Like a magpie, I am drawn to sparkly things…and when Jacqueline Stone’s glistening, gold-encased gems caught my eye at PopShop’s first market in June, I was immediately obsessed.
Stone, who grew up in Darien and Fairfield, now lives in Brooklyn, but she frequently returns to the area to showcase her Salt + Stone line of modern, sculptural jewelry at the SoNo Marketplace and PopShop’s open-air markets. In her designs, Stone embraces natural, geometric shapes and weaves in a bit of whimsy – owls, starfish, and trees, along with a collection inspired by ancient Gladiators – using precious and semi-precious stones set in gold and silver.
A self-proclaimed “jewelry-geek with a lot of heart,” Stone says that she hopes that passion comes through in her work, “My mission is to make the world more beautiful; one piece of jewelry at a time. And I don’t just mean that in the aesthetic sense. True beauty comes from within.”
I had an opportunity to catch up with Stone on one of her visits, and learned about her inspiration, her background, and what’s she has in store at the next PopShop Market at the Brick Walk Promenade in Fairfield on December 15!
Fairfieldista: What’s behind the name, “Salt + Stone” – who, or what, is the “salt?”
Stone: Salt + Stone = Chemistry + Geology. When these two scientific processes meet deep within our earth, beautiful gemstones are formed over thousands of years.
Fairfieldista: Why did you decide to pursue a career in jewelry design?
Stone: My lightbulb moment was on a trip to Brazil for new years 2007. I was in Buzios and was inspired by the creativity and joie de vivre of the people. One of the artists was inspired by was R. Sobral. I was in his shop and something clicked. I have a finance background and it occurred to me I could make beautiful artwork and pay my rent at the same time. I usually kept my passion for art as something separate.
Fairfieldista: What was your next step?
Stone: I studied technical jewelry design at the Gemological Institute of America. I’ve also studied bench work at Bianca Lopez Studio, The International School of Jewelry and Design, Studio Jewelers Ltd, FIT and The Jewelry Arts Institute.
Fairfieldista: Did you immediately launch Salt & Stone?
Stone: No., after jewelry school I took every job that came my way. I’ve worked with Kelim (JCK’s design winner several years in a row), Kristin Hanson Fine Jewelry, and Anatoli. I was a jewelry design intern in Banana Republic’s costume jewelry studio. But I think my customers are always impressed to hear I worked at Tiffany & Co. in product development. I helped on major worldwide campaigns, such as Tiffany Locks and also managed smaller projects like Tiffany Charms. It was an incredible learning experience and deepened my love of this craft. The people who work at Tiffany &Co. are the best in the business and I felt I expanded my jewelry acumen in a short amount of time. I also learned what it felt like to be part of a winning team.
Fairfieldista: What’s your design philosophy? How would you describe you approach to jewelry design?
Stone: In one word, Meaningful. All of my work has meaning. Owls are said to be protectors and wise. The tree of life is said to bring new renewal. I love researching metaphysical properties of all the gemstones I use in my work. The Gladiator collection is inspired by the original men and woman in combat. The prisoners fought with such elegance and class that they became heroes. I want to inspire people to become heroes and to set the example in their day-to-day.
Fairfieldista: What is your favorite piece?
Stone: Right now, the Gladiator Compass Pendant. It’s a kaleidoscope of color. All of the tourmalines are natural. It still blows my mind that something that beautiful exists in nature and that it’s not man-made. The piece was created to inspire. It immediately makes me think of an epic adventure to a far away land. Maybe not in the physical sense, but within my imagination. I want the Gladiator Compass Pendant to inspire the lucky wearer to tap into their creativity.
Fairfieldista: What is the process for custom design work such as engagement and wedding rings?
Stone: I like to meet with my customers and understand their story. The ring is about them, not me. I just try to bring their vision to life while adding my own aesthetic.
Fairfieldista: How can people purchase your design?
Stone: People can either attend the PopShop Market on December 15, or online at www.saltandstone.com