Meghan Markle chooses Encinitas designer to make wedding keepsake gifts

Zofia Day
Jewelry designer Lisette Polny, creator of Zofia Day jewelry, found herself in the spotlight after she designed special 14-carat keepsake bracelets for royal bride Meghan Markle to give to her best friends at her wedding. Courtesy of Zofia Day / Becca Batista

Encinitas jewelry designer Lisette Polny wasn’t at the royal wedding, but her jewelry played a key role.

Meghan Markle presented six of her best friends — plus her new sister-in-law, Kate Middleton — a delicate, custom-designed 14-carat gold bracelet as a keepsake. Called the Kensington bracelet, it was designed by Polny at Meghan’s behest.

While they haven’t met, Polny is a longtime friend of one of Meghan’s best friends, Benita Litt, of Los Angeles, who sat next to Meghan’s mother during the ceremony. Litt’s young daughters, Remi and Rylan, Meghan’s goddaughters, were petite bridesmaids Saturday.

Polny — who named her company Zofia Day after her grandmother and daughter, Zofia, 4 — also designed two gold necklaces for each of the bridesmaid/flower girls: a simple gold heart and a diamond-studded bow.

jewelry piece
This simple 14-carat yellow gold Kensington bracelet was designed by Lisette Polny for Prince Harry's bride, Meghan Markle, to give to her best friends as a wedding keepsake. Markle discovered the Encinitas designer about two years ago and wears her jewelry. Courtesy

By Monday, Polny had received 490 orders “from all over the world” for the Kensington bracelet, which retails for $450. People magazine interviewed her for its post-wedding issue.

She says the bride owned about six of her pieces prior to the wedding. Meghan wore a pair of Zofia Day “Dash Ear Studs” on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine last year. In fact, she made a news splash this past January when she appeared with Prince Harry in Cardiff, Wales, wearing mismatched earrings — a Gabriela Artigas-designed shooting star on her left ear and a Dash Ear Stud on her right ear.

During her second official post-engagement appearance with Prince Harry earlier that month, Meghan sported a simple 14-carat diamond-pavé bar ring ($750 retail) on her right hand, also from Zofia Day.

“It’s a subtle, timeless style,” explains Polny. She tries to keep prices competitive “so everyone can get something special for themselves that will last forever.”

“I am so grateful and so lucky,” Polny says of the reaction. “The fact that this is happening to me is overwhelming.”

Her jewelry is sold by about 20 boutique retailers, including Tucci in Solana Beach and Del Mar, and on her Zofia Day website.

“I designed a special wedding piece for Meghan,” adds Polny, 37, who started her home-based business as a hobby so she could spend more time with her daughter. She hasn’t received permission to discuss that piece yet, but expects to soon.

Meanwhile, Litt wore numerous Zofia Day designs — rings, three bracelets and bangles and a hammered gold cross necklace — to various wedding events last weekend, including a tea with Queen Elizabeth.

Polny’s sister, Julie Zozaya, is the longtime owner of Julie’s Beachwear in Del Mar.

-- Diane Bell is a columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune