Feature Friday – Linda Kozloff-Turner
I would love to just design, design, design! It’s what I am really good at. In addition, I custom manufacture and manage the business. My husband works with me, and we do a lot of the daily management ourselves including cleaning and merchandising. My favorite part of the jewelry business is the design process. I love taking an idea from thin air and making it into a reality that is perfect for someone.
I have been in the industry for 44 years. I got started when I was 16, in Northampton, Massachusetts. I was always artistically inclined, and I worked in an arts supplies shop behind the bead counter. I was teaching a woman to make a pair of earrings, and she said that I was really good. I mentioned that I wanted to learn more. Another woman in the shop came over and said she was a jewelry designer looking for an apprentice. I worked with her, and she taught me some bench skills. She made handmade Cloisonné pieces for the Boston Museum of Art.
Since then, I have received a Bachelor’s of Arts in product design, with an emphasis on jewelry. I am a degreed product designer who has built everything from flatware to software. I am a timepiece designer as well. I studied my GIA® classes at the Colorado School of Mines and am continuing my degree with a grant from GIA to become a Graduate Gemologist. I received a terminal degree from CU Boulder, a Master’s of Fine Arts in Fine Art Photography. I am a businesswoman of many years, and I combined my love of jewelry, product design, and photography into my current business.
My favorite memory is when I decided to move into a space of my own, making a very rough store into a beautiful design space. I also have fond memories of meeting some of my incredible clients. My store is unique because of the Fine Art aspect. When you come to me, you get something really different and customized just for you. You wear a piece of art, thoughtfully designed. My work is not just product.
Most of my sales are walk-ins and repeat business. However, now with a social media strategy, I just sold a piece from Stuller to my friend from second grade in Massachusetts through my website, christinemargueriterings.com. I built a shopping cart from the ground up, which has been a challenge to market.
I do about 20% repairs, though they’re not my favorite thing. I contract some repairs out to one of the best master jewelers I have ever met. He also does all my production. My husband does the CAD, as we invested in RhinoGold. What I do love is rebuilds or what we call repurposing older pieces and making something brand new to wear. I love technology, too. Now the world can see my work over the internet, instead of seeing me crying at the bench. I now tell someone what I want, and we make a file to wax print.
I was adopted in 1956, and my name was Christine Marguerite. When I was adopted, I was renamed Linda Marie. I took Christine Marguerite as my design line; it is sort of my alter ego. Personally, I love gardens and flowers. I also love big sapphires and diamonds. One of my personal favorites is “My Summer Garden,” an oval green sapphire bezel-set in 18K yellow gold with a diamond halo and leaves underneath like a garden trellis. Another is the “Middlemist” three-diamond ring, featuring a 3.04 carat center with two perfectly matching side pear shapes and side band.
I had a jeweler work for me many years ago, and he introduced me to Stuller. Having been to the Bridge® now, Stuller is a much bigger partner than I realized. I now show all my clients Stuller Showcase™, and if they want something different than that we can continue the conversation. I also think the one-year of complimentary insurance through Red Box Diamonds® and Black Box Gemstones® is a huge buying motivator. I also love that it is a U.S.-made company. Matthew Stuller is a great mentor in never giving up and growing your business. Bridge changed everything for me.
I am currently writing a book titled The Women of Jewelry. I am interviewing women all over the world, finding out what works for them, and how they came into the business. I want to know what their stories of success are. I have interviewed some of the industry greats, including Lisa Jenks and Joan Horning. I have been invited to speak to the staff at Boucheron in Paris and Solange Azagury Partridge in London. I will also be interviewing Lydia Courteille in the upcoming year.
My current mantra, as I have had a very unusually difficult year, is best stated by Jessica Kagan Cushman and Winston Churchill, “Never Never Never Never Give Up!”