Aug 04, 2011 10:37AM ● Published by Style
Photo by Dante Fontana
In 2003, Crista Dixon made her move. After a 30-year career in senior management in the high-tech industry, she decided to retire.
“At this point, I was able to speak in complete sentences,” she muses. “I was free to completely pursue my creative and artistic interests.”
Dixon says she has always been attracted to rocks, minerals and gemstones, learning to cut and polish stones from a neighbor as a child. In college, as a pre-law major, she continued to take jewelry making classes as an elective and considered the process a creative outlet. “These talents lay dormant until I started making summery earrings with a friend,” recalls the artist. “I then took some more silver classes and the rest is history.” Now, four years later, Dixon enjoys a second career creating vintage-inspired and stone jewelry and continues her education with classes from Native American experts in silver, stone-cutting and beading.
“I love the art deco and art nouveau periods,” shares Dixon. “I often incorporate vintage elements into my jewelry, which makes an antique a new piece of jewelry.” Some of those antique findings include Bakelite, celluloid, cameos, buttons, vintage beads and bits and pieces of old jewelry. She finds these elements during her travels to Europe and across the U.S. “I love the Paris flea market, but I recently purchased many vintage components on a business trip through Germany and the Czech Republic/Slovakia,” she says. “I found some amazing unset cabochons from the 1940s in a warehouse in Prague.” Dixon introduces the collected antique pieces into both vintage and contemporary settings, noting that her clientele ranges from ages 18 to 80.
Many of her high-grade stones and gems are purchased from Native Americans on the Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico. On a recent trip to Los Cerrillos she purchased several stones indigenous to the area and rough-cut them, leaving the crystals exposed. “I cut stones in a wide variety of colors,” she says. “I look for materials in a wide variety as my clients generally are looking for specific colors. Personally, I am attracted to jewel tones, but I make a lot of pieces in black.”
Though the designer loves her vintage pieces, she also creates in Southwestern and modern styles. “It is becoming more difficult to find well-loved vintage focal pieces and beads as they are disappearing due to their popularity,” she laments. “This is evidenced by the large number of Hollywood stars wearing vintage or vintage-inspired jewelry.”
But that hasn’t stopped Dixon from finding a successful niche with her clients, a customer base she describes as fashion forward with an eye towards the past. And the creativity doesn’t end with jewelry. “Last year I did an order for 200 designer dog collars for an upscale dog catalog.”
Dixon’s jewelry can be found in galleries across California, Art Studio Tours as well as several juried art shows, such as the Crocker, Art Fiesta and El Dorado Hills Art and Wine Affaire.
For more details, visit cristadixon.com.