The colored-stone queen makes us wish we all could be California girls
Anyone who takes a close look at Irene Neuwirth’s kaleidoscopic colored stone creations won’t be a bit surprised to learn she’s a California girl. “The ocean and the colors here are my top sources of inspiration,” says the Venice, Calif.–based Neuwirth. And suddenly it all makes sense: the cerulean clear night sky in chunks of lapis, the blue-green waves of the Pacific in pieces of turquoise and chrysoprase; a postcard-perfect summer sunset in cuts of carnelian. Even her sparkling new Diamond Collection—which she recently debuted at Barneys New York—gets a boost from a bit of Rose de France amethyst, boulder opal, and rainbow moonstone. One imagines it would be impossible for the gemstone-loving designer to turn out a completely colorless line. And thank goodness for that!
Number of years in the biz: 8
Number of employees you oversee: 12
Family/pets: One large white Labradoodle named Teddy
Describe your personal style: Bohemian chic
First piece you ever designed: Beaded three-strand necklace with rubies and vintage glass beads
The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: All of them!
Favorite colored stone: Green chrysoprase
Most unusual stone you’ve ever used in a design: Opals
What inspired your new diamond collection? Clients wanting more, more, more! There was a lack of youthful diamond jewelry and rings.
Best piece of advice you ever received: “Go for it!”
Worst piece of advice: “Sell anywhere since the economy is hurting.”
First job ever: Check-out girl at a general store in Telluride, and horse trainer
How did you get started designing jewelry? I was teaching horseback riding and making pieces in my spare time, and the demand grew quickly, so I realized I had to really take a leap and go for it.
If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? Oooh…good question. Something creative, that’s for sure.
Jewelry you’re wearing right now: Long rose gold chain with opal and diamond charms I made for myself
Five items on your desk right now: Coffee, cutting tools, picture of my dog Teddy in my jewelry, colored pencils, notepad
Courtesy of Ecco/Harper Collins
Songs on your playlist: “Two Weeks,” Grizzly Bear; “A Million Years,” Alexander. On repeat!
Exercise regimen: [Personal trainer] Tracy Anderson
What did you have for breakfast? Eggs and bacon
Guilty pleasure: Alaïa cocktail dress and shoes
Drink (daytime/evening): Mint lemonade/tequila on the rocks
First website you check every day (not your own!): Net-A-Porter
How do you unwind? “Words with friends.” Great glass of wine and a dinner party on my porch overlooking the Venice Canals
Superstitious? Yes. Kiss the plane.
Book you’re reading: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain; Just Kids by Patti Smith
Book you’ve been meaning to get to: Hmm…
Preferred news source: The New York Times
Main means of transportation: Audi clean diesel
Favorite movie: Harold and Maude
Who would play you in your life story? Maggie Gyllenhaal
Personal motto: No time like the present!