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Photo by Craig Pratt

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The House of Todd Reed

Todd Reed Fine Jewelry and the Art of Building a Legacy

The fashion world has a complicated relationship with America. Factors like cultural diversity, practicality versus fashion, socioeconomic factors to consumerism and fast-fashion all contribute to the multi-faceted nature of fashion and style in American society. Thinking of “American heritage brands”, it’s no coincidence that products and accessories designed in the U.S. aren’t seen as “experimental” or as “generation-defining” as some of the fashion designers on foreign shores - yet we know a certain someone in our backyard, who’s legacy and reputation might beg to differ.

Enter: Todd Reed. The hallmark of Todd Reed jewelry design is not a desire to set trends, but rather a deep and abiding respect for the people who will wear his pieces. His customers form a relationship with what they are putting on their body, and are a part of an experience much more intentional than just jewelry shopping. “Each piece I design physically and spirituality expresses the intention, vision and creative energy that brought it into being,” says Todd. “In this way, I, as the artist, remain present long after a piece leaves the studio.”

Todd’s great grandfather, Otto Sommer, was brought into the industry when his mother married Mr. Tissot of Tissot watches. Otto worked in the Tissot watch factory in Switzerland in the 1940’s, before coming to Philadelphia and opening a store on Sansom Street. As a child, Todd would sit around the dinner table as a child and hear about people he never met and places he hadn’t yet been, and fell in love with the story of his family lineage.” I always had a leaning towards fixing things,” says Todd. “I loved hearing stories about the men and women in my family that worked in this industry, and who were people that came from this tradition of making things.” 

“As a young designer,” Todd says, “I found myself gravitating towards whatever heritage brand I could understand: Cartier, Hermes, Ralph Lauren.” Luxury heritage brands such as these put the quality of the design and the niche that the brand represents in the culture, rather than what the culture may need at the time. “When I started my brand,” says Todd. “I wanted to make something like that.”

In the early 1990s, as Todd established his jewelry company and as his small business grew, he began to incorporate raw diamonds into his designs; diamonds that are diverse, uncut, pure, and conflict free. And something totally different. “I wanted the jewelry to look like it could have been found at the site of an ancient shipwreck, or that it was just put in a modern art museum, and it’s relevant in all situations,” says Todd, speaking of his early days designing jewelry. “I was designing the jewelry in the naive voice that I had, and might still have, but from a principle of design that is ubiquitous with heritage: going against the grain.”

Designing pieces in this singular style, incorporating natural and recycled materials, Todd Reed created an entirely new category of fine jewelry. These pieces are created from a combination of classic and modern-day metalsmithing techniques, each piece one-of-a-kind and containing character completely unique to their design and construction. “I let the work speak for itself. I want to show the work, the aspects of the work and materials, and the integrity of the materials and the fabrication.” 

Todd refers to his pieces as talismans, not only for the individuals, but for the world. They have a reason for existing in people’s lives, and contain something that is felt when it’s seen. “For example, I’m not so inspired by the holidays, so I don’t make holiday jewelry,” he says. “But I’m inspired by the warmth of family; that’s a beautiful feeling.” He and his team always bounce ideas back onto their core principles, the most important being kindness, and their commitment to sustainability. 

“We embed the pieces with beautiful energy, and we address the world with beauty and love. I know I’m not a rocket scientist, but I know that we can make people smile. I understand the nature of what we’re doing, and what we can create for people. And that’s a real privilege.” 

The Todd Reed team has fluctuated, growing bigger and getting smaller throughout the years. As of now, Todd feels more confident than ever in their small, but mighty, size. The general manager orchestrates the operations of the brand with warmth and ease, reinforcing the notion that the vitality of their business relies on the people that comprise and surround it. Curated to embody the values and vision of Todd Reed, their team is in an evolution, reaching new heights of incredible work and service towards their clients and themselves. “I couldn’t do it without them,” Todd says of the jewelers and associates on his team. “They just get it. We collaborate together so well, and all together we make things happen.” Focused on voice and style, the Todd Reed team doesn’t just make one thing - they make one-of-a kinds. And they do it as a family.

In the world of moving quickly, of more and more, faster and faster, heritage is a slow burn. It’s something that we’re not so accustomed to in this time and culture, and that’s why Todd knows it’s a great time to start telling the story. A member of his beloved team and a key part to Todd Reed’s story is his one and only daughter, Flora. And it’s hard to tell who is more proud of who.

Flora, now 21, has grown up in the business. “She sat on my lap when I was a stonesetter and welder,” says Todd. “And something curious about Flora: everything comes naturally to her.” Being around his passion for jewelry and seeing his eclectic designs come to life firsthand, Flora understands the importance of how a creative’s life doesn't end when you lock up the shop - it’s embedded in their existence.

“Our top line is the 395 Line,” says Flora, who currently works at Todd Reed as their shipping and inventory assistant. “The diamonds are really heavily clustered at the bottom, and sort of fizzle upward.” She learned about a year ago that the 395 Line was inspired by her three-year-old self, sitting in a hot tub with Dad in Puerto Rico, fascinated by the bubbles surrounding them. “And my dad wasn’t even the one to tell me that story!” Flora laughs. 

Flora and Todd’s relationship has grown over the years as Flora’s involvement in the business has increased, and as they have found balance in running the business together, along with the rest of the team. Todd thrives off connection with people, forming relationships and creating something special to embody that. Flora, on the other hand, has a deep respect for the practicality, logistics, and behind-the-scenes technicality. “I like making sure everything is working and running smoothly,” Flora says. “I love things to be organized, to operate well and consistently. And this is how my dad and I have been for my entire life - he has these big, creative ideas, and I like to help make them work.”

Although not as sure of the future as her father was at 21, one thing Flora knows is that the company will be hers one day. And she’ll be ready for it. “For now, I’m along for the ride,” she says. “But I will never let it (Todd Reed) go to someone else. It will always be mine, I just don't know what that looks like yet.”

“I'm never going to take the name away. It’s special, it’s family, it’s a legacy… it’s him.”

Todd Reed’s jewelry shines as a beacon of artistry and tradition, embodying the essence of timeless beauty and uncompromising quality. His art speaks for itself, but also shines through the people that fill the 4 walls of ‘The House of Todd Reed’. People who lead with kindness, are devoted to their craft, and passionate about the world and people around them. As the narrative of Todd’s illustrious heritage brand continues on, it intertwines seamlessly with Flora; together with the team, they continue to build the future of the business while cherishing the past. “The things I create,” says Todd, “they contain something, something that we’re all going to feel when we see it. I’m borrowing that from the world - it already exists.”

  • Photo by Julia Vandenoever
  • Photo by Julia Vandenoever
  • Photo by Julia Vandenoever
  • Photo by Julia Vandenoever
  • Photo by Craig Pratt
  • Photo by Craig Pratt
  • Photo by Craig Pratt
  • Photo by Craig Pratt
  • Photo by Julia Vandenoever
  • Photo by Julia Vandenoever
  • Photo by Craig Pratt
  • Photo by Craig Pratt
  • Photo by Craig Pratt
  • Photo by Craig Pratt
  • Photo by Craig Pratt
  • Photo by Craig Pratt
  • Photo by Alex Beal
  • Photo by Alex Beal
  • Photo by Alex Beal
  • Photo by Craig Pratt
  • Photo by Craig Pratt
  • Photo by Craig Pratt