Living in New York City all those years ago, yes back in the dark ages when Starbucks was just a dream in the minds of New Yorkers (hard to believe I know), I was so lucky to be exposed, in a good way, to the world of Joan Rivers Jewelry. I eagerly watched as her line of jewelry launched on QVC; exciting times for so many reasons. I started collecting immediately with a heavy emphasis on her enamel pieces. In the early years, many of her pieces were made in Rhode Island. Yes, that Rhode Island. Believe it or not, Providence was a Mecca for jewelry design and talented designers and the quality of the craftsmanship of the pieces flowing out of the workshops was magnificent.
The pieces I gathered over the years are all Faberge-inspired – you probably know, but just in case you don’t, Joan Rivers was a big time collector (heavy emphasis on BIG TIME) of original Faberge pieces and her collection travels around the world from museum to museum where it is included in exhibits and private shows for everyone to appreciate. On a side note, if you want an excellent reference on Faberge to drool over I suggest Faberge: Imperial Craftsman and His World by Dr. Geza Habsburg, the beautiful blue gem shown above. You won’t be disappointed.
My Joan Rivers collection includes bangles, mini-eggs based on Faberge’s famous eggs, Victorian pins and, of course, her bee bracelets and pins. The craftsmanship on these pieces is outstanding – the attention to detail slays me. As a person who spends her life putting tiny things together to make bigger things…I am a nut about the details. I love looking at pieces with a loupe or magnifying glass – and all of the pieces I’ve collected never cease to amaze me.
My Russian heritage and obsession with vintage jewelry fueled my collection frenzy. Also being privy to the business side of the World of Joan Rivers in the early years I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that she was selling one million dollars an hour when she was presenting on QVC. That’s a lot of bees!! Crazy collector that I am, I even catalogued the items I bought from her collection in order to not buy duplicates!! So in case you haven't figured it out until now, I’m a bit obsessive about certain things!
I pretty much wear a Joan Rivers item of jewelry every day. I love one or two of her bangles tossed in with the bracelets from my own collection. I love how they all just seem to play together. It is exciting when I find new combos as new pieces come out of my studio and I love wearing my tried and true favs. I also have added tiny clasps to the mini-eggs and let them dangle as charms from my bracelets. I have styled the egg “charms” on one of my knotted cord necklaces. It’s a fun look as it takes the Faberge elegance to a Boho festival-inspired place. Perfection…really, at least in my mind. The bees and critter pins crawl on my cuffs and up high on my shoulder blades (yes, on my upper back). I can’t tell you how many conversations have been started by wearing those pins in unexpected places. They are a fun way to break the ice when you find yourself in a group of strangers!
P.S. I want to thank Alberti Popaj, a host at QVC, for honoring the life of Joan Rivers and posting a photo on instagram of the bee pin he was wearing on Friday in her memory. It was that post that inspired this blog entry. So, Alberti, thanks for that! And, please, if any of you own any Joan Rivers jewelry I would love to know how you style it to make it your own. You’re invited to share your stories in the comment section below.