When Meghan Markle appeared on the March 26, 2018, cover of People Magazine, most readers’ eyes went straight to her beautiful smile, or her matching white coat and beret. Adina Reyter, however, zoomed in on Markle’s earlobes. She was quick to spot that the soon-to-be Duchess of Sussex was adorned with a pair of diamond earrings she had designed.
Reyter, who established an eponymous Los Angeles-based jewelry company in 2001, has many celebrity clients and sells her designs through leading retailers like Bloomingdales, Intermix and Shopbop. But seeing her “Three Diamond Amigo Curve” earrings grace royalty told the designer that her brand had reached a whole new level.
“As soon as Meghan started dating [Prince] Harry, I said, ‘This is our girl.’ This is the kind of woman we are designing for. Her style is classic and she has amazing taste,” Reyter said.
“Then to see her actually wearing our earrings was so exciting,” she said.
Reyter, who lives in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley with her husband and three children, started her jewelry business on the side while working in advertising. She took a metal work class at night, and initially brought in some other women to help her assemble her jewelry designs at her kitchen table.
Many of her earlier designs involved hammering metal (which was not appreciated by neighbors in Reyter’s apartment building). As a solution, she enlisted the help of her father-in-law, a retired dentist skilled at fine work with his hands.
“We would drive over hundreds of rings to my father-in-law’s house for him to hammer,” Reyter said. “We called him ‘The Lord of the Rings.'”
With its clean, refined lines and everyday and all-day wearability, Reyter’s jewelry was a response to the bold and chunky trends of the 1990s. She designed for busy moms and college students and created versatile jewelry sold at affordable price points (from less than $100 to $3,000).
“Jewelry is all about the details. We design with those details in mind. We want you to live in it and feel special in it,” Reyter said. “It’s on trend, but not trendy.”
Reyter, 43, had always been interested in design, but had not initially thought of pursuing jewelry making. However, having grown up in Los Angeles as part of a Jewish family with a large knitwear business, she did know from a young age that she wanted to eventually start a creative low- tech business of her own.
“I had read an article about a woman starting her own jewelry line, and I said, ‘I can do this,'” Reyter said.
Her business took off when celebrities were photographed wearing her 14K gold and silver designs, many featuring pave diamonds. Demi Moore bought two of Reyter’s pieces that were for sale at a high end nail salon. Then the costume designer for the hit TV series “Friends” scooped up some of Reyter’s jewelry.
“Jennifer Aniston wore one of my pieces in a 2002 episode of the show. There she was on screen for 45 minutes with it on. It was huge for me!” Reyter said.
With celebrity fans, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, Miley Cyrus, Lauren Conrad, Emmy Rossum, and Zoe Saldana, Reyter has been fortunate to not have to work hard at advertising and publicity. “I was getting organic press,” she said.
Even as she focuses now on deliberately building her brand, she continues to get free exposure. For instance, Lady Gaga recently posted a photo with her mother on Instagram in honor of Pride, in which she sported Adina Reyter earrings and rings.
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) June 11, 2018
Eighteen years after starting her business at her kitchen table, CEO Reyter now has nine direct employees and annual revenues of $5 million. Her jewelry is assembled at her office in Sherman Oaks, as well as in factories she works with in Los Angeles and India.
“All our materials are ethically sourced and of the highest standards,” Reyter said.
Reyter, who was educated in a Jewish day school and sends her own children to one, is affiliated with both a Conservative synagogue and Chabad. She’s visited Israel and is a cousin of Israeli actress Yuval Scharf. Some of Reyter’s designs feature Stars of David, hamsas and evil eyes, reflecting her Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish state.
Meghan Markle must have bought her Adina Reyter earrings either online or at a brick-and-mortar retailer. The newly minted duchess hasn’t yet reached out to Reyter to establish a more formal styling relationship, but the hard-working designer remains hopeful.