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Inside Irene Neuwirth’s Beautiful New Madison Avenue Jewel Box

A spiral staircase connects the boutique’s main floor to a more intimate sitting room space below.

Photography by Stephen Kent Johnson; Sitting’s Editor: Michael Reynolds

There’s also a painting by Neuwirth’s mother Geraldine, from whom she inherited her exuberant color sense; photographs by Tim Walker; and in the downstairs lounge a custom-designed screen by the fashion-turned-interior designers behind Peter Pilotto, with whom Neuwirth, a confirmed clotheshorse, has been friends for years. The spiral staircase leading there is hand-painted in a twirling harlequin pattern. At the bottom is a large bouquet of Pretend Plants & Flowers, the florist responsible for the Melrose Place shop’s delightfully playful Christmas tree.

As precious as Neuwirth’s creations are, she’s not overly precious about their presentation. The standing vitrines use giant geodes and corals or piles of raw crystals for display. “I don’t want the white glove experience. We’re really kind of making our own way, and people are really welcoming of that. I think people are drawn towards a space that’s warm, colorful, and feels good.”

Regarding the new collection inside those vitrines, Neuwirth says, “It’s the supersized version of everything that I’ve been doing. The chains are heavier and more intricate and the stones are bigger, and there’s a wider range of them.” A one-of-a-kind pendant necklace features a 39.35 carat pink opal set amidst 107.29 carats of boulder opals and full-cut diamonds. Another one of her “gemmy gem” necklaces stars a giant kunzite surrounded by yet more opals and diamonds. “For years people were like, we’re not mixing sapphires with turquoise. I like to mix it all. I don’t know what the rules are. I’m kind of going without them. It’s working.” Oh yes, it’s working!

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