Carolyn O’Keefe founded the brand Repoussé Jewelry by Galmer as a tribute to turn-of-the-century American elegance and as a new showcase for America’s finest silver artist, Michael Izrael Galmer. For thirty years, Galmer was well known for luxury repoussé pieces for the home, sold through hundreds of fine stores and commissioned by iconic American companies, Gorham and Tiffany. Michael and Carolyn envisioned repoussé jewelry for discerning women of inner beauty, compassion and confident taste.
“Pretty is as pretty does.” – Sally often said.
As a child, Carolyn O’Keefe played with her family’s repoussé flatware, intrigued by the sculptural flowers and pretty details. Her grandmother would explain which were the grapefruit spoons, olive forks, the relish spoons, the ice cream forks, yes forks. She would describe ancestors whose monograms were on various items and the difference between Kirk Repoussé and Stieff Rose.
Carolyn also admired her mother Sally, a woman with a beautiful heart and savvy business mind. The rare career woman at that time, Sally would dress for work swiftly, routinely slipping on her signature sterling cuff, an heirloom from her grandmother. She wore no earrings, no necklaces, not even a watch, but daily from office to weekend, Sally wore the cuff –to Carolyn, a symbol of great taste, confidence and ease.
Embarking on a career in luxury goods in New York, Carolyn became PR Director for the legendary Georgette Klinger to promote exquisite, eponymous salons in the country’s most elegant locales. Traveling by Miss Klinger’s side, developing a friendship with Kathryn Klinger and guided by mentor Eleanor Lambert, famed originator of the international Best Dressed List, Carolyn absorbed lessons in beauty, fashion and jewelry.
Her reputation for promoting elegance led to her appointment as director of the Diamond Information Center, the U.S. marketing arm of DeBeers International. Her role took Carolyn to London often, Tokyo for the Diamonds International Competition, Israel to observe diamond cutting, Paris for Fashion Week, South Africa to tour the mines and more. Most enjoyable was a multi-city Connoisseurs of Quality tour with Tom Hoving, editor of Connoisseur Magazine and former head of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Yet, love of family drew Carolyn back to her hometown of Baltimore, where she started a family and rekindled her love of the city’s communities and its repoussé silver heritage. Carolyn began to seek cuffs like her mother’s for herself and her daughters, combing the web, antique and consignment shops in vain. Considering the silver cuff as an American signature of assured chic, Carolyn wondered if other women would respond to the allure of a great