Editors

3 Pieces with Jacquie Aiche

EditorsAug 23, 2016

3 Pieces with Jacquie Aiche

The latest “3 Pieces” features queen of California cool Jacquie Aiche.

In “3 Pieces,” Associate Editor Ashley Davis converses with jewelry designers about a trio of their creations that are particularly meaningful. This month features queen of California cool Jacquie Aiche.

Jacquie Aiche is a branding expert’s dream. Pop over to her Instagram and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Girls dripping with carved horn necklaces and body chains aren’t a social media gimmick, they’re the way Jacquie, her team and her devoted customers wear her jewelry.

Aiche knows exactly who she is and she doesn’t falter from her identity, whether it’s trendy at any given moment or not. Minimal? Not going to happen. The reason Aiche is such a social media star is that the image Aiche presents organically stems from her brand’s authentic essence. “It’s changed how you can affect in a moment in time,” Aiche says of Instagram.

Aiche’s branding feels effortless, just like her designs. Her jewelry has a second-skin quality, less armor than adornment for a goddess who might prefer wearing jewels to clothes. Aiche has always cited two primary influences: Native American iconography and classical Middle Eastern jewelry. In her hands, the two take on an L.A. free-spiritedness that has gained a legion of admirers, pop stars and supermodels among them, known as the #JAtribe.

We chatted with the laid-back queen of California cool about the origins of some of the signature pieces that put her on the map.


Jacquie Aiche’s 14-karat rose gold Double Bone Horn Necklace with white diamonds

Jacquie Aiche: This was designed in December of 2009, actually on a trip to Hawaii. I went with my family and I met a carver. He had been doing some local Hawaiian carving, and I’d always been infatuated with that double horn shape. So I asked him to carve it for me and that’s where it was born. I went ahead and took it home, and I did the diamond caps on them on the double chain, so it launched in January 2010.

The horns are carved from cow bone. The biggest challenge I have with those is that each one is individually carved by hand so it’s very difficult to get them to be the same shape and size. Also, you’re dealing with bone and some bone handles differently than others, so it can be a little more flat, more rounded, more brown, more white.

I still work with the same carver. He’s moved to Florida, but it’s the same carver. Honestly from my metalsmith to my turquoise dealers, it’s always the same people for me.
“I want girls and
women to just feel comfortable in wearing the brand and also learning how to wear it.” My love of the double horn shape came from squash blossoms, I would say. The bottom of the squash blossom; you have that double horn shape. And I’ve always been infatuated with Native American jewelry, so I wanted to create my own symbol that when you saw it, you thought of Jacquie Aiche.

It’s one of my favorite pieces. I love that you’re wearing something from an animal. It’s got a very strong feeling when you look at it. It’s a strong symbol. Whether it’s even in the mini version or the extra-large, I love to play with it. I also now incorporated it into more of the fetish animal pieces where I have the extra-large double horn and you have the animals on the chain. I also do it with the opals on the cap.

It’s really fun to reinvent them and make them look so different. I found a guy in Arizona who actually carves them out of minerals for me as well. I’ve been having fun with that but it’s very difficult to carve them in the minerals.


Jacquie Aiche’s 14-karat rose gold 7 Diamond Finger Bracelet with white diamonds

Jacquie Aiche: The finger bracelet came before the double horn, I would say in August of 2009. It was a very punk era. It was a lot of studs and a lot of pyramid shapes and it wasn’t my style of jewelry at all, because I’ve always been more of the fine chain, layering type of style.

I wanted to create something that was a different piece on the body and I didn’t know exactly where. I had had one of my native, I guess they called them ‘slave bracelets,’ and it was turquoise, it’s this big turquoise ring and chunky turquoise going all down your hand and then a huge cuff bracelet. I had always worn it and it was a chunkier piece and I wanted to create something daintier. That’s when the finger bracelet was born.
“Shy girls were putting on body chains and telling me that their husbands were crazy about them and it changed their sex life. It was honestly wildfire.”
I was at my metalsmith one day and I was like, “Hey, can you solder the chain here and put a diamond down here and then make it a bracelet?” We did it and it was wildfire, everyone wanted one.

We had girls coming to the back office daily to pick them up. It was before Instagram so I was getting text messages everyday of girls taking pictures of their hands, and sending them to me, telling me that it just made them feel a different way.

Even older women, they felt like the wrinkles on their hands had disappeared because now they had diamonds going down their hands, and it was a magnetic experience to see women and have them feel that way. It inspired me to create other pieces. So that’s when the body chains started. We moved on to the body chains and the toe anklets.

Shy girls were putting on body chains and telling me that their husbands were crazy about them and it changed their sex life. It was honestly wildfire.


Jacquie Aiche’s 14-karat rose gold Shaker Necklace with white diamonds

Jacquie Aiche: As I always like to reinvent the double horn and put opals on it or put animals on it, over the years I’ve always had to reinvent the finger bracelet and that’s really where the shakers came in.
"The shakers are for all of the belly dancers in us."
One diamond wasn’t enough on the finger bracelet so then we went to three diamonds, then seven diamonds, thirteen diamonds--you couldn’t stop. So then I went in and decided to make shaker finger bracelets and that’s where the diamonds would just shake on your hand, and then I turned it into a shaker necklace, shaker belly chain, shaker toe anklet, shaker body chain, it goes on. Now you’ve got the mini shaker hoops.

I guess it came from the more Middle Eastern side of me, because I always felt it was like belly dancer style and I would laugh and I would always say that the shakers are for all of the belly dancers in us. I would say that the shakers hit the market in the summer of 2013 or 2012.

Right now I’m wearing a shaker on my foot, I have one on my hand, I wear the necklace and I have the mini shaker hoops. We do different shapes of diamonds which is really interesting. We also do labradorite, moonstones. I can’t keep the mini shaker hoops in stock.

I want girls and women to just feel comfortable in wearing the brand and also learning how to wear it. Most people don't know how to layer and I’ve been layering for so many different years, so on Instagram, I just want to share .
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

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