Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-03-29
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Jan Dee rings in 40 years of custom jewelry in Chicago
by Melissa Wasserman
2013-02-20

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Helping a new generation find perfect engagement rings after helping their parents with their engagement rings in the 1970s is something Jan Dee looks on fondly.

Dee is a longtime lesbian philanthropist and business owner. She has supported almost every LGBT and AIDS cause, and has donated items for major LGBT and AIDS benefits throughout her store's lifespan.

Now celebrating Jan Dee Custom Jewelry's 40th anniversary, Dee spoke with Windy City Times about her store, custom jewels and style.

Windy City Times: What drew you to silversmithing and jewelry?

Jan Dee: I loved arts and crafts. I adored it. So I was always making something with my hands and I thought at one point, if I like to make things with my hands, why can't I make a living out of the talent that I have with my hands. Then I thought, "Well if you're going to work with your hands, you need to work with something that's viable like silver or gold." At the time, my parents were poor and had no money, so I was helping them with the house and I thought well if I can make a living, I can help my parents and make everybody happy. When I first started I was about 27.

WCT: Where does your inspiration come from when creating your jewelry?

Jan Dee: Part of it is when you touch a piece of silver or gold, and you start hammering it, it almost makes itself if you love it that much. It's like you take it and just start hammering it, it can be flat, you can make it so it looks concave or convex and everything in the piece starts speaking to you as you make it. You just start making the piece and you curl some wire or you take a sheet of silver or gold and start playing with it, it ends up being a creation that just came to you.

Other times, it was that people ordered things from you. I had a friend order a Gumby, so I made a gold Gumby. At that time gold was not $1,600 an ounce; it was probably $280 an ounce, maybe less. People would come in and ask for really fun things and that would inspire me to make something else too. All of a sudden, you'd say, "well if somebody likes Gumby, maybe I'll make a Mickey Mouse because I'm sure somebody would like that." People coming into your store gives you ideas. And they give you ideas all the time because they're asking you if you make this, do you have this and then after they leave, you start thinking, that's a good thing to make, that's a great idea. So the customers really help you with the inspiration.

WCT: What is the style you usually go for?

Jan Dee: Simple elegance. A lot of my things are very simple and I look and I say it's simple elegance. You wear it and it's just a piece that stands out by itself.

WCT: What's the biggest misconception about diamonds?

Jan Dee: The biggest for me is that it [has] to be perfect. A lot of people want a flawless diamond and it's not necessary. We all have flaws and we're still perfect. So it's like if a diamond has a flaw in it and you can't see it with your eye, or if the color looks good to you, but it might not be the best color—diamonds are an illusion and what it really is is that when a diamond speaks to you, you should by it. It doesn't have to be perfect. It has to be perfect for you.

WCT: What type of jewelry speaks to you?

Jan Dee: Diamonds speak to me. I wear a diamond necklace that spells my name. I wear it all the time and I love it. When I look at a ring I love diamonds going all the way around the ring in about three to five rows of diamonds. Just a beautiful diamond look, that's my favorite. That's the ring I want some day. I have a very simple taste in jewelry

WCT: Is there a signature detail in your pieces to signify Jan Dee Jewelry?

Jan Dee: There are a lot of people who identify a Jan Dee piece and they're not always the same. It really doesn't have any significant one little thing that's indicative that there's another one just like it. We do a lot of custom work, so a lot of it is one-of-a-kind. Usually something that's handmade or handcrafted has a personality of its own.

It's hard to say because I don't have a mark. There's the classic simple lines that we do and mainly it's what people ask for now. They'll come in and ask for a certain design and we make it for them. It used to be we would have a lot of our rings in the showcase, which a lot of people have on their hands and they were the classic rings we used to make in the '70s and '80s. Now it's different.

It's also a talent to make a ring. Somebody can make the same ring as somebody else and it's not the same quality, it may not be the same anything. It's just that you can look at something and know that it's perfect.

WCT: How do you feel about celebrating the 40th anniversary?

Jan Dee: It feels wonderful because this year every Saturday feels like Christmas Eve because I don't know what's happened but people are coming out of the woodwork to come to our store and every Saturday when I walk in—I don't work there all the time—the store is full of gay and straight people. It warms my heart that a small store can survive 40 years and also can continue to be successful, especially now with the economy. We had the best month ever, and it's January. The store is thriving.

For more information, visit www.jandee.com, 1425 W. Diversey Ave., or call 773-871-2222.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Flower & Garden Show celebrates Chicago 2017-03-29 - A sure sign of spring is the annual Chicago Flower & Garden Show, presented by Mariano's, which took place March 18-26 at Navy ...


Gay News

Art AIDS exhibition hosts panel on aging 2017-03-29 - Greg Sanchez has taken HIV medications since the 1980s. But each time his body becomes resistant to one, he must switch to another. ...


Gay News

Internment exhibition to run in June 2017-03-29 - Alphawood Gallery, 2401 N. Halsted St., will show "Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the Demise of ...


Gay News

'Kiss & Tell' starts March 30 2017-03-29 - The Owl, 2521 N. Milwaukee Ave., has collaborated with SlutTalk to host "Kiss & Tell," a new, monthly storytelling series and open mic ...


Gay News

Hundreds attend 'Art for Life' 2017-03-29 - More than 350 people attended the inaugural Art for Life Chicago, a juried art exhibition and live and silent auction that benefited those ...


Gay News

BOOKS Partner violence among LGBTQs presents unique challenges 2017-03-29 - In new book, Chicago author dispels myths and finds intimate partner violence is more prevalent than believed Many LGBTQ people experience ...


Gay News

RiseUP concert to benefit ACLU includes headlining artists of Hamilton 2017-03-29 - CHICAGO- Members of the cast of Hamilton and other artists are hosting RiseUP, a night of music and entertainment at Moonlight Studios, on ...


Gay News

'Women of Courage'exhibit in March 2017-03-28 - In celebration of National Women's History Month, the Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago, 2249 W. Superior St., is showing "Celebrating Women of Courage," ...


Gay News

Final week of Art AIDS America events March 27 through April 2 2017-03-27 - March 27 through April 2 will be the final week of the Art AIDS America exhibit and events at Alphawood Gallery. Extended ...


Gay News

130 congregations to participate in Nat'l Weekend of Prayer for Trans Justice 2017-03-23 - WASHINGTON, D.C. — This weekend, religious leaders, clergy, and people of faith from more than 130 congregations in more than 30 states will ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.