10 QUESTIONS FOR DANA KIYOMURA, STYLISH ANTIQUE JEWELLERY HUNTER FOR HER APTLY NAMED BUSINESS - KEYAMOUR.
Dana Kiyomura had an unconventional upbringing. Being an Army brat, she traveled the world with her parents. She was fortunate to see the art and culture of Europe and the Far East up close in the sparkle of her youth, later fueling her passion and curiosity for world history.
Dana later graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in history but really discovered her calling when an internship at Christie’s turned into a job opportunity in the Jewellery department. She was fascinated by the pace of the dealers and the values. Her curiosity was particularly piqued when similar items fetched disparate prices. Soon, an affinity for the quality, craftsmanship and design of jewellery ignited her passions.
After a few years, Dana was hired as the Director of Acquisitions for Fred Leighton. There she brought her knowledge and perspective to a devoted audience. Buying for the finest retailer in the world was a great experience. Her passions only grew as she was able to acquire the pieces that she loved for the store.
After six years she decided it was time for her own endeavours. Looking for a name that “unlocked” beauty and nostalgia with the sentiment for “love” she didn’t need to look further than her own surname for inspiration. Kiyomura turned into Key and Amour and so, Keyamour. Together with her partner Richard Tilles she sources unusual, sentimental and collectible pieces around the world. Focused on antique jewellery that isn't stuffy or "old" looking, but rather “with it” and whimsical. The Keyamour collection is fashion and style, old meets new, attracting a global clientele who are stylish and expressive.
1. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Learning really inspires most aspects of my life. I love to learn about new cultures, new cities, new foods. Learning about the fashion of a historical era or how things were worn inspires my jewellery aesthetic. I also like learning about people and how they make decisions or what they are interested in.
2. WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF LUXURY?
Luxury to me is an experience where all the stars align. Everything is beautiful, everything is done well, and I don’t have to change a thing. A luxury brand for example is not luxurious because it is expensive, it is luxurious because of how it makes you feel.
3. WHICH JEWELER OR WATCHMAKER DO YOU MOST ADMIRE, WHY?
Camilla Dietz Bergeron made a big impression on me when I first started in the business. She was witty and chic, in fact she put the word chic in my vocabulary! I loved that she had a real world job before following her passion and buying and selling the best jewellery with her own flair. She carved a niche out for herself that is a style of her own.
4. IN YOUR NEXT LIFE YOU ARE A JEWEL OR OBJECT, WHAT ARE YOU, WHY?
A Cartier mystery clock. They are opulent, beautiful and admired. They are always treasured, and endlessly stared at.
5. SET A DINNER TABLE FOR 6:
ALIVE OR DEAD - WHO ARE THE 5 MOST INTERESTING/FUNNY/TALENTED
INDUSTRY PEOPLE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE YOUR TABLE WITH?
Richard Tilles - my life partner, he makes everything more fun for me and brings laughter and joy to any table.
Mark Emanuel - not only is he a jewellery savant, he knows about so many different things, he is spiritual and a big thinker.
Jean Schlumberger - I don’t know much about him but I am interested in hearing his perspective on design and some of the special clients he worked with.
The Duchess of Windsor - A fascinating woman for sure, with a killer jewellery collection. I’d love to hear her thoughts on fashion and style directly from her, as well as her perspective on how history has portrayed her.
Murray/Fred Leighton - He was always full of stories and certainly loved his food! His charm and humour was infectious.
6. YOUR DREAM JOB IT WEREN'T THIS ONE
I love food. I guess a food critic would combine things that I love (aside from jewellery) which are eating, writing and being critical.
7. YOUR GREATEST JEWELLERY/WATCH MEMORY/EXPERIENCE TO DATE?
I guess my best memories in my jewellery career have to do with discovering things others missed. Whether it was a signature, provenance or origin of a stone, I feel a victory having picked up on it while others didn’t.
8. YOUR FAVOURITE GEMSTONE?
While I would love to say something educated about a fabulous rare stone, I'm afraid I'm rather boring and have to admit that I'm really most drawn to diamonds. I love chunky shaped old cuts and of course the bigger the better!
9. YOUR MOTTO FOR PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS?
I'm not sure I have one particular sentiment that guides me, but I guess something that I think I adhere to a lot is, “Keep your eyes open and your head down”.
10. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING OUT IN THE INDUSTRY?
This business is fragmented and everyone’s personal path to success can take a different route. What I think is wise advice is to tell young people that patience is a virtue. Listen, observe, and be considerate. There is a lot of unspoken etiquette in our business that if crossed sometimes hinders success. Take the time to learn from others, emulate good behaviour and forgive bad behaviour.