TALKING SHOP WITH SARAH HENDLER
Sarah Hendler is a Los Angeles-based fine jewelry designer and curator. Born and raised on the Gold Coast of Long Island, she was surrounded by beauty. Whether admiring the classic staples her grandmother wore everyday or fawning over the show-stopping gems her mother pulled out at just the right moment, Sarah has always recognized the significance of jewelry in a woman's life.
Her family's thoughtfully curated collections reflect an appreciation for gemstones, craftsmanship, and uniqueness that has shaped her point of view. The Sarah Hendler fine jewelry collection is handcrafted in 18-karat gold in Los Angeles and incorporates inspirational silhouettes from estate pieces married with contemporary elements like a signature spear; bold, handpicked colored gemstones; and unexpected enamel detailing in a contrasting palette..
Sarah! Let us start out by saying how excited we are about your emergence as a jewelry designer! Tell us a little bit about how long you've been designing...this is a fairly new world for you correct?
Yes, the last few years. I started when I was pregnant with my second child. I was doing designs for friends and creating some pieces that I would make one at a time. My business has really has taken off this past year.
I loved learning that family has been an inspiration for you as a designer, tell us about your grandmothers inspiring your collections Shirley and Ethel…
Right now I am fortunate Shirley is still alive at 97 years old. She is the reason I truly love jewelry. She was never without a piece that I questioned how the stones were placed or coveted the design. Growing up in Long Island, NY and being a frequent visitor to Manhattan she always was in style with her jewelry.
Brooches, big rings and beautiful necklaces. Ethel was more into costume jewelry. She always wore costume with fine older pieces that she had acquired through her travels with my grandfather. She lived in Boca Raton, Florida and there is something to be said about a grandmother from Boca!! They inspire me daily from old photographs and memories I have of holiday dinners and events.
“I love connecting people and putting projects together.
I feel like I still get to do that while making jewelry.
Putting all the pieces together to make one beautiful thing.”
As a mother, artist, designer, wife to a chef, (yes her husband is restaurateur Vinny Dotolo) how do you prioritize designing? Is it something you can do on the go in the back of your mind or are your more of the creative mind that prefers solitude and time set aside?
Solitude? What is solitude?!!! Ha. I am a mom first and foremost. I gather inspiration from everything. Colors from fashion magazines, from my kids toys and designs from pieces of vintage jewelry I own.
I physically go downtown to work. I manufacturer all my pieces here in LA. The creative process is more technical to me. I am still learning the business and types of stones.
What was before jewelry design? How were you expending all that creative energy? I imagine that kind of originality can be resourceful in a variety of creative professions!
Before jewelry (and my husband!) I worked in the film industry as a independent producer. I had been an assistant to film directors for many years and started to help young filmmakers make their own work. I was always in a creative field since middle school.
I was a musical theater nerd and that transitioned into film the second I got to college. I love connecting people and putting projects together. I feel like I still get to do that while making jewelry. Putting all the pieces together to make one beautiful thing.
What does jewelry mean to you? Ok, I know that's a super open ended question! But we'd love to see where your mind goes with it…
It is very personal. Over the years I have collected vintage pieces and buy jewelry that means something to me. Whether it is on my honeymoon or a family trip to New Orleans I am always looking for something sentimental that will take me back to that trip. I also love jewelry for good luck and keeping me safe. I feel naked without it on especially my wedding band.
Lastly! Please, as creatives ourselves, can we have some words of wisdom? :)
People ask me all the time how did you know you could do this? I have always collected jewelry and I think it’s just something I was drawn into and wanted to research all the time.
After film and theater it was something I always had an interest in. Did I think I should just go into jewelry making? No, but I was confident that I could do it because I loved it. My husband is a perfect example of someone who has followed his passion, has talent and believed in himself. Final words for the creative minds: You got to believe in yourself, always.