Jewelry Legends gives Style 360 readers a few quick and dirty insights into the successes and lessons learned by some of industry’s most influential names.
Erica Courtney calls her designs Drop Dead Gorgeous, and they really do live up to the name. She has come a long way from her humble origins in Lafayette, La.; she now calls Hollywood, Calif. home, and is known for her über-girly, diamond-dusted designs that usually sport some over-the-top stunning, large, and rare gemstone like tanzanite or zultanite (from Turkey). But she’s also known for being one of the first independent designers in industry to understand the power of red carpet jewelry placement.
“Aside from her talent as a designer and ability to translate that into ongoing collections in various categories, she also identified and understood the importance of celebrity long before others in the industry recognized it,” says Carrie Soucy, onetime editor with JCK and present-day president of Miamore Communications in Stonington, Conn.
Jewelry designer Erica Courtney
JCK: How, if at all, has your signature style evolved throughout your career?
Erica Courtney: My career has evolved in the way I have evolved over the years. I’ve always designed for myself and hoped everyone else would love my jewelry as much as I do. I just believe in following your heart in anything artistic.
JCK: What would you like to see retailers do differently in their businesses and in relationships with vendors?
EC: I think the most important part of a retailer/designer relationship is communication between each other and more importantly, their clients. Having those strong relationships helps designers know what to send for your clients to add to their collections.
JCK: What is your greatest career accomplishment?
EC: My greatest career accomplishment has been trusting myself enough to design the jewelry I wanted to design and then being successful at it.
JCK: What is your best piece of advice for newbie jewelry designers?
EC: Keep sketching until you find your inspiration. I believe if you really want to be a designer, be patient and your inspiration will come.
JCK:If you could alter one significant step in your professional life, what would it be and why?
EC: Hire slower and fire faster!
JCK: What’s inspiring your designs this season?
EC: Flowers, they seem to be extra beautiful right now. I love color!
Flower Mosaic ring in 18k gold with 3.14 cts. t.w. mandarin garnet, 2.56 cts. t.w. ruby, 2.48 cts. t.w. pink spinel, 1.64 cts. t.w. rubellite, 1.45 cts. t.w. pink sapphire, 1.12 cts. t.w. diamonds; $104,000
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