Empowered Women Empower: Linda Kozloff-Turner Pays Tribute to 100 Women Jewelry Designers
In this edition of Love Happens’ Empowered Women Empower series, join us for a peek inside the inspiring mind of Linda Kozloff-Turner, author of 100 Women of Jewelry and owner and lead designer of Christine Marguerite Designs. A jewelry lover since childhood, Linda’s passion for the beauty and story-telling ability of jewelry, coupled with her path as a woman in a male-dominated industry, led her to create 100 Women of Jewelry as a tribute to women jewelry designers, artists, and bench jewelers around the world.
Meet Linda Kozloff-Turner and Discover ‘100 Women of Jewelry’, A Collection of Inspiring Personal Interviews with 100 Amazing Female Jewelry Designers from Around the World
Love Happens: As our name, and the tagline of our publisher KOKET denotes, at ‘Love Happens’ we are firm believers that you cannot achieve any level of success without love. When did your love affair with jewelry begin? And how did it make you feel?
Linda Kozloff-Turner: My love affair started with jewelry as a very young child. There was a coveted dresser in our home filled with costume jewelry and on rainy New England days, I would go through each box, evaluate, and touch every piece of jewelry in there. I was very responsible! I can remember the smell of ancient perfumes and paper as I would carefully open each box, and then respectfully return it.
This was a ritual that I dearly enjoyed, and repeated many times over the years of my early childhood. How sparkly the jewels looked, and how some pieces came from relatives unknown, but their personality could still be perceived fascinated me. I would imagine where the piece of jewelry was worn, and possibly with what outfit.
On occasion, there would be a photograph of the person wearing the piece. The pungent smell of the cedar wood rose up into the air as if I had unleashed a history of stories from family members I would never know. As a child, these were many of the only memories I have of the family that adopted me.
Lh: What empowers you?
Linda: I feel empowered when I work, and my life’s accomplishments. I never stop! I have an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design with an emphasis on Jewelry, and a Master’s of Fine Arts Degree in Photography. Currently, I am finishing up my Graduate Gemology Degree with GIA and as I write this book, 100 Women of Jewelry I feel closer and closer to some of my life goals. Education, the pursuit of fine design, successful business, and continued development of my art processes gives me the courage, strength, and confidence to move forward in this life.
Lh: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Linda: My greatest achievement is the process of healing myself. Trauma can hold a person back in their life, and it takes a lot of guts to go after, and overcome, paralyzing trauma and move beyond it. I don’t let anything stand in my way, even if I feel fear. This trait is from the constant, and arduous work I have done for myself, my family, and my business.
I am a huge supporter of self-improvement. To be free of the past gives you permission to become the person you were destined to be, and is every human’s birthright. There is not a lot of time on this earth, and being frozen with trauma wastes a lot of precious energy. The ultimate revenge is to live a full life, and to not give your gifts away! I am never giving another inch of my life to fear. The best ‘you’ is what you define, which in turn, gives you great personal power.
Lh: Who is Linda Kozloff-Turner the Woman?
Linda: I am a multi-faceted human being. I am a mother, a wife, an artist, a designer, a writer, and a photographer. All of those skills have converged to be the primary factors that make up the person I call ‘myself’.
I want to be stronger, smarter, loving, and compassionate with every action that I take. To be remembered fondly is the ultimate compliment. I do no harm, as much as I can consciously enact. I’m quick with wit but spare no words when needed. I love a good laugh, great friends, and the simple act of cooking my family a beautiful meal. I surround myself with beauty, love, entrusted family, and I step in to help whenever needed. No one has to ask me twice.
My motto is, ‘You never know when you are having good luck’. It is imperative to see beyond the moment and grasp the bigger picture. Embracing a challenge is a refined skill, and my superpowers are my powers of observation.
Lh: Who is Linda Kozloff-Turner the owner of Christine Marguerite Designs and author of 100 Women of Jewelry?
Linda: As the owner of a jewelry design studio in Boulder Colorado, Christine Marguerite Designs, my commitment is to offer the highest quality jewelry made, in a price range that my clients can afford. I never try to be better than anyone else. That is wasted effort. In yoga, we practice closing our eyes to do a pose. There will always be someone better, or richer, or more beautiful. Don’t even look! I do what is right for me, and I practice that philosophy more skillfully as I continue to develop my business.
