Photograph by Jonathan Willis
That old adage, “Something old, something new…” is more than just a wedding mantra. It’s also the perfect tagline for Karen Lindner’s jewelry designs. The Oxford resident creates necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories by pairing antiques—like a 1940s rhinestone fur clip or a 1890s sliver watch fob—with semi-precious stones. The result is a collection of heirloom-quality pieces that are both traditional and on-trend.
The Miami University graduate started out as an interior designer, and stumbled into her niche six years ago after she amassed a collection of discarded antique chandelier crystals. “I had strands and strands of them,” she says. “One day I wrapped some around myself and thought ‘This would be a really cool necklace.’” Lindner wore her impromptu accessory to a meeting with an acquaintance who owned high-end bridal shops in Chicago. The woman, who now carries Lindner’s designs, liked the look and encouraged her to keep experimenting. Lindner went home and dug through her antique collections and was soon selling her pieces in wedding and specialty shops across the country.
It wasn’t long before Lindner hit the bridal big time: Her creations caught the attention of Atlanta-based wedding gown designer Anne Barge, who invited Lindner to provide the jewelry for her runway shows last spring and fall. Grammy-winning country star Miranda Lambert then commissioned pieces for her wedding last May. “When you think bridal, you think of a little string of pearls,” Lindner says. “But my necklaces are very bold.” She especially likes to incorporate trinkets from 1930s jewelry designer Marcel Boucher, who made a line of nature-inspired objects like orchids and hummingbirds. The necklaces range from $300 to $1,500, though for Lindner the satisfaction of showcasing long-forgotten artistry like Boucher’s is priceless. “Part of the addiction for me is knowing the history behind a piece,” she says. “I love that I get to bring these beautiful objects out of the dusty drawers where they’ve been hiding for so many years and back into the spotlight.”
Find out more about Lindner’s jewelry at karenlindnerdesigns.com
Originally published in the March 2012 issue.