You would think designing grand houses of famous rock stars like Alice Cooper and Rod Stewart and emerging as a highly influential Hollywood manager would more than constitute the highlight of someone’s career. However, destiny had another plan in store for Loree Rodkin, which was to become the sweetheart of the Hollywood jewellery scene.
Those who knew Loree Rodkin as a young girl were most probably not surprised she chose to make scene-stealing pieces as a lifelong calling, a calling she goes all-out for. Once the intention of mastering the craft of making fine jewellery was sealed, Rodkin chose to study under a master craftsman who worked for Cartier. More or less, it’s the immense scope of accessorising that drew her to the charm of jewellery. “This is the thing that makes you uniquely different as a person,” she says.
The Allure of Standout Pieces
Rodkin, who guided and nurtured the careers of Hollywood mega stars like Brad Pitt, Robert Downey and Sarah Jessica Parker, prides herself in the fact she was the first person to create a fashion forward style of jewellery that didn’t exist before. “It gave celebrities a great form of self-expression,” Los Angeles-based Rodkin says. “They simply got smitten by my designs’ splendour.” Interestingly, the first client to wear her rich, intricate and strong pieces that blur the difference between modern and Medieval was none other than renowned jewellery lover Elizabeth Taylor.
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She considers herself lucky enough to have worked with all of her favourite muses, from Steven Tyler to Madonna. “I find Steven Tyler and Elizabeth Taylor amazing and the Queen of Pop inspiring,” she says. Elton John and Cher are two other famous patrons of her jewellery. However, the biggest moment for the Chicago native came when the First Lady Michelle Obama opted to wear Rodkin's 61-carat diamond celestial earrings, a 13-carat diamond cocktail ring and diamond bangles during the 2009 inaugural balls. “It seemed like I was dreaming when the White House first called me for this honourable service. I thought they called the wrong person,” she recalls. “I feel extremely blessed that those designed pieces of mine now reside in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.”
A Cue from Architecture and Nature
When it comes to pinning down what type of jewellery women want, Rodkin, who is probably most famous for her bondage ring, thinks they look for something that speaks to them and makes them feel special. “My clients range in age, from their 20s to 80s. My products are for anyone who doesn’t want to look like anyone else,” she says. Behind the impeccably embellished designs lies a great deal of her intuition inspired by architecture and nature, and most importantly, her unmatched expertise in using diamonds and white gold with black rhodium plate. “Wherever I go, the first thing that I do is look for architectural wonders. Their intricate designs just engulf my heart and soul,” she expresses. “And nature itself is very diverse with millions of species of all sorts.”
She tries every design on herself first before she thinks it is perfect enough to be commissioned. “I design around stones. I design for myself and what appeals to me and luckily that has been appealing to other people too, which I find very rewarding,” she says.
Being familiar with every minute aspect of jewellery making, she has got the edge over others competing in the same field. As she puts it, “I have a design philosophy through which I create such invaluable pieces, if it’s never been before, I can do it.”
She shuns the notion of having a five-year plan, let alone a five-minute one; it’s off-putting for her. For Rodkin, it’s wherever the day takes her in terms of design. With the addition of eyewear, fragrance and handbags, she has pumped up the brand’s portfolio. “I hope someday to do home pieces and furniture as well. The door is always open,” she asserts.