Anne Carson Design: A Tale of an Accidental Business
Today we are pleased to have our friend and collaborator Anne Carson join us on the blog! On October 27 we will be hosting Anne’s pop-up shop at our Mackenzie Heights studio– we cannot wait to see her latest collection and want to make sure you don’t miss out!
When I open my weekend pop-up shop at Designers Collective on October 27, it will mark the 15th anniversary of Anne Carson Design, or as I think of it: my accidental business.
When I began designing jewellery it was for one extremely picky customer: me. I was frustrated by the necklaces available in the marketplace. At the low end, it was ugly, mass-produced plastic and glass. At the high end, it was often boring, conservative “good” jewellery, that looked as if it had been made in a factory for somebody’s grandmother. In 1952.
I had a particular necklace in mind, and I couldn’t find it anywhere.
I inherited a classic strand of creamy pearls from my mother, and I love them for some occasions. But I wanted something a little more interesting in my everyday wardrobe. Something that would give my day-to-day uniform of dark jeans and white shirts a distinctive look.
I wanted silver rather than gold, because I love the character silver’s patina gives a piece as it ages.
And I wanted real stones in the colours I love — blue topaz in all its shades and aquamarines.
And did I mention that this necklace I was chasing had to be both fashionable and timeless? I want good value for my money. And I like the idea of jewellery I can wear often, to give a wardrobe a signature look.
In short: I wanted the impossible. (That’s not unusual for me, I’m told.) And eventually, after a few fruitless shopping trips, I realized that the only way I would get this necklace I had in my head was to make it myself.
On a whim, I visited one of the local rock and gem shops to see if I could even find what I had in mind… Little did I know it was the first step on my way to a business that now has me travelling to the Tucson Gem Show and the Hong Kong pearl markets every year.
Soon friends were asking for pieces. Then friends-of-friends. Then strangers began demanding to buy that one-of-a-kind necklace off my neck. (In a daze, I said yes.)
Then someone wanted a necklace that would be a memento of her wedding too. Something that would become an heirloom.
Some women wanted a necklace to celebrate a new job. Others wanted gifts to mark a milestone in someone’s life.
During the height of Downton Abbey’s popularity, I had people asking for a modern interpretation of Lady Mary’s necklace.
But most of my customers just want what I wanted: a beautiful piece of jewellery that says “me.”
Making jewellery for myself was inevitable… But it would never have become a business if my friends and acquaintances hadn’t pushed me into it and been ambassadors for my work.
So today, that’s who I design for: Women who are looking for that particular necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings that just speaks to them. Pieces that they won’t see on everyone else.
If you can’t make the trunk show, I also have an online shop. Although the newest and most unusual pieces often debut in my newsletter, where I also talk about all sorts of other things, like movies and books and theatre.
– Anne Carson
October 27th through 29th Anne Carson Design will be at our MacKenzie Heights studio with her gorgeous jewellery. Come by, say hi, and snap up a unique piece that speaks to you.