A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls. — Coco Chanel
As a young boy, Reubin Simantov loved to look for pearls in shells he found along the beach. It was a passion that stayed with him for life. When he was considerably older, Reubin learned the truth of the Chinese proverb: Pearls lie not on the seashore. If thou desirest one thou must dive for it. And dive he did—right into the business of designing jewelry, including necklaces, rings, and earrings featuring extraordinary pearls.
Step into R. Simantov at 9 South Beach Street on Nantucket, and you’ll see the influence of the sea. It’s there in his finely crafted, exquisite seashell jewelry made from sterling silver with a special vermeil. It’s there in the beautiful blues of his turquoise pieces. And it is there in his pearls.
He takes particular pride in his collection of pearls. Seated around the weathered wooden table under the tree next to his shop, he opened box after box filled with lustrous gems from the sea. The South Sea, to be exact—many of his most stunning finds are Baroque pearls. He showed a necklace he’s working on for a client that is strung with shimmering white Baroque pearls of a size he called “absurdly big” that took him 4-1/2 years to collect. The pearls are beautifully matched and range from 19.8mm to 28mm. And he carefully took out a 48mm South Sea Baroque pearl that is destined to become a ring. It glowed in the sunlight, and Simantov explained “it has the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen with the most amazing luster.”
White, pink, gold, gray, black, and even pistachio, the selection of pearls Reubin offers to his clients is impressive. Key to Simantov’s fine pearl collection is that he buys directly from the pearl farmers and he and his staff finish and drill the pearls themselves. He designs his pearl necklaces with minimal graduation. “That way the necklace lies better; gravity does not drag it down,” he explained.
He delights in sitting with clients, in his shop or out in his garden, to show them the many possibilities, and takes the time to understand what pleases each: “The client is the designer,” Reubin explained, “we add to the completion of their vision.”
Reubin Simantov is about to dive in again, right into a new shop in the heart of Greenwich Avenue, across from Hermes and between Longchamp and Lynnens. The new shop, at 276 Greenwich Avenue, will open in mid- October.
R. Simantov is open daily at 9A South Beach Street.