Independents

Designer Peter Brams Dies at 77

IndependentsJul 25, 2023

Designer Peter Brams Dies at 77

He is remembered as a talented jewelry designer, a dog lover, and a passionate art collector.

Peter Brams
Designer Peter Brams.
New York— New York jewelry designer Peter Stanley Brams died on July 1.

He was 77. 

Originally from New Hampshire, Brams attended Hamilton College in New York, and after graduation, moved to New York City, where he started a jewelry business as a designer and manufacturer. 

Brams got his start in the jewelry industry in 1973 as an importer, and he began designing a few years later.

His firm Peter Brams Designs, Ltd. was founded in 1979 by him and his partner Abe Rosenberg. They concentrated on sterling silver and gold jewelry.

“We try to create what we think will become classics,” Brams said in a 1986 interview.

Before discovering his knack for jewelry, Brams was heavily interested in art, which influenced his designs. He often drew upon his art knowledge for references in creating his “contemporary classics.”

Brams was a collector’s collector, Steve Powers wrote for antiquesandthearts.com

“He didn’t follow fashions and wasn’t swayed by what others were buying. He bought with an open mind, a discerning eye, and an adventurous heart.” 

In the 1980s, Brams was buying contemporary art. From 1986-1987, Hamilton College exhibited his collection of works by Basquiat, Gilbert & George, Philip Taaffe and Milan Kunc at the Fred L. Emerson Gallery. 

In the later part of the decade, Brams took an interest in Outsider Art and American folk art, amassing a deep and personal collection. 

“His aesthetic was classic but left-of-center, and he appreciated modesty; things too perfect were predictable and often lacked ‘life’,” Powers wrote. 

In 2001, Brams sold his folk art collection, and moved to Jackson Heights, New York, where, in his new, blank apartment, he took an interest in the carvings of the Woodlands people. 

Brams sold the Woodlands collection in 2012 and returned to American folk and Outsider Art, acquiring a few key pieces that had escaped him in the 1990s. 

“Brams was remarkably humble and would shy from any compliment thrown his way. Though his remarkable collecting journey amazed those around him, he would defer any personal credit that it was his instincts, education and heart that shaped his highly discerning collections,” Powers wrote. 

He is remembered as a loyal friend, brother, and uncle. He often spoke of his happy childhood in New Hampshire and his love for his parents; his comfort is that he is buried with them, his younger sister and his dog Suzie in his hometown of Concord, Powers said. 

A memorial service was held in the courtyard of Brams’ Jackson Heights building, where he found solace and inspiration. Contributions can be made in his honor to Hamilton College or the ASPCA.  


Lauren McLemoreis the associate editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments.

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