Not this long ago I came across Joanna aka @fatf8ce on Instagram and Oh Dear…I suggest you follow her because a) her personal collection and style is so rad b) she’s also selling ah-mazing pieces from time to time so you don’t want to miss these out!
Today she is the next Jewel-Lover I want you to get to know about:
My name is Joanna Serven, I’m 30 years old and have been living and working in NYC for the past 10 years. If a decade in this city has taught me anything it’s that you need to find what you’re crazy about and immerse yourself in it. For me, it’s jewelry.
I’m a big phase person. Last year I was heavy into charms. I eventually got to a point where my “charm necklace” was complete in my own mind, and it was time to move on. I have since sold a lot of these charms and continue to try and find new homes for the rest of them. There are a few I’ll hold onto forever though: my beloved vintage number series…the 8s are my favorite (I was born in ’88!) and the 18K YG dragon charm (’88 was Year of the Dragon!). I’ll probably also hold onto the little lizard forever, it reminds me of my childhood.
This 18K YG Pisces pendant is a newer find and is sentimental to me because both my brother and I are Pisces! I am also in love with the hexagonal snake chain that it’s paired with in the below picture which I’ve nicknamed “Liquid Gold”. If I could drape myself in Liquid Gold chains, I would.
Right now I’m in a bit of a diamond phase. Great for me, not so great for my wallet ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
There are of course some overarching themes here that ring true throughout my jewelry phases: chunky high karat gold…that’s pretty much it. So, I guess just one overarching theme! Early on in my collecting life, I had a really bad habit of losing stuff. It honestly still keeps me up at night sometimes thinking about all of the family heirlooms I’ve lost over the years. If you’ve ever found an 18K baby signet ring in the bathroom of a bar in the East Village- THAT’S MINE!! Anyways, back to what I was saying, I had this bad habit of losing things. I’d leave the house with a hand full of rings and not even realize one was missing until I’d get home later and it was gone forever. Whats the answer to this problem you ask? Be more responsible? No. Buy heavier jewelry! NOW I can feel my jewelry- to know it’s still there! The heavier the better. Enter: chunky high karat gold. 22K is my favorite, but 18K will also get the job done. This way not only do I get to see the beautiful buttery pieces that I’m wearing, but I can FEEL them.
Feeling has a lot to do with my jewelry. Not just physically as described above in that brief mental rant, but emotional feeling. I’m not sure exactly when I starting making these deep emotional connections to jewelry but I’m pretty sure it started at a very young age (haha- this is beginning to feel like a therapy session!)
A lot of times I’ll find a piece and just feel an instant connection to it. It becomes special to me right then and there. Sometimes this bond fades, which is fine, but sometimes it doesn’t, and this is when the jewelry is truly special. A few pieces that fall into this category for me are:
Diamond Signet Pinky Ring– This ring is actually a conversion piece I had custom made. I had this plain, big, heavy 18K signet ring that I just for some reason never loved on my own hand. I think maybe it felt too generic for me- it didn’t have any spunk or personality. At the same time, I also had this bezel set 1-carat old mine cut diamond that was passed down to me from my late Great Aunt. The diamond had been in our family since forever, and on the occasion of her 50th birthday, we had the stone taken out of a ring and made into a solitaire pendant necklace for her. I loved the necklace, for its sentimental value, but it just was never really my style so I never felt right wearing it. I have to be in the mood to wear whatever I have on, on any given day, and this necklace just never fits any of my moods. One day, in a brief moment of genius, I was like “I NEED TO SOLDER THIS BEZEL SETTING ONTO THIS SIGNET IMMEDIATELY!” I rushed it over to one of my jeweler friends in the district, and voila- the rest is pinky ring history.
Diamond Pinky Ring Eternity Band- I have really small fingers, so its always really hard to find pinky rings that will actually fit! That’s a major problem for a girl that feels naked without at least three rings on her combined pinkies at any given point in time. So, basically, this ring was born out of necessity. I had it custom made (by my same jeweler friend!) and it’s now one of my most prized possessions. It’s 18K YG 1.60 ctw and a tiny size 2.5!
Pictured above are the two aforementioned pinky rings pictured together.
