When a friend asked Anna Ruth Henriques to take a wax-carving class with her, Henriques, a painter, said she wasn’t interested in jewelry. But her friend told her it was an exercise in miniature sculpting that would expand her range.
“She was convincing,” Henriques recalls. “I took the class and the rest is history. I realized there was more to jewelry than simple adornment, that it could serve to empower the wearer beyond the material, that my creative energy and intention could be transferred to the wearer. That’s when it changed for me.”
Henriques, based in New York, hand-paints gemstones, which are then set into hand-carved settings cast into precious metals using the lost-wax method. Her organic, sculptural jewelry is as distinctive as it is wearable.
14K yellow gold Third Eye ring with diamonds (0.02 TCW), $3,600
14K and 18K yellow gold Night Becomes Her amulet with diamonds (0.35 TCW), $9,500
14K yellow gold Pebble Lotus ring with diamonds (0.04 TCW), $3,300
14K yellow gold Triple Web cuff with diamonds (0.15 TCW), $14,000
Q&A With Anna Ruth Henriques
How have places influenced your art?
I come from Jamaica, which has a rich visual-arts tradition and many cultures and beliefs melded together. I’m able to draw on them from a deeply personal space. I lived for five years in Japan. There is no other culture as appreciative of nature, as attentive to detail, and as understanding of how spirit is imbued in craftsmanship. My extended time in France and Spain gave me a greater sense of Western art, culture and religion.
What do you look for in gemstones?
I look for something unusual. Sometimes it’s the color; other times, an unusual inclusion.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My daughter, Ise. I take pride in having instilled her values, her discipline and sense of responsibility. The rest I’m in awe of — her drive and determination, her kindness and her compassion.
What jewelry do you wear that defines you?
I was never without my Web Star earrings, but a client bought them out of my ears. I couldn’t say no.
What is your next goal?
I plan to design another collection for a foundation to aid in the self-sustainability of those in need.
Web-Only: Quick Hits
Do you have a favorite gemstone? My favorite gemstone is a diamond, as it’s also my birthstone.
Do you have a secret talent? Healing hands.
What’s something most people don’t know about you? I organize Jewish tours of Jamaica and the Caribbean.
How do you relax after a long day of work? Yoga.
Favorite place to visit? Jamaica. It recharges me and reconnects me to everything that is important to me.
Best advice you’ve ever received? Follow your intuition.
Name a goal that has nothing to do with jewelry. Finishing my second book.
Guilty pleasure? I have no guilt over pleasure! I love chocolate and feel nothing but happiness when I eat it!
If you could time travel, where would you go? Jamaica before 1494, that is, before Columbus arrived on the island.
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 edition of INSTORE.