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Sylvia Benson

Sylvia Benson

Bold and Classic Jewelry Born From Family Heritage

Sylvia BensonDesigner, Katie Jarvis and her husband, Ethan Jarvis, started Sylvia Benson together while working alongside one another in their North Carolina studio. Sylvia Benson launched in 2006 with only $1,000 and has come a long way since then.  Katie named the jewelry line Sylvia Benson after her grandparents, Sylvia and Benson Mitchell.  Her collection has the balance of trendy and timeless and is appropriate for all ages. Katie considers her designs intricate without being gaudy and bold but classic.  She uses 14k gold-filled and 18k gold-plated metals with her base elements of gemstones, glass, and Lucite and crystal stones.  Katie has always loved everything fashion related and jewelry was a way to get involved in the industry with a much smaller budget. 

Her origins derive from her creative family as she built houses with her dad and made her own wedding veil with her grandmother.  Katie shares, “The women in my family can do everything from sewing to laying hardwood floors.  I love it all - from crocheting to tiling a kitchen countertop!”  Unlike most other jewelry designers, she did not have to attend college or take formal art and design classes in order to become a successful jewelry designer.  Katie is a self-made woman who has proven that raw talent and dedication can turn dreams into a reality. 

Sylvia BensonOur Editor’s Pick includes the Monaco Necklace in Amethyst as this bold but beautiful piece displays the beauty of the soft purple gemstone in its natural element. Six hand-cut faceted Amethyst gemstones are linked together as the centerpiece of a thick gold-plated linked chain with a toggle clasp.  This necklace allows light to highlight the natural beauty of the intricately cut gemstones.  You can also opt for lemon and smoky quartz as an alternative, which are both equally breathtaking.  Her inspiration for her designs comes from everywhere and everything, such as magazines, art, clothing, or even great fabric.  She is typically inspired when she has no time at all so she always keeps a notebook in her bag to sketch ideas or use her phone to take pictures of inspiration she comes across daily.

The history behind her grandparents is a touching love story of a sixteen year old Sylvia selling school raffle tickets in hopes of winning a pearl necklace, only to meet Benson, a twenty-two year old soldier who recently returned from World War II.  Upon a chance encounter, Sylvia stopped by the local gas station where Benson was working and sold him a ticket.  She ended up getting the necklace, marrying Benson two years later, and remains happily married to this day. 

Sylvia BensonThe Reese Bobby Pins, featured in InStyle and Coastal Living are gold-plated brass bobby hair pins with your choice of Lucite stone that comes in a set of two.  Choose from a variety of sixteen colors, ranging from summery brights to neutral basics.  We selected the color Rain for its lovely iridescent grey blue hue that can be worn with Sylvia Bensonalmost anything.  Katie started designing hair accessories because since she always wears bobby pins in her hair, she did not to constantly wear plain ones.  When she had a hard time finding detailed bobby pins that were not too “young” looking, she decided to make her own.  The Flower Cluster Clips are another one of our Editor’s Picks for its pretty and feminine cluster of four golden flowers at the end of the gold-plated brass bobby pins.  As seen in InStyle magazine, these gold flower clips are great for everyday wear and sure to become a favorite. 

The collection has some best sellers and favorites.  The Christie Earrings have been a best seller since its launch in 2006 as they are perfect with a cocktail dress or a t-shirt.  Her personal favorite statement necklace is the Rock Candy Necklace as her bridesmaids wore it and was also featured in InStyle Wedding the month of her wedding. Katie also loves the Astrology Necklace for everyday wear as she wears both her and her husbands’ signs and considers it the perfect personalized gift.  Whenever she goes on trips, she takes a stack of Marley Bracelets to accessorize her outfits since she loves the look of wearing multiples on both arms.  She also wears the Jameson Ring daily because it is such a statement piece. 

Sylvia BensonThe Nathe Necklace in Navy is another one of our favorites for its striking quality of a double layered effect of large stones bordered with gold.  The two-tier layer of large oval Lucite stones in your choice of coral, shell, turquoise, navy, and black with gold decorative trim dangles from chunky gold-plated chain links.  This is a heavier piece but extremely well made and durable for its price.  It is perfect for those navy inspired outfits as the gold and navy adds a touch of luxe.  Katie and Ethan work together in coming up with collections.  Katie is the creative brain behind the designs, while Ethan provides his opinions and names each piece.  They recently hired their first fabulous employee, Matney, to assist.  It truly is a team effort as the three of them make each and every piece by hand.

Rachel Ray was a patron at one of the trunk shows and purchased the Golden Hoop Earrings in smoky quartz.  In the future, while Katie wants jewelry to remain the focus, she would love to add a women’s clothing collection as well.  Her favorite designer at the moment is Ippolita as the designs are so detailed and delicate and which Katie appreciates even more so as each piece is made by hand.  Sylvia Benson launches new collections semi-annually for Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter in addition to the classic styles that have been around for years. 

Sylvia BensonFor elegance and a bit of modern flair, the Clustered Pearl Earrings are a lovely pair to accessorize a simple black dress or lacy blouse.  Three textured oval links plated in gold with a cluster of white medium pearls surrounding one large pearl dangle 2” long.  Sylvia BensonThe classic contrast of gold and white pearls is very complimentary and evokes an air of Chanel for a fraction of the price.  If you are looking for a pair of everyday studs that can be worn with practically anything, we recommend the Absolute Studs in Black for its easy versatility in pairing with jeans, a shirt, dress, or a suit.  These simple gold-plated studs feature a floral decoration surrounding a Lucite stone of your choice and are lightweight enough to wear comfortably day to night, and are even available in other colors.    

While it is hard to find free time, Katie and her husband will always make time for family to visit her grandparents, Sylvia and Benson, once a week, even if it is sitting at the dining room together making jewelry.  She adores her younger brother, Andrew, and has him spend as much time as possible with them during the summers.  Katie enjoys going to antique shops with her husband and the thrill in what she might find on each trip.  She would love to someday travel to Greece as it would no doubt be an inspiring place.

Sylvia Benson is sold at clothing and jewelry boutiques nationwide.  For our readers, she is offering a 20% discount off entire purchase at sylviabenson.com. Simply enter coupon code “RC20” to get your discount (expires 9/1/2010). 

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