October 3, 2010

An Interview with Jewelry Designer Jane Pope Cooper

Photo Credits: Courtesy of Balboa Jewelry/Jane Pope Collection

Since 2001, Jane Pope Cooper has been creating one of a kind pieces of jewelry. Her jewelry has been featured in Vogue, Elle, and Glamour. She currently designs two collections, Balboa Jewelry and The Jane Pope Collection - both collections are absolutely beautiful. Find out more about this Manhattan-based jewelry designer in our exclusive interview below. Which featured piece of jewelry do you like best?

1. You have two different collections - Balboa Jewelry and The Jane Pope Collection. How do they differ?

In 2001, I launched Balboa Jewelry, my costume line. The pieces in the collection are often one of a kind, incorporating vintage elements with newer materials. The line ranges in style from very bold to quite simple and very much reflects my interest in personal style and personal jewelry.

The Jane Pope Collection is my fine jewelry collection. The pieces in this line, available in 14 kt rose, yellow and white gold, are more delicate and organic in feel. There is a lot of texture in the Jane Pope Collection pieces as well as cabochon stones and diamond accents.

2. Was there a moment when you realized you wanted to become a jewelry designer? Or, did you always know that this is what you wanted to do?

I knew I wanted to incorporate my love for fashion and interest in art. Designing and making jewelry was the perfect way to combine the two. When Barneys picked up the Balboa line, I knew I was doing exactly what I wanted to do.

3. What inspires your collection (Balboa and/or Jane Pope Collection)? Describe your creative/design process?

The Balboa line is inspired by the vintage and antique elements that I find. I love collecting unique pieces that lead me in one direction or another. Adding newer materials allows me to update classic looks.

With the Jane Pope Collection, I get inspiration from everything around me... travel, nature, textures in everyday things. I get inspiration from the tiniest detail in something simple and ordinary. The spark from this little thing will give me creative direction, and I go from there.

Jane Pope Collection Aquamarine Ring

Balboa Jewelry Vintage Wooden Leaves Earrings, $48

Balboa Jewelry Vintage Fuchsia Drops Earrings, $62

4. What is your studio or workspace like, and how do you work in your studio?

My studio is quite small, which is common for NYC. I work on designs when I am in the park or elsewhere in the city. When I work in the studio, I am usually full of ideas and ready to jump into making [jewelry].

5. What kind of materials do you prefer to use in creating pieces?

With the Balboa line, I love working with lots of different types of materials. Chains, wood, brooches, watches, mother of pearl, bakelite, lockets, and semi-precious stones are just some of the materials used in the Balboa line.

6. What are you doing when you aren’t designing jewelry? Hobbies? Any favorite places to go in New York?

When I am not designing jewelry, I love to get out and enjoy the city.... Riding bikes, going to the park, movies, museums, checking out restaurants. I love flea markets!! I love seeing what all you kind find. At the markets in the city, you can find almost anything – furniture, jewelry, clothing, accessories, food.

7. How would you describe your personal style?

I consider my personal style to be relaxed and sophisticated. I love fashion/designer pieces but in a more wearable way. I think that it is important to know what works for you personally. Some people look amazing head to toe in what is the look of the moment and others look best with less. I like to incorporate one statement piece or one dramatic element in a look and keep the rest fairly simple. I love mixing - simple with more intricate, old and new, structured and soft. I stay away from “outfits” or matching or looking too perfectly put together.

8. What is your favorite piece of jewelry that you own?

That’s a difficult question.... I love my engagement ring. It is 1920’s round cut diamond with a thin band and lots of detail that you can only see from the side. Kind of a little surprise when you get a look at it. It’s gorgeous and perfect for me.

I love this amazing yellow gold diamond cocktail ring that my aunt gave me. It is a pin that is over 150 years old that she converted into a ring. My mom has the matching earrings to the set.
I love a brass cuff with red glass stones that was my grandmother’s. It is costume and I love that she wore it since she was from a small town and I am sure it was very modern and forward of her to wear it.

In the Jane Pope Collection, I love the twig bangles and the seedling earrings. They are great every day pieces!

9. Where is your favorite place to travel?

There are so many places that I want to travel that I have a hard time returning to the same place twice. I will say that one of the best trips my husband and I ever took was to Maine in August 2008. It was such a beautiful place to be with an amazing amount of charm. It was such a relaxing vacation. I hope to return there next summer!

10. Where can readers buy your jewelry – in stores and online?


11. What has been the most exciting moment of your career, thus far?

This is a tie. There are 2 most exciting moments in my career... thus far. Seeing Entourage’s Perrey Reeves wear Jane Pope Collection on the red carpet at the Emmy Awards is one. She looked amazing and had her pick of any jewelry she wanted to wear, but chose my pieces. That was an exciting moment for me.

The second was being featured in VOGUE. This was indescribable. The photo shoot was on my 30th birthday and I cannot think of a better gift! It was such an honor to be included in an article featuring such smart, beautiful, stylish women.

12. Where do you see your jewelry line in 5 years?

I am beginning to incorporate fabric and other materials in my BALBOA designs. January 2011 is the 10 year anniversary of BALBOA and I think it’s a perfect time to introduce new materials and a develop the line further.

I am very excited about the next step with BALBOA Jewelry... Stay Tuned!

Whitney Port wearing Jane Pope Collection Branch Bangles.


  1. always love the bamboo and branch bangles!