Jewelry designs with a message… Feel Beautiful

Elizabeth Showers

There’s something so contagious about Dallas. There’s a spirit and the legendary “y’all come” attitude, I didn’t really believe or expect. Nor did I contemplate that Dallas was such a sophisticated city with so much verve, energy and style expecting to see Dallas Cowboy look- a- likes wandering down the main streets. Instead, I was amazed by the arts to the architecture, haute hotels to splendid shopping and ultra chic shops.

It was in one of the most incredibly luxurious stores, Stanley Korshak, that I spotted the jewelry designs of Dallas born and raised, Elizabeth Showers.

Now 37 years old, not looking a day over 24, she sells to the top end shops like Forty Five Ten on McKinney Ave. and Elliott Yeary in Aspen where you’ll find very famous clients, extremely wealthy and social women with stuffed wallets in their seemingly recession-proof environment.
On a cold dull Sunday morning, Showers was willing to meet at her studio for the interview. .

This slim, model-like beautiful young woman was in the decorative manufacturing business where she was exposed to entrepreneurs. This spirited her on to consider doing ‘my own thing’. So with $2000 dollars, a couple of credit cards, and her self confident philosophy that “if they could become successful so could I”, Showers decided she was going to use her artistic abilities. ” I thought, okay, I’ll become a jewelry designer,” she says pushing her long hair off her face

Taking that big step did have its ups and down and with little money, her small apartment became her showroom and workplace. “Mom even loaned me her designer clothes so when I went to show my designs, I’d look appropriate,” she laughs. “After a few successful home shows, I had the courage to go to top end shops.’
By 1996, she had taken some beading classes. Twenty four karat gold leaf Venetian glass bead jewelry was innovative at that time her pieces sold well. And she started at the top by selling to Neiman Marcus ./

jin 1999. “They called it fashion, designer or costume jewelry. But it wasn’t precious metals or genuine stones yet. I was lucky since I went from 9 doors (stores), all Neiman Marcus establishments, to 30 in a short time and that included shops in Beverly Hills, Atlanta and Houston.

Before evolving into semi precious gemstone jewelry without the glass bead and really getting into the business with her own staff members and business space, Showers waited tables. Her parents were stunned by this new direction “but so supportive” especially since she had just graduated university. Showers also make no bones about why her parents were very accepting about anything she wanted to do. Almost all her designs have the words “Feel Beautiful” inscribed somewhere. “When I was 17, I became anorexic but I’m fully recovered and just want other women to feel good about themselves.“

Elizabeth Showers

“A twist came about 9 years ago when a man from China contacted me after seeing some of my glass bead designs and we thought we could manufacture high end silver jewelry over there. I finally agreed to do some samples. They were fantastic and so we took it one step further in 2005 and developed a line that was detailed with gold. At the beginning they were just okay. I thought it was starting pains. However, gold wasn’t their expertise and my gut instinct told me to end this collaboration. They couldn’t get the designs correct, they weren’t on time with deliveries. Long story short, I lost a lot of my time and money going over there and it was an emotional drain.”

She recalls losing many clients due to delays and the obvious imperfect finishing. Savvier and more cautious Showers now has everything made in Bangkok. “I had lost trust but become a better business woman. With my Thai association, I have found such great artisans and I have a wonderful relationship with the company,” she states firmly. “The quality is superb, the prices agreeable.”

However, there was a hiatus where she was so involved with getting the perfection she demands, she hadn’t the time to do new styles and the business took a sudden nose dive. “I didn’t launch my 18k gold couture collection officially until Fall 2007. “But then, out of the blue, one of my customers decided to invest. I wasn’t asking or looking for a partner. And her involvement is as a silent partner. So I started to develop a collection in 18k and precious and semi precious stones. And my first collection was received well. “

Now gold and precious stones are Showers’ primary business although she does still have a sterling silver collection on QVC Shopping Channel.

