If you just spent the last several days at JCK Tucson and other gem shows shopping for fine jewelry collections, or stocking up on the materials you’ll need to create custom designs, the last thing you want to hear right now is that in some parts of the United States, jewelry consumers are “renting the runway” as it were. Only the “runway” isn’t a closet full of party dresses, but rather a vault full of jewels in the heart of New York City’s Diamond District. Like, serious jewels by designers such as Bulgari, Noor Fares, Temple St. Clair, Roberto Coin, Tiffany & Co., Mimi So, and others.
And said vault is the bedrock of Flont, a new fine jewelry rental company providing unlimited access to bijoux from emerging artisan designers as well as vintage and signed pieces from the jewelry world’s most coveted houses.
Flont operates on a membership model, with fees starting at $59 per month for access to jewelry worth $1,500. Upgrading to a higher membership tier unlocks the opportunity to rent jewels of a higher retail value.
If you’re a retailer reading this, you know too well how obnoxious it is when someone buys a piece of jewelry with the intention of wearing it just once, only to return it (complete with cake crumbs from the party). And on some level, this is why Flont exists—to nip that kind of hustle in the bud while also giving women of real-world means access to a constantly rotating supply of high-end jewels for events and special occasions. Flont is also intended to be an opportunity to try before you buy (all rentals are available for purchase, and the company reports a healthy conversion rate).
But hold the eye roll for a second—because the most popular pieces at Flont may provide clues as to what types of categories/styles/designers are most compelling to jewelry-loving consumers. With that goal in mind, I asked the company’s creative director, Brooke Magnaghi, for its “most rented” lineup from this past holiday season. Magnaghi, formerly W magazine’s jewelry and accessories director, has more than 20 years of editorial experience to help inform what she selects for Flont’s hoard as well as the insights she shares below.
“Diamond earrings from Hearts On Fire and Payal Shah enjoyed notable popularity,” says Magnaghi. “Hearts On Fire diamonds are known for their amazing fire and sparkle, and their most sought-after styles this holiday season were classic dangle styles. Payal Shah’s pair were diamond slice studs surrounded by tiny baguettes that resembled little snowflakes and so were perfect for the season.”
“In terms of rings, it was fun to see people experiment with unexpected and nontraditional pieces. Our customers were more daring with this category and chose some really playful styles, which we think were great conversation starters and offered a fun way to engage with people at parties. Delfina Delettrez’s face ring always commands attention and curiosity from a room. You know you’ll be wearing something that no one else is.
“And Crow’s Nest’s stunning feather ring, which covers the length of an entire finger, is simply a showstopper.”
Top: Vintage earrings with aquamarine, tourmaline, amethysts, peridot, citrine, and diamonds in 18k white gold (retail value: $6,500), Bulgari. “Bulgari is a big name and is always popular with our customers, but we think because this pair is particularly festive, it was a big draw for the holiday season,” says Flont creative director Brooke Magnaghi.