Conversation with: Sydney Evan Designer Rosanne Karmes
April 10, 2014
Los Angeles-based designer Rosanne Karmes started her own jewelry collection in 2001 with a handful of playful and spiritually inspired charms. Since then, Sydney Evan, named after her two children, has continued to evolve. The brand now includes over fifteen collections, including Shy, an “affordable collection of classic Sydney Evan designs,” says Karmes. Although each collection has a distinct point of view, Karmes ensures each piece stays true to her original source of inspiration — peace and love.
Stop by NM Beverly Hills on April 26 to meet the designer and create your own unique beaded bracelet or charm necklace.
NM: Tell us about a piece of jewelry that has sentimental value and was, perhaps, passed down to you. What does that mean to you?
RK: That’s a great question. I have a star sapphire ring my father wore when he came to America after World War II. When I wear the ring I feel connected to my dad. I don’t wear the ring all the time because I’m always afraid of leaving it behind somewhere.
NM: Describe the importance of customized jewelry.
RK: I am a very sensitive person. I stop to listen to everyone’s story, and they never fail to inspire me. Everyone has their unique way of expressing what makes them happy. It makes designing personal. I love to see the joy and happiness that a piece of jewelry brings. I feel lucky that I play a small part in helping women define who they are in the world. For this reason, it’s important that my jewelry be customizable.
NM: Describe the design process.
RK: It’s quite haphazard, actually. I come up with designs from things I see. I then draw them on paper, napkins, my checkbook or anything else that is immediately accessible. A prototype can take days, weeks or years to perfect but sometimes the design concept itself is almost instantaneous. Sometimes I’ll take forever to work on one aspect of a design — like the tip of a butterfly wing (a detail on one of my new designs). Because I archive my designs from time to time, I also go back periodically to redefine an existing designs.
NM: What does craftsmanship mean to you?
RK: Good craftsmanship comes from those who take their time. Like anything, it takes discipline to perfect a craft. It’s an ongoing process, and I don’t claim to be perfect, but I’ll take credit for being a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my craft as a designer.
NM: Describe one of your proudest moments as a designer.
RK: The first time I was recognized and praised by someone who loved my jewelry and wanted to hear about what inspired me. This was a pretty remarkable moment for a girl whose parents were immigrants. While I was raised by my mother to be modest and grounded, the fact that a total stranger would take the time to come and meet me, to recognize me personally as the designer of a necklace that had a special meaning to her, was definitely a proud moment!
NM: What are you most looking forward to this summer?
RK: That’s funny. I am very much looking forward to this year’s family vacation. I always look forward to sitting on a balcony overlooking the French Riviera on a warm summer day. This is when I can relax.