Peter Indorf, GG, VCGA, ASGR feels just as good today as he did when he founded his first jewelry store in New Haven, Connecticut in 1972. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Peter Indorf Designs, and in honor of that milestone, we are showcasing some of his exquisite custom pieces. His life’s work is creating quality jewelry destined to become heirlooms, and many of his customers have become friends along the way.
Peter’s style is often described as contemporary classic with a vintage twist, and he signs each one of his custom jewelry pieces. In addition to custom-designed engagement rings and wedding bands, fine hand and machine engraving, and fine and antique jewelry repair and restoration, he performs jewelry appraisals, offers gem and jewelry brokerage and purchasing services to individuals and estates, with access to national and international buyers.
A Beautiful Business Model
Married since 2015, Peter and his wife, Patricia, live in Melbourne, Florida on the Space Coast. He previously owned and operated three retail jewelry stores in Connecticut for decades, but when he met Patricia and started going down to Florida, he realized he liked the lifestyle, and it was time for a change. Instead of being a retail jeweler, he is a personal jeweler open by appointment, and that suits him perfectly.
Peter has a showroom, consultation area, and workshop in Melbourne which is southeast of Orlando. “Now instead of working out of a store, I work out of an office and use my website and social media as my front facing to the customer,” he explains. “And it’s so much better! There’s no need to have expensive real estate.” Since his overall costs are lower, the prices for his custom pieces aren’t as high as one would think.
He has an immense, virtual inventory — that’s the beauty of this business model, and as an active user of Gemvision’s CounterSketch®, Peter considers Stuller a partner. After he designs a piece, he will personally write the description for it on his website and price it out, giving customers different options so they can get an idea of what something costs if they want to order it.
Many items in the Peter Indorf Collection have first names attached to them such as Amelia, Brittany, Haley, Jane, Morgan, Sabrina, Bryan, Zachary, Jonathan, Jacob, etc. “I collect names and have a tickler file,” he explains. “Next time you watch a movie, pay attention to the credits and look at all the names. I get a lot of inspiration from that. I think it’s easier for consumers to relate to something that has a name attached to it. It’s got more personality.”
Student of Life
While he does have an impressive list of academic credentials behind his own name, Peter is a “student of life,” gaining inspiration from reading, going to museums, and collecting things. The art of jewelry making is also in his bloodline as his grandfather, great-grandfather, mother, father, brothers, son, and nephew have all worked in the industry.
Instead of going to college in the late 1960s, Peter went to California for four years, lived out of a knapsack and picked up jewelry making. His first workshop was in the back of a truck, and he built a hut out of driftwood on a deserted beach. A self-described hippie, he was basically self-taught and had a blast during this humble start of a lifelong career.
Today Peter has extensive archives that include designs, sketchbooks, notebooks of portfolios, and boxes full of paintings of different jewelry he’s designed over the years. He has at least 1,400 silver master models of original designs and may donate some to the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in Manhattan, New York. They already have some of his commissioned work.
Tips of the Trade
Peter has had apprentices and serves as a mentor for up-and-coming jewelry designers and those who are interested in the industry. His recommendations for newbies? “Go into jewelry stores, say ‘hello,’ and let them know you’re interested in jewelry. There are a lot very famous people who got their start sweeping the back of a store.”
One of Peter’s guiding principles is to always do what’s right for the client, and in fine jewelry, it’s all about the long, end game. “To be successful,” he says, “you need to do well by people all the time. It’s not just about making money. The reason you should be in business is to serve others.”
His wife Patricia recently began her own line of jewelry designs which are displayed in several galleries, and he credits her as an incredibly gifted salesperson.
At this point in his life, Peter doesn’t really need to work anymore. He does it because he loves it. ‘I enjoy helping people,” he says, “especially young people in love and getting engaged. Jewelry has always resonated with me. It’s in my blood, and in my soul.”