Rock Hound Sig Ward draws influences from the sea to the solar system
I remember meeting Sig Ward at one of the trade-only shows in New York City. I was immediately drawn to her large juicy gemstones and the way in which she allowed them to shine. I noticed a surprising minimalism in her approach to pieces that were bold and powerful and stood out yet were still ultimately wearable. It was the low key approach to one of a kind gemstone pieces in often rare gemstones that launched Sig’s collection, previously called Rocks & Gems and landed her the O Magazine Editor’s Choice Award for best design at JCK Tucson (a trade-only show in 2017). She has been evolving the collection and has recently re-launched the collection under her name- Sig Ward Jewelry.
I caught up with Sig to discuss the collection and her longtime love for jewelry…
When did you realize your love for jewelry?
“I knew I had a love for jewelry in high school. I would pass by a jewelry store on the way home from school and would become obsessed with rings I saw in the window. I would then run home and tell my mom. She would take back to the sore and start negotiating. She was great at that because she did it so often for herself. I was a mini-version of her. She was a jewelry enthusiast as well.”
Is safe to say that your mom inspired your affinity for jewelry?
Definitely. As my dad worked hard to feeding my four siblings and me, there was never much of a budget for jewelry. My mom would save up and as we discussed she also knew how bargain and wheel and deal when she wanted something—she would purchase meaningful jewelry for herself that she cherished and then instilled a passion in me for pieces that were more than just pretty but had some sort of symbolism.”
What was your first piece of jewelry?
“A stack of eternity bands with diamonds and rubies in yellow gold. Of course it was my mother who bought them for me. I still have them to this day and hope to pass them down to my daughter.”
What creative endeavors did you undertake growing up?
“I loved arts and crafts which eventually that led to making beaded jewelry, a line of aromatherapy, photography greeting cards and more. Each endeavor was fun and fulfilling at the moment, but my heart always drew me back to jewelry.”
Did you have a different career before you launched your jewelry company?
“I was an acupuncturist. But due to certain family circumstances I took some time off to regroup and restructure my life and I had time to explore. And this led me back to jewelry. I would look for the type of pieces I wanted to wear but couldn’t find them. Sometimes when you have a definitive picture in mind, it’s better to have it made. I found a striking aquamarine stone that I had worked with to create a ring. So many of my friends wanted one like it. With their urging, and the knowledge and experience I gained along the way while designing pieces for them, I launched my collection in 2015 and I still wear that aquamarine ring every day. It reminds me of how I came full circle back to what was always a part of my heart.
Can you describe your how you approach your collection?
“My aesthetic had always been creating one-of-a-kind pieces based around incredible and rare stones. I love when people ask what stone is in the design. I have some favorites such as aquamarine, emerald, opal and different hues of tourmaline. But they can all look very different. I have used 10 different colors and textures of aquamarine, I am attracted to lavender hued opals, Kyanite and watermelon tourmalines in various tonal combinations. These and many more gems inspire the pieces I am designing.
Has anything about the collection changed recently?
“Yes! And I am extremely excited about the changes. I changed the name from Rocks and Gems to my name Sig Ward Jewelry. The collection is evolving into more motif and symbolic pieces, many of which are bolder with more gold and linked to strong women, like my new celestial collection.
Can you give us some insight into this new collection, which you have just begun to launch?
“It is my celestial collection and I am using a lot more of the glow of gold in wide cuffs and statement necklaces. These are set with white and black Mother of Pearl, which shows the moon in different phases. With the subtle sparkle of diamond accents in the twinkling of star motifs. This collection is exciting for me on so many levels. It is about rebirth and renewal and change—which I think everyone woman goes through at some point in her life. On a personal note it’s about launching the collection when I did—it was a whole new beginning for me. On a universal level, the moon has also been symbolic throughout history—and often refers to powerful women in ancient mythology. And this is a perfect time to bring that back. There will still be one-of-a-kind gemstone pieces. When I see a stone I love, I still will want to design around it—but the collection will be tighter and well merchandised so that you can add pieces to your collection that will work others you have already purchased.”
Speaking of purchasing, who is the woman you are designing for?
“One who has all her classic diamond jewelry? She has the diamond studs, tennis bracelet, you name it. But she is looking for the next chapter in refining or redefining her style. The women who buy my jewelry are predominantly self purchasers, and they collect pieces that are more of the ‘wow’ type; they complement each other but can be styled quite differently depending on a women’s individual style—from sophisticated boho to hip diva to streamlined but bold minimalist.”
What materials do you use?
“All of the collections are created with either 14K or 18K and the finest of gemstones. The line is meticulously crafted in Los Angeles with an unwavering attention to detail.”
Have you had a piece of jewelry handed down to you that you wear often or never take off and what is it?
“I wear my mother’s wedding band on the right hand –without her I would have never found my true love—and I wear with my original aquamarine first design which launched to the collection. Both pieces bring me positive energy and are the pieces that link together my story.”
CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH SIG WARD JEWELRY