I love fine gemstones, and the energy that they emanate, and I offer ethically sourced materials. I love supporting local manufacturing and other local businesses. My team is small, intimate, and mighty. We all know what to do. I am the lead designer, my husband is the CAD artist, and I work with only a few local manufacturers that understand me and commit to the same business principles that I demand for my clients and in my work.
I have never felt comfortable creating a line for manufacturing that has to be less and less expensive. That is a race I cannot win. You come to me when you want the most unusual thing available, and I love a good challenge. I am a prolific artist and I tell all my students, even if you only do one thing for your art career a day, you will have 365 things at the end of the year.
And I have a very special charm that has been bestowed upon me…when someone is really really mean to me, something extra extra good happens! This is the power of being aligned with my work, and working to keep my energy in balance with the universe.
Lh: How do you empower other women?
Linda: I empower other women by telling their stories and by making them feel important, and that I support and believe that their experiences are valid. Creating a supportive community is a very powerful tool!
The book 100 Women of Jewelry was a blazing inspiration for me. Many events converged for this project to manifest. I had noted some differences in the way I was treated in the jewelry business as a woman, and I began to wonder if that was not the truth for other women as well. I was always naïve about sexism in the workplace because I had no one to talk to about these issues. For many years, I was the only woman on Pearl Street in Boulder in the 1970’s working as a bench jeweler and I paid hefty dues for that life experience.
In 2016 I made the decision to interview 100 women designers, artists, and bench jewelers in the jewelry industry and to unearth their stories. I approached the project as a court scribe, without being judgmental. I listened to 97 women jewelry designers (to date) describe their experiences while they developed and built their jewelry businesses. Some artists have found that being a woman is the penultimate advantage in being a designer. Some women made jewelry to save their lives and to support their families. And some women were made painfully aware of their gender inequality as they tried to further their careers in what was once a man’s world.
I also saw a lack of diverse representation in the jewelry world and I set out to address that issue. You can meet all the women I have interviewed on the front page of my website: womenofjewelry.com. What you will find is diversity in culture, style, and age. I wanted to represent a full spectrum of women artists. This was the only path I could see to obtain a broad understanding of what our industry has to offer us as women. I was very fortunate to find a photographer, Hardy Klahold, to work with me on this project. I also am very excited that Frank Stankus is our editor!
In the jewelry industry, it is all too common to present oneself as if everything is alright, perfect, and with no problems. That is the epic fail of today’s social media. When I start to reveal the stories of every woman, I also discuss their struggle, their pain, and their unerring commitment to success. This is where the real story lies. I now say that this is 100 women’s stories, that all happened to be jewelry designers. As a fine arts professional, it was also my intention to curate the largest exhibition of women’s jewelry to date. I intend to host this exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC in November of 2022.
Each volume will have a tribute. The first volume will be dedicated to Cindy Edelstein. And the second volume is dedicated to Professor Yupadee Kobkulboonsiri from FIT. Both women designers who passed away much too young and were greatly influential in the jewelry industry.
I do have a specific set of criteria for each woman I have selected and included. She needs to be currently working in the industry, a professional in every way, and then she needs to have a powerful story to tell.
Lh: What three pieces of advice would you give to a young woman starting her career?
1. Create an honest and feasible business plan. Being underfunded is the kiss of death for a beginning jewelry designer. There are dozens of hidden costs that do not appear until they demand your attention. Plan ahead!
2. Decide what constitutes your interest in the industry. Make sure you do your ‘due diligence. Study the market. Educate yourself in the jewelry-making process. Learn as much as you can. Knowledge is your greatest tool.
3. Find people that can support you emotionally and financially. Being around professionals that are positive and supportive is going to be your pillar of strength. Don’t rule out your connection community. Join like-minded groups, and be a part of something special that will bring to you more than you could ever imagine. And then when you get in a position to do so, give back to those who need it the most. Pass it on!
Lh: Do you have any mottos you like to live by? Or favorite empowering quotes?
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao Tzu
Never forget how fragile our time here is on earth. Keep things in perspective!
Lh: What’s next for Linda Kozloff-Turner?
Linda: What is next? My priority is to publish both volumes of the book 100 Women of Jewelry. And to establish the exhibition of all 100 women jewelry designer’s work at FIT.
Graduating this year as a Graduate Gemologist from GIA will be a lifelong goal, as I intend to add appraising to my skill set. I have other books I am writing currently, and the future holds a PhD in humanities.