we strive to maintain harmony with the world around us. We express our unwavering commitment to detail and quality in every one of our timeless jewelry designs, and we stand behind the pieces we create.
Not only do we hand-select natural gemstones, but we also only choose the finest materials sourced from ethical suppliers. We're committed to transparency regarding our acquisition of raw materials as well as our production process. We follow international treaties with the aim of ensuring ethical and conflict-free sourcing of materials.
Adel Chefridi supports the Mercury Free Mining Initiative, an organization that's committed to eradicating the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining, and 350.org, which focuses on raising global awareness of clean energy alternatives. In addition, Adel is a member of the Advisory Board of Ethical Metalsmiths.