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Corvus Noir

Corvus Noir

Vintage Costume Jewelry Transformed Into “One-of-a-Kind” Treasures

Unlike any other ordinary married couple in New York City, Craig and Lauren Vitello, are the designers and creators behind Corvus Noir.  Corvus Noir is all about reworked vintage costume jewelry that showcases vintage glamour with a modern flare. The pieces in the collection are timeless, classic and always in style.  Living in Los Angeles in 2004, Corvus NoirLauren’s jewelry collection originally featured natural gemstone and chain pieces.   Since the market was unfortunately flooded with gemstone jewelry at the time, she was burnt out and took a break from designing after they moved back to New York City in 2007.  About a year later, she began visiting flea markets in the tri-state area and obsessively collecting vintage and antique jewelry. “I loved it because it was so decadent and all one of a kind. I was also really interested in the history of each piece because there was always an interesting story,” she shares.  As fate would have it, Lauren and Craig started their business a couple months later and formally launched Corvus Noir in May 2009. 

Corvus NoirLauren grew up surrounded by art enthusiasts and plenty of art supplies since her grandparents owned an art store, Lee’s Art Shop, in New York City.  She was always drawing, painting and collaging things.  Another passion of hers is fashion and her luck in finding fabulous vintage garments on her jewelry buying trips (a major perk for Lauren).  She received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Wheaton College which has proven extremely useful for book-keeping and having an all-around business sense.  Craig holds a degree in graphic design and multimedia studies from Northeastern University.  They named their line Corvus Noir out of their interest in crows, macabre imagery and French culture as “corvus” is a genus species of the crow and “noir” means black in French.  “We thought it sounded interested, was somewhat obscure and reflected the mood of our brand,” Craig shares.

Corvus NoirCorvus Noir currently has three distinct collections; Corvus Noir, Petite Corvus, and Typography.  From the Corvus Noir collection, we first selected the Reworked 1920's Tower Art Deco Pocket Watch Necklace made from a vintage 1920’s Tower pocket watch.  The chain is handmade and distinctive as it is created from three different gold tone styles with a strand of transparent faceted vintage plastic rosary beads in between.  The silver tone pocket watch displays a gold, cream, and black face with deco style numbers and is eye-catching with its historical aura and modern design.  Lauren adores the Multi-Cross Necklace for its extremely difficult design as she finds anything challenging the most rewarding.  She loves how the 30 smaller crosses drape to create an ornate chain surrounding the larger pendant.  “I love working with all kinds of vintage pendants and pairing them with a few vintage chains with a lot of character,” Lauren shares.

Corvus NoirAnother fabulous piece from this collection is the Gold Tone and Rhinestone Reworked Vintage Ladies Watch Necklace 1940's, for its dainty femininity and vintage appeal.  This petite vintage Hamilton 1940’s ladies watch displays its beauty as a pendant with its gold tone and gold numerals on a white face, adorned with a clear crystal dangling from the bottom of the watch.  The reworked necklace itself is asymmetrically assembled from three different styles of vintage chains and accented with three vintage clear crystals along the front.  Even more beautiful and charming in person, this necklace is sure to grab attention for its delicate design and unusual creativity.  “Every Corvus Noir piece is reworked vintage or antique costume jewelry and is completely one of a kind…has a story, whether it is the historical context of its time period or a heartfelt engraved message.”  Since each piece is created with actual vintage items, nothing can be duplicated, which makes an item even more special and unique. 

Lauren never knows what she is going to create until she goes on one of her buying trips.  Upon returning home, she picks an item and pulls from her inventory of vintage chains, one that will best compliment the pendant.  She adds, “There are certain styles that I always look for though, such as pocket watches, animal pins, chatelaine pencils and pen knifes.”  Currently, both Craig and Lauren work as a team in buying, designing, marketing, selling, and maintaining their online shop.  Craig is the man behind the branding, photography, and web design.  As anyone can see, between the two of them, they can accomplish quite a bit.

