History of E.L. Designs

Shortly after World War II while on an extended stay in Buenos Aires, New York City-born artist Ed Levin found himself working closely with a Florentine master craftsman who taught him ancient techniques for making jewelry.  This experience changed the course of his life and ultimately established his place as a major influence in the modernist craft movement.  By 1950 Ed was back in New York enthusiastically pursuing his life’s vocation.  

Combining his skill as an artist, his new passion for jewelry and his know-how as a machinist he began making jewelry as he envisioned it to be:  exquisite little pieces of art – affordable tiny sculptures to wear.  The originality of his modern designs gained him a following early on, particularly on college campuses in New England where Ed would hang his hand-drawn posters and sell his jewelry from a card table.   

The beautiful mountains of Vermont lured Ed away from the city, and for a time he set up shop there, opening his own store and continuing to perfect his craft.  When the opportunity arose to purchase a 19th century hotel building across the border in Cambridge, New York, Ed saw a way to grow his small company into a design studio where talented local people could be trained to produce his handcrafted jewelry designs for the wholesale market – a business philosophy still in place today.  

When Peter Tonjes arrived at the studio in 1984, he had recently received his BFA from SUNY New Paltz, but he had been making and selling his own jewelry designs since he was first introduced to metal-working at the age of 12.  At the beginning Peter served as the production manager, but over time his design aesthetics and drive for excellence ultimately influenced every area of the company.   In 2004 he was appointed president and in 2012 Peter purchased the company.  Under his leadership the company has been transformed into E.L. Designs by Ed Levin Studio. 

Today E.L. Designs offers luxury jewelry specializing in innovative design that maximizes comfort – we are literally made by women for women. Whether looking for a unique gift for that special someone, a new bit of sparkle for the office, or to celebrate a milestone moment we can be found at jewelry stores across the country and online.  Our award-winning bracelets, necklaces and earrings are made right here in the USA with the world’s finest materials to bring you “wearable pieces of art” – continuing Ed’s commitment to handcrafting innovative heirloom-quality jewelry with great functionality – jewelry for generations to enjoy.

Ed Levin in his own words...

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