Sarah Appleton may have a lineage of jewelers in her family, but her designs are completely her own. Introduced to jewelry at a young age by her mother, Appleton initially tried her hand at the craft by making her own silver trinkets. When she reached adolescence, her aunt began gifting her special one of a kind jewelry made by her uncle. His special Native American jewelry making techniques resulted in especially unique pieces, a sentiment and tradition Appleton carries on through her own jewelry line. Now based in Paris, the designer specializes in pieces that feature 18-karat gold and hand-selected diamonds. Appleton’s introductory collection is filled with clean, simple pieces that look to stand the test of time. We had the pleasure of chatting with the designer about her family’s trade, her eponymous brand, and the feeling of seeing her pieces worn.
What made you get into jewelry design?
My mother is an artist and a self-taught jeweler. I started making little silver pieces when I was very young. My uncle was also a jeweler who only made one of a kind pieces. My aunt, who’s a second mother to me, started gifting me special pieces of jewelry when I got to a certain age, the one-of-a-kind pieces my uncle would make.
And he made jewelry in a very traditional way. He didn’t use wax, he used bone to make the mold. It’s an old Native American technique; he trained in Santa Fe with two Native American masters. It inspired me, the beauty and the aesthetic and the preciousness that you have something forever It also pushed me into working with gold. I started taking classes and I started learning and learning. I started with earrings a long time ago before I was a company and then I fell in love and moved to Paris. To get into the network in Paris I did a very strict French formation of high jewelry and that was amazing. It was a whole different way of making jewelry.
I took the leap, created the collection, then I launched officially launched last year. Really I just fell in love with the tactile experience of it. There was something very calming and beautiful when you see the metal evolve through its different processes from start to finish.
Take me through the initial collection.
I hand make everything in Paris. Everything is 18-karat gold, all of the classic cut diamonds are FVS quality and clarity. My forms are a minimal and clean aesthetic. But at the same time, I keep the weight in the items. The forms are still solid and some of my pieces have ten grams of gold in them.
What are your favorite pieces?
Personally, I go from loving wearing diamonds then really only wanting to wear solid gold. So it’s kind of two contrasting sides of myself because I really like the aesthetic of just gold with no diamonds. The prime necklace is 4.2 grams, the aesthetic is clean, but at the same time it’s easy and there’s still a weighted structure to it.
The double chain necklace is also my favorite new piece. Basically there was a base collection and then in the past year I’ve finished the first collection. So I’ve added pieces over the last 2 seasons to finalize the first collection. Now it’s all cohesive. And I’ve also expanded on the marquee nouveautés in French diamonds.
They’re not the easiest ones to find even in Paris, especially in the color and quality that I like to work with. But there is something very beautiful about them, they just kind of float and have a nice shape to them. So I expanded that collection from last season to this season.
How do you feel when you see people wearing your designs?
It’s quite special because jewelry is very intimate. I guess being only a year old I still feel very honored and I love seeing the different types of women that love and buy my jewelry. I just made this piece in rose gold for a client and when you’ve been working on a piece and see it on somebody it’s a magnificent experience. I make everything myself by hand. I fall in love with the pieces.
Words by Adrian Nuñez
Photography by Iva Kozeli