Jeweler’s brilliance is in her eye for design

Multi-faceted Patty Catalano combines business and family with success.

Multi-faceted Patty Catalano combines business and family with success.Vision, coupled with artistic and business foresight are the brilliant facets that have brought so much success to Heritage Fine Jewelry.

Sparkling gems loosely gathered by custom pieces efortlessly attest to the design talents of owner Patty Catalano.

Sea-life inspired jewelry by son Patrick incorporates oceanic treasures — black pearls, golden shells and sea horses arrayed in the showcase window highlight the versatile collection within.

Now in its 20th year at Pineland Station, Catalano’s family business incorporates the talents of her three children, designer Patrick Safe, skilled engraver Doug Safe and gemologist Jennifer Lance.

Pointing out rings of Bulgari-infuenced design, contemporary pieces in satin-fnish gold, and simple diamond bracelets, her eye for the fine cuts and quality is evident. Equally evident is her knowledge of the market.

“It’s casual on the island, everything goes from afternoon to evening,” Catalano said. “As we look at new concepts, we equate to what we need here.”

“My beginning, as I know it, started when I was nine days old, handed from my birth mother to my Mom and dad in front of a judge in Bufalo, N.Y.,” Catalano said. “I was so blessed to have two of the most loving, caring individuals as my parents.”

This closeness lasted throughout their lives, and is emulated in her close-knit family today.

Catalano’s earliest memories are of helping her father in his stores. She credits him with teaching her about business, how to treat people and giving her the confdence to follow her dreams.

At the time, she was a single parent with a business degree, employed at the university.

“I always loved to draw, sculpt, and one day I saw an ad for a manager in a jewelry business,” Catalano said. “It wasn’t the safe choice, but my father encouraged me.”

It wasn’t always easy. She started her first business in 1977 with $2,500 and 12 pieces for sale. She told people what she could make for them, and designed each piece. Word spread and her business grew.

Ruby Rings Collection handcrafted by Patty Catalano.It was while vacationing on Hilton Head Island that her business instincts led her to relocate here.

“I loved it immediately and could see the growth potential,” she said. “My first year beat previous years’ figures and progressively things have gotten better.” Acknowledging the tough economy, she says engraving, repairs, and gift lines keep business steady.

“I’m doing more behind the bench these days, too,” she said. “With gold at $900 an ounce, some customers prefer reworking jewelry into new designs.”

A true artisan, she is equal parts business. the workroom where they create 50 percent of their jewelry spans the length of the store. But Cat-alano’s jeweler bench sits in her office, behind her desk. It was here she designed her daughter’s wedding ring.

“We take a tremendous amount of time, handpicking emeralds, rubies, sapphires. When I design a piece, I always present it. I want to see that first expression. It’s very personal,” laughs Catalano.

The trend now, she explains, is simplifed lines, excellent cuts of stones surrounded by diamond accents. She wears a piece of her own design; a round brilliant-cut, two-karat diamond ofset by a softened trillion shape for the simple, elegant lines that are her trademark. “Life is short. You should step out and try it, pursue your passions,” Catalano advises.

The results can be dazzling.

For more information, call Heritage Fine Jewelry at (843) 689-2900.