STORE VISIT: HALLOWEEN
With rumored clientele including Elton John and Stevie Nicks, a macabre showroom brimming with bizarrely-beautiful objects, plus bragging right of the biggest Halloween party in America, he's the stuff of Philly lore. Meet Henri David: owner, head jeweler, and display artist behind Pine St.'s incognito jewelry shop, Halloween. Ring the buzzer at the corner of Pine and Juniper, or give them a call. If someone answers 'Trick or Treat' you know you've got the right place.
Born and raised. I've been all over the world and to every continent except Australia, but it's easy here, it's walkable. And I love all the green. I can get to New York in an hour and a half. New York is our suburb, as far as I'm concerned!
It's my favorite day. People can be themselves.
Are your costumes finished?
Nope. Close. I wear a minimum of three at my party. Nobody but me knows what they are, not even the people helping me make them; they only have pieces.
What's your first recollection of jewelry?
I was twelve years old, hanging out at Plays & Players Theatre, one of the oldest in the country. The Philadelphia Drama Guild was in residence there and one day they needed rhinestones for a crown and asked me to go find some. So I walked around, found some rhinestones, glued them in, and thought, 'This is so sparkly. I like it.'
Who taught you to design jewelry?
No one taught me to design it, but to craft it, I learned from master jeweler Wesley Emmons who was very well-known all around the country. I was his apprentice in the 60's for five years and then I ran his shop for nine. That's how I began. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.
What time period are most of your vintage rings from?
1880 - 1930
Tell us about your 'whimsies'
My whimsies are one of my favorite things in the world, other than creating engagement and wedding rings I work backwards, so whatever I see in a stone is what I turn it into. Like a heart-shaped pearl becomes angel's bum as he's glancing back at you.
Are there any trends in engagement rings right now?
(Sighs) Yeah, and I'm not liking them. Everyone thinks they want a halo (a large stone with a circle of smaller stones around it), which is very pretty, but I've been doing it for 20 years, it's nothing new. It can also feel too much like a cocktail ring. There are other, more interesting rings to be made!
When searching for a ring, what should you take into consideration?
What do you do with your hands all day? That's the biggest question to ask. The kind of work you do, your hobbies, things like washing dishes, doing laundry, are all going to affect the ring. You open a drawer, you wear gloves as a nurse, I need to know that.
A gothic couple with pitch black hair. The guy waited until she was asleep, then took a ribbon and measured her neck. I made a choker that had very, very tiny white gold links and the reddest rubies you've ever seen. Two rubies were positioned to look like a bite on her neck, and the rest were dripping from that. It was just right...it was all she wanted.
Vintage Ring Guide: 4 Tips from Henri David
Examine the ring thoroughly to be sure it's well-made. If it needs to be fixed, have it fixed before purchasing.
Be sure that whoever's offering it to you has the technology or the craftsmen to size it correctly
Make sure the place is reputable and can stand behind their work
Remember that most vintage diamonds (anything before 1960) aren't certified because their cut can't be rated. This doesn't mean they aren't real, you're buying it the way the original owner did: because it's pretty!