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Gillian Steinhardt Jewelry

Gillian Steinhardt Jewelry

Art-Deco Meets Ancient Ruins for Wearable Wonders

Gillian Steinhardt JewelryGillian Steinhardt Jewelry is best described as a unique blend of geometric architectural forms, 70's glamour, ancient ruins and urban artifacts resulting in a strong, modern collection.  Designer and stylist, Gillian Steinhardt, says, “What makes them unique is the weight of the pieces and the strength of the shapes offering glamour and grit...they are trend driven and timeless all at once.”  Using mostly brass, silver and copper, her collections emphasize strong, beautiful shapes with clean lines while also offering a touch of the past with pieces inspired by ancient civilizations.  She started out making jewelry for years without ever really learning the craft of metalsmithing or knowing how to properly solder or attach clasps.  But her necklaces were beautiful and incredibly time consuming to make and she could hardly keep up with just the limited orders she had from people.  Since Gillian loved the process of making her pieces out of metal, she then decided that she wanted to take classes to broaden her horizons in jewelry making.  She has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music and fashion, including David Bowie, No Doubt, the Misfits, Rufus Wainright and more.

After moving to New York in 2007, she started taking classes at a jewelry trade school called "Studio Jewelers" in Manhattan and soon learned the basics of metalsmithing and became immediately infatuated.  After about three years of taking classes on and off, Gillian started confidently building her own designs and a small collection of unique, one-of-a-kind pieces.  She never considered moving beyond simply making jewelry she liked or turning it into a line or brand because she was naturally creatively motivated rather than business minded.  But people would see her wearing some of her more elaborate pieces and inquire about them and Gillian would end up selling those pieces.  Gillian has always pursued creative interests in both work and pleasure.  She attended Parsons School in New York for Fashion Design and Concordia University in Montreal for Art History and Fiber/Textile Arts.  Gillian also studied loom weaving in Mexico at Intituto Bellas Artes.  With almost 15 years working as a costume designer and fashion stylist, that has been her full time career.  Prior to that, she produced a line of handmade knitwear called Fuzzy Malone.  

Gillian Steinhardt JewelryGillian Steinhardt Jewelry is no stranger to celebrities and television fashionistas like Rachel Bilson, Clare Danes, Miranda Kerr, Erin Wasson, Behati Prinsloo and more.  In 2013, Rachel Bilson wore the stunning Labyrinth Necklace on the hit show Hart of Dixie.  Clare Danes owns the Right Hand Bangle, Jennifer Nettles has the Vertical Starburst, Miranda Kerr has the Helen of Troy Intaglio Ring.  Her mainstream success started when her close friend and magnificent fine jewelry designer, Kimberly McDonald, knew Gillian was making pieces and asked her to meet with two buyers from London seeking out new designers to sell and promote on their developing online site, Avenue 32.  Gillian says, “The girls freaked out when they saw what I was doing and asked if I could put a collection together and production within four months in order to show them when they returned for New York Fashion Week in 2011.”  Of course, Gillian said yes and passionately worked day and night to produce her first collection which launched in September 2011.

Gillian Steinhardt JewelryHer current Spring 2013 line features five collections; Origami, Empire, Golden Fin, Labyrinth, Right Hand and Classics.  From the Labyrinth collection, we are adore the fabulous Gold Labyrinth Necklace, as recently worn by Rachel Bilson on Hart of Dixie.  It is no wonder this is one of our Editor’s Picks.  Made of 18k gold plated brass, this eye-catching creation is meant to be the centerpiece of your outfit – stealing the show when worn over a solid color palette and deep v-neck.  Gillian Steinhardt JewelryThe thick, chunky chain gives the necklace an edgy, tough chick vibe while the large gold diamond shaped art-deco pendant is breathtaking.  The art-deco pendant combines modern lines and geometric shapes to give an effortlessly couture feel.  To complete the look or simply wear alone, the Gold Labyrinth Stud Earrings are a unique blend of art-deco and vintage-feel. These handcrafted 18k gold plated geometric diamond shaped cut-out earrings are sophisticated and understated, ideal for pairing with a printed dress or jeans and blouse.  The earrings measure just over an inch in length. 

