JCK Asks…Anthony Lent

The Philadelphia-based designer gives good face

There’s something Victorian
about Anthony Lent’s jewelry: the faces, the serpents, the leaves and scrolls. It’s no surprise that Lent, a former Fashion Institute of Technology jewelry department chair, names Fabergé as one of his influences. But the artist’s influences go far beyond that popular period. “Lalique has always been one of my biggest inspirations,” says Lent of the Art Nouveau jewelry and glass designer. He also cites German Renaissance painter-printmaker Albrecht Dürer (specifically, his jewelry engravings) and Italian Mannerist ­Benvenuto Cellini. “Cellini’s artwork, jewelry, and autobiography”—a famously racy, rollicking read—“are sources of inspiration and amusement.” Like Cellini, Lent is a goldsmith and trained sculptor. Perhaps one day he’ll pen his own spicy memoir. 

Age: 68

Number of years in the biz: 47

Number of employees you oversee: Two.

Family and pets: Married, two sons, one dog.

First piece you ever designed: A pop art–style cartoonish-­looking silver ring of a mouth with jagged bone teeth. It is pretty crude, but I still have one!

The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: The ­Moonface Mesh bracelet [pictured, top] is an example of multiple design and fabrication techniques I have been working on my entire career. The bracelet is made of completely die-struck parts that fit ­together in various ways. I love the beautiful mechanical-­looking intricacy of the meshwork on the back of the bracelet.

Best piece of advice you ever received: “Follow your heart.”

Worst piece of advice: “Try this—it won’t hurt you.”

First job ever: Grooming, cleaning, and feeding horses.

Best thing about working with your sons: They keep me honest!

How did you get started designing jewelry? I was making sculpture that I couldn’t define. I was drawn to the idea of designing and creating jewelry because it was more versatile in everyday life.

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? Working with my hands in some other way. Probably building custom cars or motorcycles. I also have worked on projects for toys, which I found fascinating.

On your desk right now: Engraving block, microscope, glass eye, tray of tiny silver rats, sculpture of a cherub.

On your playlist: “Box of Rain,” Grateful Dead; “Dog Years,” Maggie Rogers; “Cinnamon Girl,” Neil Young; “Ramblin’ Man,” the Allman Brothers Band; Anoushka Shankar (pictured).

Exercise regimen: Long walks with my dog, Howard.

What did you have for breakfast? Grapefruit, whole-grain toast, avocado, yogurt, coffee.

Guilty pleasure: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts! Only when they are fresh.

Drink (daytime/evening): Cheap Irish whiskey.

First website you check every day (not your own!): Jalopnik.

How do you unwind? A good (or bad) sci-fi book and a joint.

Settle the cheesesteak debate for us! Jim’s, Pat’s, or Geno’s? Those places are for tourists! The real deal cheesesteaks are from either Steve’s Prince of Steaks in Northeast Philly or John’s Roast Pork in South Philly.

Book you’re reading: Hoot by Carl Hiaasen and The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery.

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Favorite movie: McCabe & Mrs. Miller.

Personal motto: “Live long and prosper.”

From top: Anthony Lent’s 
Moonstone Moonface Mesh bracelet in 18k gold and platinum with diamonds, Hanging Crescent Moonface earrings in 18k yellow gold with diamonds, Moonface ring in 18k yellow gold and sterling silver with diamonds

(Horse: Robert Ranson/Hemera/Getty; poster: Everett Collection; food: i3000/iStock/Getty)

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