Q. When did you first notice jewelry?

A. My mother’s jewelry had a big impact on me. She had a lot of old European family jewelry which she let me wear as a child and a young adult...crazy if I think back on it now… anyhow, she had a garnet tiara which I loved and actually wore. I think that tiara made me a jeweler.

Q. Did you study jewelry design?

A. No not at all. I studied early European economic history and then European art history at Columbia graduate school. I taught art history for a while. But I was always interested in the decorative arts: furniture and history of fashion, specifically. That love of history informs every piece I make. Fashion and art have a political dimension which is my area of interest, both as a historian and as an artist…I never thought of myself as an activist but I guess I am….

Q. Do you have a target market? What type of person do you have in mind when designing?

A. I do not design for an imaginary customer. I design what feels right for the moment. What, as a society, as women, are we trying to say… right now. Are we more interested in expressing our femininity, our boldness or our power. Those are the questions I address in my designs.

Q. What do you think jewelry does for a person?

I think jewelry has one function and one function only: empowerment.

Q. Do you have any tips on wearing jewelry?

A. That’s a hard one. It is - and should be - so individual. I will say this: don’t always wear the same size, the same amount or the same basic thing. Let your imagination and your needs dictate what you are wearing. Wear a lot of jewelry to lunch…wear a tiny single piece with a big evening dress…. wear a ton the next night with the same big dress. Don’t keep it in a safe in a bank. Use the jewelry, it’s powerful.

Q. Do you make matching sets?

A. I love matching sets…. as a modern alternative I design pieces that go together rather than match perfectly. I am a big believer in owning pieces that can be worn together.

Q. What inspires you?

A. Women inspire me.

Q. What is a perfect day for you?

A. A perfect day for me is one spent out of doors in an extraordinary place with wonderful food and people I love.

Q. If you were given a plane ticket to go anywhere this afternoon, where would you go?

A. 18th century Venice.