Fashion and Color for the Modern Vintage Diva
Brooklyn artist, Jody Lyons, launched Joli Jewelry in 1984 as an undergraduate after an unfortunate event where her costume jewelry was stolen. Her style is unlike any other as Joli Jewelry combines the “aesthetics of vintage and new, varied ethnicities, humor, and today’s fashion’s evolving colorations” to bring about “funky, modern-yet vintage limited edition pieces.” Jody thinks green and whenever possible, always reuses what already exists to contribute to recycling. She combines real vintage materials of old French enamels, vintage glass, or original plastics with modern components like semi-precious stones and metals. Her collection is currently being sold in boutiques and specialty stores including shops in the US, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Europe. Joli Jewelry mostly sells to boutiques, galleries, museum stores, as well as Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People on occasion.
After obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from George Washington University and New York University, she earned a Masters in Education and a Masters in Psychology at Columbia University. Even after getting those degrees, Jody realized that designing and making jewelry still captured her interest most. Though Jody never formally took any art or design classes except for a beginners design course and a year of art history, she credits most of her background to her artist mother, who exposed her to many cultures and the world of art when she was a child. Starting off, the Denim Floral Ring is a must have for the flower child in you as it will bring smiles while also matching with your jeans. This charming ring is made of denim quartz petals with a vintage plastic red bead center and a black resin band.
Some of Jody’s personal favorites are her wilder pins which are usually asymmetrical with a combination of different materials. Her favorite rings are those from the Satellite group, “with gobs of stones that reminds me of a honking diamond ring with a whole new twist.” The Satellite Dish Ring here is something Mademoiselle Chanel would have worn with its black gobs of smooth onyx stones and sparkling 1920’s – 40’s glass crystals and pyrite beads contrasting. This ring is both elegant and fun at the same time and looks great with a black cocktail dress. As for earrings, Jody prefers the Ballywood Earrings because they successfully combine a spectrum of bright and happy colors that compliments many things. We also selected one of Jody’s favorite necklaces, the Tulip Necklace, as our Editor’s Pick. This feminine piece is made of a double gold chain beginning its strand of petite amazonite, olive jade, and vintage plastic beads strung all along towards the center, with a centerpiece of deco glass, gems, and a delightful gold tulip bulb. A faceted orb of amazonite, along with red and green beads gracefully dangle down 1 1/2" along separate gold chains. The colors of cherry red, sky blue, and lime green reminds one of carefree Spring day. Even after creating this piece in seven different colors, Jody has not gotten sick of this necklace.
Many of her pieces are inspired by the architecture and fashion from different eras and cultures in New York City. Amongst her travels, West Africa was most influential for its overwhelming color and she described it as a “visual heaven.” She also greatly enjoyed the design and color she encountered in China and Bali, and the classic styles and eras in Europe. Joli Jewelry is a line that continually evolves by using new colors and combinations in its classic and popular pieces, as well as in new ways and designs. Rather than being focused on “the trend” of the moment, Jody is more devoted to creating fun and new pieces that people will feel comfortable wearing either today or ten years later. Jody is so voracious in wanting new colors and combinations that she actually has to curb herself to prevent her collection from becoming colossal.
Featured in Lucky magazine, the Jubilee Pin is a fun and funky pin made of deco glass from different decades and vintage plastics from the 50’s and 60’s. Featuring a detailed leaf as the base metal, this pin is layered with ornate glass and plastic beads, bright rhinestones, plastic florals, and concentric designs. This exotic and colorful pin with bold hues of red, blue, green, yellow, and gold will liven up any hat, handbag, or coat. Another lovely pin is the Petals and Scrolls Pin, showcasing Jody’s great talent for composition through her use of deco glass from the 20’s and 50’s, red jasper, and gold accents throughout. The large flower is made from red aventurine, casting a lovely burnt orange, while the background floral disc of sea foam green is made from Chinese turquoise.
A fun and flirty adornment is the Floral Mix Necklace, strung together with lapis, sunstone, bone, carnelian, metal, and enamel plastic from the 50’s. The striking midnight blue of the lapis stones draws attention to its collective cluster of a semi-precious stones, metal adornments, a silvery glittering bead, and a rose delicately sculpted from bone. The colors and floral aspects of this necklace makes this perfect with a simple tee and a pair of blue jeans. The most unique aspect of Joli Jewelry is the use of “genuine vintage materials and incorporating various types of materials like vintage and new glass to plastic and enamel with semi-precious stones and metals.” In order to make these designs work, Jody must come up with an original way to construct her pieces. Her customers are usually amazed that production can create multiple pieces of a particular style because the individual materials and components are often so old and unusual.
The Canary Necklace is unique and one-of-a-kind with its ornate strand built from vintage deco glass and plastic, bone, rose quartz, pearls, coral, and ivory. The centerpiece dangles a bright yellow canary made of bone, with a faceted rose quartz orb, and a brass flower silhouette. The sunny and soothing hues of yellow, lime green, coral, white, and brass with gold gives this a cheerful aura. Jody describes her style of jewelry as “Funky, vintage inspired. My favorite materials are usually anything vintage and really idiosyncratic. The more unusual the better!” After she creates the first piece, it is then handed off to her production team to artfully replicate the exact design. Jody finds inspiration for her ideas from any unusual, interesting, or beautiful components on the market, or lovely color combinations to intriguing shapes that excite her. An excellent example of this is the Dragonfly Pin, made of vermeil, enamel, and Chinese and coral beads. Its detailed vermeil wings hold art deco glass beads and coral stones, looking absolutely regal with its color scheme of soft purple, coral pink, and sky blue. After 25 years of designing and being in the jewelry business, Jody feels that her line is still filling a niche, and hopes it will continue to do so in greater volume in the coming years.
Lastly, we adore her Sea Treasures Leverback Earrings because they are classic yet creative and will surely compliment any outfit. These lovely earrings have a cascade of tiny pearls and coral beads with a large freshwater pearl at the bottom. The soft pink corals against the caramel briolettes with dark brown speckles contrasting the bright gold links and sheen of the white pearls are dazzling. Jody wants her clientele to know that she is not trying to recreate vintage. She purely loves the “aesthetic of a twist on the old, a curtsy to the classic while combining culture, texture, style and materials with exciting color mixes.” Each piece is a very personal process as her favorite pieces break new ground for her. Jody enjoys it when the “materials span different cultures, time periods and different materials of plastic, metal, stone, and glass, all coming together to form something that looks like it was meant to be put together in one harmonious whole.”