Perhaps its her parents’ artistic genes—mom was a painter and dad was an architect—or an outgrowth of her previous life as a war correspondent in Sarajevo, but Ana-Katarina Vinkler-Petrovic’s jewelry designs are clearly inspired by the peace found in nature.
Designs turned out by the head of the 4-year-old design firm dubbed AnaKatarina Eco Gioielli, based in Boston, are “a cross between Bauhaus styling and organic design,” she tells JCK in a phone interview from Istanbul, where she’s working with artisans to make her line. Natural shapes and influences like flowing water and droplets and Persian-inspired paisley motifs—“an influence from the Balkan area,” she says—help shape looks, which are made in 18k gold. Another must: using Canadian diamonds, since they are guaranteed to be conflict-free. “I don’t want anyone hurt during the production of my jewelry,” she explains. “I want to minimize the impact of my work.”
Ana-Katarina Vinkler-Petrovic of AnaKatarina Eco Gioielli
JCK: Why did you shift gears from journalism to making jewelry?
Ana-Katarina Vinkler-Petrovic: I started the company when I was 40 years old because the jewelry I found was either made for ingenues or looked dated. An acquaintance commissioned my first piece, and I worked for a Turkish jeweler for three months before going out on my own. I like the idea of using fine jewelry in yellow and rose gold with organic materials; there’s a beautiful resonance between the two.
JCK: Tell me about your design process.
AKVP: I sketch by hand, and make some designs in clay to see how it will fit on the body; then I work with CAD and wax—which is sometimes done in pieces—and have a team that makes jewelry. I have two sustainable workshops, one in Boston and one in Istanbul. I work with Masters to make my jewelry, and I call them that because I have very high respect for them. But I do buy some chain from Italian firms.
JCK: What appeals to you about using eco-friendly materials?
AKVP: Good design is ultimately about using fresh-looking materials that are ethically sourced—I use a lot of Mammoth bone, wood, and Canadian diamonds—in organic forms like asymmetrical necklaces that are very light, yet still have a little bit of weight and a sophisticated and low-key design that can be worn all the time. When dealing with Fair Trade stones that are ethically sourced, it is easiest to work in Canadian diamonds and melee, and whatever I can source from Columbia House. I don’t want anyone hurt during the production of my jewelry.
JCK: Tell me about your most recent custom piece.
AKVP: To date, I’ve made over 400 custom designs, including a recent one for a woman from Kuwait. She had me make her a round fire opal ring with blue topaz and cognac diamonds in rose gold. It had a beautiful, fluid feeling to it. I’m constantly being told that my pieces have such lovely energy!
JCK: How many accounts do you have?
AKVP: A number of private buyers in the U.S., sales to the Baak Gallery in Cambridge, Mass., and overseas private buyers, some in Kuwait.
JCK: What is your jewelry-specific education?
AKVP: I earned a Certificate in Jewelry Design from the GIA, in addition to a degree in Fine Arts from Tufts University.
JCK: What jewelry shows do you exhibit in?
AKVP: I do not exhibit in trade shows, but do participate in some exhibitions in Kuwait and in the Middle East.
JCK: What is your starting retail price?