Nestled in the backyard of the Cranston home of Leslie Block-Prip and Peter Prip, through a stone pathway and past lush shrubbery, sits an unassuming garage. From it, notes of music and the rhythmic tapping of metal against metal meld in symphonic harmony. Inside, their grown daughter crafts a bracelet, showing it to her father to examine for craftsmanship and later fitting it to her mother’s wrist to test for size. Lilly is a fifth-generation metalsmith proudly following in the footsteps of Peter, his father, and his grandfather, and in the footsteps of her mother Leslie, a famed jewelry designer.
Peter Prip has forged an illustrious career at the Rhode Island School of Design in its metal and industrial design departments. Between him and his father, RISD legend John Prip, they’ve instructed generations of metalsmiths, all while creating original art of their own.
Most recently, he and Block-Prip have joined forces to create a handcrafted jewelry line right from their garage, drawing equal inspiration from Rhode Island and countries across the globe.
Block-Prip’s career has taken her around the world to market her creations for editorial features and wholesale in luxury department stores like Bergdorf Goodman. With a wistful pride, she recalls her first editorial feature: tennis player Martina Navratilova donning her earrings on the cover of Vogue in 1985. From manning trade shows in Paris and Milan to designing for various retailers, Block-Prip made a name for herself within the jewelry universe.
As the industry changed over the last decade, and interest in trade shows dwindled from their peak in the 1980s, Prip “saw the writing on the wall,” Block-Prip says. They also saw the opportunity to make something of their own: a handcrafted, direct-to-consumer line. Each piece in their collection is unique, often framing a vintage button, key, or pearl collected in travel. Other pieces like beach stones picked judiciously by Block-Prip, pay homage to Rhode Island.
Block-Prip strives for versatility and timelessness in her design, and her collection is at once classic and eclectic. Minimalism is not among those priorities, evidenced by the stacks of gold and silver bangles adorning her wrists and the rings that decorate her fingers. She removes one gold “featherweight” earring — hammered paper thin in the shape of a delicate leaf — to demonstrate its near weightlessness, a testament to its wearability.
“It’s daunting and it’s humbling. It certainly makes you realize what it takes to get people to notice what you have to offer,” Block-Prip adds. “And I feel really good about what we do have.” Learn more at LeslieBlockPrip.com
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