Today we’d like to introduce you to Diana Ferguson.
Diana, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I credit my “creative gene” to my birth mom, a fiber artist who owned a boutique on the island of Mykonos, Greece. Growing up with my family in the west suburbs of Chicago, I remember being the ‘different one.’ I felt I was meant to do something creative but I didn’t grow up doing anything especially artistic. I just always loved fashion, music, and pop culture.
With a BA in Art and after years in business (and a push from an insistent internal clock that chirp, chirp, chirped “life is short”), I began to fulfill my destiny as a full-time jewelry artist in 2008.
The rest is history. After several years selling a successful line of hand-woven chainmaille jewelry called Patina, I began experiments with paper and reactive metals. One thing led to another and the Petals to the Metal line was born. I also expanded to include a couture line of bead-woven jewelry called Adorn.
So far, I’ve sold over 2,000 pairs of individually handcrafted Petals to the Metal earrings to women from Chicago, Illinois to Paris, France.
My Crossroads pendant from the Patina Collection was selected to gift to Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, and ZZ Top among others at the most recent Crossroads Festival.
I’ve been featured in Showcase 1000 Beads, 500 Art Necklaces, Art Jewelry magazine, Wirework magazine and Arizona Foothills magazine’s Style Files, as well as in several style blogs.
Petals to the Metal is carried in select galleries and boutiques around the country.
And I’ve won a few awards… including Best of Jewelry at the Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival.
Has it been a smooth road?
Oh not at all! When I decided to pursue a career as a full-time jewelry artist, I took the thoughtful approach of weaning myself away from my full-time job as a publications manager for a local banking consulting firm. I went from full-time to part-time to contract work (thank you Company X), moving from step to step as my income from jewelry sales increased. Unfortunately, my timing was a little off. Shortly after I terminated my contract position, the Great Recession of 2008 hit. The result was about five years of financial pain unlike anything I’d experienced before. However, I toughed it out and am here to tell the tale. My takeaway is that if I could make it through that, I can make it through anything.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Diana Ferguson Jewelry story. Tell us more about the business.
A client recently mentioned she’s purchased four pairs of my Petal earrings and has bought them for all the women she loves. Another told me she adores her most recent Petals to the Metal earring acquisition. A third said it’s been fun to watch my work change over the years. I asked them what keeps them returning and they shared:
“Just when you think she can’t come up with something different, she does!”
“You won’t find prettier earrings! I love the way they move and sound, and that they are lightweight.”
“Your color combinations are exquisite. Also, your customer service is impeccable. You’re highly responsive, efficient and a joy to work with.”
It’s true. I pride myself in creating beautiful art jewelry but equally in taking the time to connect with my clients to answer all their questions and help them find the perfect piece for themselves or for gifting.
My jewelry is for women who:
– love wearing unique, handmade art jewelry.
– appreciate bold “art to wear” that dazzles and makes a statement.
– Like wearing neutrals, adding color with accessories.
– covet unusual jewelry finds (they are often asked, where did you get that?)
– enjoy a standout look, but appreciate comfort and versatility.
It’s my pleasure to design for “originals” who…
… love to express themselves with what they wear
… enjoy living life to the fullest
My customers are typically the “process” over “price” collectors who wear artisan jewelry because it’s a beautiful way to express their style.
I’m also very proud of my Petals to the Metal line, which is unlike anything else out there (a challenge, I think, to accomplish in the jewelry world). The line incorporates beautiful, intricate clusters that are visually hard to miss, but surprisingly lightweight and comfortable. The earrings are stunning from every angle and perfect for everyday wear or as an evening statement piece. This line came about as a result of searching for alternatives to expensive precious metals (which hit sky-high price levels) during the Great Recession. I began experimenting with reactive metals like niobium, titanium, and anodized aluminum, which introduced me to colorful jewelry, then, after watching a program called Between the Folds about Origami, on PBS, I began experimenting with paper and realized its potential for incorporating into jewelry. The road to Petals to the Metal was one of incremental steps of serendipity and experimentation. Great Recession, thank you!
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I believe consumers of all income levels are becoming more open to the use of, and to wearing, alternative materials in jewelry. Whether 3D printing, laboratory gemstones, alternative metals like niobium, titanium and anodized aluminum (e.g. David Yurman), the gates have been opened to interesting approaches to adornment, and I think there’s no going back.
- Earrings range from $88.00 and up, depending on the collection.
- Necklaces range from $200 to $1,000+, depending on the collection.
- Bracelets range from $130.00 to over $2,000, depending on the collection.