They ran into Snoop Dogg in London and mistook Madonna for a drag queen — “She was sort of chatting me up in a club” — during a raucous night in Ibiza, Spain.
Spencer Krenke and Philippe Compagnon are Philippe Spencer jewelry artists and master goldsmiths who work with perfectly giant gemstones and the purest, fair-trade gold from Australian mines.
The magic happens in the couple’s home studio in Key West, where they live full-time.
Krenke worked for decades as a master perfumer and successful entrepreneur, and Compagnon was a civil engineer until a few years ago, when the pair enrolled in goldsmith school in New York City and started a sparkling new life and career. Keys Weekly met them at GRACE, on Frances Street in Key West, the only retail outlet that offers their PhilippeSpencer jewelry line, to hear a few of their golden stories.
How and where did you two meet? Well, this is embarrassing. We met on a scandalous website in 2013. Philippe was living in Santiago, Chile, and Spencer was living in Seattle.. After a few weeks of FaceTime, Spencer flew to Santiago, and the rest is history. In 2016 we came to Key West and got married with our bulldog, Sophia. We moved permanently to the Keys in 2018.
How does someone earn the title of master goldsmith? A smith is a metal worker who forms metal by heating, hammering, shaping and forging. A jeweler who designs a piece through drawings or automated software and pours molten gold into a cast or mold, versus smithing it from a solid piece of gold, is not a goldsmith, but a jeweler. And “master” is a term used by smiths who have the skills to take on an apprentice, and teach the art.
What’s the benefit of using only 20-, 22- and 24-karat gold, as you guys do? Really good question. 24-karat is 100% pure gold. 18K gold is only 75% gold, and at the bottom of the scale, 14K gold is only 58% gold.
Using a higher gold content is exponentially more expensive, but also much more valuable. Finally, the higher the gold content, the more beautiful the gold.
At what temperature does gold become malleable? (Do you even heat gold, or am I showing my ignorance?) Gold melts at 1,948 degrees Fahrenheit. When we begin a project, we melt 1-ounce bars of solid gold and add silver/copper to bring the 24K down to 22K or 20K gold.
Who are some of the biggest names wearing your designs? (Did I hear you say Beyonce, other celebrities, a South American president’s wife?) As a brand we don’t exploit the privacy of who our clients are. Our clients are celebrities, pro athletes, and ordinary folk from all over the world.
What was in the most recent Amazon package that arrived at your house?
(I promise I won’t judge. Hell, I got two packages on Friday: Six bottles of wine and a case of Swiffer heavy duty dust pads. Surely you can beat THAT.) LOL… two sock monkeys. A gift for dear friends who just drove cross-country and back to Key West with two adorable puppies. I should have paid more attention to scale, the sock monkeys are twice as big as the puppies.
What 20-second anecdote would you share with Alex Trebek on your first Jeopardy appearance? For my 50th birthday at a club in Ibiza, a fabulous drag queen doing Madonna, who shares the same birthday as me, chatted me up on a crowded dance floor. I realized only afterward, it wasn’t a drag queen, and I missed my opportunity to get some new material, girl.
What TV commercial, show or character makes you immediately change the channel? (I, for one, despise Flo with every fiber of my being.) Anytime Kellyanne Conway’s voice appears, I hit mute. Her voice is like chewing glass.
What makes you laugh out loud? Pepto Bismol commercial singing about diarrhea. It sends me to the floor with tears rolling down my face.
What do you do, watch or read, to pass the time on an airplane? A Xanax upon boarding, I arrive at my destination as if by magic.
What quality do you dislike most in others? In yourself? Others: selfishness.
Me: My intolerance of selfishness.
If you were given $2 million to give away, what organizations, individuals or causes would you support to do the most good? Organizations for families seeking asylum in the United States as immigrants, and organizations fighting to reunite children with their families torn apart during recent separation of children from their families in our immigration system.
Dogs or cats? Both or neither? Dogs, dogs, dogs. However, I recently had a litter of wild cats born under my house (thanks for closing, Blue Heaven.) By the way, we have three kittens left. Please come get one.
Grocery-shopping or delivery app? Instacart! 100%. Flatten the curve!
What kitchen gadget do you use most often? Least often? The De Longhi professional espresso maker. I leave it on all day. The least, the toaster. I’ve had to ration carbs due to COVID-19.