Looking to freshen up your jewelry lineup? Meet Andrea Linett and Ivka Adam, founders of Iconery, an online shopping platform that features a host of designers scouted out by the adorable—and successful—duo. Ladies, take it away!
What made you think the world needed Iconery?
Ivka Adam: As a lifelong fine jewelry fanatic, I’d longed for a single destination—a fun, accessible fine jewelry shopping experience—and I discovered that other women felt the same way. With the current trend toward buying fewer but higher quality things, I knew the time was right for a well-curated fine jewelry site. Rather than create a brand, I wanted to support the incredible established and emerging design talent that’s out there, some without their own online sales channels. That’s why I decided on the marketplace model, which I’m well-versed in from my time as a marketing executive at eBay. Iconery offers designers a low barrier to entry by providing them with complete end-to-end manufacturing and an online storefront. Jewelry makes people happy, and it’s a worthy investment, whether you’re buying it to mark a moment or just to express yourself. Iconery’s direct-to-consumer model, along with technology that enables our customers to semi-customize each piece, lets us keep our price-points low—it’s accessible luxury, and who doesn’t want that?
What were you both doing before launching Iconery?
IA: I’m a California girl with degrees from UCLA and USC with career that has taken me from Los Angeles to San Francisco. I’ve spent the past seven years in e-commerce, most notably at eBay, which gave me a knowledge-base of marketplace models and prepared me exceptionally well to launch Iconery. And eBay is where I met Andrea, who was the creative director of eBay Fashion.
Andrea Linett: My work history is all fashion-related. I started my career at Sassy as the fashion and beauty editor and then went to become an editor/writer at Harper’s Bazaar under editorial icon Liz Tilberis. But I’ve always been fascinated by how women actually want to shop, so I was super-excited to create Lucky with my friend Kim France. I was Lucky’s founding creative director and stayed for 10 years. Then I went to eBay and served as the creative director of eBay Fashion, where I got a ton of experience working within one of the biggest marketplaces in the world. It’s also where I first met Ivka! My blog, I Want To Be Her, is totally focused on personal style and shopping in a fun and friendly way, an experience we’ve also created at Iconery—it’s a cool yet non-intimidating place to shop.
Have you always been jewelry buffs?
IA: I take after my mother, a true jewelry connoisseur. She is always collecting packets of emeralds or rubies and working with designers to make one-of-a-kind pieces. She also grew up on an Indian reservation in Wyoming, and over the years has amassed an incredible collection of Native American pieces. Thanks to my mom, I’ve been surrounded by beautiful handmade jewelry since childhood, which is probably why I’ve always been drawn to authentic pieces and admire artisans.
AL: To say I am a jewelry buff would be an understatement. I would say I’m jewelry obsessive! My first piece of fine jewelry was a tiny amethyst and gold pendant given to me by a family friend when I was just a kid, and I thought it was the most glamorous thing in the world. Next was a gold puffed-heart necklace with a keyhole in the middle that my dad bought me for my 13th birthday (I picked it out!). I caught the bug and have been a collector ever since. I’ve got everything from designer pieces by my friends at Tenthousandthings and James Colarusso to silver and turquoise Native American jewelry to sculptural midcentury modern classics to sexy ’70s gold. And a whole lot more in between (Victorian, Georgian—even ’80s!). I’m very into old-cut diamonds, which were specially made to sparkle in candlelight and have a great antique look . I love my simple and very sparkly 1930s Tiffany old European-cut solitaire engagement ring, which is just so perfectly feminine and sweet. When it comes to jewelry, I just buy what I love—and that really is anything that catches my eye.
How do you describe your personal jewelry styles?
AL: Eclectic. I am all over the place with jewelry. I really don’t have one look except that I like to pile it on. I have so many favorite, sentimental pieces that I don’t like to leave them behind—an everyday look will usually include a Victorian 9-karat gold chain with my more bohemian Lou Zeldis turquoise and gold peace sign pendant on a brown cotton cord layered over a leather charm necklace filled with vintage and designer pieces by Tenthousandthings and James Colarusso. Then I’ll throw on my favorite Native American silver cuffs. Somehow it all works out. I much prefer this to rocking one single look.
