7 Questions With Jewelry Designer Maria Canale Of Forevermark
Maria Canale, lead jewelry designer for Forevermark, returned to St. Louis to mingle with her customers at a trunk show event at Neiman Marcus on Friday. We met with the design vet—who has worked for Tiffany & Co. and Harry Winston—while drooling over her lust-worthy fine jewelry pieces.
ALIVE: How did you get your start as a jewelry designer?
MC: I started working at the bench when I was 13 years old. I worked with Tiffany’s and did most of their major collections for about 25 years. I draw and paint all of my designs and I love what I do. This collection is great because instead of being behind the scenes, it’s something I could put my name on.
ALIVE: Who’s the typical client for this line?
MC: It’s jewelry I really want women to wear. Most of my clients are women buying jewelry for themselves, which is a beautiful thing. There are a lot of very successful women. She’s the same client in every city; she’s a lawyer, or she’s just sold her start-up and she loves to wear jewelry.
ALIVE: Tell us a little more about the collection.
MC: It’s steeped in art deco, but we also have some softer floral pieces and a few more trendy pieces. It’s a very broad collection. Working with diamonds is great because there are all different kinds and colors. The Forevermark stones are cut really well and because I started on the bench, I’m a stickler for quality.
ALIVE: What is special about working with Neiman Marcus exclusively?
MC: They have great sales teams; it’s a great place to build a brand, and the customer base is phenomenal. The stores can act autonomously and they’re happy to have you work with their customers. The bottom line is the salespeople don’t want to sell anything that’s not well-made. It’s all about the customer.
ALIVE: Have you been involved in any other interesting projects recently?
MC: I was a part of the Fabergé Big Egg Hunt in New York last spring. I did an egg—it was very art deco-inspired–with 100 sterling chains on the tassel. My egg was at the Regency Hotel. The eggs were all over the city and everyone had an app on their phone which gave you info when you “cracked” the egg. It was like a treasure hunt. The eggs were then auctioned for charity.
ALIVE: If you could have any celebrity wear your jewelry, who would it be?
MC: I would love it if Cate Blanchett were to wear my jewelry. I really think she’s great. We were thrilled to have Jennifer Garner wear our yellow diamond ring to the Academy Awards. I love her!
ALIVE: I know this is like asking you to choose a favorite child but do you have a favorite piece from this collection?
MC: I’m wearing one of my favorite pieces. I like it because it breaks apart and you can wear it so many ways. It’s a long necklace, with 27 carats of diamonds, and it can be a shorter necklace with two bracelets, or wrapped around twice. It’s very easy to wear.