Our new Celebrity Style Crescent Ear Wrap makes its debut! This is another collaborative design project between my husband Art and myself.
In late fall of 2013, R&B musician Janelle Monae’s stylist contacted us to create a custom ear wrap design for Janelle to wear on her 2013 fall tour. Though the tour was only a few weeks away and I was out of town on a family emergency, I managed to draw up a series of rough sketches on notebook paper and cocktail napkins. I e-mailed my design sketches to Art, and using his computer graphic skills, he magically made them look professional. Art added a few of his own designs to the packet we sent to the stylist, and she later confided in my that she liked his “Crescent with Large Forward-Facing Cubic Zirconia (CZ)” the best. When I finally returned home, I immediately sat down at my design table and and spent an intense weekend carving Art’s design into wax.
In the end, the commission didn’t come to fruition. By the time the piece was complete, Janelle was already on tour, and her crew was busy setting up shows and making sure she looked her best (though we still feel she could do more in the ear warp department!). nevertheless, we liked the design so much that we went ahead and added this Celebrity Style Crescent ear wrap to our collection.
One thing that many folks may not know is that Janelle was not my first high-profile customer. In fact, I designed the Crescent and the Moon Ear Wraps that pop/rock musician Prince wears. I don’t recall the exact year that I made the connection with Prince, but it was sometime in the mid 1990’s during the Maryland Renaissance Festival. My manager at the time was a friend of a graphic designer who did work for Paisley Park Studios, a music studio complex owned and operated by Prince.
The graphic designer purchased a sterling silver Wave Ear Cuff from my booth and wore it back to studio where Prince noticed it. Prince apparently liked it a lot, and the designer returned the following weekend with instructions to pick up one of each of my ear cuff designs. A few months later, I got a phone call from Paisley Park Studios inquiring as to the cost and production time for of 250 sterling silver Wave Ear Cuffs and 300 Moon Ear Wraps! After a stressful three weeks of production, the team I were able to secure the order and deliver the goods on schedule.
At first, Prince featured the ear cuffs on his website, and sold them at his VIP parties. After that, he and his band took to wearing my Moon Ear Wraps during public appearances, and the wraps eventually showed up on both the April 2004 cover of Entertainment Weekly and the May 2004 cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.
Soon the studio called back with another proposal: they wanted me to produce pendants based on Prince’s symbol () for sale on his website and at his concerts. Over the years, we continued to design new pieces for him upon request, including a custom Crescent Ear Wrap design, similar in shape to the original Moon Ear Wrap. He now wears pairs of the Crescent Ear Wraps, each set with 7 CZ’s.
Finally, in 2004, the year Prince was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I created two custom “Blings” for his wife, Mayte. As a thank-you the couple comped us four tickets to his show at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA, where we met in-person to deliver the finished pieces. Mayte graciously thanked me and my family, shaking the hands of my son, daughter and husband; acknowledging their help in the fulfillment of the many orders. For years, when I would receive a large order for his symbol pendants, I would hire both John and Alisha to chain and package the finished pendants. Just putting 1000 chains on 1000 symbols and slipping each into a zip lock bag took several hours at a time!
It’s been thrilling to have the chance to work with such a talented musician. To this day I still get occasional calls or e-mails from Paisley Park when Prince needs a replacement ear wrap or custom cufflinks, and we hope that we’ll continue to be able to collaborate into the future.
p.s. We’d be remiss to not end this with a video of our favorite Prince song. Enjoy!