Lorraine's custom anvil and hammers. Photo by Dina Kantor, 2020.
Visionary jeweler Lorraine West has been blazing an extraordinary path in design for over two decades. Her one of a kind rings, earrings, and arm cuffs have gained cult status among luminaries including Erykah Badu, Common, and Beyoncé. But the journey was anything but easy. Hers is a story of faith, belief, persistence, and soul. From Soho sidewalk sales to "Black is King," here’s an intimate glimpse into the twenty-year journey of West‘s eponymous brand, as told by the artist herself.
“The girl in this picture represents my inner joy; I had a traumatic childhood, so when I look at this picture there’s a sense of happiness. This photograph is my go-to for when I want to connect to my inner child; I still remember that day in the first grade. I was beaming with pride.”
at first hand
“This was my first plaster of my right hand. My kindergarten teacher noticed that I was good with drawing lines and letters early on. She gave me special attention because of my creative ability, and I found it to be powerful that you can be revered and respected for being creative. I was lucky that I grew up in a town that had an excellent art program with
Lorraine handprint in plaster and gold spray paint, circa 1982.
“On this day I won my first art contest—it was for a water safety campaign in Long Island. From that moment on, I knew I was an artist and wanted to have a lifelong career as a professional one. I felt right at home creating art at an early age—I never doubted my ability. It's one of those things that no one could take away from me."
"Never Swim Alone" art contest, circa 1984.