We are Matt and Shauna Breatore, husband and wife team, owners of Pebble & Polish. Welcome to our shop!
Our pieces are unique, cherished items and we strive to maintain a shop intimacy befitting our wares. Pebble & Polish is therefore entirely owner operated and intentionally humble in scale. We do it all. (Or just about, as we do rely on the skills of talented jewelers and smiths.) As neither of us has family in the trade, we had to tap into our training (see our bios below) and then research, study, and navigate our own way into the field. Passion prevails! We live this adventure as a couple, on our own, and the shop is as much an extension of our relationship as it is a means towards a livelihood. We’re just a (fairly) normal couple doing their thing, and we truly appreciate your support.
Pebble & Polish focuses on antique and vintage diamond rings from c. 1850-1950. In addition to the antique, we adore the unique, and we champion the charming as much as the traditionally beautiful. Evolving patinas, pillowy old cuts, Cape-colored diamonds—these run contrary to mass-market trends, yet such quirky-quaint attributes are often what we find most alluring about old jewelry. We’ve learned to trust our own eyes and hearts when determining what suits us as individuals. We encourage our customers to do the same. Be your own lamp. Do you.
We also advocate for secondary markets in hopes of undercutting unsustainable mining processes. Reality is that mining is terrible for Earth and its myriad occupants. There are already so many beautiful pieces and stones in the world that it seems silly, if not reckless, to keep mining for more. Rather than dig up new material, we find it more fulfilling and responsible to rediscover what’s already in the world awaiting a new time to shine.
If you're getting engaged, call us! We understand that cultural and financial pressures can make buying a ring stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. We hope to bridge the gap between the simple desire to acquire an engagement ring and the esoteric world that is "antique jewelry." Even if you end up getting your ring elsewhere, let us help you out by providing some historical and technical insight. We have a lot of knowledge between the two of us and we'd be pleased to share.
Running Pebble & Polish is Matt’s full-time job. Accessions, historical research, jewelry design, web design, photography, restoration management...that's all on Matt. And he loves it! He's stoked by the creative and intellectual challenges inherent to the disparate tasks and he’d be bored by anything more homogenous. Matt’s accreditations include a BA in art history from the University of LaVerne, MA and PhM/MPhil in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU (technically he stopped at PhD ABD in order to start Pebble), a post-graduate certificate in curatorial studies overseen by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and NYU, and a Graduate Diamonds diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Shauna is the wizard behind the curtain, managing the back end of the shop and keeping us functioning as a business. Are you a fan of our Instagram? Shauna’s the one who deserves the praise, as she runs our social media by providing all the witty quips and beautiful clips you find in rotation. Bookkeeping and inventory management fall under Shauna’s purview as well. And she’s our hand model! Yet this is secondary to her true career as Senior Conservator of Modern Paintings at a major conservation studio in NYC. Shauna has treated a great many artworks by Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Ellsworth Kelly, Jasper Johns, Joan Mitchell, Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Jean-Michel Basquiat…the list goes on. In other words, Shauna’s a conservation badass, and she’s thoroughly committed to the ethical preservation of art and objects, a pledge that aligns with Pebble's raison d'etre. Her formal education includes a BA in art history from NYU and a four-year MA in art history and conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU.
A Southern gentleman if there ever was one! Cashew—believed to be half Dachshund, half Spaniel—was born and raised for the first two years of his life in Tennessee. But they were hard years and he soon found himself in a shelter. We were thrilled to adopt Cashew in 2012, bringing him to NYC to start his life afresh. And what a life! Cashew loves hiking, burrowing, and rock-hopping his way through local trails, though he's perhaps at his most content when sitting idly in a window observing the city’s passers by. That is, of course, when he isn’t perched on Matt’s desk like a cat, casting that piteous gaze so effective at garnering treats. The dude’s a fiend.
Update: We are heartbroken to announce the departure of our beloved Cashew. His passing at the end of 2023 was the result of his long and heroic battle with protein-losing enteropathy (PLE), a disease that inhibited his ability to digest and process protein. He far outlived his prognosis and had some wag in his tail until the very end. We adopted Cashew the same year we started Pebble & Polish, and he saw us through our first eleven years of operation as our mascot and emotional foil against the chaos and anxiety of starting a business. He was our friend and companion in the warmest sense. Running Pebble won’t feel the same without him. Cashew—we love and miss you, buddy. You’re our best little bear.