Few things get me more excited than fabulous jewelry that doesn’t only look amazing (and causes me to swoon over every piece), but gives back, as well. October Anniversary is a jewelry line that produces high quality, beautiful, unique pieces and gives a portion of their profits to an incredible non profit organization. I was lucky enough to get to interview the two masterminds behind OA, Alexi Tavel and Olga Nemcova, and they gave me insight into their growing business. These images include some of my favorite pieces of theirs, starting with their most recent collection. However, my absolute favorite items would have to be their rings. I want every single one.
From Prosecco to Plaid: How did October Anniversary come about and what was the inspiration behind it?
October Anniversary: We launched October Anniversary in October 2009 after deciding to do something creative on the side of our day job. We both work for Happy Hearts Fund, a non-profit that rebuilds schools and restores hope in the lives of children after natural disasters, so we knew we wanted to do something that would bring attention to that cause and support its mission. That’s why we donate 10% of our profits back to the charity, creating a full circle of change by using recycled metals to sustain the environment and then helping victims of it. We are inspired by everything around us, but being that our pieces are based on the idea of sustaining the environment, our first collections were really inspired by nature. Since then we have become inspired more by the history of jewelry itself and how it has evolved over time. This new inspiration is evident in our latest collection, Relics + Rebels.
FPTP: Where did the name ‘October Anniversary’ come from?
OA: We knew we wanted the name of our company to be memorable, so one of our first ideas was to use a date in the name. We first became friends in October of 2005, and since that is our favorite month we wanted to use it in the name. Many times jewelry is used to commemorate something or is given on a special day, which is where we got the “Anniversary” part. Then we realized that the acronym OA was also our initials and we knew we had found the perfect name!
FPTP: Have you always been designing jewelry? And when did you realize you could turn it into a business?
Alexi: My mom is an artist, so I’ve been surrounded by art in many forms my entire life. In college I studied fashion design and costume construction technology, so I have always made jewelry but never in metal. It wasn’t until Olga approached me with this idea that I had ever thought of turning it into a business. I think my background in other art forms helped inspire me to make the large, wearable art pieces that are a big part of OA.
Olga: I actually never thought that I would be doing something creative, until that one day I read an article about a jewelry designer that inspired me to start OA. I have to give the credit to New York – I love the city for its freedom in pursuing anything you like not based on your degree, which is the opposite of my native country. (I studied Banking and Business in the Czech Republic and Psychology in the US).
FPTP: What was the inspiration behind your most recent collection, Relics + Rebels?
OA: While we were originally inspired by nature, more recently we have been looking into the history of jewelry and the functions it has served throughout time. The origin of jewelry can be traced back almost as far as mankind itself. Throughout history it has served to mark distinction between religion, social or official rank, age, marital status and ethnicity. Jewelry in the form of amulets and talismans has been used to draw protection, strength, wealth and fortune to royalty and commoners alike while both living and in the afterlife. These amulets and talisman can be engraved with symbols, in the shape of plants or animals, or set with stones to hold different meanings. It is said that stones carry with them a mysticism, each of them harnessing a gift of power. Jewelry containing stones and historical and religious references often re-appears in cultures of those who rebel against the norm. To them the jewelry represents a powerful statement of individuality and creativity. We wanted to evoke this idea of historical references being used in modern cultures.
FPTP: What are 3 of your passions besides designing jewelry?
Alexi: I can only choose 3?! Haha. I would have to say cooking, fashion, and home decorating.
Olga: Traveling/exploring, family/friends, and I love 80s movies/music.