Jay Sharpe has been making premiere custom jewelry since 1990 and his work is absolutely stunning.
During the month of February, I was looking to spotlight an African American who has had an influence in the Arts and remembered Jay Sharpe, here in Richmond. While this feature is past its intended postdate, Jay Sharpe has left a lasting impression on me and my business that goes well beyond one month of celebrating.
Since then, Jay Sharpe's premier designs have been featured in national magazines and television shows, worn by celebrities and showcased in museums from here (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts) to New York.
Carytown, one of the South’s Best Neighborhoods to shop, Jay Sharpe has his very own jewelry boutique and has been referred to as the best custom ring designer in Richmond. Mr. Sharpe described his first piece of jewelry as “pretty crude looking”, but I still keep it around to remind me of just how far I've come."
Today, his designs are far from crude and he refers to his designs as classic in nature – “my designs have evolved and changed over time. Today they are more classic, but I typically make pieces that I like to describe as attractive and eye catching and I always make sure to use the best materials.”
When asked what one new celebrity he’d like to see wearing one of his pieces, his response was – “First Lady Michelle Obama". She’s so very classy and respected, it would definitely be an honor.” Okay,If you’re out there listening Mr. President, Mother’s Day is in two weeks!
His design process time sounded very familiar to me, which lead our conversation to his newest venture – “sometimes, designs take a very, very, very, very long time - seriously! I’m now pulling from ideas that are like 4 to 5 years old. I wasn’t able to create them as fine jewelry, but with this new line of costume pieces..I’m able to do it all!”
Henleava is Jay Sharpe's newest line of jewelry and is named after his new born daughter and niece (Henle – Ava). He describes it as trendy and affordable. The pieces are made from non-traditional materials (new and recycled) and all pieces are created in the United States out of his own studio.
Launched in 2011, Mr. Sharpe is taking this new line out of the boutique and into the homes of women in Virginia. Henleava is exciting, fresh and getting a lot of buzz. Stylists (as his consultants are referred to) are having home parties all over town, and people love the designs and the affordability of the pieces.
African Americans throughout history have been met with roadblocks, and setbacks, but Jay Sharpe is just another example of how hard work, determination, and a dream can make it all possible if you have heart and a passion.
He’s a positive role model and volunteer for several non-profit organizations in the Richmond area that are geared toward African American youth. He teaches metal and jewelry classes at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond and gives back to the community regularly through his business.
Please visit Jay Sharpe’s website to learn more about this extraordinary designer and to view more of his beautiful pieces. If you’re visiting or live in the Richmond, Virginia area, drop by his studio to see all the splendor, and how you can have something custom made just for you!
African Inspired Trunk Show
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
April 23, 2011
Jay Sharpe Studio
3405 W. Cary Street
Facebook: Jay Sharpe