My introduction to Prince was at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco on May 23rd 1986. It was his Parade, Hit n Run Tour. Generous friends had purchased third row seats and invited me to the concert.
Twelve years later, in 1998, I made the business connection via my shop at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. For over 30 years, I’ve had a shop at the Maryland Fair. In the fall of 1998, Steve Parke who was photographer and art director for Prince between 1988 – 2001, came to the Festival and purchased my Wave Ear Cuff in sterling silver. When he returned to Paisley Park, the Artist, formerly know as Prince, apparently took note of the ear cuff he was wearing and sent Steve back to my shop to purchase samples of my other ear cuff designs. (Steve has since told me that Prince asked him to photoshop the Wave Ear Cuff onto his ear.) My Maryland manager gave him one each of my ear cuff and ear wrap designs to take back to show to the ‘Artist’. The following weekend, Steve returned again to buy the few ear cuff designs that I had ready made in gold. In 1998, I was one of a very few ear cuff designers and my web site was number one on Google if you searched Ear Cuffs.
In January of the following year, Paisley Park called me and ordered several hundred of the Moon Face Ear Wrap both in sterling silver and in Vermille (gold plate.) They also ordered 100 sterling silver wave ear cuffs. This was a very large order for me at the time and the Marty Magic casting shop, in the Santa Cruz mountains, went into high gear. The order was time sensitive because Paisley Park was placing a full page ad in Wired Magazine, featuring both his Symbol Pendant and my ear cuff designs and I needed to guarantee fulfillment of the order.
For the next several years, I made many versions of the Moon Ear Wrap for Prince and his band. Both Prince and the members of his band wore pairs of these onstage. I also made several sets for Prince personally, cast in solid 14K gold and set with diamonds. Apparently Prince would occasionally forget their value and would toss them into the audience so the solid gold and diamond moon ear wrap orders soon ceased
It must have been in 1999 when I had a conversation with one of Prince’s assistants to discuss various custom ear wrap designs for Prince. In discussing possible themes, among other ideas, she mentioned dolphins. I already had a Dolphin Ear Wrap in my line and Paisley Park ordered several pairs of these. In Prince’s 2000 New Year’s concert video, Rave Un2 the Year, 2000, Prince is wearing a pair of my Dolphin Ear Wraps. In the August, 2000 Prince Calendar, Prince is wearing a pair of my Crescent Moon Face Ear Wraps.
By 2000, I was not only making Prince’s Moon ear wraps but I was making his Symbol Pendant and Symbol Key Ring in pewter to sell on their NPG web site, at concerts and at private events. My dealings were mostly with Mayte Garcia, his first wife and subsequently with Manuel Testolini, his second wife. Between them and numerous assistants to the Artist, I exchanged hundreds of e-mails. I never personally communicated with Prince but for a brief period of time I had the phone number to their personal residence in Toronto and a soft spoken male would answer the phone before passing on the call.
In 2002, Paisley Park requested that I create a simplified version of my Crescent Moon Ear Wrap. I removed the moon face and the star and configured it so that seven graduated CZ’s could be set along the curvature of the crescent. This is the Ear Wrap that Prince wore from 2002 until his death on April 21, 2016. As a professional courtesy, during his lifetime, I offered this version only to Prince although I had many requests for this ear wrap design.
2004 was a big year for Prince and subsequently a busy year for Marty Magic. Prince was featured on the April cover of Entertainment Weekly wearing the Crescent Ear Wrap embellished with diamonds. In May, Prince was on the cover of Rolling Stones Magazine wearing the same diamond encrusted, Crescent Ear Wraps.
In May of 2004 the NBA voted Kevin Garnett the MVP (most valuable player) award. Prince and Kevin were good friends so Manuela commissioned me to design and create a gold and diamond MVP Pendant for Prince to give to Kevin. In June of 2004, Paisley Park comped me 6 tickets to the Prince Concert at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. I hand delivered the MVP pendant to Manuela at the concert and she graciously thanked both me and my husband and made a point to acknowledge John and Alisha who at the time were 12 and 19 respectively. She thanked them for their contribution in packaging the many Love Symbol Pendants that Paisley Park had ordered in the past. (When a batch of 500 – 1000 Symbol Pendants were finished, they still needed to be chained and inserted into a zip lock bag. I would rent a couple of movies and hire both John and Alisha to help me package the order.)
In June of 2004, Prince was inaugurated into the Hall of Fame and Manuela commissioned me to create a gold and diamond pendant for her to wear to the award ceremony.
I never officially met Prince but I designed all of his ear wraps and was instrumental in producing much of the jewelry that he wore and sold under the Paisley Park, NPG label. I provided Pewter Symbol Pendant, his sterling silver Rose Symbol Pendant, 3121 Pendants, NPG Pendants and Love Symbol Pendants….and more…..