Designers / Industry

Longtime Friends Maya Brenner and Abigail Spencer Create “Healing” Jewelry Collab


Friendships become more valuable as women move through life, especially as time seems to speed up as they advance their careers and raise children. That’s especially true for longtime friends Maya Brenner and Abigail Spencer.

Brenner’s Los Angeles-based jewelry line has been soaring for more than two decades, and Spencer’s acting roles have grown in size and stature right alongside. Spencer started on ABC soap opera All My Children before taking on recurring roles on Suits, Grey’s Anatomy, and Mad Men.

As in many female friendships, Brenner and Spencer say their relationship has waxed and waned, but Alli Webb’s wedding last spring brought them back together again, and the reunion led to the Maya Brenner x Abigail Spencer capsule collection of four necklaces focusing on 14k gold, diamonds, and meaningful crystals.

Maya x Abigail Spencer
Diamonds, gold, and crystals with meanings such as healing, happiness, and clarity make up the Retreat collab between jewelry designer Maya Brenner and actor Abigail Spencer.

Brenner says the Retreat necklaces are as versatile as the people who wear them. “They are deeply meaningful but something you could wear to yoga or on the red carpet,” the jewelry designer says.

The duo selected crystals based on their colors but also on what they represent. There’s amethyst for healing, rose quartz for love, citrine for happiness, and clear quartz for clarity. After 10 years of friendship through good times and bad, Brenner and Spencer say working together was a highlight they hope to duplicate in the future.

“When I design jewelry, the goal is to create pieces that my friends and I would want to wear. Luckily for me, inspiration is never hard to find because I’m surrounded by such a talented and creative group of women,” Brenner says. “I am always in awe of their ideas, their ability to make things happen, and their willingness to share their expertise with me.”

Spencer was the ideal partner for this collaboration, Brenner says.

“Abigail’s style is truly unique, and I love that. She can go from wearing a pair of distressed jeans and a T-shirt to a beautiful designer gown with ease. Whenever I see her looks, I always say, ‘Oh my gosh, she looks so cool,’” Brenner says.

Maya x Abigail
Maya Brenner says citrine is a stone of abundance and optimism, connecting the wearer to joy, enthusiasm, and creativity. The Happiness Retreat necklace ($495) features a hand-cut crystal wrapped by a 14k gold band with 2.5 mm diamond.

Spencer’s style in clothing and accessories gets noticed and is discussed in chatrooms and fashion magazines. About her jewelry-designer friend and new collaborator, she says: “Maya is one of the coolest, easygoing, integral, loving, true people I’ve ever met. She lives it. Is real. And we both have had similar journeys. I really look up to Maya and value her insight, so anything that conjures up together I’m along for the ride.”

Spencer says her fascination with jewelry and crystals began in childhood. “It goes back to my grandmother, Oma. She had crystals all over her home. Turquoise, amethyst, and pyrite. Crystals everywhere. I used to pick them up and study them and hold them,” she says. “Before I even had language to understand what I was feeling, I felt that they brought intention and grounding into my life. I would tell them my secret wishes and carry them in my pocket.” She has continued to carry crystals with her: “Yes, I’m talking about last week.”

Could she go into jewelry? Spencer says she’ll leave it to the professionals—but she wouldn’t say no to a Cartier, Repossi, or David Yurman ad campaign.

“I hope this experiment is the first of many. I’d love to expand the collection and keep with the experiment,” she says. “I mean, look, I’m the target audience. Maya is the genius that brought the idea to fruition. I just hope it brings a little piece of peace to anyone who it ends up with.”

Top: Jewelry designer Maya Brenner (right) worked with longtime friend and actor Abigail Spencer (left) to create the Retreat capsule collection of four necklaces aimed at helping people protect their inner peace. (Photos courtesy of Maya Brenner) 

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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