Donna Distefano Debuts Jewelry Inspired by Aerosmith’s Joe Perry

New York City–based master goldsmith Donna Distefano counts several rock stars—and bold-jewelry-lover Johnny Depp—among her devoted private clients. 

One of her longtime rocker clients, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, is the inspiration for a new, limited-series collection featuring 15 pieces that, well, totally rock.

The jeweler’s new Rock Ready series pulls double duty as an anniversary collection honoring her 25th year in business (2019). The former senior goldsmith at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will debut the collection tomorrow, April 2, with a party at her Flatiron studio space (the cocktail of the evening will be a drink called the Black Widow).

The centerpiece of the series is a sterling silver necklace that recreates the Blade Runner guitar Perry played in the iconic 1986 music video for “Walk This Way” with Run-DMC. (The actual guitar will be on exhibit at the Met’s “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll” exhibition, opening April 8).

Donna Distefano Joe Perry
Donna Distefano and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry

The guitar pendant, which will be on display at the event, is a detailed replica of the original instrument—and the six fine silver wire strings and tiny silver dials are incredibly intricate. “This necklace pays homage to that guitar and also to a friend,” said Distefano in a prepared statement.

Rock Ready also includes sterling silver Elixir of Love rings (Renaissance-style “poison rings” that flip open to hold tiny possessions), handmade sterling silver chains, and pieces with skull, crown, flower, and snake motifs  “partially inspired” by Henry Weston Keen’s drawings hanging in the Met.

Donna Distefano Rock Ready rings
Donna Distefano Rock Ready collection rings

Distefano, who has worked primarily in yellow gold in recent years, said in a statement, “I like to make sterling silver precious by adding diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, and by using the same techniques I’d use for my rich yellow 22-karat pieces.”

The goldsmith, who trained in New York and Italy as a jewelry historian, restoration expert, and master of antiquities, has been circulating with (and making jewelry for) rockers including Debbie Harry and Alice Cooper since the 1980s, when she studied jewelry design at F.I.T. in NYC.

Longtime fan Perry said in the same statement, “Donna Distefano’s jewelry is rock and roll jewelry at its finest.”

Top: The Blade Runner guitar pendant modeled after Joe Perry’s guitar in the “Walk This Way” video (all images courtesy of Donna Distefano)

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JCK Magazine Editor