Upon rounding a corner at last October’s bridal markets in NY, we happened across the most charming booth of exquisite, re-worked vintage jewellery. It was right then and there we knew we had to have designer Tanna Paradis’ beguiling pieces as part of our collection here at The Loved One.
The reaction to Tanna’s designs has been incredible, and it’s been our pleasure working with her to create custom pieces for several of our clients. We’re as enamoured with Tanna as all of you, and we wanted to find out more about her inspiration, craftsmanship and love of vintage.
The designer at work in her Philadelphia studio. Image courtesy of Tanna Paradis.
TLO - How long have you been making jewellery?
TP - I’ve always dabbled in making things, however I got serious about “making” as a business just over four years ago when I began selling bridal hair accessories repurposed from vintage baubles. When my brides began to ask for necklaces, bracelets and earrings to complement the hair adornments, I procured coordinating vintage pieces for them. Making my own jewellery evolved organically and I began to design more and more one-of-a-kind vintage adorned pieces. Though I never set out to make jewellery I’m so glad I did. It is one of my favourite aspects of designing the line.
A small assortment of Tanna’s repurposed vintage gems. Image courtesy of Tanna Paradis.
TLO - How did you get started? What was your initial inspiration?
TP - I have been drawn to vintage jewellery since I was a child. My grandmother had a jewellery box full of opera length pearls and sparkling rhinestone baubles. My friends and I played dress-up with them and I would spend hours designing the looks for runway shows we held in her living room. I kept some of my favourite pieces throughout the years and would wear them from time to time. I always re-fashioned them in some way. I wrapped the necklaces around my wrists as bracelets. I’d pin the earrings in my hair. When I got married in 2007 I took it a step further and hand-wired my favourite pair of her rhinestone earrings onto hair combs. I wore them just beneath my veil. The combs made me sparkle inside and out and became one of my favourite keepsakes from the day. It was my “Aha” moment. I thought perhaps other brides might get the same nostalgic feeling from wearing something truly vintage. It appears they have:) Two years later I traded in my corporate hat for a creative one and haven’t looked back since.
Vintage elements combine to create an opulent headpiece. Image courtesy of Tanna Paradis.
TLO - What do you use for inspiration when you create your pieces?
TP - A big part of my inspiration comes from the thrill of the hunt and the amazing vintage pieces I stumble upon. I go to flea markets, estate sales and thrifts every week. I never get tired of digging through mounds of old jewellery to find that perfect piece. I love finding that diamond, in my case “rhinestone”, in the rough. When I get home I lay the treasure of the day out on my work table and I start mixing and matching things together. It’s kind of musical in a way and when I lay the right pieces side by side “voila” - I know they were meant to be together.
A lovely piece, still in progress. Image courtesy of Tanna Paradis.
TLO - Your attention to detail is impeccable. Is this something that comes naturally for you or have you developed this over time?
TP - This is the highest compliment for me, thank you! One thing I appreciate most about the vintage jewellery I work with is the level of detail in each piece and the fine craftsmanship of past eras. I strive in my work to reflect this same level of detail and craftsmanship so that the pieces will continue on as heirlooms for future generations. Just like a wedding, it is the little details that really make an accessory special and unique. I think my obsession with detail is innate. At the finishing stage of each design I set the piece aside for a day or two and go back to it. This allows me to look at it with a fresh eye. It is easier for me to see any areas that might need that final touch. I probably spend too much time on this but it is critical to the finished piece that the little details are given the same amount of importance.
Detail of the beautifully crafted Vintage Genèvieve hair comb.
TLO - Do you have a favourite era of jewellery?
TP - Oh yes, I love the opulence of Art Deco and the jewellery that evolved during the Roaring 20‘s. It was such a carefree yet elegant time and the jewellery really reflects that. I always gravitate to pieces from this time period and you will definitely find Art Deco references in many of my creations. Right now I have a fascination with the Victorian era. The symbolism and romance seen in the jewellery from this period is timeless. We see it everyday from the use of monograms and initials to symbolic motifs like the heart. I’m toying with some designs right now inspired by the true lovers knot.
The Vintage Anaîs Bib.
TLO - You also work with brides to create custom pieces. Do you have a favourite custom piece?
TP - Each custom piece is like a child to me. I love each one and really have no favourites. I get very attached to each piece during the creative process so it generally becomes my favourite of the moment. I then get a little separation anxiety as it leaves the studio though I am overjoyed to hand over an accessory that the bride has likely envisioned for a very long time. I am always touched by how personal the pieces become for the bride and I feel so honoured to have played a small part in such a special day.
Custom shoe clips, created for a bride. Image courtesy of Tanna Paradis.
TLO - If you weren’t a jeweller, what alternate profession would you choose?
TP - I was in advertising prior to accessories design so in a way jewellery is my alternate profession and it is definitely my passion. In a fantasy world I would be a fashion editor at a large magazine. Ahh just imagine the trips to Paris and all the runway shows.
Tanna Paradis, in her Philadelphia studio. Image courtesy of Tanna Paradis.
TLO - Can you offer any advice to brides looking to accessorize on their wedding day?
TP - Follow your heart. Select pieces that you love and that you are comfortable wearing. Imagine your wedding photos and how your accessories will look in 10 years and again in 20. If the imagery makes your heart sing then it is the right look for you. Trends have their place but use them wisely.
We’re looking forward to bringing you more of Tanna’s lovely creations, and as always, we’re happy to work with you (and Tanna), to create something truly one-of-a-kind at your request. ♡
Unless otherwise mentioned, all images courtesy of The Loved One.