As for becoming a jewelry designer, Gillian says, “My background in fashion, art history, the study of sculpture using fibre structures have all seemed to cumulate into the development of my making of jewelry.”  She has always been fascinated by the manipulation of materials to create new forms and working with metal has offered her endless creative possibilities.  Her inspiration for her designs comes from everything as she photographs small details of things constantly.  “I look at vintage jewelry, architectural books, design books, antique furniture, signage, door frames...everything I see I imagine how I can turn it into jewelry,” she says.  Currently, Gillian shares a design studio with a jeweler from Ecuador who comes from a lineage of jewelry makers.  He helps Gillian when her own skills fall short and is like a mentor and production partner all in one.  As a jewelry designer, one of the challenges she faced was pricing of materials as metal and all casting, in addition to labor, is extremely expensive in the states.  Gillian wants to produce everything domestically but finds it difficult to keep costs down when she wants to make beautiful handmade pieces at an affordable price point.  She finds it can get very challenging.   

Gillian Steinhardt JewelryGillian loves finding stones like her hand carved intaglios with images of Helen of Troy from Turkey and adds, “I feel like those kind of things are so special and need very little else.  They just need to be framed simply and should appear as if they are heirloom pieces.”  The Origami collection also displays Gillian’s innate talent for manipulating shapes into wearable pieces of art.  Another Editor’s Pick is the Gold Origami Choker, a stunning choker meant to be worn high to show off its unique design and appeal.  A medium link chain features five gold origami triangle designs that draw attention while looking Gillian Steinhardt Jewelryclassy and chic.  This choker looks great when worn with a scoop neck top or dress, in lieu of a strand of pearls, creating a daring yet sexy look. On the lobes, the Gold Origami Earrings are stunning when worn with the choker or by themselves.  Gold plated brass with gold-fill posts, these earrings exude a sexy, modern vibe as the sharp clean lines of the design resembles a crisp origami fold.  Gillian Steinhardt Jewelry changes collections seasonally while keeping certain classic pieces available. 

As for her personal favorites, she is a big fan of the Vertical Starburst because she finds it striking how it lays vertically like a narrow chest plate and loves the beaded hollow pieces that create the chain, which are individually made.  Gillian likes her Right Hand Bangles, which Gillian Steinhardt Jewelryare a signature piece of every collection.  She has always loved the form of the hand and wanted to work with the idea of hands in jewelry from the beginning.  She shares, “people love the right hand collection because it is subtle but meaningful at the same time.”  As for earrings, she likes her Large Fin Drop Earrings, which are magnificent and so understated until you see them on the ear.  Its very simple shape creates a three dimensional illusion which is exquisite.  Another favorite is the Trophy Necklace, which she loves because it was her first foray into using crystals.  Also since the pendant is the actual clasp, it is mechanically interesting and the necklace is both beautiful and functional.  Currently, her jewelry collection has been growing tremendously in sales and marketing as she is selling well in New York at "No.6"and in Toronto at "Gaspard."  She is grateful to have a strong customer following at these two boutiques. 

As for the future, Gillian hopes to branch out doing custom work with fashion designers for runway shows as well as developing a high end fine jewelry line using precious metals and stones to sell in department stores and boutiques worldwide.  She also hopes to have a CFDA award in the future.  When it comes to Gillian’s personal style, she is very influenced by vintage jewelry, especially Lalalounis from the 70's, Van Cleef and Arpels from the 20's and 30's and YSL jewelry from the 70's.  In her spare time, she sees a lot of films as she is a huge cinephile.  Gillian also enjoys going to museums, galleries, the opera and theater.  She is a frequent traveler and spends a great deal of time in Istanbul since her husband is from there.  “Turkey has an enormous influence on me.  The legacy and history of jewelry making is so rich.  The architecture and the craftsmanship,” Gillian shares.  She also feels the same way about the Mayan ruins in Mexico...but is equally inspired from the deco buildings in New York and Los Angeles.  Her husband is an artist so between the two of them, a lot of artistic interests have to be indulged. 

In parting Gillian shares, “I have been told by so many people who have purchased my jewelry that they are staples for them...worn everyday.”  And that is exactly what she wants to achieve with her collections rather than following seasonal trends.  Gillian desires for her pieces to be in the daily rotation or life, truly belonging to the wearer, as that is how she personally wears jewelry.


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