Jamie Wolf: Dance and Design

Jamie Wolf green amethyst Aladdin earrings, available at the Squash Blossom.
Jamie Wolf green amethyst Aladdin earrings, available at the Squash Blossom.

Jamie Wolf’s life has been anything but stagnant.  She landed her first role with the New York City ballet when she was only eight years old, launching her career as a dancer. As she got older, she worked to become a ballerina, and then prima ballerina, for the New York City Ballet.  She danced for ten years and even made appearances in films such as Black Swan (2010) and Center Stage (2000).  All the while, she was moving toward following her second passion:  jewelry.

Wolf got her start selling jewelry out of her dressing room to her fellow dancers.  And as it has progressed, Wolf’s jewelry has become a massive success. This puts Wolf at having two highly successful careers before middle-age.  In an interview with the Squash Blossom, Wolf said, “I feel very fortunate to have had two careers, dance and jewelry design, that were born of a genuine desire to be creative and follow my passion.”

She has been deemed a “renaissance woman,” and rightly so.  Not many can say their craft has reached so many people in their lifetime, whether through a dance performance, a Hollywood blockbuster, a line of popular jewelry, or otherwise.  However, Wolf does not allow her past successes stunt her growth.  Her collections continue to evolve, maintaining Wolf’s commitment to beautiful, simple, and feminine pieces.

Jamie Wolf Bisou aquamarine and pave diamond ring, available at the Squash Blossom.
Jamie Wolf Bisou aquamarine and pave diamond ring, available at the Squash Blossom.

“In ballet, you’re trained to pay attention to every detail, all while making it look effortless and beautiful,” Wolf stated in an interview with Fashionista, “I believe that femininity is timeless, and that beauty is often found in the finest details. My aim as a designer is to translate this femininity and detail into pieces that are chic and relevant.”

Wolf’s pieces are all handmade in New York City.  You can see our current collection of Jamie Wolf Jewelry here.

Getting to Know JAMIE WOLF

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Jamie Wolf is a woman of many talents, and her fascinating story is communicated clearly in each feminine piece of her expansive jewelry line.  We got this exclusive interview with her.

Shop her most recent collection here.

 

SB:  Describe the first piece of jewelry you made that you were proud of.
JW:  The Engraved Marquis Leaf Earring, which is one of our top selling styles, was one of the first pieces that felt like a branded classic immediately. I had a strong feeling about it — fortunately clients feel the same and often begin their collection with this piece.

SB: Is there a piece that you sold that you wish you had kept for yourself?
JW:  As long as my pieces are in loving hands I’m happy!

SB:  Describe a dream design that you haven’t made yet.
JW:  I am constantly designing and producing new pieces, if there is something that I want to create, it usually happens fairly quickly.

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SB:  What other career would you pursue if you did not design jewelry?
JW:  I feel very fortunate to have had 2 careers, dance and jewelry design, that were born of a genuine desire to be creative and follow my passion. I really have no idea what else I’d pursue!

SB:  Was there a turning point in your life that led you to jewelry design?
JW:  I began designing jewelry while I was still dancing with the New York City Ballet. It was something I always wanted try. It began as a hobby, but organically turned into much more – I got my retail start selling pieces to other dancers in my dressing room!

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SB:  Finish this statement: When I’m not making/designing jewelry, I am…
JW:  Relaxing or out enjoying delicious meal with my husband!

SB:  What is your motto?
JW:  You can’t take potential with you.

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Getting to Know PETER SCHMID

Peter Schmid took over Atelier Zobel, a renowned German design house, and has made the collection all his own.  Squash Blossom got this exclusive interview with him.  

Shop his most recent collection here.

 

SB:  Describe the first piece of jewelry you made that you were proud of?
PS:  My work is engaged with contrast. I really enjoyed this piece because it juxtaposes an ancient Egyptian glass bracelet with a piece of contemporary glass created by Andreas Hochstrasser – I played up the differences between the histories by creating a pattern of 24k gold inlays against looser sketch also in 24k gold. When I rolled the pattern into the piece, the edges of brooch shifted to create a raw uneven edge. I really enjoyed the unintended consequences of the process. For me, there was a lot going on… the discovery of this ancient piece of glass and the conversation between the ancient and the new… and also how my design created a canvas for this conversation in both intended and unintended ways…

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SB:  Who is a fellow designer that you admire? Why?
PS:  Elena Votsi. I like the clearness of her vision. Whether she working large bold forms, or delicate ones, there is a purity to her approach – I appreciate that. And she’s wonderful!

SB:  Name five things you could not live without.

  • The Munsteiners… their talent, their stones, their friendship…
  • Music… Live… but when I’m on my own… I’m playing: Mando Diao, Zero 7 (the simple things), Selah Sue, Sam Smith… Prince…
  • Whisky… it’s about conversation… in my glass is a blended Malt Whisky from Japan – Taketsuru 17 years old.
  • Fab Men’s Shoes… there just aren’t enough… on my feet are United Nude, Niel Barrett and John Fluevog
  • We love to cook and we love people! My wife Sue and I cook all the time, whether we’re sitting with our team on a Wednesday afternoon or drinking a cocktail in our kitchen with friends… great food brings people together – I believe the same applies to jewelry. Both the act of creating the piece as well as the act of gifting the piece creates special memories.

