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While other children were playing with Etch-A-Sketch and Color Forms, drawing shapes and fiddling with naïve motifs, Susan Novogrodzki was expressing herself with gold wire and precious gems, pretending to make her own jewelry in her father's factory on 47th Street. "Jewelry is part of my heritage; I grew up surrounded by it. From a very early age, I loved spending my free time going to work with my father and watching him and his craftsman. I was constantly touching all of the metals and making shapes out of the wire," explains Susan whose collection Susan Blake has garnered a successful and loyal following among retailers and consumers alike.
Susan's distinctive point of view about jewelry has been evolving ever since her youth. "My parents are from Argentina and came to New York approximately forty years ago. They moved directly to Brooklyn without speaking a word of English. But my father was trained as a bench jeweler in his native country and after only two years; he not only learned English but also the language of jewelry that would appeal to a global audience. He came up with a concept for the internationally renowned jewelry house, Tiffany & Co. His sister brought it over to the New York headquarters; they loved it and it has been exclusive to them ever since. I am still carrying on the tradition and producing and selling to them today."
Prior to joining her father's company, Susan wanted to "earn her own way" and joined Joan Michelin Gallery when she was age nineteen through twenty-one. She traveled the country as a salesperson and did trunk shows gaining insight into what women related and responded to in different areas of the US.
"It was a great learning experience and when I'm designing for my own collection, this is always on my mind: how women perceive themselves and want to express themselves through jewelry," says Susan.
Blake is now nineteen years old and loves to go to work with Susan. "She gives me ideas and doodle’s various motifs and shapes for me. She is also very clear about what she likes and what she doesn't," Susan affectionately explains. "She's already developing her own very specific tastes. Certain traits are inherited and passed down from one generation to the next. While I'm not sure if she will carry on the family tradition or join me in the business, she definitely reminds me of myself when I was her age and is already showing signs of our heritage."