My mother's friends, who gathered at our house when I was a child, are now my Muses. They were striking women, full of life, who loved art, music, conversation...and jewelry.

There was the painter Alice Garver, with her thick chestnut hair, freckled face, red lipstick and ring-bedecked fingers, finishing one of her signature nudes; the contemporary artist Florence Pierce, with her marcelled hair and bold bracelets and necklaces, inventing a new way to work with resin; and my dance teacher, Elizabeth Waters, her long salt and pepper hair stuck up with silver hair sticks, showing me the perfect placement of my feet.

Then there was my mother, in her blue jeans, western shirt and riding boots, atop Candy, her palamino horse, wearing her ever present gold and pearl earrings and Italian Millefiori brooches, given to her by my father.

I learned about style from these women. Their singular personalities showed me that jewelry is a design form unto itself, not an accessory to fashion. When a piece of jewelry has grace, texture and beautiful form it has energy. When a piece of jewelry has energy, it will always be stylish regardless of current fashion.

Sensuality, architectural balance, practiced imperfection, asymmetry, eccentricity and unpredictability -- these are the qualities that intrigue, challenge and motivate me as a designer to create beautiful pieces that become an eternal expression of a woman's personal style.

Giselle Minoli

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