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SB:  Is there a piece that you sold that you wish you had kept for yourself?
PS: We held an exhibition called ‘Mach Neu aus Alt’, loosely translated, ‘Make New from Old’ – (luxury Upcycling) – the idea was that clients should bring ‘dormant’ jewelry to the gallery be ‘awakened’ with a contemporary design. I had a collection of antique brooches that I used to create the piece for the invitation. We created a modern theater for the early 19th century crane … well… you can see the result here… the original brooch can be unscrewed and worn separately in its original form. I would have kept this piece but a someone I admire purchased it for her personal collection – which of course made me even more happy.

SB:  What do you consider to be your greatest achievement to date?
PS:  I aim to create enticing work, because jewelry should always stir our emotions. This distinguishes jewelry from other products, manufactured based on price-points. My work cannot be measured by sales figures, but rather the beauty of a piece is measured by emotional intensity and pleasure. These small works of art, made with the blood of our hearts, often become our clients most beloved objects. When this happens, we know that we have done our work well, both individually, and together as a team.

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SB: What’s your motto?
PS:  I like the word extraordinary. It’s not one of those arty words like banal, or existential that you use to sound smart. It’s quietly states that something, beyond what’s usual expected happened here… We (my team and I) often say that we create extraordinary jewelry for extraordinary people.

Men’s Jewelry Makes a Comeback

 

Todd Reed Cuff
Todd Reed men’s cuff, available by special order at the Squash Blossom.

What with our Todd Reed trunk show this weekend, and an upsurge of requests for men’s bracelets, rings, and cuff links, we at the Squash Blossom have noticed a comeback in men’s jewelry.  While women’s jewelry is still considerably more popular, the men of 2016 seem to be branching into jewelry as a way of expressing their style and individuality.

Michael O’Connor — television spokesperson, celebrity stylist, and image consultant — did a recent interview with The Jewelry Book magazine about today’s men and jewelry. Here is an excerpt:

“One of the most important things men need to realize is that jewelry is an accessory – the most beautiful, important accessory, but still an accessory – socks, belt, tie, pocket square.  Like any of these items, the wearing of jewelry is an extension of who they are as a person and provides and opportunity to express their individuality.

Todd Reed Dog Tag
Todd Reed men’s dog tag, available by Special Order at the Squash Blossom

Throughout history men have always worn fine jewelry.  In the early 1900s, for example, well-dressed gentlemen always had cuff links.  If they were wealthy enough to own a tuxedo, they had a set of shirt studs. Clothing tended to be less varied; these small touches set them apart.

For centuries wearing jewelry has been historical important to men and a signifier of many things:  wealth, status in life, whether married or single, clan, affiliation, brotherhood.  In war, medals were jeweled, enameled, colorful.  They exemplified very masculine ideas of bravery, camaraderie, and patriotism,

After the war, in the 1950s and 60s, jewelry took a horrible hit.  Well-dressed gentlemen still wore cuff links, but in general jewelry fell by the wayside.  We came across a generation or two who felt the wearing of jewelry was not really masculine enough for them.  That

Todd Reed Silver Men's Ring
Todd Reed men’s ring, available at the Squash Blossom.

pendulum has swung back.  Men of today have realized that the wearing of jewelry is as masculine as wearing any other accessory.”

Contemporary jewelry designers like Todd Reed are at the forefront of the men’s jewelry trend.  Using fine metals and stones in stylish designs, these designers encourage men to express themselves with jewelry, as has been done for centuries.

See more at our website.

Tourmaline: A Stone of Mixed Colors

Pink Tourmaline Irene Earrings
Irene Neuwirth pink tourmaline earrings, available at Squash Blossom.
Tourmaline and Sapphire Ring
Irene Neuwirth tourmaline and sapphire ring, available for a limited time at the Squash Blossom.

For the past several centuries, tourmalines have been enormously well-liked throughout the world.  A significant portion of their appeal comes from the vast spectrum of colors. Tourmalines have been known to range in color from pastel pink to dazzling green to subtle yellow to ocean blue.

Tourmalines have long been mined for their use in jewelry.  Spanish conquistador Francisco Spinoza made the first recorded discovery of a green tourmaline in 1554, which he deemed a “Brazilian emerald.”

Green Blue Tourmaline Ring
Irene Neuwirth greenish blue tourmaline, available for a limited time at the Squash Blossom.

It wasn’t until the 1800s that tourmalines were defined as a distinct mineral group and given their name based on the Sri Lankan Sinhalese word “toramalli,” meaning “mixed gems” or “stone of mixed colors.”

Few stones have the wealth of colors that tourmalines have. Often times, they will show multiple colors in the same stone and at different angles in the light they will show different colors.

Designer Irene Neuwirth, a connoisseur in jewelry featuring gemstones, often uses tourmalines in all their varying colors.

Green Tourmaline Necklace
Irene Neuwirth green tourmaline necklace, available at the Squash Blossom.

Squash Blossom gemologist Amanda Gimlin says, “The vast color range of tourmalines is exciting.  There is a tourmaline color for every type of person.”

 

Learn more here from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) about the History and Lore of tourmalines.