The Royal Jewellers S01 ep1 : Henry Dunay Jewellery [New York]

Interview with Henry Dunay


Henry Dunay
The first time I entered a competition was 1967 but as I won that year three
different ones. From the diamond international Awards and an older one. And
everyone started saying “Henry what else do you do?”. And at that point in my
life nobody would buy my merchandise.

KM - Really?

HD - Nobody wanted it. It was like they didn’t understand it. They still don’t.


Henry Dunay

HD - Basically I feel that Henry Dunay has been put on this earth to do
something special. And little by little I’ve developed into something more than
just a jeweller. I’m an artist. I do objects of art for three hundred thousand, four
hundred thousand, five hundred thousand and I have people that buy it.

KM - Why? Why are you doing this?

HD - I needed to have a job. So I went that summer to New York to find a
job, and I found a job as an errand boy. From a man by the name of Rudolph
Cassiole. He was a jeweller, a diamond seller. I had a chance to do something
and the enjoyment of working with your hands that’s the joy to be able to
create, to be able to give to people beautiful pieces of jewellery, to see a

in a woman's eyes, not on her face.

HD - You see the heart shapes inside?

KM - Yes

HD - That is in the galleries of all my pieces.
Basically I am very quiet, I speak to people through my jewellery, and all of my
jewellery has this movement, this, this feeling. Some women call it sexy, some
women call it seductive.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

HD - When a painter paints a picture it's canvas.

KM - Yes

HD - Alright, and he gives you the depth of field by using lines and the

he does that, alright. In gold we've always made it flat, o.k. I can give them
that boldness, that roundness, the best way for me to explain it to you is, when
you put a ball on the table, most designers would take a kind of third of that
ball off and use that third with a hard edge.

KM - Yes.

HD - OK? I take that ball, turn it over and that’s the way my jewellery is. It
comes around and it feels like it comes back around, and there’s that softness.
And jewellery to me has to be worn, has to be enjoyed.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

HD - My trips to Japan were wonderful and there is an oriental influence to
my design. The Faberge book and the Lalique book, both of them talked about
how they went to Japan and the movement of the Kimono, the material that
flow – and I try to do the same thing in my jewellery. My parvae work, people
say that it is the best that they’ve ever seen. It is because if there is an 'S'
shape to that piece, the first line the diamonds follows that 'S' and then
everything else goes around. So what I have done is I have spoken to your
subconscious mind.

(Right now he is working on that gold to make it lighter and more delicate)

HD - I gave a lecture to the Japanese school of design quite a few years ago
and that time a lot of Japanese designers were winning awards for their
design. I mean they were making diamond things coming out of the lapels and
necklaces that would go around like this and I said to them look, I know that
you are trying to be different and thinking so far out there that you are
different. And look at your basic art, look around you, there’s meaning to it,
there’s meaning to my jewellery.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

HD - I see beauty in many things, I can look at 10 stones andone just speaks
to me, and one just has something about it…

KM - A personality.

HD - And that's part of the start of a Henry Dunay piece of jewellery.

HD - When I first started with jewellery and I first started designing, I felt like I
had a hole in my chest. I felt that I wasn't complete, And
as I got a little bit larger and as the jewellery became more important and as
people accepted it more and more, the hole became smaller and smaller and
then in the last 10 or 15 years, I don't even think about it anymore.
That part is over.

HD - I really feel that Gods given me a gift. I really feel that. No education in
design but yet I see things. There are times I do things, where the heck does it
come from? We had a pinch bottle, that we made for Haig & Haig Scotch in
pure gold, o.k., hollow. And we carved it all in wax, everything was carved and
we started to put it all back together again. And then we put the neck on and
then the base was going to be put on ok, but what I didn't calculate that when I
would heat that up that the neck wasn't big enough to let the heat out, O.K. So
we had it nice and red and I am looking at it, and it’s done it’s finished, o.k.
And just at that moment, the base was concave, it popped out (pum) just like
that, I am looking at it. I pick up a hammer, I whack it, and it must have been
at the exact moment because it went right in the way it should and that was
the end of it. But what made me pick up that hammer? I will never know until
this day.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

HD - I have people here that have been with me 30 years, 28 years and 25. I
have two father and son teams. One of the father/son teams is father/son and
son in law. I like that, I like to bring them in, I like to be able to train them from
zero and bring them up. By doing that I train them in my way.

HD - The other part is that I sit behind this desk and that’s the businessman
o.k. and a fight between me and the guy that sits on that bench over there is
tremendous. I always say when I go buy pearls in Australia and I will sit there
and the first day I'll come and I'll say “this is great, this is great ….Oh my
god!” and then I come back the following day, the business man comes back.
“Oh alright. This I can afford, this I can't, I can do without this now” and all of a
sudden it comes down to what I really need.

HD - One of the funniest things was making a chastity belt for a woman. The
husband wanted it.

KM - Yes….as a joke right?

HD - No, I don't think so. She would come in, in black leotards and we would
adjust it and measure it, fit it and finally, the hardest part was the lock and then
I had to make a diamond key!

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Henry Dunay Jewellery