IA: I think there are two kinds of jewelry people: those who put something on and never take it off, and those who like to mix things up every day. I’m more of the latter—my jewelry choices are an expression of what I’m feeling that day. Lately, I’ve been really into mixing yellow and rose gold!
Do you think the fast-fashion jewelry trend is going to end?
AL: I do think the whole giant rhinestone statement piece has seen its day. Like all trends, when it first came out it was a really cool look—“Wow, crazy-old-lady jewelry over a T-shirt!”—but now it looks a little common and played. I do like a lot of the copies of the big Louis Vuitton single earring, but, like everyone else, I’ll be tired of it in six months. That’s why I’m more into the real thing, which never looks dated or overly trendy.
IA: Many women reach a certain point in their lives and careers when they become more interested in “styling their lifestyle,” and defining who they are as adults. And there is a definite movement these days toward minimalism: having fewer, better things that “spark joy,” in the words of Marie Kondo, author of the #1 New York Times best-seller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Now when it comes to jewelry, women would rather buy investment pieces that mark special moments and retain their value.
Who are your jewelry icons?
AL: I have so many! I love old pieces by Astrid Fog for Georg Jensen, and in that vein, Jill Platner and the designers of Tenthousandthings are real bench jewelers. Of course I love Aldo Cipullo, the genius behind the Cartier Love and nail bracelets, as well as several other iconic pieces. I’m a huge fan of Janis Savitt, Lou Zeldis, and James Colarusso, who speak to me in that same Aldo Cipullo way. Sydney Evan does some great cheeky pavé pendants. There’s an amazing New York-based jeweler named Castro who makes incredible stuff—my latest piece from him is an articulated monkey-bear pendant encrusted in diamonds—truly amazing. I have way too many others to list here!
How do you #KeepItReal in your personal styles?
AL: Even though you sometimes need to mix in a few trends to keep things fun and fresh, I like to keep major fads to a minimum. I prefer classic pieces—and in this category I count my biker and suede fringe jackets!—to ones that will look old the following season. But I will change my silhouettes as I feel the need. Like all of a sudden, lower-waisted super skinny jeans feel wrong to me right now so I bought a few looser, higher-waisted ones. And I always, always wear my favorite jewelry, no matter what I’ve got on.
IA: I’ve always adhered to the lean closet/uniform philosophy. Most days you’ll see me in a silk button-down shirt, jeans and pumps. I get my style inspiration from my “cool girl” friends and a few select influencers: Andrea, of course—I wear her Joile/Laide line of tops and bags religiously—as well as bloggers Anine Bing and Anh Sundstrom.
What’s your favorite piece of jewelry you own?
AL: I have way too many to pick just one, so here are a few: My dad’s Phi Beta Kappa key that I wear on my favorite Victorian chain, my engagement ring, a Native American green turquoise pinky ring, a massive Tenthousandthings raw emerald pendant, an old mine-cut four-diamond ring, my James Colarusso chunky gold Star of David and ICON pendant—an Iconery exclusive—a gold Victorian snake bracelet with garnet eyes given to me by a friend…How much time do you have?!
IA: When I turned 24, I decided it was finally time to buy myself my first piece of real jewelry, a 14-karat yellow gold foxtail chain ring that I still wear every day. Two more that I’m partial to, both passed down by my grandmother: a vintage jade men’s ring that I wear on my index finger and an American freshwater pearl tin-cup necklace. I’ve been seriously coveting my mother’s Zuni squash-blossom necklace—I hope she’s reading this! But lately favorite piece is the gorgeous Anne Sisteron cushion-cut emerald ring that I bought when I founded Iconery, to mark the moment. It’s my startup talisman!
What’s next for Iconery?
IA: We plan to have a global presence. We want people to discover incredible new designers from all over the world, and we’re constantly on the hunt for new talent that we can support and cultivate.
AL: More excitement and more fun. We will be bringing on new designers and pieces you didn’t even know you wanted! That’s what we hope to do—inspire you to try new things and keep it fresh while keeping it real!