I first discovered jewelry designer Josette Redwolf on social media a few years ago. I found her pieces beyond intriguing; not to mention the fact that they were big, bold and beautiful. I was attracted to their earthy quality, too. They reminded me of home.
Home being Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I’m originally from. So, I guess it made sense that I would gravitate toward Josette’s designs. They evoked images of the high desert to me, especially the shapes, colors and textures. I’ve always believed that “The Land of Enchantment” is a unique, one-of-a-kind place and that’s exactly the way Josette describes her jewelry.
Even though I loved her adornments for all the aforementioned reasons, there was something else about them. Something much deeper, something much more profound that drew me to her designs, but I wouldn’t figure that out until later.
First, Josette and I would go on to do a creative collaboration together. An editorial shoot, if you will, dubbed “Gems In The Magic City.” She made the most magnificent jewelry for the lay-out and I did my best to model her beautiful baubles. The day was beyond glamorous, with sparkling jewels and the spectacular skyline of Miami glistening in the background. I knew the pictures would be special.
Before we started, though, I had my druthers. Josette’s pieces have a big, unapologetic presence to them (along with their own personalities) and I worried that my slight frame wouldn’t wear them well, but once Josette draped them around me, I felt divine. As big as they were, I didn’t feel as if they were wearing me. Instead, I wore them, in all their wonderment. Maybe it’s because…
Josette’s inspiration comes from Mother Nature herself, in all its glory. She mines the majority of her own stones from around the world (including my beloved Southwest.) She gravitates toward different forms of turquoise and precious stones. When she finds a rock that she wants, she designs around it, using it in its most natural state. She basically takes a piece of the earth and builds around its beauty.
That’s why all of her pieces are one-of-a-kind, or limited editions. No two pieces are alike. Sure, some could be, say, similar, but for the most part they’re each unique, unusual and unexpected in their own special way.
After our collaboration, Josette and I would go on to build a lovely friendship. Yes, we cared about one another’s careers, but once again, it was deeper than that. Over the years, I would learn that she was a former model; she had experienced fame at its highest level because of her profession and close friends. What’s more, she had struggled immensely with her health.
She had literally experienced the majority of the things that I was currently going through and I loved her perspective and advice about it, which was/is a positive “been there, done that, got my T-shirt” kind of attitude. Our similarities, at least to me, seemed like no coincidence.
The universe had literally brought two women of the earth together. I say “earth” because Josette creates from it and I was raised a desert girl. I like the clay, the dirt and the sand. I even like and long for the way the wind sounds when it blows through the flatlands of Santa Fe and slaps its way around the upper coral-colored mesas, as if it’s looking for a long-lost friend.
Josette and I would trade modeling stories, we commiserated about our health (I had suffered a few painful years of GBS/CIDP, she suffers from an autoimmune/connective tissue disorder.) Every time we see one another, we talk continuously about absolutely everything, with no boundaries whatsoever and strangely…
Not ONCE during our friendship has Josette ever asked me for anything. EVER. She’s never requested a feature story on Deco Drive, she’s never asked me to blog about her (I didn’t even tell her that I was writing this story until the 11th hour. Btw, she was surprised, grateful and generous of spirit, as always.)
Josette has never requested movie tickets from me. She’s never begged me to introduce her to a movie star that could further her professionally or personally. She’s never asked to be privy to my valuable celebrity contact list (that has taken me a career to build) to help promote or advertise her jewelry. She does however, from time to time, provide jewelry for Lynn and I to wear on Deco Drive, but she only does so per my request.
Don’t get me wrong, my business is all about making contacts, developing stories, looking for creative ideas and making them happen, but not everyone has boundaries when they want something. The only boundary Josette has ever crossed is the good kind. She opened up her heart for whatever reason and loved me for me. Not the television me, not the movie critic me, not the model me, just ME. That’s a rare and beautiful thing (just like her jewelry.)
For the record, Josette’s jewels are, indeed, worthy of a story, worthy of a blog (one I should have written a long time ago.) Her pieces are pure, organic, raw and beautiful, just like her.
The key to wearing one of her statement pieces is to “Get A Piece Of The Rock” and not be afraid of it. More is more with her jewelry. Sure, you can build an outfit around one of her necklaces or bracelets, but I find the colors and textures complement almost anything you wear, planned or unplanned.
With her bolder pieces (pictured in the blog,) I prefer to keep the look clean and contemporary. A white tank top is the perfect backdrop for anything big and dramatic. Pairing it with your favorite pants or jeans gives the look a causal sex appeal. If you’re in a colder climate, you can wear a basic black turtleneck and pop it with one of Josette’s colorful pieces.
You can also mix and match her creations. Despite being different, each piece (when worn together) manages to balance the others out, creating a look of artistic harmony. If you prefer to keep things simple, you can never go wrong with one of Josette’s cocktail rings. They’re so unusual, any time I wear one it single-handedly steals the fashion spotlight, even when I’m wearing my best pair of shoes!
I’ve literally, at parties and dinners, taken a many of her rings off my fingers and gifted them to girls who fall into this deep, dazzling, “desperate to have” trance when oohing and aahing over them. And who am I to stop a lady from longing for, loving and cherishing jewelry?
When Josette stops by the Deco Plex, to drop off jewelry to wear on the show, it’s always a treat. No matter how hurried or hectic my day is, she brings peace and positive energy. I’m immediately relaxed in her presence. Lynn nicknamed Josette ‘Mother Earth’ and for good reason…
Sometimes, feeling special, unique and unusual is hard in fashion. Because style, for whatever reason, as of late, isn’t always about standing out, it’s more about the masses fitting in and that’s just not how I’m wired. I have a feeling, if you read my blog, you’re probably the same way, too. And Josette’s jewels are NOT about blending in, they’re about boldly standing out.
Her pieces are the perfect mix of everything most of us long for in life, metaphorically speaking. When I “Get A Piece Of The Rock,” I know that I’m wearing the strength and goodness of the earth, the essence of life’s unexplainable beauty and most importantly, I know I’m wearing love; healing stones, if you will. Josette makes her jewelry with an unwavering, unconditional, undeniable love and that’s why she, along with her cool creations, are one of my favorite things.
FB Josette Redwolf Designs
FB Shireen Sandoval
photography by tod p/t4twophotography
Editor: Matthew Auerbach