Ann Dexter-Jones wears many hats - a long time New York City socialite, a mother to a flock of famously creative minds, an established writer, and a spiritual "Reiki master." Now, after establishing her brand "Ann Dexter-Jones," the British-born New Yorker can add fine jeweler to her list. We talked to Dexter-Jones and her daughter, Annabelle, in their lovely downtown duplex.
Dexter-Jones has crafted a line of American-made bracelets and necklaces, with styles pleasurable to both the Upper West side socialite and the downtown rocker, for women and for the "very secure man."
In fact, Ringo Starr wears one of her star-shaped chain linked necklaces while performing -- and he's not the only one admiring her designs. High brow boutiques like Colette in Paris and Maxfield in LA carry her pieces.
The line is almost three years old now, yet has been kept exclusive to stores Dexter-Jones approves of, and to her string of famous friends and family, of course.
So why jewelry? It all started with her fascination with the simplicity of the ID bracelet. She fawns over just the notion of it, "The whole culture behind the ID bracelet in America, how romantic it is, how the boy gives it to the girl during the 'school days' years. I really love it."
She kept coming across the ID bracelet, in other parts of the world as well:
"At the time when my husband [rock star guitarist of Foreigner, Mick Jones] was touring, I would be in different countries and continents and browse the flea markets. I would come across these different shapes of ID bracelets -- perhaps I would be in Asia and would find an oval shape or a different stone."
Finally, she took the dive and decided to make one for herself,
"I thought, 'Wouldn't it be fabulous if someone brought out an ID bracelet that was silver with yellow diamonds?' Well, then I thought, that's silly. No one is going to read your mind. So I went to a friend who is a jeweler, and found an artisan to make my own bracelet."
"While at a wedding, Kate Moss admired the bracelet, begging her to make her one, and after some convincing she decided to start her very own line."
The on-the-run mother says her children each have their favorite design:
Actress Annabelle Dexter-Jones loves the peace sign over-sized bracelet, and the deep blue ID bracelet.
Charlotte Ronson, a designer in her own right, prefers the pink opal ID bracelet with rubies.
Talented musician Alexander Dexter-Jones sports his own creation as well.
The creative gene has been passed for generations it seems, as Dexter-Jones' grandfather was also a jeweler in Austria, though she did not know him. She adds a special touch to her creations-- as a "Reiki master" she energizes her stones, giving them good vibes. This is a power she has harnessed, as she volunteers her time working at pediatric hospitals as well.
Dexter-Jones is a woman who absorbs inspiration from other mediums. As she dangles an over-sized gold watch bracelet with a black onyx face and hands that permanently read midnight, she explains
"It's called The Midnight Hour after the Wilson Pickett song, and it's always set to midnight so you never have to leave the party."
Annabelle, Dexter-Jones' "assistant," lets her mom know when something is working, and when something isn't.
"We bounce ideas off each other," says Annabelle. "It's good to have another eye look at your work," her mother agrees with a smile.
Dexter-Jones, known for her fabulous brunches, named a few of the guests she would have at her ultimate soiree. Among them, Billie Holiday, William Yeats, Ghandi, John Lennon, Elie Wiesel, Bob Dylan, and Coco Chanel.
As far as her advice to her children, and to everyone for that matter, "follow your dream, it's very important."
Photos by Sebastian Slayter
Friday, May 24
We sat down with Anne Pasternak for a few questions about Creative Time's past and future, as well as the importance of having an awareness about public art in the city.