Growing up across Texas, Michigan and Tennessee, Amanda J Frazier’s childhood was spilt between enjoying nature and art. Galleries and museums were visited with her mother, whilst her father would take her hiking in national parks and instilled her love for the endless wonders of nature.
Today, both art and nature are hugely significant in her work. Amanda’s eponymous brand was born out of her desire to bring something different to the world of jewellery; her pieces are wearable but very distinct in design. We chat to Amanda about emphasising quality over quantity and the importance of being environmentally responsible when creating jewellery.
What drove you to start your own jewellery line - Amanda J Frazier?
“I felt like I had something different to offer the world of jewellery design. I feel like much of what I see tends to look like the same designs over and over again. I wanted to create a collection that was still very wearable but also felt distinct in its design.”
Have you always loved jewellery?
“Jewellery has always been something that I’ve been drawn too. Even as a child, whenever I would go shopping with my mother it was always the jewellery section of the store that I was most drawn to. However, it wasn’t until college, when I took a metalworking class, that I realised that I was really into making wearable objects. I’d always been a painter and illustrator, but there was something powerful about being able to take those drawings from the page and turn them into a real object that could be physically interacted with.”
"I’d always been a painter and illustrator, but there was something powerful about being able to take those drawings from the page and turn them into a real object"
How did you get into the jewellery industry?
“I first experienced jewellery while working on my Bachelors of Fine Arts in the arid Texas hill country. I then moved to Houston, Texas to find work, and it was there I worked with an assortment of master jewellers. I learned how to make commercial fine jewellery, how to repair antique jewellery, and I even worked on some of the pieces for the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Afterwards, I went to the deserts of Arizona to get my Masters of Fine Arts with two really amazing metals professors. Once I graduated, I moved back to Houston, but I didn’t return to working for other jewellers. Instead I worked as a college art instructor while building my jewellery studio and brand on the side. Now I work solely on my jewellery business selling locally and online.”
Where did you grow up and how has your childhood influenced you as a designer?
“I grew up in the USA states of Texas, Michigan, and Tennessee. All vastly different environments with very different cultures, and all have influenced me greatly. My appreciation for the arts come from the women in my life, particularly my mother. She was always the one taking us to galleries, museums, art lessons, piano lessons, choir, etc. My father on the other hand was the one who really instilled a love for outdoor adventures and all the endless wonders of nature. With him it was always camping, hiking in national parks, quietly observing wild animals, or maybe just enjoying a good lightning storm. These two strong influences of the arts and natural world are prevalent in my work.”
"There is too much waste in the world, so I want to create things that are made to last and respect the materials they are made from."
Values are hugely important to us at JewelStreet. What are your core brand values at Amanda J Frazier?
“My key values are quality, durability, and low impact. There is too much waste in the world, so I want to create things that are made to last and respect the materials they are made from. For this reason, I do not mass produce any of my designs, as that creates excessive waste, overstock, and devalues specialness of the design. I work hard to use reclaimed precious metals, responsibly sourced gemstones, and use limited packaging made from recycled materials.”
How does your passion for environmental responsibility influence your designs?
“Outside of jewellery design, I focus on naturalising our urban home and studio with native and beneficial plants. This focus on using things native to the area has really become a very expansive process, involving considerations for water and energy conservation, beneficial insect and animal habitat, and reducing the amount of pesticides and fertilisers released into our local bayous. The research and time put into naturalising the environment around us has also influenced the style of my work. Lately my work has a more organic style with an especially heavy influence from the plants found in our area. When I use the things within my environment for inspiration, I think there is an authenticity and uniqueness that comes through in the designs.”
What’s the most meaningful piece of jewellery you’ve ever received?
“It’s got to be my engagement ring from my husband. When I was distracted picking out some gemstones for work, he snuck away and picked out some diamonds. Later, with only a background in engineering, he designed a ring all by himself and had it made. The meaning behind his design is really sweet but he would be embarrassed if I told you, so you will just have to take my word for it!”
"I’m definitely driven to be a part of the change in market values that emphasises quality over quantity and to be more environmentally responsible with my products."
Where do you source inspiration for your designs?
“I hand create all my jewellery from my private studio here in Houston, Texas. Inspiration can come from anywhere, but mostly it comes from the natural world and my travels.”
Are there any clients you particularly love working with?
“I love working with clients on bespoke engagement and wedding sets. It’s such a special thing to be involved in, this thing that will be a part of the rest of their lives and maybe the lives of their children. I really focus on getting to know them and what they are looking for so I can make them the perfect rings.”
What drives you?
“I’m definitely driven to be a part of the change in market values that emphasises quality over quantity and to be more environmentally responsible with my products. As an artist, I am driven to encourage people to expect more creativity from their jewellery and to see jewellery as the little wearable works of art that they can be. As business woman, I am working to expand awareness of my work both online and within local markets.”