Women’s History Month: Susan Cohen Designer of Circa 1700

Susan Cohen of Circa 1700 revives certain symbolism, and sentimentality in pieces that are relevant to modern by rejuvenating various styles with wit, originality and an inventive mixing of time periods and themes. Her collection is steeped in various motifs and messages that play on luck, love and protection. Susan reinvents pieces that embrace bygone eras while playing with concepts that speak to the contemporary woman. Her latest additions fulfill her passion for all things mechanical. Most  of her pieces can be customized with enamel hues and gemstones of one’s choice.

One of Susan’s personal charm necklaces with a mix of antique, vintage and modern charms


When did you first realize that jewelry made your heart skip a beat?

“There isn’t a time that I can remember when jewelry didn’t make my heart skip a beat or mesmerize me. There is something so visceral about jewelry. It is  a language of love that translates into emotion, memories, and one’s persona journey.”

What piece of jewelry first captured your attention?

An antique fly pin that was gifted to me by my Aunt Rachel when I was eight or nine. I somehow managed to lose it while walking home from school. I searched for it for days and it still haunts me.”

What was the first gift of jewelry you every received and at what age?

“An 18k necklace that had my zodiac symbol, Aquarius, and a Greek or Roman monument charm that was given to me by my god parents and my uncle when I was just a baby. I wore it for years, moving the charms to various necklaces, even to this day.”

When did you get into the jewelry business and had you been in another business before?

“When I was attending the American Film Institute, a friend convinced me that since we couldn’t afford the jewelry we loved, we should design our own line. We are still best friends to this day  but I wanted to expand beyond wire wrapping. I ventured off and created Circa 1700 curating one of a kind antique and vintage gems as well as designing contemporary pieces that required casting and my passion for all things mechanical.” I also still heavily involved in filmmaking.”

Part of Circa 1700’s compass collection in which Susan takes antique and vintages compasses and inserts them in shield and other shapes set with diamonds of different sizes and or gemstones of a client’s choice. Here is a diamond version

What is your aesthetic?

“It has definitely changed and evolved over the years. Mixing of metals with symbolic talisman that span from the Georgian era to the 70s  has remained a constant. But I have been continually adding mechanical pieces that are tactile, often whimsical and offering an element of the unexpected.”

Circa 1700 Lucky Horseshoe bracelets customized with different sayings and gemstones.

What is a favorite piece you always wear?

“An Aldo Cipullo screw head. It’s a bit cheeky and reminds me to persevere no matter how difficult something becomes.”

What are your favorite pieces of your designs?

“My Direction & Strength Diamond Arrow and my Mechanical Clasps. Each is talismanic and infused with symbolism.”

One of Circa 1700’s enamel and gemstone Mechanical Loving Hand Clasp with some of Susan’s personal charms and her Direction & Strength Diamond Arrow along with her open heart diamond pendant and her diamond shield pendant with a mix of different antique and vintage diamonds


Your Most cherished inherited or sentimental piece?

“A pair of Georgian snake earrings that my husband gave me, for what they symbolism, eternal love. They literally never leave my ears. Over the years, I’ve added a bit of bling and have nicknamed them my engagement ring and wedding band since I don’t were either on my fingers.”

Susan’s favorite sentimental piece-the snake earrings her husband gave to her with antique diamond drops she added later

Do you collect other pieces, if so what are they and how do you mix up your jewelry?

“I’m a strong believer that you need to mix jewelry up  so I’m constantly wearing other designers, both modern and vintage.”

Another personal charm necklaces of Susan’s with a mix of the charms she designed, antique and vintage charms as well as one Marla Aaron lock