Jewelry designer Nancy Newberg crafts effortlessly chic pieces that harness a modern maturity but still have a splash of edginess. It’s certainly not hum- drum—think oxidized black links, chunkier clasps, exaggerated hooks, and mixed metals. We can’t get enough of her Add-a-Hoop collection as well as her fresh take on pearls...especially because we are all feeling pearls right now thanks to our madame Vice President, Kamala. Make sure to read and watch the video version of our chat too!
Nothing is more neutral than black, and the mix between black and gold really shines.
Melissa: During this crazy time, how did you shift your business? What are you doing differently now than what you were doing before?
Nancy: My customers are more comfortable with online shopping. If they were not before…they are now! We are so limited as to where we can physically enter a store and make a purchase. As the holidays were soon to arrive, I started to see my online sales grow. No one is really waiting until the last minute anymore. As a designer and businesswoman, it is great to see people buying ahead and taking advantage of the online platform. I have always hoped that Instagram would be a selling platform and it has been just that. I was able to connect with customers and it was a really great holiday season.
Melissa: Agreed. I was doing my shopping earlier this year. There is a maturity and modernity to your designs, along with a bold approach. What has your journey been to become a jewelry designer? How would you describe your aesthetic?
Nancy: It all stems from my background in fashion. I moved to LA to study fashion and worked in fashion for many years as a designer. I then put my career on pause to raise my three boys, and then I fell back into work once my kids got older. I started to make pieces that were fashion accessories. I really envisioned my wardrobe to be simple and basic but used these pieces to make a full fashion statement. That is my core direction to this day. My concept is that when you layer and collect the pieces, they make a bold statement. Some pieces are delicate than others, but I really do see them as a fashion accessory.
Melissa: I love the layering. The more the merrier. The color black is common through your designs, along with diamonds. What attracts you to that specific style and color?
Nancy: It all goes back to fashion. I work in a very neutral palate, you don’t see much color pop out in the collection. I like to keep my pieces neutral, and I want them to work back into a women’s wardrobe. When you put the black against gold it really pops. Nothing is more neutral than black, and the mix between black and gold really shines. The pop of the black sets the diamonds and gives them a little more sparkle.
Melissa: Talk about your bridal collection, yours is bolder and very much in your style vein. What drove your decision to do the bridal collection?
Nancy: I really always designed for myself. If I like it, stays in the collection, if I don’t, it is out. The whole bridal world was not really on my radar until I decided to reset my engagement ring. I was not wearing my engagement ring as it was not me anymore. I wanted something edgy and fun and something I could wear every day. I re-created a piece that I wear all the time. It went on from there, and people come to me to re-set their stones as well. I am working on a ton of fun projects with engagement rings.
You can’t be afraid to re-make and re-purpose. You can always re-do your style.
Melissa: That is amazing. I re-set mine a few years ago and now I wear it all the time. Talk about your Add-a-Hoop earring collection? How did you come about with that?
Nancy: I love that collection; I am really proud of it. I wanted to create something customizable in a women’s hand. I wanted it to be personal and something that they could mix and match and create their own look. By offering these components in all different metals and sizes, my customer can purchase and put a different combination together every day. I offer all the components in all sizes and colors. You can make a ton of different styles. The collection and name were inspired by a pearl necklace that my grandma gave me—she would give me a pearl every year —the collection is a nod to that.
Melissa: What are your daily particulars? What do you always have on you?
Nancy: I am straightforward. I typically wear a white t-shirt, a cardigan, jeans and whatever shoe I feel comfortable in. I always wear my glasses, and I love handbags. I also love other accessories and coats and jackets…but not right now.
Melissa: What is next for your collection? Anything exciting coming down the pipeline?
Nancy: I am really excited about some things that I am working on. I am doing a new take on my pearl collections. I am always adding pearls in different ways and they come in and out of my collection depending on when I have a new concept. I have a new ear cuff collection in the works. It will tie in all the designs that come through in my rings and the textures in the black. I think it comes from the whole Zoom jewelry category that emerged in the pandemic.
Melissa: It is really the one thing that we can have fun with right now. Are you inspired by Kamala’s pearls? Do you feel like you will have an uptick in sales?
Nancy: I have used pearls for years now. I do more edgy pearls. I take them and I throw in the black and do a lot of layering and textures. A lot of my pearl earrings are my top sellers. I re-string my customer’s pearls and add in diamonds and make them fun. I’ve done the short vintage pearls and then I add in the black diamonds as spacers.
Melissa: That is amazing. It is fun because you can always update and add.
Nancy: You can’t be afraid to re-make and re-purpose. You can always re-do your style.