Jeweler Anna Sheffield is as thoughtful as she is creative. She believes in the inherent power and talismanic nature of jewelry and says, “Jewelry carries so much meaning and over time collects energy like we collect our memories. I think of heirlooms and talismans as pieces that become markers of those memories.” Her words could not ring truer and should be our official Particulars mantra.
Things are a little different right now, we’re in an unprecedented time…how have you shifted as a business and as an individual to accommodate this new normal?
Absolutely! We’ve shifted, innovated and transformed, which is all good as change is the only thing that’s certain. In business we have shifted to a fully remote creative and operation teams, with most of us in different cities and even time zones. Making sure communication and connectivity are still in top form is a challenge but are striving to find new ways to keep both in the loop and feeling the camaraderie we do when in the office together.
As an individual there have been highs and lows, as I struggle with the changes in some moments and really lean into using my time differently to tackle the problems I am facing in others. I’m trying to make boundaries with work and since I am not designing much jewelry now, exploring other creative outlets.
How has your upbringing in New Mexico influenced your design?
I feel like that place, the high desert and the confluence of so many cultures and artistic traditions, just lives within me as a state of being- so it’s hard to place a particular influence on my design. But I love natural materials and unlikely combinations; I have a reverence for things that are considered imperfect. I feel like things have a resonant quality to them, sometimes even a sacredness. I think of these as influences from New Mexico.
You use a full spectrum of stones in your engagement rings including champagne, black, and grey diamonds. What inspired you to pivot from the traditional white diamond + platinum (or white gold) combo that ruled our hands for so many years?
Honestly, it just felt like this was the moment for something new, for reinventing that wheel. This was less of a market research kind of thing than just an inclination. I was seeing people enjoying the unconventional jewelry I was making, and I thought why not take that ethos and apply it to ceremonial jewelry. As mentioned before, I love the beauty in natural materials and those colored and included diamonds are part of what makes the gems special to me. I also just love breaking rules. I was a punk in High School 😉
Sustainability is at the core of what you do. Can you tell us about your journey to only utilize recycled gold and conflict free stones? Also, we’d love to know about the Diamond Melée initiative.
It’s part of my personal prerogative to be as sustainable as I can, so it only made sense to try and do my best with the brands. The industry is really not known for making too many efforts at this, beyond recycled gold and the Kimberley Process, so we leaned into innovating where we could. The reclaimed melée was a way to tackle a very small part of the jewelry, with a big impact, as we use so many of the small diamonds. These are what they call break out, and they come in white, champagne and grey colors. They are taken from old pieces of jewelry or old parcels and recut, polished and sorted by size, clarity etc. Overall, we use many carats per year, and we measure the impact of not having taken these from newly mined crystals.
Talismans are something that we here at the Particulars are always talking about— accessories are people’s link to something personal that they hold close to their heart and wear on a daily basis for so many reasons. Tell us about your personal talismans as well as your very apropos Talisman collection.
That’s exactly right! Jewelry carries so much meaning and over time collects energy like we collect our memories. I think of heirlooms and talismans as pieces that become markers of those memories. I am really attached to all of my jewelry, and mostly I wear the same things every day. I only change up the mix when the mood strikes me to do so. My talismans range from wedding bands (I’ve got two!) to my talisman necklaces that are comprised of different charms and amulets I have collected on travels, been gifted or inherited. I have one that is all of the things I gave to my father over the years, and when he passed I kind of linked them together and added on a turquoise inlay ring he used to wear on the chain. I don’t wear it as often, but it hangs on my wall and I love just seeing it there.
What are some of your daily particulars that you always put on (jewelry, accessories…etc.)? …this could be pre-social distancing or what you are doing now
I have tendencies 🙂 I always wear bracelets on my left arm, which are usually some I made but I also wear a cuff by the Diné/Navajo artist Jasper Nelson and a vintage Zuni piece that I replaced the turquoise with champagne diamonds. I also always wear lots of studs or hoops in the upper piercings of my ear. And tons of stacking bands (of course). Since we launched talismans I have been wearing the tiny serpent choker, which I love layered with other chains and charms.
With summer here, what’s next?
Camping! Exploring! And lots of colorful, delicious, elaborate Vegan Cooking!