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Designing Lives: Andrea Fohrman

This “gemstone nerd’s” celestial designs reach for the stars.




Andrea Fohrman biographical piece

MAKING JEWELRY wasn’t Andrea Fohrman’s first career, and today’s incarnation of her jewelry collection — a happy-go-lucky mix of casual, collectable fine jewelry in colored stones and fanciful shapes — evolved after an earlier business ran its course. But a consistent creative impulse guided her from studying fine art to the film business, until she arrived at her calling to make “not-too-fancy pieces that you can wear with jeans.” Now, 10 years into building her namesake line, the self-professed “gemstone nerd” has hit a definite stride as she expands the scope of her signature style.— STORY BY TANYA DUKES

COCKTAIL PARTY: “My grandma Florence was a collector of beautiful jewelry from tons of different eras. She had amazing cocktail rings. She’d explain which pieces were from the ’20s, the ’30s …. I was really attracted to jewelry just like any girl would love sparkly, pretty things. My grandmother is 94 now. She’s still pretty sharp and likes to give me advice on which stones to use and what she likes.”

THE ARTIST’S WAY: “I was studying for a bachelor of fine arts degree at the University of Arizona and I went off to Florence for my junior year. That’s where I took metalsmithing and jewelry-making. The experience was life-changing. As I walked to school, I passed shops with craftsmen who would display new work every day. It was incredible to see people making a living doing creative things. Back in Arizona, I studied a lot of film and fine art, but in Italy, I was making it.”

AT THE MOVIES: “After college, I got an amazing job at Universal Pictures as assistant to the president of film. It wasn’t as creative as I’d hoped. But I don’t know how I would’ve gotten to jewelry if I hadn’t worked there. On weekends, I started beading necklaces and putting them on celebrities I met at work. I would go to flea markets every weekend to find vintage pieces that I could rework with string and semiprecious beads.”


INDIE PRODUCTION: “After working with a partner for about five years, we dissolved our business relationship and I decided to make fine jewelry on my own. The first thing I did was a line of cocktail rings based on my grandmother’s collection. Officially, it’s been 10 years since I started my own collection, but in the last few years the business has really come into its own. My path has been a little slower than some people’s, but I’ve been able to raise my kids [Grace, 10 and Beckett, 7]. It’s nice to be able to pick them up from school or take them to their games.”

UP IN THE AIR: “My husband would tease me and tell me that I should become a meteorologist because I always talked about the sky and the weather. The first pendant I ever made was a big moon that was based on Victorian ones that I’d collected over the years. That was the first celestial-themed piece I created. I started thinking about what else I could take from the sky: stars, clouds …. People always ask me if I have a bird in the collection. I know they fly across the sky, but I don’t connect to them like I do to stars!”

OUTER SPACE: “It’s cool when you see your collection evolve and become cohesive. That took time. At first I was just making a bunch of one-offs. The Galaxy collection is something I started last year. It uses stones like lapis and malachite paired with rutilated quartz; the combination looks like shooting stars are crossing the surface of the stones. I really love collecting stones. That’s what I thought I’d be getting into as a jewelry designer.”

CALIFORNIA LOVE: “I grew up on a mountain in northern California. I’m sure being raised there is a huge part of why my designs are whimsical and fun. We lived in Marin County. Jerry Garcia’s kids went to school with my brother. There were still hippies around [in the late 1970s]. It was really fun to grow up in a place like that. When I go there now, I can’t believe I was raised in such a beautiful place. The collection is California-influenced, for sure. Maybe I love color because the sun shines every day.”

Getting Personal With Andrea Fohrman

What’s your secret talent?

“I do a mean karaoke rendition of [Dusty Springfield’s song] ‘Son of a Preacher Man.’”

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

“Handbags. I love them all! I love to get the newest, greatest thing. For everyday, I carry the Stella McCartney Falabella.”

If you could time travel, where would you go?

“I would love to travel back to the 1970s and stay there. I love the whole vibe: The Partridge Family, Scooby-Doo … It was a good time.

Who’s your dream client?

“I’m a huge Sienna Miller fan. I just love her style. And I’m obsessed with anything British.”

A goal that doesn’t involve jewelry:

“To raise children who respect me as a person. I want my kids to like me when they grow up.”

The Work: Jewelry From Andrea Fohrman

Bolt, Star and Crescent Moon rings from Andrea Fohrman

Bolt ring with diamonds and 18K yellow gold, Star ring with diamonds and 18K yellow gold and Crescent Moon ring with diamonds and 18K yellow gold. MSRP: $1,375 (bolt), $935 (star), $1,265 (crescent)

Luna necklaces from Andrea Fohrman

Luna necklaces in blue sapphires and 18K rose gold; ice diamonds, rock crystal and 18K antiqued white gold; and turquoise, 18K yellow gold and oxidized silver MSRP: $4,600 (sapphire), $4,400 (ice diamonds) and $3,700 (turquoise)

Malachite ring from Andrea Fohrman

Malachite ring in 14K yellow gold, black rhodium and emeralds. MSRP: price on request

Oval fire opal earrings from Andrea Forman

Oval fire opal earrings with rose-cut diamonds in 18K yellow gold
MSRP: $10,650



When the Kids Have Their Own Careers, Wilkerson Can Help You to Retire

Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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