Elizabeth Showers Elizabeth Showers

Firstly, in Bangkok, they make a wax form from a rendering that Showers submits- all via email- which she either accepts or rejects. Then they send pictures of the finished product. And when she’s unsure, they will send the actual sample piece which sometimes takes three or even four attempts to get the results which she demands.

It’s important to create new designs well in advance before I feel can present them to our clients,” says the confident woman. ” And since we’ve worked together so well and for so long I don’t have to go to Thailand as often.” She does still travel to Bangkok at least once a year.

Now Showers has a staff of 8 including an operations person, another who does quality control, a product development person and a woman who renders Showers’ sketches before they are sent off to Bangkok.

“I actually know how to draw. I took a course and graduated with a certificate in the design course from the GIA. I really like to draw,” she says with a slight Southern accent.

While she goes to retrieve some of her items from the large safe, I wait in the perfectly decorated spacious show area of celadon green with Madagascar grass cloth beige cover mid century chairs chrome detailed chairs and contemporary granite based round glass table courtesy of her mother’s interior decorating expertise. It’s here that she displays her wares which are most impressive.

What a long way from glass beads is my first impression. Her dangling peach moonstone triple drops surrounded with pave diamonds are the example of the important directions she has taken from what she calls her ‘vintage’ grouping.

Peach moonstone along with turquoise is prevalent throughout all her collections since both colours are her favourites. She loves stacking both bracelets and rings and does this wonderfully in textured 18k rings studded with semi precious stones. Multi groupings of bangles are another Showers signature, some with pave diamond Maltese crosses and other shapes hanging singly from each bangle. Floral shaped turquoise, high mounted checkered cut amethysts ring with organic looking dull gold textured band featuring very large checker board lemon quartz are among her large ring collection. . All the stones are polished and purchased in Thailand.

Elizabeth Showers

Her strength is her earrings. Many are chandeliers, still very fashionable and one of her best selling designs. And her usage of unusual colour combinations makes them seem new. Here too, she uses colours often on polished gold but also matte finishing. Very trendy and extremely popular are the gold hoop earrings which come in three sizes and are punctuated with small protruding diamonds or as Showers calls them “balls” and retail for CDN $1,800 for the largest.

Open shaped Maltese crosses (certainly not a religious statement but rather an affinity for the shape she says) again are used for her pendants and earrings but these look like outlines and are fully edged with pave diamonds on the outer rim.

Lemon quartz is mixed with various coloured stones. There are also detachable parts in a series of her glamorous drop earrings always with diamond pave surrounding a semi precious stone. “You can wear the top part for day and then just add the longer addition for the most formal event,” she tells me. Turquoise with pave diamonds earrings retail for about CDN $12,000. Her gold cuff with stones is about CDN $15,000. Citrine and peach moonstone earrings are approximately CDN $1,155. Lapis and turquoise mix so well and obviously were important enough to have them featured for last Christmas in Town & Country Magazine. Those are about CDN $1,750. A lapis and turquoise gold chain is another example of how well these coloured stones work together. Peach moonstone with pave diamonds in east west design retail for about $2,500. And a 36 inch link 18k neckpiece with ‘ball’ features retails CDN $4,000 again a popular item.. Yellow sapphire and pink tourmaline is also used in many of her designs.

The surprise in the workroom is to see photos of her glass bead work. “We still make it for our customers who continue to ask for these pieces. We don’t want to lose that and although it’s not super profitable, we still keep making bead designs which are sold successfully on-line.”

Showers started a collection recently called the Hope Star Collection which has direct connection to her former eating disorder to raise money and awareness for girls with eating disorders. The small star is shown on many of her pieces. “I do a lot of service work with young girls with eating disorders. I use my business as a vehicle to carry the message. Then I decided to bring national attention to the cause. I’m involved t in the National Eating Disorder Association. They’re in New York and Seattle. I see my business as a vehicle to help others.”