Janet Mavec likes fraise des bois (wild strawberries). “Like wild ones you find growing in Spain or in France,” she says. The owner of Janet Mavec Fine Jewelry in New York City grows a variety of the tiny berries at her farm in Pottersville, N.J. Her fondness for fruits and vegetables dates back to her childhood—she grew up on a farm—and is evident in her garden-themed jewelry, which symbolizes her lifelong interest in nurturing plants.
Mavec’s creations are all in 18k gold, mostly yellow. Her strawberry earrings are made of carved garnets from Germany and leaf-shape 18k yellow gold caps. Her best-selling piece is the Mourning Dove, a replica of the birds that crowd feeders on her property. “They’re brown and they coo,” she says of her winged models. Companion pieces include a whimsical bluebell, which rings, and a new apple pendant—a gold version of the apples growing in Mavec’s orchards.
Before becoming a designer herself, Mavec worked for auctioneers of antiques, ran her own jewelry store, and represented other jewelry designers. Although she’s been designing jewelry for only two years, she received a 2006 Fashion Group International Rising Star Award nomination in the accessories category.
Mavec says her jewelry isn’t just for those with green thumbs. “[The Garden Collection] is a sensibility. … It’s for people who like beautiful things.” She produces two new collections each year and insists that garden-inspired jewelry need not be worn only in spring—like an evergreen tree, it can display its beauty year-round.
“Our jewelry is perennial,” she says. “It’s nondeciduous because it doesn’t shed its leaves.”