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Artist Profile: Margo Zucker Jewelry

July 11, 2011

Another in our series of artists profiles!  This week, Margo Zucker

Please tell us the name of your business and what you create.

My business is Margo Zucker Jewelry Design. I live and work in San Anselmo.

I design and create contemporary, elegant, and unique jewelry that is very wearable and transitions easily from day to evening. I use only the finest freshwater pearls and semiprecious stones combined with sterling silver and gold fill. I am torn equally between simple and classic design to the very ornate.

Give us a little history of how you got into the business. What inspires you? Do you have a day job?

I have always had a love of jewelry, and as I grew up I beaded and created my own necklaces and earrings. I lived very close to the ocean and would take walks to the beach often to pick up shells and sea glass. The warm sandy shore became my retreat and I would spend hours there just lying on the damp sand combing through it to find treasures to incorporate into my necklaces. Rocks and shells with natural holes in them often became the focal point in my early necklace design.

Throughout High School art became my passion. I went to college to pursue some form of art as a career receiving my Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design. Happily, I was able to find a job at a large design/marketing firm in San Francisco named Landor. Very successful at my profession, and after a wonderful career there for twenty-one years, I decided to leave my graphics work to be closer to my two growing children.

Invited to go to a local gem show, the masses of pearls and gemstones took my breath away. I was brought back to my childhood and the hours spent at the beach. I was inspired and instantly hooked and decided my next career was to be that of a jewelry designer. From that moment on I set about to define my style and develop my craft. I took several jewelry design classes and poured over books on gemstones and freshwater pearls. I practiced my techniques and experimented with the raw materials. I found that my graphic design style and my jewelry design style were naturally very similar. I truly loved what I was doing. I worked diligently and created many signature pieces to incorporate into my portfolio.

The piles and piles of gemstones and pearls are what really inspire me. The color of one gemstone in conjunction with a different color of pearl often sparks an idea about how to use them together. Both color and texture play an important role in my design aesthetic. I love to combine rough-cut stones (for example, Pyrite nuggets) with the softness of a beautiful white pearl. This kind of juxtaposition I find interesting and unique. I am always searching for unusual or rare stones to incorporate into my designs and often use rough cut stones as a focal point in my pendants.

Tell us something unusual about your creative process.

Sometimes I even use found pieces in my work. For example, recently I used antique mother of pearl, Chinese poker chips as a pendant. Currently, I have developed a new line of earrings that uses silver-plated Victorian filigree stampings in conjunction with pearls and semi precious stones. I call it the Moroccan Collection because the filigree is reminiscent of the patterns and textures of Moroccan fretwork. Often I create pieces that are one of a kind.

What do you enjoy most about your work? The least?

I enjoy having my own business immensely, although I find the sense of isolation sometimes frustrating with no one to bounce ideas off of. I enjoy shopping at the gem shows and being able to come home, get comfortable and start creating something beautiful. I usually have so many ideas that I cannot get to all of them.

What have you learned along the way?

Through the last few years, and with the slowing of the economy, I have found the jewelry business to be very competitive. I have found that standing out in this competitive environment is a huge challenge. As a jewelry designer, my goal is to use the finest materials combined with the finest craftsmanship, develop elegant and unique pieces that are wearable, and price my work fairly. I strive to keep up with what is in fashion but I do not let fashion dictate what I create.

From the natural quality of the gemstones, to the innate beauty of the freshwater pearls, I am passionate about creating jewelry that is elegant, unique and wearable. My work continues to evolve while still keeping this philosophy. Many of my designs are one of a kind and all are created by hand in my studio in San Anselmo.

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