Undeniably one of our most loved jewelry designers, the unique aesthetic of Anna Sheffield often pops up in office conversations when musing idly over thoughts of “if I could go back and choose my wedding ring all over again…”!
Based in New York, she creates truly extraordinary jewels…the kinds of rings you stalk on Pinterest and wonder where on earth to find them. Designs that are highly imaginative and frequently imitated, but never matched by others.
A signature piece, the Hazeline ring, is a timeless homage to Anna’s grandmother set with white, black or champagne diamonds. A true future heirloom, it can be customised with a bespoke selection of nesting bands, crescent shaped rings set with miniature graduating diamonds perfect for stacking artfully on either side for a unique, changeable formation. And for those seeking an alternative to diamonds (or for the more celestially inclined woman) the array of unusual stones are extraordinary…rutilated quartz and opals, labradorite and moonstones, each in settings anything but unexpected.
With her Orchard Street store being a veritable dress up box for jewelry lovers, an opportunity to try on endless clusters and bespoke stacks, it was an exploration we couldn’t resist while here in New York. Housed in a mix of heirloom glass cases, the store is beautifully uncomplicated, yet fascinating. Tiny plinths of stone and sculptural elements (such as marble lotus flowers) display a jewelers cabinet of curiosities and precious pieces, an extension of brand that flawlessly carries throughout the in-store experience.
We whiled away (a little too much time!) trying on rings and scents (a sensory imagining of the perfume profile in precious metals and stones, a collaboration between Anna and Julia Zangrilli) as well as taking in the enviable library of reference books…tomes on amulets and talismans, symbols and icons. Keen to learn more about the creator herself, we asked Anna a little more about her life in New York, favourite haunts and her artistic inspirations…
What inspired you to begin your jewellery
Probably the best thing about this journey is that it wasn’t planned. I had learned the techniques as I studied sculpture in college but had never intended to make jewellery. I just started playing in the studio one day and the path sort of unfurled in front of me from there.
Where do you begin the design process each season?
What are your richest sources of inspiration?
I always look to nature as the level of perfection (even in the wild and imperfect) is what drives me and I think most artists to try to share beauty with others. I also am incredibly inspired by architecture and design - furniture, bridges and even things like fixtures and rivets. The ingenuity prevalent in all design really interests me.
Do you design with muses in mind? Or particular
women that you imagine wearing your pieces?
Oh yes! I have an arsenal of muses, each with a unique set of characteristics and a style that informs the collections under their name. For example, Rosette is my ‘refined rebel’ while Emma is the sweetheart, sort of ingenue type and Hazeline, who is fashioned after my grandmother, is this demure, very lady-like persona. I think every woman has a bit of each in them.
*interview continues beneath gallery
How has your aesthetic evolved over time?
Well luckily I’ve grown up a bit! I do love to play dress up still and I think that’s more a consistent theme now than a childlike quality (though I have plenty of these as well!). I just feel like style is another word for spirit- our clothes, jewelry, hair, tattoos are all how we tell the story of our relationship to everything around us. Or what we want to manifest around us!
Your designs feel timeless…however are
there any particular decades or historical references that resonate
or inspire your work?
I do love Art Deco. And I imagine the style as it related to the 20’s, which were quite the fun time. But overall, I think timeless is a goal. I look at Byzantine jewelry as much as I look at Georgian or Native American. But the goal is to take from it the most distilled, tiny connecting details and reinvent it in modern ways, but without being too specific. If that makes any sense!
What do you love most about living and working in
I love the frenetic energy that drive this place which is home to so many inspiring, talented people.
The frenetic energy that makes it so hard to ever stop working!
A typical weekend is spent...
Trying to make sure I see as many of my closest friends as possible, maybe cooking for them, and hopefully getting some art and nature in the mix. I go upstate a lot of weekends, with friends, which is my bliss.
Your three favourite NYC haunts…
El Rey Cafe on Stanton Street - best, most beautiful food with an always inspiring soundtrack. Chrystie Street Park on Houston - its a magical little park filled with flowers that change over the course of the spring summer and fall.
Favourite destination to travel to?
Home to New Mexico- always!