When Professional Jeweller was asked if they wanted to meet Sydney Evan founder Rosanne Karmes, they jumped at the opportunity to meet the jewellery designer who is putting the fashion into fine.
Sydney Evan was founded in 2001, but Karmes’ jewellery journey started long before that.
In her senior year of high school Karmes started working in the fine jewellery industry at a company which she stayed at for eight year.
Being the loyal person that she is, when Karmes was ready to move on from the business she went into a different arena because she didn’t want to take any business from her boss who she is still good friends with now… 35 years later.
“I opened up a show room representing fashion jewellery and accessories instead… the total opposite. So I took brands and really grew them big and I was selling them to all the different great stores all over the world.”
Karmes continues: “17 years later I got married to my husband and had Sydney and then I had Evan and two or three years later when Sydney was three and Evan was two I launched the brand thinking ‘You know what, people are selling this sterling silver jewellery for almost $800, I could make gold and diamonds retailing for under $300 and under $500’.”
And thus her fine jewellery brand was born.
Why did you choose to go into fine jewellery?
I used to spend all my money in fine jewellery and give my boss my pay check back all the time, but I never felt guilty about buying jewellery because I knew if I was ever in trouble I had something that had intrinsic value. I knew I could enjoy it and sell it if I ever needed to and so I launched the brand Sydney Evan in 2001 and 14 years later I’ve started a lot of trends… and I say it very humbly… we did trends I never knew in a million years be so big.
What did your jewellery range start out with?
The first thing I started out with was a diamond horse shoe; I started off with all lucky symbols and then a diamond heart. Everything that had sentimental feelings, superstition, protection…
When I launched the beaded bracelet with diamond charms 10 years ago customers questioned who would buy a beaded stretch bracelet with diamonds on it because they feared it would break and they would lose diamonds. But, I make these things stronger than any chain bracelet known to mankind. They have less breakage than any other bracelets in the line which are made in gold and silver.
The beaded bracelets are very me. They are easy and I have people that collect them. It is so great that you can put any diamond charm on any bead and each one is made to order. We are like the house of custom. My last appointment said I was the Queen of Custom… and it is true you can order anything any way and my husband jokes ‘Yeah, you’re like Burger King, you can have it your way’, just a little bit more money than Burger King but I can’t say no to people.
After charms and beaded bracelets what range came next?
So then I did what I am most known for besides the eye… the Love collection. I started in 2008 a large Love script in my handwriting, and that one is the most number one knocked off piece in my whole line and has been for years.
And then I did the ring and split earrings and a lot of things with love because love never ends… love is forever… there is nothing better than love… love is in the air… I mean it goes on! So the jewellery comes in lots of different ways. The ring went off the chart when Lauren Conrad got engaged last year, she instagramed her engagement ring and my ring was right next to it, I had no idea she had one, then my website crashed, and articles appeared with editorial about what happened, the ring she wore and then lookalikes underneath it.
What’s the vision for your jewellery?
What I do best is my charms and my layering and the mismatch of studs and how you can take any charm and have it as an earring or a bracelet or pretty much anything.
It’s all about feeling good and layering. I don’t feel like I’m solving the world’s problems, I’m not doing brain surgery, I’m not saving lives but I am definitely making women happy one piece of jewellery at a time. That’s what really makes me feel good. It is about empowering us to not wait for a guy to buy a piece of jewellery and to buy something that has intrinsic value. I feel like I was very involved with this movement… making jewellery affordable and fun and still talking to every person. A five year old to a 95 year old could wear the line. It can be passed on
It’s not about people pleasing, I want there to be something for everybody. I don’t want anybody to walk away and say they can’t find something.
Can you explain to us about your Mammoth collection?
I wear my woolly mammoth bracelet almost every day because it goes with everything. When I first saw the material years ago, I thought to myself dinosaurs and diamonds. And there are no two alike so for any woman who likes things that are very unusual, this is perfect as nobody can have the same one. I make 10 different styles of it – narrow, wide, one row of diamonds to the big mamma one.
As your jewellery is all about meaning, which one is most meaningful to you?
When I started to do my own line, I thought these evil eyes and hamsa’s are fantastic… I’m not religious but I’m a little superstitious. My mum used to sow red on my clothing and on my brothers for protection. So when I had Demi Moore’s manager come to me, wanting me to make Christmas gifts for her three daughters, and they were into kabala, I thought about my mum and the red, and then I had these hamsas, and I thought – this could be a double protection bracelet, instead of that ugly red string that these people are wearing from kabala’s they could have something for life to protect them. It’s one of the least expensive pieces in the line but it is the most meaningful to me.
What direction are you taking your jewellery in next?
I don’t ever really know, I just keep making more jewellery. I’ve been full force 70s for many years now as that is my era. I think as jewellery starts to go bigger, I will probably not go in to that game because I’m not into the really big stuff. I like to do my interpretation on something. I try to get the look of whatever the trend is but done in a way that is more updated, more delicate, but still making a statement.