Treasure: Designer uses antiques in modern jewelry
Barbara Boz calls herself a “jewelry re-imaginist.” A longtime designer and antiques enthusiast, she decided to take her destiny into her own hands and act on the dream of her own line. Today, she designs four jewelry collections and owns and operates shops in Birmingham and Harbor Springs, where I stumbled on her by accident last summer and was intrigued by her works that incorporated antique, vintage and found elements.
Called “Found Objects Reinvented,” the line “mixes the beauty of the past and the freshness of the present to create original designs,” Boz says. She incorporates 19th- and 20th-century antique functional objects that have had a previous life, including match-safes, lockets, compacts, pocket watches, change-holders, mixing them with trade beads and eco-friendly reclaimed chain. “Ultimately, I transform the disparate elements in delightful, highly sentimental, one-of-a-kind masterpieces with a distinct modern sophistication,” she explains. Her work has been featured on the cover of the Oprah magazine and in “Scream 4.”
As part of an ongoing series about artists and craftspeople who give new life to vintage elements, we caught up with Boz to find out more about her work and creative process. If you’re still hunting for that perfect gift for the female antique lover on your list, it’s hard to imagine one who wouldn’t be delighted to find a work by Boz under the tree.
Q. How long have you been making jewelry? What’s your background?
I’ve been designing and producing jewelry for 10 years. My education and work experience are centered around commercial interior design. Previously, I was a partner at Ford & Earl Associates, a large interior design firm located in Troy. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to design a jewelry line. I think it was turning 40 that caused me to take a pause on my life direction. I thought that if I didn’t get started soon on my jewelry line, it wouldn’t happen. I remember thinking “Is this a book that needs to be written?” So a few years later, I took a deep breath and embarked on the life that is mine today - and I’ve never looked back.
Q. When did you start incorporating vintage pieces? Why?
I launched my Found Objects Reinvented collection a few years ago. Each necklace incorporates an antique vessel that had a previous functional reason for being. They include match-safes, snuff boxes, lockets, change-holders, compacts and more. Each chain is one-of-a-kind and is a concoction of antique, vintage, forged and found elements. I love the idea of creating a new hip, modern life for pieces that have so much authenticity about them but have lost their purpose and relevancy in today’s world.
Q. Where do you find inspiration? Where do you shop for vintage “supplies?”
I find inspiration from most everything I see on a daily basis – but mostly I find inspiration from architecture, nature and fashion. I shop for antique and vintage elements in every city I visit from Paris and London to Shanghai to Detroit, New York, Chicago and more.
Q. What do you think vintage adds to your designs?
Authenticity, karma, a hip attitude.
Q. Your favorite pieces in the vintage line?
My favorites are the animal vessels. I love the bears and owls.
Q. Where can people find your work?
At this point, I have chosen to sell my jewelry only at my two shops, Barbara Boz Boutique, located in historic Birmingham and Harbor Springs (closed for the winter). My website, BarbaraBozBoutique.com, shares the addresses, locations and hours for each.
Do you have an object you would like to know more about? Send a photo and description that includes how you acquired the object to firstname.lastname@example.org. If chosen you’ll need to bring the items to an appraisal session. Letters are edited for style and clarity. Photos cannot be returned.