Penny Preville has been designing jewelry for decades. But when she talks about her art, she has all the enthusiasm of the little girl who loved nothing more than playing in her grandmother’s jewelry box.
“My father’s mother had really beautiful jewelry — Tiffany, Cartier, beautiful gemstones, pieces that just evoked so much emotion,” she says. “They were really magnificent. It was special. It really sparked my interest. I just started taking costume jewelry apart and making things.”
Her jewelry captures the opulence and grandeur of another era, one seen partly through the rosy glasses of memory, but also through dedicated research into foreign cultures and lost worlds.
“I’m very inspired by the history of art and past cultures,” she explains. “It’s kind of like imagination, falling in love with what I think is beautiful in those eras or cultures, and then making it into a piece of jewelry that a woman can wear and feel it become a part of her, adorn her.”
Preville’s collections will be on display during a one-day champagne-and-sushi trunk show at Alson Jewelers this Saturday, Nov. 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. We asked her for a few of her favorite pieces from the upcoming show.
Diamond Bangle Bracelet: “It’s very simple: It’s pave, with a twist and engraving on the side. But it’s so classic — you could wear it with shorts and a bathing suit, or you could wear it black tie. It’s just something [where] you put it on every morning, and you’re dressed.”
Garland Band: “One of my favorite pieces, one of my signature pieces. When I started I did a garland collection that’s all leaves and flowers. I love it. That’s one thing that I wear all the time.”
Feather Earrings: “I love feathers. That goes back to when I first started and I was in love with American Indian jewelry, when I was still in college, and I would make feathered earrings and wrap them in leather. Now it’s with diamonds,” she says with a laugh.