Susanne Klevorick’s passion for pearls and pared-down clean lines
Susanne Klevorick’s background in fashion design at well-known highly wearable brands, coupled with her love for jewelry and growing up in Manhattan has all influenced her two-year-old jewelry company’s minimalistic and streamlined sensibility. Her shapes are clean-lined and modernistic. She draws her inspiration from the skyscrapers and architectural forms of New York City, softened by her love for pearls and the warm hue of rose gold as one of the predominant metals in the collection. Her entry in the jewelry business was an organic extension of all of her experiences thus far.
Here we talk to Susanne about her influences and the excitement that’s been buzzing around her collection:
What types of jewelry were the first pieces you wore and were attracted to?
“Strands and strands of my mother’s pearls which I would wrap around myself and I would coordinate them with her clip-on pearl earrings. With these pieces and a pair of her high heel shoes, I was in heaven!”
“I continued to be attracted to pearls when I was grown up and working in fashion, I also had a strong feeling for rose gold. Early in my career as a fashion designer, I traveled to Hong Kong several times a year and I would buy a strand of pearls on every trip. I accumulated quite a lot and often wore several at one time. I even designed my first pair of pearl “climber” earrings long before I launched my collection, which was also way before they became a trend. I just loved how they looked graduating up the ear.”
“As for my affinity for rose gold, my mother’s wedding band and several pieces of her jewelry were 18K rose gold and I loved the warmth of the color. My first investment watch was in rose gold and I continue wearing it today.”
Who were the women in your life who inspired your creative spirit?
“I had an aunt who had extraordinary costume jewelry, in particular, a collection of intricate brooches which she attached to everything. I had so much fun playing with her pieces. But my love of everything fashion came from my mom. I believe, that from her, my sense of style evolved. She only dressed in neutrals and believed that quality surpassed quantity. As a result, I wore very little color as a child and wear very little color, if any, now. You can definitely tell I grew up in New York.”
How did you first express that spirit?
“I was drawing from the time I can remember. I hated coloring books and spent hours working on my own ideas on plain sheets of paper. I can still remember the scent of a new box of 64 Crayola crayons. I also loved to make clothes for my dolls and created what I called the ‘Bubble’ dress by cutting holes for the head, arms and waist and pulling a tie thru the waist to create a shape.”
What was your career before you began designing jewelry?
“I started out in the fashion industry as I mentioned before. I rose in the ranks from an assistant after graduating Parson’s School of Design to SVP of Design for companies such as Jones New York, Nine West and Tahari. I loved rebranding existing lines to be relevant for the needs of that time period. However, as I took on more responsibility, I would spend more time working on the production/bottom line and less with my design teams. I took a hiatus from the industry and decided to take a jewelry making class. I found that I loved working in wax and with the materials that intrigued me in my youth—pearls and rose gold. I started posting some of my designs on Instagram. The next thing I knew a friend of a friend bought quite a number of my pendants and proposed a trunk show. And the next thing I knew, I was developing a collection.”
“It was inspiring as I felt that I was once again working creatively and passionately. The response was great and I continued on to launch a full-scale collection two years ago.”
What is the aesthetic of the collection?
“The collection is based on my natural aesthetic and is instinctual. I am a proponent of simplicity and form in all aspects of design, from jewelry to fashion to interiors. My pieces tend to be architectural yet not so stiff that they would not move with a woman’s form. I made the decision from the beginning to create pieces that I love and would wear. I don’t follow trends though I am aware of the market. Although pearls and rose gold are featured part of the collection, I do not restrict my creative energy in any one direction.”
Who is the woman who buys your jewelry?
“A secured, independent women who is confident and strong. I don’t believe in designing for an age demographic. I do see my customer predominantly as a woman who lives in a metropolitan area and has a strong sense of style and knows exactly who she is and what she feels comfortable in.”
What are some of your favorite pieces in the collection and why?
“Hard to choose. But one of my favorite pieces is my ‘Pagoda’ ring. I love the lines and solidity of the piece, which encompasses a 16.5 mm pearl. I also am attached to my ‘Latern’ earrings and the carved stones that are used to make them. My ‘Column’ earrings and pendants are also among my favorites based on their pure simplicity of design.”
Where do you see yourself and the collection heading or evolving?
“I believe my work is continually evolving and often without a plan. Since I mostly work by carving in wax and then casting, I am experimenting with materials in addition to precious metals in combination with gemstones. I believe in being open to new ideas developing as the designs flow. Carving in wax is like sculpture and, sometimes, you start the process with an idea but it changes as you work the wax. But, with that said I also believe that my sensibility is my own and strong and that doesn’t waiver from design to design. My goal is to make every piece recognizable as a Susanne Klevorick piece”
Created in Partnership with Susanne Klevorick