Getting to know IRENE NEUWIRTH

Irene Neuwirth, the famed jewelry designer who has captured the hearts of everyday people and celebrities alike, is known for her creative use of colorful gemstones and fanciful settings.  On any red carpet, you are sure to see some of her pieces.  To get to know her on a personal level a little better, we got this exclusive interview with her in 2014.

SB: Describe the first piece of jewelry you made that you were proud of.
IN:  My 9 drops. Still a classic.
Blue tourmaline ring with 18kt rose gold, available at the Squash Blossom.
SB:  Was there a turning point in your life that led you to jewelry design?
IN:  Yes. When my family sat me down to explain to me that reaching horseback riding was not going to be my future.
SB:  Is there a piece that you sold that you wish you had kept for yourself?
IN:   Yes. My favorite opal necklace.

Green tourmaline bracelet in 18kt yellow gold, available at the Squash Blossom.

SB:  Describe a dream design that you haven’t made yet.

IN:Carved horse necklace. I mean… Why not? It is the year of the horse!

SB:  What other career would you pursue if you did not design jewelry?
IN:  Wow. I don’t know. I really love what I do and feel so incredibly lucky and happy!

SB:  What do you consider to be your greatest achievement to date?
IN:   Ooh. That’s a tough one. Being nominated for a CFDA [Council of Fashion Designers of America] award.

SB:  Name your most treasured possession.
IN:   My Labradoodle. He feels like more of my family though than a possession.
Blue and green tourmaline earrings with white diamonds in 18kt yellow gold, available at the Squash Blossom.

SB:  Name 5 things that you could not live without.
IN:

  1. My Labradoodle teddy
  2. My facials with Cristina Radu
  3. My dear friends
  4. My career
  5. My wonderful home
SB:  Finish this statement: When I’m not making/designing jewelry, I am…
IN:   Cooking, spending time with friends, walking dog, reading…
SB:  What is your motto?
IN:    Work hard… Nothing comes easy!
See our collection of Irene Neuwirth on our website.

Peyote Bird: From Humble Beginnings to Passing the Baton

When Mark Alexander started Peyote Bird in 1973, it was less of a business and more of a leap of faith.  Having just graduated from college at the University of Denver with a degree in economics, he had little idea of what to do with his life.  At the time, Native American jewelry was becoming very popular and he had a noticeable attraction to it.  So when he went on a road trip with a friend to Mexico in his old Volkswagen bug with only $300 in his pocket, he decided to stop at a Native American reservation in New Mexico on his way back to buy some jewelry.

Peyote Bird turquoise bow guard, available at the Squash Blossom.

Upon return, he sold the pieces he bought on an old Navajo rug at the University of Denver.  It was a huge success, so he buckled down and decided to do the business for real.  Now after 40 years of success, including working with accounts such as Ralph Lauren, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, and Sundance, Alexander reflects on his legacy.

Peyote Bird snakeskin hoop earrings, available at the Squash Blossom.

“When I first began driving across the country selling Southwestern jewelry in 1973, I never imagined that Peyote Bird Designs would become what it is today—a global company supplying major retailers all over the United States,” he stated on his website. “What is important to me now is keeping the same values I learned as a small business person—open communication, investment in the success of both employees and clients, and production of artistic, high-quality jewelry that I am proud of.”  He now plans to pass those values on to his daughter, along with the business.

Watch Alexander tell his story below and visit our online collection of Native American jewelry on our website.

Penny Preville: “Romance is Key”

Starting as an admirer of her grandmother’s jewelry box and emerging as an award-winning jewelry designer, Preville has become known for her use of 18 karat gold set with white brilliant diamonds and accented with milgrain and hand-engraving.  

White gold and diamond necklace by Penny Preville, available at the Squash Blossom.

Her contemporary yet antique-inspired designs offer a fresh take on gold and diamond jewelry.

 

Preville has long been familiar with the world of design.  She comes from two generations of female artists.  “My mother was an artist, an interior designer and an antique dealer. My grandmother painted Art Nouveau motifs on Limoges porcelain,” Preville explained in an interview with Jewelstreet, “Art and creativity surrounded me as a child.”

As she grew older, Preville gained a fine art degree and took up designing jewelry as a hobby.  

Yellow gold and diamond oval bangle by Penny Preville, available at the Squash Blossom.

She sold custom-made pieces to her family and friends.  “What started out as a hobby turned into a business,” Preville said, “Word started to spread about my designs and I went on to win the 1978 Jewelers of America New Designer of the Year Award. I always had big dreams, but never thought that 40 years later I’d have an international brand.”

Her success results from the time and thoughtfulness she puts into her pieces, as well as the quality materials she uses to make them.  Drawing inspiration from different cultures and time periods, Preville utilizes a variety of techniques to create jewelry that is both fashionable and feminine.  

White gold and diamond earrings with tanzanite by Penny Preville, available at the Squash Blossom.

“The historical influences on my collections span from Imperial Russia to Byzantine, Raj to Art Deco. I study past and present cultures and ancient civilisations, along with nature, the arts and fashion. I romance these elements, making them feel fresh for a contemporary woman.”

For Preville, romance is key. “To me, jewelry is the ultimate expression of love,” she concluded. “It expresses a woman’s personality and has a sentimental value like no other luxury item.” Indeed, a piece Penny Preville jewelry is the perfect gift, as well the perfect memory of time spent in Vail.

 

See more of her collection on our website.

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas You’ll Love

Love is in the air.  Whether you need a gift for a girlfriend, wife, mother, daughter, or grandmother, you are sure to find the perfect gift at the Squash Blossom this Valentine’s Day.  And we carry men’s jewelry too.  Whoever you are buying for, we have jewelry in a range of affordable prices that is sure to say, “I love you”.  We’ve listed out a few designers for you below to give you some ideas.

Annie Fensterstock

The jewelry of Annie Fensterstock deftly blends a mastery of ancient goldsmithing techniques with dynamic design.

Annie Fensterstock ruby and sapphire earrings priced $2,240, available at the Squash Blossom.

 

Peter Schmid

Peter Schmid says, “It is love that provides me with the courage to fully embrace a concept and develop the design patiently, giving it the time to mature, or to suggest and give way to another idea. Love is the beginning.”

Rubellite tourmaline cuff in oxidized sterling silver and gold, priced $10,850, available at the Squash Blossom.

Jamie Wolf

Jamie Wolf works with what is classically beautiful and articulates it with a sophisticated edge.

Jamie Wolf labradorite and diamond gold necklace priced $4,700, available at the Squash Blossom.

Alex Sepkus

Rooted in ancient  traditions, Alex Sepkus jewelry  is modern art that can be worn with ease.

Alex Sepkus purple sapphire and diamond gold ring priced $4,490, available at the Squash Blossom.

Mattia Cielo

When asked about how his love and obsession with jewelry began, Mattia Cielo said, “It is a destiny, a call that you must embrace.”  His jewelry represents how he has embraced his calling so fully, and inspires his many admirers to do the same.

Mattia Cielo rose gold and diamond bracelet with a titanium core priced $7,000, available at the Squash Blossom.

KJ Designs

An exploration in nature, Katey Jenkins and Jill Koellhoffer design in the heart of the Vail Valley.

KJ Designs ruby and gold fill earrings priced $170, available at the Squash Blossom.

 

For more ideas for fabulous Valentine’s Day gift ideas, visit our website.