Sasha Samuels isn’t exactly new to the jewelry business, but her new line—the Freedom Collection—is her first venture into a complete commercial wholesale line aimed at retailers across the country.
The collection, a blend of comfortable wearability, fashionable design, and a spiritual message, is based on the idea of wings as a symbol of free will. Her target customer is the modern woman who is “financially secure and views her material gains as a means to a greater end,” the artist says.
Samuels, who has a background in both fine art and jewelry design, focuses on the jewelry’s comfort and its relationship to the female body. She is especially attuned to these from her experience painting the female figure and her resulting understanding of the human body. Her wing earrings, for example, “intentionally follow the curves of the ear and jawline,” she says, to achieve a harmonious relationship to the wearer.
What does that mean—practically speaking—to the consumer? That the earrings “work equally well on ears that lie close to the head or on ears that stand out.”
As an artist, her creations are profoundly meaningful to her, and she has dedicated several years and conducted extensive research to develop this new line. As a student of philosophy, she says her work serves to inspire women to “discover and walk our own path.”
Her preparation for a large-scale launch of the line also includes 11 years as a retail and wholesale jewelry designer who has sold in a variety of venues—festivals, trunk shows, and private customers (including celebrity couple Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward).
Unlike many commercial jewelry designers, Samuels was determined not to launch a full-scale attempt at establishing herself until she was fully prepared. When the International Jewelry Design Guild offered her a spot at the JA New York show in 1999, for example, she declined, committing herself to first explore and learn about the industry itself.
While Samuels’s work is evidence of her talent and dedication, she has also earned recognition from top designers in the industry. After a second-place finish last year, Samuels won the 2001 New Talent contest sponsored by the American Jewelry Design Guild.
Each of Samuels’s pieces, it seems, has a story or special features. Most pieces offer versatility to allow a wearer to choose various ways of wearing it. Her wing bracelet, for example, is reversible for either a casual or dressy look, and her U-necklace can be worn at choker length, with or without lariat drops. Its clasp, meanwhile, transforms into a brooch, and the entire piece can be worn as a belly chain.
Sasha Samuels, P.O. Box 42153, Portland, OR 97242; (503) 232-5422.