Diane Dorsey is a jewellery designer with an artistic and handcrafted aesthetic. With a formal education in BFA painting and architecture and an MA in Art Education, Diane’s work is balanced, sculptural and inspired by objects found on her travels.
Culminating in organic forms such as an egg or a four leaf clover, Diane Dorsey incorporates iconic and cross-cultural symbols throughout her designs to enhance her love of all creatures great and small. She is committed to exclusively using recycled 18kt gold and sterling silver, with hand cut gemstones and unconventional elements. We chat to Diane about starting out in beadwork, how jewellery connects us to people and her manta ‘one vision, one maker’.
When did you fall in love with jewellery?
“When I was a young girl, my grandmother gave me her jewellery box full of her jewellery - a mixture of costume and fine jewellery. Some pieces were broken so I spent hours upon hours reworking her pieces into new pieces.”
What drove you to start your own line of jewellery?
“As I started to design and make pieces for myself a few years ago, I would wear them and people would stop me and ask where I got my jewellery. This encouraged me to start thinking about the idea of jewellery as a business.”
"I bring that ‘fearless diving into the new’ into my jewellery with each piece I make.”
How has your childhood influenced you as a designer?
“I grew up in Ohio. My mother was most significant person in my life - she was very creative, and fearless about diving into new creative pursuits. She dedicated her career to teaching young children, but was always learning something new creatively, from painting to gardening to pottery to cooking. I bring that ‘fearless diving into the new’ into my jewellery with each piece I make.”
How did you get into the jewellery industry?
“I began in the jewellery industry through beadwork. I travelled and collected unusual beads and pieces that I incorporated into my work. From there I had a desire to learn more in metalsmithing. Unusually, I have two mentors that have guided me – both are metal sculptors and although they make jewellery, it is not their primary art form. I think that this has influenced the direction in my work as ‘sculpted adornment.’”
"All of my jewellery is made by me – one vision, one maker.”
What inspires you?
“My studio is in my home, and from my bench I have a view to six bird feeders and huge trees, with a long view of the mountains beyond. Gazing up and out frequently is a continual source of inspiration. All of my jewellery is made by me – one vision, one maker.”
Values are hugely important to us at Jewelstreet. What are your core brand values?
“Tops for me are honesty and integrity. Following from these is being true to one’s word and do no harm. Honesty and integrity relate to my jewellery in that I strive to make the highest quality and finished pieces I can, and I always deliver on time to retailers or customers. I’m a member of Ethical Metalsmiths here in the US and only work with recycled metal and ethically sourced stones, and I run a very ‘green’ studio – this is my way of ‘doing no harm’ in my work.”
"Jewellery that people I loved once wore, and treasured themselves, holds an essence of them that I can hold, and connects me with where I came from"
What’s the most meaningful piece of jewellery you’ve ever received?
“A beautiful cameo brooch that was my grandmother’s. For me, the jewellery that people I loved once wore, and treasured themselves, holds an essence of them that I can hold, and connects me with where I came from, and generations of love.”
"I am an artist and I truly have a voice and a vision for my jewellery"
Are there any clients you are particularly proud of?
“I’m most proud of one of my clients who is so supportive of my work. She lives here in Santa Fe, and so she texts me and asks to purchase a new piece probably once a month. I love meeting with her as she wants to hear every detail of the meaning and technique behind the piece she is purchasing. Her excitement and appreciation of my work is contagious. She is forming her own ‘Diane Dorsey Jewellery’ collection!”
How do you want someone to feel when they wear a piece of your jewellery?
“I want someone to feel that they are the very best expression of themselves.”
What’s been the highest point of your career as a designer so far?
“I recently took part in the NY Now show, debuting my work. The show was a six-month effort in putting together, and provided the opportunity for thousands to see my jewellery, and hearing the response from people who came into my booth was a very high point!”
What drives you to create?
“I think that I am an artist and that I truly have a voice and a vision for my jewellery. In that sense I’ve ‘arrived’ as it’s not about the number of stores I’m in or the number of pieces sold. With each piece, I feel that there is growth and a deeper, clearer expression of my voice – this is what drives me and will continue to drive me.”