Every so often, I get an email with “Is this your design?” in the subject line. When I look at the attached photo, I usually find that the jewelry in question is just a common style, like a safety-pin earring, or something that only looks like my work from a distance. That said, I’ve been alerted to a few blatant knockoffs. And then there was the time in 2016 when my mother didn’t know she’d lost her one-of-a-kind ring until a lovely couple named Jan and Carma found it outside a Florida grocery store. They saw my name inside the band and contacted me.
Earlier this month, I saw “Is this your design?” in a subject line of an email from … Wendy. Because I do email myself constantly to remind myself of things I need to do, my first thought was “Why am I asking myself this question?” I mean, I should know my own designs.
Then I realized the email was from a different Wendy. The necklace she was asking about was, to my surprise, one of mine.
That’s my Lotus Flower necklace from over 10 years ago!
I think I made fewer than 10 of those in gold (and I had totally forgotten that singer Suzanne Vega wore the ruby version in 2008), and maybe only four of those had the diamond accent at the center.
The other Wendy said she had purchased the necklace secondhand and that it came with packaging with my name on it. I was like … there’s a secondary market for my jewelry? Then I got interested in why the other Wendy was looking at my name on the packaging rather than at a signature on the necklace itself. Some of my earliest jewelry designs did get out into the world without my name being engraved on them, so I asked the other Wendy to take a picture of the back of the necklace so I could check. There was nothing there, and I couldn’t let that stand. I had the other Wendy send the necklace back to me for engraving.
There wasn’t a lot of room to do anything, so this engraving is tiny. I had to use a jeweler’s loupe to check the spelling. But provenance is everything! A signed artwork is always worth more, regardless of how small that signature is.
If you love this design, be like the other Wendy and keep an eye out for it on the secondary market, because I’m serious when I say I do limited edition work. Limited edition for a lot of brands means 100 or 500 units. Even 10,000 units is limited edition for some retailers! But if I do 10 pieces in the same style, that’s a lot for me. Most of my designs are one of a kind, so don’t wait too long to buy what you want, because when I’m done I’m done. I move on to new ideas. That’s more fun for me, design-wise, and, as a bonus, if I’m always changing, I don’t have to worry about an overseas manufacturer knocking off a product that my entire business depends on.
Speaking of moving on, my gorgeous rapper friend Gangsta Boo was showing off my Cleopatra earrings yesterday …
… which reminded me that I have one more pair in 18K gold with diamonds …
… which then made me decide that this is the last call for Cleo. I’ve kept this style in stock (or at least made it on request) in gold and silver since 2006! The design’s big moment came in 2010, when star stylist Patricia Field put it on Kim Cattrall in the second Sex and the City movie.
It’s a surprisingly light statement earring — 4 1/2″ long — that can be worn singly or as a pair, day or night, casual or dressy. Because of the versatility I always planned to keep the Cleo around forever. Tiffany sells its classic designs for decades, so why not me? But, because I’m a moody artiste, I’ve decided it’s a wrap for this particular tribute to Cleopatra, even if I’ll miss having a pair for personal use. I guess that looking at my Lotus Flower necklace again made me remember that as much as I love certain designs, I can still let them go and let inspiration flow elsewhere. OMG! It just hit me that lotus flowers are symbols of rebirth and regeneration in some cultures … and this month, Wendy sent a lotus flower to Wendy. Coincidence or a sign from the universe? Only time will tell.