The Rural We: Joane Cornell
Joane Cornell began her career in fine jewelry in 1979, working with the well-established New York City jewelry equipment supply house I. Shor MFG., then heading to the renowned diamond/jewelry district of 5th Avenue/47th Street a few years later to learn jewelry-making from the ground up. Cornell permanently embraced the country life in 2002, moving to our area full time and opening Cornell Fine Jewelry in Lenox, Mass., where she became known for her unique pieces, most of them hand forged in her Richmond, Mass. studio. After 16 years in the Berkshires, Cornell recently moved her boutique to Columbia County. She opened her new shop, GLINT, on 9 Main Street in Chatham on March 15 and is excited to talk about her current passion projects, five brand-new design collections.
I love being in the country. I was in NYC working full time since 1974, but when you get older it’s not the place to be. When I moved up here, just the lack of brick and mortar and noise, my design capabilities and abilities exploded. It was like seeing color for the first time. I designed a lot at first, and I only started to hand fabricate a couple of years ago. The construction, the architecture, came so easily to me. It was another step forward in this amazing journey.
I work seven days a week and it’s my passion. I import stones from dealers I trust, and I’ve developed relationships, so I get ethically sourced stones directly from Pakistan, India, Indonesia and Afghanistan. I collect stones voraciously. My collection can sit for a month, six months or a few years before they’re used in a design process. As my style evolves/transitions and defines itself, what I might have used the stones for six months prior will change completely as I explore a new concept.
I love doing commission work. I have a calendar right on my website where anyone can make a private appointment with me. My pieces are one-offs, no repeats. I respect my customer base. There’s no mass production or factory line, like many high-end New York City designers/manufacturers. Every piece of mine is given a lot of thought and energy.
At the moment, I’m working on five individual design collections for a 2018/2019 debut. In the last two years, I started to build a younger, edgier line with more black metal and different colors. This new line is gender-fluid jewelry. I’m also working on a tabletop line, which is in the design concept stage, and will utilize precious and semi-precious metals, and a smattering of semi-precious stones. It was inspired by the flora in the Berkshires/Columbia County regions.
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