Born Henry Loniewski in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1935, he took his mother’s maiden name, Dunay, at the age of eighteen. He began his career in jewelry at the tender age of 14 as an errand boy for New York fine jeweler Rudolph Caccioli, but quickly worked his way up to master model maker and setter. Dunay’s work was refined and well-proportioned and, seeing that his jewelry style was the prevailing one at the time, he opened his own shop in 1956. In the early years, he took on work from other manufacturers (including Harry Winston) to support himself. However, after winning his first De Beers Diamond International Award in 1967 he skyrocketed to success.
The publicity generated by his award opened countless doors to new clients and commissions. In addition to working on unique designs, he launched collections such as Faceted, Cynnabar, and Colour-Me-Henry, which focused on colored gems. But perhaps his best-known development was his Sabi technique; inspired by the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, Sabi involved meticulously engraving fine lines into metal by hand to give it a soft, tactile finish. One of Dunay’s key supporters was Stanley Marcus, whose Neiman Marcus stores began their foray into branded designer jewelry with Henry Dunay. Dunay’s popularity was so great that his offerings at Neiman Marcus expanded to timepieces, fragrances, and objets d’art.
Dunay’s designs are renowned for their craftsmanship, colorful gems, and harmonious balance of volume, shapes, and lines. He continues to live and work in New York and is the recipient of over 50 national and international awards including four Diamond International Awards. Beyond his creative pursuits he has been an active member of the jewelry community as a past president and founder of the American Jewelry Design Council, a member of The Gemological Institute, and a member of The CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America).
Auction Results Henry Dunay