Thanks to super-cool journalist Rachel Garrahan for including me in her New York Times article called “In a Time of Stress, Jewelry Becomes Armor”! It’s about how women are gravitating towards jewelry that makes them feel strong … and it just so happens that the concept of female strength is at the very heart of all of my jewelry designs. I love the headline too, as you might guess if you’ve been on my Facebook page in the past couple of months: I literally have “feminist armor” in my cover image.
My 18K gold jewelry has always been inspired by the stories of real-life, powerful women. The pieces are meant to make the wearer feel like a “warrior woman,” as jewelry blogger Becky Stone once put it.
Many of the gold designs have a story linked to an individual woman, like this swan ring named for Anne of Cleves, the savvy fourth wife of Henry VIII.
But a direct connection to the biography of a particular queen isn’t always required. The rings in my “Maneater” collection tackle the topic of power more generally (though as a group they were influenced by Empress Wu, the only female Chinese ruler to use the title of “emperor” during her lifetime). Each Maneater has a bejeweled creature looming over the tiny hidden figure of a man.
Yes, I consider a New York City taxi to be a creature.
I create the jewelry named for queens and other badass ladies in blackened 18K yellow gold with a satin finish. Using matte, oxidized gold gives the pieces additional depth and complexity. When I started adding more silver pieces to my line in 2008, I realized that doing such intricate work wasn’t right for the material. The labor costs were the same, making the pieces very expensive for silver, and the designs really need gold’s warmth. As a result, I decided I would give my silver collection its own look — more playful, more modern, and more explicit in its messaging. I started with my infamous swear rings, then added emojis and word/acronym jewelry. With the word jewelry, my background in journalism often led me to “breaking news” in pop culture — the latest nickname for a loved one, for instance. After the election in November, my mind turned to politics, and so did the silver jewelry.
As Rachel reported in the Times:
So, as you can see, I tell it like it is when I work in silver …
… and I save the elaborate historical references with their more subtle messages of strength for oxidized 18K gold.
To answer a few questions you might have:
- As indicated in the article, I do often offer gold versions of the silver designs. I like to give my customers options! But I still consider those anything that originates in silver to be part of my silver collection. Also, I don’t use the same finish for gold NASTY necklaces as I do for a Maneater ring.
- My website says exactly how much will be donated for any design that includes a charitable donation. For example, buying the silver NASTY necklace means $25 goes to Planned Parenthood. Also, I make the donation in the customer’s name (or whoever’s name is requested) so that you get a personal confirmation of the donation from the organization.
- The NASTY necklace is my second-best seller because it’s hard to top the sales of my middle-finger emoji earring!
Once again, thanks to Rachel for including me in this story! I’m thrilled to be in such good company — the article includes Pamela Love and Lynn Ban, among other designers.