Kate Jones

Most of us know Kate Jones as the 29-year-old designer of the subtle, impeccably detailed jewelry line Ursa Major, whose fall collection just landed at Castor & Pollux. We wanted to talk to Kate about the origins of her work. Does her story begin with her mother, a former hippie who attended Woodstock and worked as a curator at the California Academy of Sciences? Or does it begin with her “chronically adventurous” father, an Army physician and violinist who requested an assignment at San Francisco’s historic Presidio base in order to be closer to the city’s opera house? He is the source of her strong will, she says, a doctor whose passions (and itinerant profession) took him to Germany, San Francisco, Memphis, and then, when Kate was a little girl, all around the Caribbean on a boat called Ursa Major—the vessel for which her two-year-old line is named. She credits her mother—the “creative one” in the family—for informing her aesthetic sensibility. Kate refers to the sketchbooks that her mother kept in her twenties as eerily similar to drawings that Kate made at the same age—the oddest part being, Kate says, is that she “developed a similar style without ever having seen [her mother’s] work.” An art historian and museum curator, her mother amassed a collection of decorative objects as the family circumvented the globe: “Bedouin baskets and blankets in Saudi Arabia, jewels, and a lot of stuff from the Southwest”—the latter being a particularly strong influence on her Fall 2011 collection. (Now a jewelry designer herself, Kathleen Jones’ most recent work references the same Guatemalan milagros that inspired her daughter’s “Philippe” necklace – one of our favorite pieces from the Ursa Major collection.)

Kate strives to be the kind of designer that is known for her ability to create great and unexpected pieces season after season (“I want each collection to be distinct”), who appreciates “jewelry as an object, not a component of an outfit.” For the next collection, she is playing with archetypes of decay—“the sandstone lions in front of the library,” for example, slowly succumbing to the elements over hundreds or thousands of years. “I like the idea of eroding things turning into metal, which doesn’t erode.” We’re extremely pleased to present Kate’s answers to our 28 questions for the Ladies of Castor & Pollux!

Photo by John von Pamer

Last great book you read?
Kiss Me Like A Stranger. Gene Wilder’s autobiography.

Summer drink of choice?
Dark and Stormy, preferably with a little piece of crystalized ginger…

Your animals: names and breeds?
Anna was the family yellow lab, named after my childhood best friend.  Sadly, she passed away a few years ago at the age of 14.  And no pets since then. Unfortunately, boats and city apartments aren’t very conducive to the types of dogs I’m partial to: Labs and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

Do you exercise? What do you do, if so?
I run, always been my exercise of choice.  Running on the west side by the water brightens any day of mine.

Salty or sweet?
Sweets with the perfect amount of salt in them.

Who inspires you and why?
My parents. Their thirst for life and experience.  In terms of design, undoubtedly Ted Muehling, who considers every detail of every piece: the clasp, the hinge, the wire, every angle – their totally sophisticated but simple beauty – and he carries that through to any other medium he has his hands on.  It’s great to see.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean, duh.

Favorite city?
Melbourne, New York, San Francisco. Impossible to pick one.

Last great vacation?
A two week road trip last fall in an old Mercedes camper van through Italy, France, and ending in Belgium with my good, good friend and fellow designer, Henry Wilson.

Favorite TV show?
Yo Gabba Gabba.  That or Masterpiece Theater.

Weirdest job you’ve ever had?
When I was living in Australia, I worked as a promo girl for Club Car golf carts at a golf exposition.  The boss was named Rod Dick.

Favorite restaurant?
Cicciolina in St Kilda, Melbourne.  They have/had  this amazing chocolate souffle served with fairy floss that must have been made with raw sugar… So amazing.  Give me a guy who can make that and I might be sold.

Favorite object in your home?
A watercolor painting of our old sailboat, Ursa Major.

Favorite piece of clothing?
A brilliant blue satin finished cotton blazer from Martin Margiela.

Favorite blog or website?
Ready For The House by artist Ricky Swallow, or MONDOBLOGO. Full of good design.

Something you’re scared of?
Fortunately not much aside from global warming and the rising price of gold. Besides, there are certain things one doesn’t admit. (I almost did but just can’t quite.)

Favorite record?
Paul Simon’s Graceland.

Favorite pop song?
“Right Down The Line,” Gerry Raffert

Your ideal day?
On the water, on a boat, with someone I love.

Favorite gift you’ve ever received?
A coffee table made by previously mentioned friend Henry that he made when we were in college together.  He’ll laugh at this because he hates that table.

Favorite flower?

Favorite scent (perfume)?
Mechant Loup by L’Artisan Parfumeur.

Astrological sign?

What do you do for a living?

Where do you live?

Your lucky number?
It’s supposedly 5, but I don’t pay much attention.

What piece of art would you buy if you had absolutely no budget?
Probably a Calder mobile or a De Kooning. Or a Jamie Wyeth painting.

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Kate Jones”

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    […] is Kate featured as a Lady of Castor & Pollux with a photo I took in her […]

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