This last year has affected all of us in some way. Whatever your experience, you likely have been moved by some of the stories of love, loss, and heroism. It’s hard to imagine that the need for connection before has been this important. People are feeling sentimental and vulnerable and looking for ways to stay close to family and friends. Bespoke jewelry is one way to speak to feeling sentimental and to keep special people, who might be physically far away, nearby at all times.
Devon Woodhill is a bespoke jewelry line designed by Melissa Levy that focuses on special meaning and personal touches. Melissa began by designing contemporary lockets to always “carry love with you.” Her lockets (some pictured above and below) are a “twist on a timeless theme reimagined for the modern wearer.” Not only are there different styles to reflect personal tastes, but also there is the most intimate detail—what the wearer puts inside. Levy says her lockets are filled with “your history, your loves and your reminiscences, hopes for the future and memories of the past.”
Other special pieces in the Devon Woodhill collection include the Eleven Wishes necklace, birthstone charms and character charms. All reflect personal connections and are created in a variety of precious metals. Her rings including the tree of life, harmony, the north star and the pattern of a quilt all have a sentimental yet timeless and modern sensibility. Every piece of jewelry in her collection is beautiful from the inside out!
Simply Eartha is a line of jewelry and accessories designed by Kitt Shapiro. She shares the legacy of her mother, Eartha Kitt, in messages of love, hand-written hearts and inspirational words. As Kitt explains, “I am the daughter of a trailblazer. A woman of strength, conviction and heart. I share this legacy with you and hope we can spread more kindness, acceptance and empowerment to those around us.” Signature pieces include bracelets and dog tags with words of wisdom spoken by her late mother such as “Don’t Panic” and “Here’s to Life”. Perhaps the most personal bespoke item is a heart, from an original drawn by her mother, and forever engraved on jewelry and printed on blankets and scarves. The stories, memories, photographs and the incredible wisdom and love Eartha bestowed on her daughter Kitt, and the world, is now the subject of a beautiful and inspirational book Eartha & Kitt: A Daughter’s Love Story in Black & White.
Monica Rich Kosann designs jewelry with the intent to empower and inspire. Her signature “I think I can” charm is inspired by the iconic book “The Little Engine that Could” and is a reminder that “you can do anything!” Some of the more personal bespoke pieces in her collection are her Poesy Ring necklaces. “Poesy rings date back to the 14th century, bore poetic inscriptions and were exchanged as expressions of friendship, inspiration and love.” The MRK collection has put a modern twist on these ancient message bearing rings, which are worn on a chain, the way we wear charms, and tell your personal story.
Scripted Jewelry is a way to save sentiments, doodles and signatures and gift them to someone you love. The choices in the collection are truly unisex including dog tags, ID bracelets, cufflinks, key chains, money clips, charms, chains, rings and cuffs. The bespoke element of this company lifts handwriting off of old letters, journals, recipe cards and more so that loved one’s actual handwritten strokes become part of a piece of jewelry—and a forever piece to be enjoyed and memorialized for generations and generations.
Q&A with Melissa Levy of Devon Woodhill
Laura Maged Your bespoke designs pre-date the pandemic by quite a few years. What was the reason you began your line with lockets?
Melissa Levy I have always worn a locket for the feeling of connection. My grandmother wore one with a picture of me inside, and the notion that she carried our love with her everywhere was a gift of warmth and security. I feel these emotions when I wear my lockets, and I want to share those feelings with everyone.
LM What part of the process of creating a jewelry collection is the most rewarding? What part is the most difficult?
ML The most rewarding part of creating jewelry has come from the stories inside the lockets. These beautiful pieces hold what people value most, and I absolutely love hearing about and being a part of that. The most difficult or frustrating is when a design or vision that I have in my head doesn’t translate as well to the piece, which has taught me to edit ruthlessly.
LM Are you adding any designs to your 2021 collection and if so can we get the inside scoop?
ML This past year we added our Hidden Heart Charms which have an open back with a space for a photo. I wear one every day engraved with my dogs’ names, Sparky + Winnie. Stay tuned for more charms like these hearts!
LM Do you find that the pandemic has affected your business in any way?
ML The pandemic has been so tough for everyone and we’re all craving connection. Many people have reevaluated what they need to be happy and healthy at a basic level, and have found that things that have meaning, that last, and that connect have tremendous value. That is the core of Devon Woodhill, and I think we’ve helped people feel good during this trying time through our jewelry.
LM With the majority of interaction—both business and social—now virtual, we are often looking at people from the chest up. What is important when choosing the right piece for your neck and what are some dos and don’ts for wearing jewelry?
ML Such a great question! We have a section on our site called “A Perfectly Curated Decolletage” for this very reason. The most important aspect of choosing is what you are drawn to. Jewelry is an expression of our personalities, and people should always go with their gut. Also, consider your neck and chest, the necklines you like to wear, and how adaptable the piece is for you and your needs. Now more than ever, the jewelry you wear from the chest up can really become a part of your persona.
LM Do you have one design or piece from your collection that is your favorite and why?
ML The Sunrise Pillow Locket is one of my favorites. It’s like a burst of optimism, promise and beauty around your neck.
LM If you weren’t a jewelry designer you would be a ______________ (fill in the blank).
ML Owner of an art house movie theater / bookstore hybrid.
LM Buying sentimental gifts for the men in one’s life can be challenging. Do you have unisex bespoke pieces in your collection?
ML It can be difficult, but we don’t believe that lockets are just for women. We have sterling silver locket keychains that sold out in hours this past Father’s Day with rave reviews, and our large pillow shaped locket is worn by many men. Stay tuned for some new fantastic gender neutral pieces coming soon!