#RoughBeauty is the hashtag you’ll find on Variance Objects’ Instagram feed. (Click here to see their images.) It’s the perfect description of this line from Santa Cruz, California, with its semi-raw stones set in oxidized silver and various shades of gold. The juxtaposition of rough and beauty suddenly makes perfect sense when you see the jewelry in person; it’s raw, yet sophisticated. It’s wonderful.
I’m pleased to share some Q & A I had with Nicole:
I know you have a background in landscape architecture. How and why did you make the career switch to jewelry designer in 2013?
Well, there are at least two ways of looking at it. One is that I realized through being in graduate school and working some in landscape architecture offices that it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. The people working there didn’t seem happy or inspired. The other way to see it is that I always wanted to make jewelry, and being involved in what I didn’t want, made me realize what I have always loved doing. How did I make the switch? I just started…
Yes, mostly. I’ve taken some courses in metalsmithing but my way of doing metal work is self-taught. I used the skills I learned in these classes, but I sort of deconstructed them. Jewelry making is about order of operations. I just took some of the steps out and added others. I did the same thing with priorities. The teachers taught what was most important in the process; I changed it up some.
I am completely self-taught as a stone cutter. I did watch some youtube videos and talk to people working in rock shops but never took a class. By the time I started cutting stones, I knew how I wanted them to look and how I wanted to do it. I knew my way of cutting would be an alternative.
Yes. Many of my earliest memories involve jewels or stones in some way. As a child, I used to carry stones in my pockets. I really cannot remember a time when jewelry wasn’t of great interest to me. As I already mentioned, I tried to take a more traditional road, but I was miserable. Now I’m not. Ha.
The rewards and challenges are really the same thing. As a jeweler and business owner, I feel like Scott and me are on a great adventure together. It’s a wonderful and exciting endeavor. At the same time, there’s so many aspects of it all we don’t have control over. The things we do have the ability to impact, have so many details to them. Variance is our baby; we want to do it right.
Restaurant? Probably Bantam but if I really want amazing food, I go to SF. If I want love in my food, then Scott cooks it.
Retail Store? Cameron Marks – easy but sophisticated clothes, great objects and paper goods too. Also, there’s Judi Wyant Antiques. They have a great selection of antique jewelry with a focus on Victorian jewelry and unusual stuff.
Place for a great view (maybe with a cocktail?) I’m a big fan of just sitting on West Cliff Drive and looking out at the ocean.