JCK Asks…Designer Judi Powers

judi powersThe Hudson, N.Y.–based designer works wonders in tourmaline, green gold, and beyond

Did you know that Judi Powers is the Tourmaline Queen? It may not be an official title, but that’s what we call her. She’s also “crazy about” dendritic agates. And she thinks the most “misunderstood and underappreciated” gemstone out there is zircon. Another one of Powers’ superpowers: green gold. “When I was studying metalsmithing at School of Visual Arts, my instructor encouraged me to work in gold,” she recalls. “When I told her I didn’t care for the warm yellow color, she suggested I try green gold because it has cooler tones. She was 100 percent right, and I’ve been using it ever since.” Green Gold Queen has a nice ring to it, too! 

judi powers corazon stacking ring 18k green gold diamonds
Judi Powers Corazón stacking ring in 18k green gold with diamonds

Age: It’s just a number.

Years in the biz: At the end of this year it will be five.

Employees you oversee: I’m the sole employee of my circus!

judi powers dogFamily and pets: My parents, my partner and his sons (17 and 22), and a dog to whom I’m excessively attached [pictured]. When I sat down to answer these questions, she instantly sidled up.

Describe your personal style: Minimalist with classic and bohemian undertones. I love a good cashmere sweater and riding boots as much as I love a long tunic and sandals!

First piece you ever designed: A gold and sapphire pendant. Maurice Galli, my fine jewelry design professor at F.I.T. (and Harry Winston’s head designer), said when I showed him the rendering: “Judi, this is fine jewelry, not metal design. I want to see diamonds. Lots of diamonds. And less metal!”

judi powers dendritic quartz pendant marla aaron lock russell jones chain
Judi Powers dendritic quartz pendant, Marla Aaron lock, and Russell Jones chain

Best piece of advice you ever received: “Be true to yourself.”

Worst piece of advice: “Be more like…”

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? Designing and making home textiles using plant printing, a skill I recently learned.

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: My new Kite pendant, diamond stud earrings, Arun Sawad ring, Montauk bangles, and a dendritic quartz pendant hanging from a Marla Aaron lock on a Russell Jones chain. And it’s all green gold!

Five items on your desk right now: Sharpie pens, a parcel of gemstones that need to be sorted, a loupe, orders to be shipped, and waxes that need to go out for casting.

bebel gilberto
Bebel Gilberto

Five songs on your playlist: “Higher Ground,” Stevie Wonder; “Leave It Alone,” Broken Bells; “Gravity Rides Everything,” Modest Mouse; “Never Easy,” Alela Diane; “Samba da Benção,” Bebel Gilberto.

Exercise regimen: I do 25–35 push-ups every morning. In a perfect world, I practice yoga a couple of times a week, but in reality it’s more like a couple of times a month.

What did you have for breakfast? Scrambled eggs with chimichurri sauce and tomatoes, chicken bacon, strawberries, fresh-squeezed tangerine juice, and a latte.

ice creamGuilty pleasure: Ice cream.

Drink (daytime/evening): Water and switchels by day and wine or a cocktail by night.

First website you check every day (not your own!):
NPR or The New York Times.

will ferrell in elf

Scent: In warm weather, Le Labo Rose 31, and in cool weather, Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille.

Favorite movie: It’s a tie between Amélie and Elf.

Who would play you in your life story? Leslie Mann.

Personal motto: “Follow your joy.”

Top: Judi Powers Corazón 5.7 ct. green tourmaline cabochon ring in 14k green gold

(Elf: © New Line/courtesy Everett Collection; Gilberto: Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage; ice cream: dlerick/E+/Getty; corazón rings: Allen Bryan (2); Powers: Juliet Lofaro, 2018)

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