From the Petit Corvus Collection, Lauren treasures the Lenticular Ten Commandment Charm Necklaces from the 1960s and how the lenticular image changes when the charm is tilted.  Corvus NoirShe combined two different charm bracelets, one with images and one with text. It is no wonder this is one of her favorites as we also selected the Ten Commandment Bible Necklace as an Editor’s Pick.  This necklace is comprised of a vintage plastic lenticular text bible and a silver text heart charm from the 1960s hanging from a vintage gold tone chain.  This necklace is handmade and completely one of a kind.  Now you can wear your favorite commandment close to your heart.  Television and film celebrity, America Ferrara, was shopping the Hester Street Fair and ended up buying a Ten Commandment charm necklace and a Bahama travel charm necklaces from the 1930s (Cuba), both from the Petit Corvus collection.

One of Lauren’s strongest inspirations is David Webb, an influential fine jewelry designer from the 70’s and 80’s who still designs today.  His magnificent animal jewelry using various enamels, diamonds and gemstones is always an inspiration to Lauren, especially when she is reworking animal pins into pendants.  “I love ALL animals, of all shapes, color and sizes... I don't discriminate,” she mentions. Corvus Noir is currently sold on corvusnoir.com as well as Market Publique and various markets around New York City, such as Artists and Fleas and Hester Street Fair. Corvus Noir was recently introduced to and is now sold at a great vintage and avant garde boutique in SOHO called the Garment Room.  Their goal is to launch the collection in many more stores throughout New York City and nationwide.

Corvus NoirLastly, we also adore the Typography Collection, which showcases antique brass printing blocks from the early 1900’s in your letter, number or symbol of choice.  The Brass Printing Block Reworked Antique Initial Necklace Early 1900’s featured here is an antique brass “L” printing block pendant on a modern brass chain. The 19” long chain is exquisite in itself with its small circle links, fine craftsmanship, and lightweight comfort.  The letter block resonates a historical and industrial aura that sets it apart from the mass produced initial charms available on the market.  The small “L” block is Lauren’s favorite because it is her initial.  She finds these initial charms dainty, but also substantial and tends to wonder what important documents they printed.  Made of brass, its natural tarnish over time adds character to the piece as it is over a 100 years old. 

Craig and Lauren love traveling and had an amazing time on their honeymoon cruise to Turkey, Greece and Egypt in October 2009.  They visited the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, a huge indoor market filled with bright, beautiful colors and gorgeous jewelry everywhere. She recalls, “the antique dealers carried hundreds of luxurious pocket watches. Unfortunately, they were too expensive, but I left totally inspired.”   They found Greece and its islands breathtaking while the pyramids in Egypt were a jaw-dropping experience.  Since then, Lauren has been obsessed with finding vintage Egyptian revival jewelry while her current finds are still waiting to make their Corvus Noir debut.  In the future, Craig and Lauren hope to see Corvus Noir as more influential and in stores around the world.  The possibility of opening up their own store in New York City to sell jewelry and high curated vintage clothing is also within their reach. 

Corvus NoirThe Corvus Noir collection changes weekly as they have over a hundred items at home that have yet to be made.  “It's like having my own vintage market in my studio. We also sell similar styles, but the chains and pendants are never the same and always one of a kind,” Lauren shares.  Lauren is a huge advocate of shopping vintage and hunts for new vintage jewelry or clothing in her spare time.  She also loves to travel and spend time with her husband and two cats, Rocco and Rufus.  Aside from work, they look forward to starting a family and finally owning a place without having to rent anymore as New York is pricey.  As their inventory is updated weekly, visit shopcorvusnoir.com for their newest items or to inquire about custom designs.  Be sure to also check out their creative personal style blog at corvusnoir.com/blog.  Facebook and Twitter fans can follow Corvus Noir on facebook.com/corvusnoir and twitter.com/corvusnoir.

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