Renowned Jewelry Designer Erica Courtney Visits South Walton
May 29, 2013 by Jill Tanner
Erica Courtney has become one of the most recognized names in the jewelry industry. She designs for A-List celebrities and red carpet events. But most importantly her designs are beloved by the every-day woman. Erica got her unconventional start 28 years ago while she was living in Dallas, and has since become a major force in the business.
The SoWal staff visited with Erica at McCaskill and Company while she was here to showcase her Drop Dead Gorgeous Collection. Erica was so down to earth, kind, and warm. She paired a casual outfit of skinny jeans and a top with her very own glamorous jewelry. It let us know she believed in what she does - making exquisite pieces to be worn.
In 1984, Erica used the Swarovski crystals from a broken necklace to make a pair of sunglasses really stand out. Her mother would tell everyone they ran into, that Erica was a jewelry designer. People began to stop her on the street to find out where to buy her products. So, she began embellishing sunglasses and watches with Swarovski crystals and produced her first line. In 1989, Erica moved to Los Angeles where she began working with sterling silver, engraving love notes on each piece. The new line brought in so many clients obsessed with the sweet, heartfelt poetry. Erica literally poured her heart into her work.
In Los Angeles, Erica began working with gold and eventually sold to dress shops and boutiques all over the country. She made young, hip jewelry desired by the up-and-coming. She now has her flagship store in Los Angeles, but still sells to the finest jewelry stores nationwide.
Over the last 28 years, Erica’s collection has grown and evolved. She now works with rare, precious gemstones such as orange and pink tourmaline, tanzanite, mandarin garnet, blue topaz, and spinel. Most of the stones are more rare than diamonds, making each piece extraordinary and one-of-a-kind. South Sea pearls are also a big part of the Drop Dead Gorgeous collection. Some pieces included in the collection are a beautiful black pearl ring surrounded with diamonds, gold, and tsavorite, a necklace with a mandarin garnet centerpiece with bezel set diamonds, and a pair of earrings with green beryl and oval mint tourmaline.
Erica travels the glode to handpick every single gem and pearl in her collection. She sketches and designs each piece. A master artisan in Los Angeles produces the pieces from Erica’s designs. Erica maintains an eco-friendly and ethically responsible business, using the most socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing processes.
Erica also believes in the passing down of family treasures and hopes that her jewelry will be passed down through many families. She loves the personal connection family members acquire over the years to their grandmother’s ring or their mother’s necklace. This makes her even more connected to the design of each piece.
The Drop Dead Gorgeous Collection is exquisite, but still wearable and some pieces are even interchangeable. This collection is made to wear on any occasion. In a recent interview, Erica posed, “If you’re not going to wear it today, then when?”