Laurel Burch Jewelry: The Early Years

chinese, earrings, egyptian, mummy beads, shashi -

Laurel Burch Jewelry: The Early Years

The late, great Laurel Burch was an artist turned entrepreneur. Most prominently known for her jewelry designs, colorful cats, horses, and animals and beautiful fabrics.

Shashi and Laurel met in the early 1970s - in San Francisco - and struck both a romantic and business partnership. Together they founded Laurel Inc. - manufacturing Laurels designs as a 50/50 joint venture. The Laurel Inc. Laurel San Francisco designs represent the first examples of Laurels commercial work, as such they are highly collectable.

Example of Laurel Burch mummy beaded jewelryThe fledgling company first attempted manufacturing directly in San Francisco. They trained hippies and assorted counter-culture types to do jewelry production, but this backfired - according to Shashi - because it was a mobile population and workers would turn over after just a few months. Eventually they settled on China and Singapore as a manufacturing hub, but worked throughout the 1970's to bring a foundry into the city of San Francisco - a venture that some $100,000 was sunk into.

Tian Tsui earrings manufactured around 1970Laurel Inc jewelry ranges from cast metals exploring various subject matter (usually extensions of her travels to Egypt, China, France and elsewhere) to brightly enameled works invocative of the designs she became famous for later in life. It explores ancient materials like mummy beads, and ancient techniques like Tian-Tsui. Its so fashion forward that it can feel modern even today - almost 50 years after it was manufactured.

In the late 1970s Shashi and Laurel's collaboration came to an end, and so too did production of these pieces. Our vintage Laurel Burch jewelry was manufactured throughout the 1970s and contains a selection of tens of thousands of earrings in hundreds of designs. We hope you enjoy your journey though these pieces of yesterday, ready to be loved by a new generation.


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