I am very excited to introduce a fabulous jewelry designer and my dear friend, Jenny Schretter. Jenny is the beauty and brains behind KOLTON.J, a gorgeous collection of unique statement jewelry.
As she says on her website, “My jewelry collection is representative of that fascination as a synchrony of colors—especially within the same color family and juxtaposition of textures, melded together. I was always intrigued by jewelry itself and would play with my grandmother’s jewelry collection whenever I got the chance, which has played into my love and usage of vintage jewelry in my designs today.”
In August 2010, Jenny launched KOLTON.J to not only add beauty to the wrists, ears and décolletage of women everywhere but also to contribute to the cause of humankind with her commitment to charitable giving. This Saturday, October 8th, KOLTON.J is having a trunk show at Carbon in DC and a percentage of the proceeds are going to Polaris Project, a leading organization in the US combating all forms of human trafficking.
Here are some of my favorite pieces, the interview follows…
White Turquoise, Amethyst and Crystal
Pink Agate, White Turquoise
Raw Crystallized and Faceted Pyrite Cubes
Extremely Rare c1950 Mediterranean Salmon-colored Coral
Vintage Bullet Charms & Gold Plated Diamond Drops
Republique of Française c1930 Coins, c1960 Gold Filigree, Rhinestones, & Coral
Rare c1950 Mediterranean Coral
Pyramid posts, Brass Triangle & Vintage Bullet Charms
Your background is in finance and sociology/ psychology, how did you originally discover jewelry design and what inspired you to make the switch? The switch happened very organically and was totally unplanned. I’ve always had a strong passion for jewelry and being creative, and started making jewelry as a side hobby while I was working on Wall Street in New York. I lived a block away from Prince Street so I would always pass by artisan vendors on the way home from work, and was inspired to start making my own pieces at that point. My designs and aesthetic really took form when I started utilizing vintage materials and from there, my hobby grew into a venture when I decided to launch a website after people began asking if they could buy my jewelry off of me. A year later, here I am!
You design different types of jewelry, statement necklaces, dramatic bracelets and fabulous earrings. Is there a particular type of jewelry that you favor making? Jewelry’s my heart so for me that’s like asking a parent to choose a favorite child – I honestly love designing them all!
I’m in love with a necklace in your Limited Edition collection that you made with white turquoise. Where do you find these unique and gorgeous materials? Thank you! The materials come from a wide variety of sources, which is in part why most of the pieces are strictly one-of-a-kind or limited edition. I personally select all of the vintage components by antique scouting and consulting with antique buyers. By utilizing vintage elements, the jewelry conserves the use of newly minted materials while melding history with modern design and style, and adds to the unique aesthetic of the pieces as well.
How would you describe the signature, underlying essence of your jewelry, even as trends come and go? I design the jewelry to be unique, timeless, and whimsical with a juxtaposition of rock-and-roll edge and elegance.
When you set out to make a piece, do you know what you want the final outcome to be? It really depends. Sometimes I will have already sketched out a design beforehand or have the idea/picture in my head, and other times the designs form organically as I work.
Do you ever make jewelry with a certain person in mind or is your inspiration mostly driven by the unique stones and crystals you find? My inspiration is mostly derived from the actual raw materials themselves and how they pair or contrast with other materials that I use, but sometimes the pieces are definitely a direct product of inspiration from a particular person or place. For instance, my trip to Europe over the summer provided a lot of inspiration for a couple of the new one-of-a-kind pieces, both in color and style.
What is the most challenging thing about turning a passion into a business? Dealing with the not so fun/creative things like paperwork.
Who is a favorite designer of yours, either jewelry or otherwise? I’m literally the worst when it comes to choosing a favorite but Michael Kors, Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor, and Alice + Olivia are a few…anndddd I live for comfort so I have to add Vince and James Perse in there as well.
Where can we expect to see more of your stunning jewelery? This month, we’re really excited about being featured in Washingtonian Magazine as well as our upcoming feature on People.com where you will be able to get all of our jewelry 20% off through our online store at: www.koltonj.com. Our jewelry is available online at www.koltonj.com as well as fine retailers across the country.
What is your favorite thing so far about living in DC? I’m originally from the DC area, so my favorite thing has got to be being so close to my parents’ house in Northern Virginia – I get to see them all the time now and I love it!