The Art of Jewelry: Interview with Elaine Coyne 

As a four-year old, my earliest memories include a visit to the Statue of Liberty. My brother and I ran up the stairs to the top of the Statue and became swallowed up by the vibrant colors of the patinas. It was a forever imprint. As I got older, I realized art and culture were a critical part of my families’ heritage. My grandfather was a well-known gold leaf sign painter in the first half of the 20th Century. My father and aunt both graduated Pratt Institute of Art in NYC. Much of my artistic input came from my relatives

As a child I visited many museums, went to Parisian fashion shows with friends and totally devoured all aspects of art. When it came to college, as most parents, my parents felt it a safe bet to go the sociology and education route. Although I was truly enveloped by thoughts in sociology, I found a deeper meaning in my art studies. After I graduated, I defied the odds and ventured into Elaine Coyne Galleries. Life was good; I immediately found success with my social pronouncements of art influenced by life.

My view of ecg art wear collectibles is a synthesis of defined design based on art history as well as my own metal sculpture. The patina colorations are the peak of my expression. The process is done with unique formulas using a multilevel process and torch. It takes years for our artisans to develop the skill. Advice to new artisans: Follow your passion and you will be rewarded.


NP: I read etymologically, the word jewelry is derived from the word jewel, which was anglicized from the Old French “jouel” round the 13th century. It is also very much part of the history of Jewish artisans.

Coyne: Jewelry was worn from the beginning of time as a form of decoration of the human form. The purpose was to attract the opposite sex. Jewish artisans established gemstones as a way to glorify the human form, hence, the origins of the word jewelry. Jews established the gem industry and there mark on jewelry as an established way of self-ornament. The cutting, shaping and establishment of the ruby, diamond, sapphires, emeralds etc., is what brought a new essence into self-grandeur.

It’s important to remember, Jews did not invent jewelry, rather, they brought fresh and classic essence to what has been part of the human experience since man existed. The perspective is one of enhancing the human condition that includes food, shelter, clothing and procreation. Survival of the race and its expressions are built into our DNA. So jewelry first was created as an enhancement of the body; adding gemstones was a step beyond.  Why else are people always fascinated by jewelry? It’s both creative and attraction all in one.

NP:  How would you describe your interest in jewelry making?

Coyne: I have always been interested in the history of jewelry and fashion and therefore, I have always been involved in studying ancient cultures, design, fashion and jewelry and my enthusiasm naturally evolved with my business. The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia came to me and asked to design some pieces for them based on their collection. The experience was natural, like a duck to water.

I ventured to the museum the very next day and sketched some pieces I truly loved. The following day I called the buyer and they responded by sending a photographer around with me to make sure I had everything I needed to do an excellent job for them. They loved it.

I became the first artist to do replica work for them, as they were becoming “The Museum” in the Southeast. I felt very fortunate that my parents had insisted that I went to museums from the day I was born. My instinct to fall in love with history of jewelry making and the establishment of the jewelry culture was now settled. True love forever and never an opportunity that I would miss.

NP: And what types or kinds of jewelry do you offer?

Coyne: We do theme jewelry like dragonfly and butterflies as well as aquatic jewelry for our museum Gift shops and coastal accounts. We have a big following with botanical gardens and with our dragonfly jewelry flowered and leaf images as well.

The best of our line is our “lost wax casting” and hand forged jewelry, done in brass or bronze and verdigris patina finished, and sterling silver. These pieces are created totally by hand from inception and drawing to final finish. All are available at 10% off for first time buyers by putting TEN at checkout

 NP:  How do you decide on what to make in these changing times? And what does your work of art signify to you as an artist beyond the costs?

Coyne: I study the trends in our current culture then I find my niche as to where I fit into those trends.  Next I look at other expressions of art and finally I examine my customer demands so as to get a sense of what will have a positive affect on them.

Many artists think independence is of chief importance and dismiss or snub outside influences. I am not that artist. I love the giving of myself to society as a way to breathe life into art and beautify everything I touch. My art is the art of giving. It is the art of touch and embraces the magical in the soul of people and possibly letting my essence, “live” through them. After all it is in the giving that you truly find your self-worth.

Career Highlights – Collectible Artwear since 1974

The following is a small sampling of Coyne’s accomplishments:

Commissions: Atlas Copco of Stockholm and the USA; 1984 Atlanta High Museum Replica Commission, curator approved series commission: Cameroon Collection, Ivory Coast Collection; 1999 Commissioned by Andy Williams, Official Moon River buckle for Hollywood friends, family and his valued employees; 2007 Official Designer of Louvre/HMA exhibition approval from Paris 2007 Fernbank Museum jewelry commission, “Reflections of Culture” exhibit; Newspaper and Magazine Articles, TV and Movie Appearances; 2006: ECII Egyptian cuffs and pendants in Ben Stiller “Night at the Museum” 2006: Egyptian Pendants featured in a “Smallville” TV show, season 3 Personal Appearances: Guest designer for Jazz Night High Museum of Art; presentation of ‘Josef Hoffman Revisited” and “Tulips”; Awards: 1970s Cornell University Best of Show; 2X Winner of Chicago Choice Award; Approval from Swarovski for partnership with Elaine Coyne Galleries, Inc .; 2011 Approval of ecg distribution in Canada; 2012 Participation in the San Francisco Gift Show; 2013 Participation in Dallas Gift Show Red Haute Juried 2014 Guest Designer PA at Gibbs Garden; 2016 Guest designer Magnolia Room.