Designers / Industry

A Mother’s Complicated Life Gives Modern Renaissance Its Power


Lori Friedman knew she wanted her latest collection to reflect the modern Renaissance woman, which she defines as a person with a thirst for knowledge, a bold spirit, and a deep interest in arts and culture.

This mythical woman inspired Friedman’s work from the start, but it was only as her son was delivering the eulogy for Friedman’s mother, who died this spring, that Friedman says she realized who her actual inspiration was. And, of course, it was her mother.

Friedman says she dedicates Modern Renaissance to her mom, whose influence has been so profound. At the same time, Friedman says she hopes her LoriAnn Jewelry customers also see themselves in this collection, which incorporates moonstone, sleek black enamel, diamonds, and intricate gold engravings.

“This jewelry is the culmination of so many things that mean something to me, and that’s why it is one of my most meaningful collections,” Friedman says. “It helped me make the connection between the things my mother imparted on me and how it has influenced me as an artist and as a designer.”

Magdelena pendant
The moonstone is the star of the Magdalena pendant, but the delicate gold vines and diamonds add a touch of romance to this piece, says designer Lori Friedman ($2,090).

To Friedman, the Renaissance was a time of exploration and rebirth from the dark Middle Ages, as a new culture and new art forms emerged. She says women during the Renaissance were influential and skilled, as many were artists and inventors. Translate that to today, and modern Renaissance women have evolved into multitaskers, Friedman notes, wearing multiple hats within their families yet also seeking to explore their own interests and opportunities.

Yes, it’s complicated. But that’s what it means to be a woman, a mom, and a wife sometimes, Friedman says. Her own mother, who went by the nickname Lily, understood that contradiction between duty and self, and she tried her best to be everything to her children as well as someone of substance.

“She was complex, smart, loving, confident, creative, unfiltered,” Friedman says, “She was completely authentic and lived her own unabashed version of enjoying life to the fullest.”

That meant doing a bit of everything from photography to hairstyling to painting to gardening to art, Friedman says. Her mom also loved wildly, serving as one more lesson that you have to live to the fullest and without regret, Friedman says.

One of Friedman’s favorite memories is when she traveled to Italy with her Italian mom, and she introduced Friedman to the great works of art, including the unforgettable Sistine Chapel.

Lily earrings
The sword can symbolize many things, but within the Modern Renaissance collection’s Lily fleur-de-lis sword earrings, they are a tribute to Friedman’s mother, Lily, who was a beacon of hope and courage, ($1,950).

The Modern Renaissance collection reflects much of these thoughts and feelings, Friedman says. For example, it is heavily influenced by Italian art and artists. It includes classic symbols, such as shields and swords, but they are reimagined as tools for safety and protection rather than implements of war or violence.

Renaissance symbolism also is found throughout, including scrolls, spirals, and circular motifs, Friedman says. There are also hat tips to artistic movements during that time period with iconic forms such as the fleur-de-lis. The pieces in this collection feel regal, refined, and powerful, Friedman says, just like she hopes women feel when they wear them.

“Everything I’ve been exposed to somehow came through,” Friedman says. “I always design with intention; the story comes first. It must speak to me because I design from the heart.”

Top: LoriAnn Jewelry’s latest collection, Modern Renaissance, is designer Lori Friedman’s tribute to women who are “jills-of-all-trades” or people like her mother who are drawn to art, culture, and beauty, Friedman says (photos courtesy of LoriAnn Jewelry). 

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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