Chunky Gold Bands- These are a more recent acquisition of mine. I can’t even tell you how long I searched for a matching pair of bands exactly like this. I was actually on the verge of having a pair custom made when I stumbled upon these guys. I love them and can’t wait to put a big ol’ diamond eternity band in-between them eventually- going to have to save up for that one! They are 18K YG with a combined weight of 1.15 ounces.
Diamond Dangle Charms– I have four of these! A pair of .12ct dangles and a pair of .20ct dangles, both set in 18K YG. These were another custom project. I’m telling you, finding jewelers you know and trust will change your life- I promise. I wear these on my huggie hoops that I love! The huggies are from The Last Line.
The funny trend I notice only now that I’m writing this is that most of the special pieces that I’ve just listed are things I’ve had custom made. I do like designing stuff sometimes, but I’ll always be a collector first and foremost.
I somehow have been lucky enough in this life to work in the industry that I love and am so passionate about. Currently, aside from reselling, I am working as a Production Manager for a jewelry company in NYC. One of the great perks of my job is that I get to work very closely with talented and experienced jewelers in the NYC Diamond District. I genuinely enjoy getting to know them personally and learn from them professionally. It’s a real cast of characters over there and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Now back to my collecting…
Not to sound too self-deprecating but really one of the few things I’m naturally good at is finding cool stuff. I’m not sure if that’s really considered a talent but I’ve always thought of it that way. I’m not athletically inclined. Ask me to run a mile? No. I’m well educated, but am beginning to think I’m actually no longer capable of finishing a book cover to cover- I just lose interest! (That is actually so embarrassing to admit, I feel so ashamed). *I* think I’m pretty funny, but that probably depends on who you ask. But, tell me about something you’ve had your eye out for and goddamnit I WILL find it! Part of it’s just dumb luck, coupled with obsessive searching and just knowing where to look. The hunt for things is really what I enjoy most, which is what led me to start to resell. I found myself having this ever-growing collection of jewelry that I was just sort of sitting on. I would get something in my head, obsess over finding it, hunt, inevitably find exactly what I was looking for, and then (and this sounds so annoying so please bear with me) would be over it in like a weeks time. It’s probably some sort of character flaw, but one I hope my growing little customer base can benefit from! Everything I sell is something that I bought for myself. That sounds bad! What I mean is that everything I sell is something I would wear, and most likely have!
It’s jarring and somewhat intimidating to be asked the question “what does jewelry mean to you” because, well, it just means so much. It’s how I express myself. It’s how I comfort myself. It’s how I earn a living. It’s how I engage with others. Of course, jewelry has all of this inherent value just from the nature of its materials, but whats most valuable to me are the feelings it evokes. Every time I put my favorite rings on I feel like I am better equipped to take on my day. As soon as I put on that “Liquid Gold” chain I feel ready to go kick some ass and find some more cool jewelry. When I have all my gold on I feel a certain confidence that, if I’m being honest, I sometimes struggle to find anywhere else.
I’m so happy you asked me to do this, it’s really been an enlightening experience to sit down and write about what I love and why I love it. I’ve always had all of these thoughts floating around in my own head, but it’s really been something else to sit down and articulate it all. I’m just beginning to find my own way in this industry and this exercise has really helped bring me some clarity. For this, I thank you!!
Here are some more pics of some favorite pieces from my collection, both past a present!:
Vintage hoops- a mix of 18K and 14K.
14K Moon Hoops- people are always asking me to sell the big ones! I’m thinking about it!
Vintage and Custom Rings- rings were the first things I started collecting early on!
Vintage 18K and 14K charms and chains. The angel rosary is on an 18K YG wire wrapped Peridot beaded chain.
18K YG vintage chain and a 14K YG charm that accurately describes how I feel 100% of the time.
18K YG, Emeralds and Diamonds. What more can I say?
18K and 14K bracelets! I have really tiny wrists so some of these are actually necklace chains that I wrap around several times. Baby wrists need love too!
I love these hoops because they look like pasta. 18K pasta. Delicious! The Roman coin charms are vintage and I talked a dealer into selling them to me out of a Lot of otherwise really ugly scrap jewelry they were trying to get rid of. I’m so happy I rescued these guys from the melt!
All images thanks to Joanne