Queen Of Bling: Celebrity Stylist And Mom Crystal Streets Is Transforming The Jewelry Industry
Take a quick walk down the glittering Diamond District in New York City and two things become apparent quickly: the desire for fine jewelry doesn’t seem like it will wane anytime soon and the smiling shop owners and hustling sales people look nothing like newcomer Crystal Streets. After 10 years outfitting A-listers like Mariah Carey and Usher, the sunny celebrity stylist (and mom) is on a mission to bring a whole lot of her #BlackGirlMagic to the jewelry industry.
Streets launched her Crystal Streets Jewelry collection at New York Fashion Week’s Accessory Exhibit in 2011 and received rave reviews and tons of press coverage. The inspirational and affordable costume line featured brass, sterling silver plated with 18k gold, rose gold and silver and cubic zirconia. In 2014, Streets followed up with Crystal Streets Fine Jewelry – a luxury and custom made collection made of solid gold and sparkling diamonds.
Available by appointment in her showroom, online and retailers including Macy’s, Anthropologie, Smithsonian Museum, the American Natural History Museum and HSN, her collections are also sold internationally including in Dubai, Kuwait, Japan, Netherlands, Paris and Sweden.
Being one of the few women and even fewer African-Americans in an industry valued at more than $72 billion has influenced how Streets runs her business, sources her diamonds, and even how she grooms her young daughter to take over the reins one day.
We got to chat with the bling queen and legacy maker and found out what makes her business shine.
MadameNoire: You’ve styled celebrities like Mariah Carey, Jay Z, and Rihanna. How did you get your start?
Crystal: A stylist in New York got me an internship with Derek Khan who was at the time styling Monica for the video “The Boy is Mine.” I went to intern with him and I was like “this is my life?!” and from there I moved to New York. I started at Essence magazine as a fashion intern then moved to fashion assistant. I assisted a number of stylists for about two and a half years just to hone my craft before I went out on my own.
And, then I got my first client – Jay Z – and he became a kind of a big brother and mentor to me. He taught me the business side of it.
How has having a mentor impacted your career?
It’s funny because throughout my whole entire career God has placed people to oversee and mentor me and I’ve been so blessed in that way. I think the first mentor came in college and then Jay was like my second mentor. He really taught me the business side of styling. I didn’t even know how to invoice when I signed up with him.
He was very savvy in that way and he taught me how to make styling into a business. Even going into diamonds and bridal jewelry. I have a mentor now who taught me everything I needed to know about gemstones and diamonds.
What’s been your inspiration to move from styling to designing jewelry?
It was something that I always wanted to do even when styling. Many people start their looks with the shoes or a dress and then they build on that, but I would always start my look with accessories and I was obsessed.
Being in a service business, it was very taxing on my time. I had my daughter in 2008 I just wanted to be present. So while on maternity leave, I also launched my (jewelry) collection. And it took off.
I didn’t think I was going to have two passions in life. I’ve been blessed in that department. I’m just as passionate about jewelry design as I have been with styling.
What is the essence of the company?
Crystal Streets Jewelry is for the fashion-forward mom. She is very deliberate. She knows an accessory is the exclamation point to your outfit. I make pieces that are inspiring and have meaning.
You are one of the few women in the diamond district. What’s that experience been like?
It’s such a funny experience because not only am I a minority, I’m a Black woman with blond curly hair. I think in the beginning they thought that I worked for someone. Honestly, it’s a secret society. So I definitely had to build relationships.
How do you get your diamonds?
I have a mining certificate in South Africa. Most of my stones are straight from the mines. I don’t work with any blood diamonds. Knowing where my diamonds were from was the only way that I was going to go into this part of the business. I didn’t want to be stripping my people of their natural resources. So, I know exactly where my diamonds are coming from
So, is the business that you’ve created one you’re hoping to pass on to your daughter?
Absolutely. This is something I’m building and I’m trying to instill in her in at a very early age, so she’ll have enough business sense, be creative and able to take over. She’s already a budding designer and can sketch. I’m teaching her CAD, Photoshop and Illustrator. We already designed our first collection together – The Mommy N’ Me Collection.
We literally designed it together and I always say I know a girl who stole my heart and she’s the one who stole my heart. So, she wears the heart and I wear the bar. This is all for her and I want her to be able to kind of run this business (when she is older) and be a little boss.
How do you encourage her type of creativity and business sense?
I introduced her to different things so that she could try everything. At one point she was doing my gymnastics, dance, horseback riding and art classes, so I could find what her genius level gift. I think we all have these gifts that God has blessed us with. It’s about finding it and once you do, it’s up to us as parents to foster that and just help them grow.
What’s been the most rewarding part about running Crystal Streets Jewelry?
The most rewarding I would have to say is just that just that it’s mine. I love seeing a piece, a collection I’ve created come into fruition and people love it say to me, oh my gosh I’m never taking my necklace off.
Besides your website, how can people get in touch to make an appointment?
In addition to shopping on my website, people can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My showroom is Crystal Streets for Dream Stone and we are located at 15 West 47th Street and it’s appointment only.