This month’s Designer Spotlight turns to the lovely Rebecca Overmann, who lets us into her studio and shares her practice and inspirations. We are especially excited about this one, because Rebecca will be bringing all of her incredible jewelry to the shop for a trunk show tomorrow and Saturday!
Rebecca feeling cozy, the entrance to her studio in San Francisco
"My appreciation for jewelry started when I was much younger. My aunt Betsy was a collector of jewelry and we’d spend time looking at it and talking about it whenever I’d visit her. My formal training in jewelry started at Savannah College of Art and Design, and once I started to work in metal I was hooked… but I did also continue to pursue a degree in graphic design (for my practical side).
"I moved to SF in the early 90s — which was an exciting time to be in advertising and design. After a few years of working for some of the larger SF firms, I realized that even though I loved the excitement of it, I wasn’t a fan of the industry and I missed working with my hands.
"I took a chance and started a small line of hand-crafted enamel jewelry which I made in my (very cold) San Francisco garage. Exploration and learning new techniques has always been a huge attraction, and I began experimenting and developing new facets to my line. The great part of it for me is that I don’t see any end in sight!"
ESQ: Walk us through your process, how do you usually create a new piece?
"I’m not a drawer - I find it more natural to put my ideas into the world by carving in wax or working in metal. Usually, I’ll have a spare moment and begin an idea (which may sit on my bench for months). When I see an opportunity to take it further, or make it a part of a collection, I’ll begin creating complimentary pieces.
"When I’ve been commissioned to create an original piece of jewelry I’m often asked for a sketch or drawing. My clients are a little surprised when I deliver a ready-to-cast wax. It’s so important to be able to truly experience the piece in 3 dimensions - jewelry is all about form and proportion."
some finished pieces, sizing a ring, Rebecca working on a carving
"My day always starts with Coffee & Dog before work. At the studio, I usually spend the mornings going through the correspondence (and all the business stuff that needs to be addressed). Afternoons are either spent meeting with clients or at the bench. Evenings are usually spent finishing up the business stuff that crept up while I was at the bench.
"The thing that really keeps me excited and happy about the industry is getting a note from someone about how much they love a wedding ring. The thought that my work is important enough for someone to wear everyday as a symbol of their love still gives me a huge smile, and it honestly feels a little overwhelming. My little San Francisco cottage, my dog, my cat and my soon-to-be husband also play a pretty big role in keeping me grounded."
Rebecca’s adorable pup Pearl and cat Jezebel
"My current obsessions include diamonds — and not just currently! I’ve worked with other stones, but I keep coming back to diamonds. There’s so much variation and individuality in them, and I never seem to get tired of looking at them and searching for something new. It’s also exciting to see such awareness and responsibility taking foot in the industry. The availability of responsibly-sourced and ‘recycled’ stones has exploded in the past couple of years which gives me, as a designer, so much more to work with and choose from."
various diamond and gold rings
"I have some new projects in the works…. in fact, some of them are sitting on my bench right now. Some of them involve ‘storied’ diamonds - diamonds that have been taken from antique or older pieces of jewelry. I’m also starting to spend more of my energy focusing on one-of-a-kind pieces. Since I love working with uniquely cut diamonds, there’s no way to create anything but a one-of-a-kind - you just never see the same stone twice.”