Thursday, August 28, 2014

Meet the Designer: Jan Michaels

One of cliptomania’s newest designers is Jan Michaels whom I met at the NYNow show a few years back.    She is a San Francisco native and metalsmither who over a course of a 25 year career has designed and created clip earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry accessories.  They all have a touch of antiquity, dashes of current styles and some pieces have a futuristic feel.  

Jan Michaels personally designs all her pieces and will also make the first piece herself by hand. She also works with a group of skilled crafts women who assemble the parts of her jewelry into finished products.  Ms. Michaels feels that although the rest of the jewelry field believes in mass production, she prefers like a few other artisans, that there is nothing like making jewelry by hand because unlike machines an artisan and crafts person cares about what he or she makes.

Ms. Michael’s technique is to take brass in its natural state and give it a golden, burnished luster through an antique process that allows the brass to age, thus developing a wonderful patina.  If it loses its luster, a little rubbing with a cloth will bring back the shine, which fares better than the less environmentally safe electroplating done with metals and a chemical bath.

Ms. Michael’s or one of her crafts women then takes the finished parts and manually combines them with a hand-operated riveting machine then will finish it with semi-precious or natural stones.  These include carnelian, jade, onyx, jade, fire agate, Botswana agate, and many more gemstones.  As well as beads, freshwater pearls, fossilized stones and other items she has collected over the decades.

In many ways Jan Michael’s jewelry collections reflects her personality in the colors she likes, the moods she has, the styles she wears as well as paying homage to past artistry and civilizations Persian, Indian, Roman, Byzantine, Egyptian, Arabian, Chinese, and Celtic.Lastly like the environmentally friendly atmosphere in her shop, Jan Michaels is also supportive of various worthwhile organizations like Sea Turtle Restoration Project, Environmental Defense and others.

I am glad to have met this wonderful designer and a clip earring wearer herself.  Jan Michael’s designs are truly one-of-a-kind and will fit well in our Tomorrow’s Heirloom section with other designers like Michal Golan, Lori Bonn, Katherine Kornblau and others.  See their earrings on the website.