Saturday, October 11, 2008

Diana Widman Design – Jewelry that delivers “Elegance for Every Day”

Text, Casi Densmore-Koon
Edited by Vivian G. Kelly

Images courtesy of Diana Widman Design

DESIGN PHILOSOPHY: "Elegance for Every Day".

Diana Widman is a jewelry artist who began as print maker and bookbinder & is now well known for her one of a kind jewelry. Her central considerations are scale, comfort and durability so that you can wear these pieces with anything, casual or formal. The beautiful pieces are works of art that are featured in galleries around the country.

- Transforming precious metal into tactile pieces.
- Diana uses fold firming, raising, chasing and other techniques to create her organic style pieces of jewelry – all of the gold she uses is recycled.
- LINEN COLLECTION: bracelets, earrings, mini earrings, gold pendants, sterling pendants, rings and bridal rings.

Hand crafted sapphire earrings and necklaces with Montana sapphire crystals are brilliant works of art created from a blank canvas.
While waiting to view the samples, we asked Diana a few questions:

LYRA MAG: You’ve gone from being a printmaker and bookbinder to jewelry designer. Why jewelry? How & when did you get started?

DIANA WIDMAN: Jewelry design was a natural creative evolution for me. I have loved jewelry since childhood, but never intended to become a jewelry designer. About 8 years ago,, I was playing with my few pieces of jewelry [some boring pearl studs that I never wore], and I started drawing ideas for resetting them. Bookbinding came in handy because I knew how to think in 3-D and before long, I had new earrings. People kept asking me where I got them and I had several pairs made for others. Once people saw the earrings, I got a lot of custom work...mostly drawing and finding production. I also love colored stones, and made myself another pair of earrings. Same thing happened with people wanting pairs for themselves. Before long, I had a "collection" of about ten pieces, began my gemology studies at GIA, and was on my way.

LYRA MAG: What inspires you as a designer?

I take inspiration from a number of places. Stylistically, I draw inspiration from paper and fabric. I love textiles and paper. There is nothing like a clean sheet of good printing paper that offers possibilities to the artist. The same is true of textiles, which can be converted into many forms or just enjoyed simply for the artistry involved in creating beautiful fabrics. I learned metalsmithing so that I could move metal in many of the same ways we use fabrics and paper to tell stories. I have learned what metal can do that paper cannot and vice versa. This love of paper and fabric relates back to my days in printmaking. Pulling the printmaking and jewelry together feels complete to me. Artists carry their art from one medium to the next and this is no exception. In addition, printmakers and metalsmiths use many of the same tools, so I could use the tools again while working metal. I love tools...they feel like toys to me.

LYRA MAG: What makes your line of jewels different from others?

DIANA: My work is meant to be worn every day. My tag line is “Elegance for Every Day”. I think women love to wear jewelry all the time, from day into evening. No one else I know of is making fine jewelry that looks like paper and fabric. I have moved almost completely away from standard, commercialized fare and into a spot where women who have a strong sense of individuality can actually buy something that incorporates generous amounts of gold and the finest gems stones into something fabulous that they can afford.

LYRA MAG: If you jewelry could be featured on one fashion icon, who would it be and why?

DIANA: You know, fashion implies impermanence and I make my jewelry to be worn and enjoyed and handed down. I would rather think of my work on someone I deeply respect, such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Many of my clients are incredible women with a passion to leave the world a little better than they found it. Lawyers, writers, a marine biologist, a neuropsychologist a trauma nurse, doctors... These are my icons.

LYRA MAG: Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry? Your favorite metal to work with is…?

DIANA: Gold is called the "noble metal" for good reason. It never tarnishes, looks better the more you wear it, and allows the metalsmith to work for a long time in between annealings. I love gold because it has been valued since ancient times so I feel like a student of history when I work with it. And, who knows? The gold I use is recycled so maybe some of it belonged to Cleopatra...

LYRA MAG: Are you working on a new collection? If so, when can we expect it to come out?

I’m adding pieces all the time. You will be seeing more layering going forward. I love making delicate pieces, each one a little different, that can be mixed and matched together. I’m developing a collection of pieces based on sapphire crystals from Montana, with rare stones that are limited in quantity.

LYRA MAG: Any advice for new designers?

DIANA: Learn your technicals so you know what you are doing. Study your gems! Learn how jewelry is designed from a bench jeweler or through programs...nothing is worse than getting a drawing from a designer who doesn't know what is possible. I learned the hard way. You must never work with people you cannot trust and you should develop your own point of view and grow from there. Don't be afraid to take chances...some of the best designs are happy accidents.

LYRA MAG: Where do you see jewelry trends going in the next few years?

DIANA: There seems to be a trend towards lightweight jewelry in order to minimize the impact of the price of gold. People are gravitating back to using gemstones instead of metal. If we all stay true to our vision and keep developing the vocabulary of design through our own eye, we will continue to make pieces that defy time and remain beautiful forever.

ENDNOTES: Diana’s pieces are staple accessories to add to your jewelry box. These unique pieces are something we just can't pass up.

Price Range:
GOLD: $1000-$5000, with the bulk of the pieces selling for $1200-$3000.

SILVER: $200-$800.

BRIDAL RINGS from the Silver and Gold Linen Collection range from $1850-$2500.

EARRINGS from the Blue Sky and Linen Collections range from $500-$2500 for gold and $200-$500 for silver.

To view the latest collections, visit