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Designing Lives: Anzie

Creative trio of mother and daughters injects French Canadian and a colorful attitude into today’s jewelry scene.

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ANZIE DESIGNER AND CEO Jaclyn Stein and her sister Joanna learned to love jewelry from their mother, Anzie, who launched her eponymous line in 1999 as a way to help raise funds for colorectal cancer. Today, the Montreal-based trio works together to produce distinctive jewelry that celebrates life and color. The company’s designs are based on vivid array of colored stones as well as the company’s staple: White topaz, surrounded by diamonds. The team represents not only different generations of women but also a range of attitudes and tastes, and it shows in the wearable, versatile, easy designs that have become a staple of Anzie.

IN THE BEGINNING: “Anzie was an art teacher and an artist who worked primarily in prints and paintings. She surrounded Joanna and me with all things creative from our youngest years. As a hobby, we made jewelry, painted, drew, and sculpted.”

INSPIRED BY FAMILY: “My father is a colon cancer survivor and my mother, sister and I wanted to create a collection of jewelry to raise funds for cancer awareness as well as create a brand that would allow our family to work together. Jewelry was something that was fun and easy for us to learn. We loved being able to create pieces and then wear what we designed. We fell in love with the bright colored gemstones that we discovered while traveling for my father’s treatments. Our trips to New York and Los Angeles became business trips as well as healing trips. This helped us to focus on something positive, and being productive was a great way to distract ourselves from what we were really there for.”

VERSATILITY AND COLOR: “We launched the collection full scale in 2000, and from the start our philosophy has been everyday luxury — pieces that you can change around like add-on pendants to station chains, earrings that can be made shorter or longer by clipping drops on and off, and jewels that would layer well. We later developed our motto — ‘La vie en couleur’ — in order to emphasize the importance of color to our brand.”

JEWELRY’S MEANING: “A woman’s jewelry should make her feel both special and comfortable the minute she puts a piece on. Jewelry is one of the most personal adornments of self-expression and our customers are often self-purchasing women who are confident enough to know what they like and the type of jewelry that best suits their features and their lifestyle. Each woman also has a favorite color that they are immediately attracted to, and we try to offer as much of a selection as possible.”

DECIDING ON A PIECE: “We believe that a woman wants jewelry that is flattering to her skin tone, eyes and face shape. Jewelry is also a form of wearable art and it should be interesting to look at without taking the spotlight from the woman wearing it. And most importantly, when a woman chooses a piece, it should tap into some memory or sentiment of places, people and occasions that she loves.”

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INSPIRATIONAL MATERIAL: “It changes from season to season and year to year. This season, our inspiration came from the Southwest. The desert has a raw and rugged feeling that translated into rough-cut druzy, agate slices, crystals and spikes. Nature continues to inspire us. Green quartz, blue topaz, amazonite, and turquoise are the oceanic hues that we love. We also like iridescent and ethereal neutrals, including our signature white topaz, moonstone, and mother of pearl. Our Dew Drop collection is inspired by drops of water.”

COLLECTION’S EVOLUTION: “We started out with rougher cut gemstones and evolved to using more and more flawless gems. We have always been known for having a large variety in styles and colors, and more recently we have tailored the collections to reflect our favorite and most popular pieces, creating a more unified, well merchandised collection.”

Q&A GETTING PERSONAL WITH JACLYN STEIN

What is your favorite piece of jewelry to wear?
“At present, my moonstone Aztec collection studs and my London blue topaz Aztec pendant necklace.”

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
“Montreal. I love visiting family and friends that I grew up with and going back to my roots. Jewelry aside, Montreal bagels are the best!”

If you could have any other career, what would it be?
“A doctor. I look up to people who save lives on a daily basis. We like to support doctors with our Lifesaver Bracelets that are dedicated to raising funds for nonprofit organizations.”

What is something no one knows about you?
“I have come up with my best ideas while snacking on granola bars and toasted pita.”

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Beth Bernstein is a published author of three books and jewelry and fashion expert with 18+ years experience. A broad knowledge of the history of jewelry and fashion coupled with a background in "the story", writing, trends, design concepts has earned Beth a proven track record.

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