Michelle Fantaci Jewelry
New York Artisan Spins Fine Trinkets of Gold
“Rich yet effortless, Michelle Fantaci’s collection of fine jewelry evokes lost treasure and organic elements.” Launched in 2007, Michelle Fantaci Jewelry is best described as feminine but edgy, personal, and meant to be worn anytime. She uses all precious metals with gold being her favorite metal because it is so easy to work with and strong. Fantaci also enjoys using hard stones like sapphires and diamonds but finds opals entrancing as she has used them in one-of-a-kind pieces. All pieces are hand-crafted from start to finish in New York City. “From Sicilian arrowheads and Spanish Coins to beveled mirrors and shooting stars,” each piece is contemporary and timeless. Fantaci, a Brooklyn native, began designing and making jewelry at age fifteen. “Anything made for someone to wear or live with that is also beautiful is really inspiring to me,” she says. Her collections have been spotted in top fashion publications like Lucky Magazine, Elle, W Magazine, and more. Michelle Fantaci Jewelry currently features four collections; La Prima, L’Avventura, Eclipse, and La Notte.
Fantaci has always been creative as she did studio arts when younger and loved everything about design whether it was apparel, jewelry, accessories, furniture, lighting, or ceramics. Aside from her incredible talent, she also speaks Spanish and Italian. Fantaci studied jewelry making in high school and later metal-smithing and design in Florence, Italy during college. She also studied art, history, and print making. Post-college, she worked on the production side of jewelry at Me and Ro and later went on to become the Jewelry Manager at Steven Alan, which taught her business from the vendor’s side and with the market. It was only while she was studying to get a Masters in Interior Design at Pratt that she considered starting her own jewelry line. “I had missed working with my hands and having direct contact with the design, the piece. So I left Pratt after the first year and started developing the line,” she says. Fantaci’s personal favorite is her Moreau Cocktail Ring because it is a bold, strong piece without trying too hard. This cocktail ring makes a powerful statement as the matte onyx has irregular facets and is custom cut by a master lapidary (photo courtesy of David Lewis Taylor).
Another piece that Fantaci favors is the Black Spanish Coin Necklace, featuring a rugged oxidized silver coin set in a delicate 14k yellow gold bezel and meant to hang long on its 26” 14k gold chain (photo courtesy of Kurt Mangum). She adds “The black Spanish coin is a special piece, interesting and still very easy to wear. It is from a 400 year old coin that has been shaped by age into the current organic form it has.” Cast from a 17th century Spanish coin, the remnants of a crown and initials are visible. In coming up with ideas for designs, Fantaci might start with a shape or feeling and then try to follow a theme for a design group so that all pieces in the group relate. She shares, “For example, L’Avventura Collection is inspired by a Michelangelo Antonioni film from the ‘60s. It takes place around Sicily and the Aeolian Islands so I tried to channel the feeling or mood of the movie for that group and have each piece relate in some way.” She sketches most of her pieces, then proceeds with a precise drawing in plan and elevation (similar to a floor plan) followed by the design in wax.
A stunning piece is the Thorn Earring with Chain because they are both feminine and edgy (photo courtesy of Kurt Mangum). The thorn curves with your ear and the chain shimmers and sways as it hang while connected to the backing of the earrings. Made of 14k yellow gold, these earrings are unique and sure to become a favorite for everyday wear. Michelle Fantaci Jewelry is unique from other jewelry designs because Fantaci can take liberties with her designs and improvise if an interesting form or detail takes shape unexpectedly since she is the model maker working with her own designs. “So each design is a little journey. I’m open to the line evolving without predetermining a style it must follow but the intention is always for the wearer to have something you never take off that can be incorporated into your style and reflect your style in a way that’s personal to you,” she adds. Fantaci is the sole designer and model maker of all the jewelry in her line. All pieces are made in New York City, first cast and then finished by some of the best polishers and stone setters there. She also has a great sales team and continues to live in New York because she loves the New York energy. Fantaci enjoys traveling to her other favorite cities, New Orleans and Los Angeles. There is no denying that she is a city girl and simply cannot help it. We love her style for its delicate and feminine side with an edge. The Estrella Cuff is a perfect example of such talent with its sculptural and dainty cuff that is accented at the ends with diamond stars. Inspired by shooting stars, this cuff is 14k yellow gold with .08 carat white diamonds (photo courtesy of David Lewis Taylor).
Numerous celebrities have been spotted with her pieces, including Reese Witherspoon who wore the Dove Phoenix Necklace in an Elle shoot (photo courtesy of Kurt Mangum). The 14k yellow gold pendant has two sides: the recessed dove among the branches and the phoenix in bold relief. This gorgeous piece hangs from a faceted yellow gold bead chain. Out of all her travels, Fantaci found Spain and Italy to be the most influential simply because of the people, beautiful places, and the food. Her favorite jewelry designer is Danyell Rascoe for her refined, sensitive aesthetic. In her spare time, Fantaci enjoys sharing a good meal with loved ones. Fantaci is involved with charity as she donates jewelry to auctions for various fund raisers, such as Sanctuary for Families and NYU FACES for epilepsy research. Looking ahead to the future, she hopes to branch out into men’s jewelry and start doing more custom work for private clients. She says, “I like working one on one with clients to make something that’s special to them. When they are happy, I am very gratified.” Michelle Fantaci Jewelry introduces new collections annually.
In parting Fantaci shares, “Don’t save your jewelry for a special occasion! Enjoy it! Even most of the dramatic stuff can be worked into a regular rotation, except maybe a tiara.” Michelle Fantaci Jewelry is sold at Eva Gentry, Broken English and michellefantaci.com