What Is Your Favorite Piece of Jewelry?

What Is Your Favorite Piece of Jewelry?

Squash Blossom Necklace

Danielle Embry loves this squash blossom necklace, which she recently inherited, for its connection to both her native Southwest and her mother. Photo: Danielle Embry

Jessica Calderwood’s enamel brooches, which portray mundane tasks, such as a woman putting curlers in her hair or puckering to put lipstick on. These pieces are so skillfully crafted but depict such everyday occurrences; I think that’s what attracts me to them. I also admire how Calderwood isn’t afraid to push her boundaries – for example, moving into sculpture with polymer clay and porcelain. I don’t think she limits herself, and that has definitely influenced my own work. ~Tanya Crane, artist/jeweler, Madison, WI

My favorite piece right now is a squash blossom necklace. I inherited it from my mom, who passed away earlier this year, and see poignant significance in how jewelry embodies memory and serves as heirloom. I can look at the necklace, which is very bold and theatrical, and be reminded of my mom’s personality: She could carry this piece off, if anybody could. Squash blossom necklaces are also a Native American tradition of this region, of this desert, of Arizona. Jewelry can embody a place as much as it embodies identity or heirloom. I think that’s another reason I love this piece. ~Danielle Embry, jewelry artist, Tucson, AZ

During graduate school at RISD, I went on a field trip to SOFA New York. One of my main professors, Lola Brooks, had a piece there called Heartknot. When I saw it, I kind of fell in love. The necklace contains more than 60 feet of chain, plus several ounces of 14k gold solder. Just looking at a picture of it, I want to put it on – to feel the way the chains lie, and to feel how heavy it is. I also like the simplicity of it. I’m drawn to simple ideas and simple design, and the notion that Lola made such a bold piece out of only two materials is incredible. ~Kate Furman, jeweler/metalsmith, Greenville, SC

My answer is twofold; I had a big life change last year that involved removing my wedding rings. As a jeweler and gallerist I see what a beautiful moment it is for my clients when they get their rings. But it wasn’t until I removed my own rings that I realized the power of jewelry, connection, and marking time. I felt so vulnerable without the rings, I made myself a separation ring from a ring that a client, who had a very happy marriage, sold me. So currently my favorite piece of jewelry is my separation ring, a chunky 24k gold, organic rose-cut diamond, platinum backed. For pure inspiration, I have a Michael Zobel ring with tiny diamonds set under a big crystal dome surrounded by raw diamonds. This piece takes me to another world. I used an entire month’s paycheck to buy it years ago and have no regrets. ~April Higashi, owner, Shibumi Studio & Gallery, Berkeley, CA

My grandfather owned a jewelry store. One of the artists he bought jewelry from was a local man named Ervin Shoemaker. He gifted one of Ervin’s pieces – a chunky sterling silver bracelet – to his best friend, Bock Anderson. When my grandfather passed away, I became close with Bock. I would travel out to his place and spend time with him and chat. When he got ill and eventually passed away, his son gave me the bracelet so it could continue on. I wear it every day. ~Nick Lundeen, metalsmith, Minneapolis