“ To wear the right jewelry is to feel that all the towers of your fortress are protected and you are connected to the heart of the world.”
— Anastasia Simes
Anastasia Simes is an internationally recognized DC based artist whose paintings have been exhibited all over the world-from New York to Monaco to Moscow to Hong Kong. She is an award-winning theatre designer whose work has consistently received rave reviews in the Washington Post and other publications. Jewelry is her lifelong love and the latest manifestation of her unique creativity. Anastasia Simes Jewelry is the culmination of her passion for gemstones and silver combined with the artistry of her paintings, theatrical set and costume designs.
IN THE DESIGNER'S WORDS
In the kingdom of my Russian childhood, the jewelry box of my grandmother was the most desired destination, a glittering treasure island with caves and secrets. It was a place of family stories: a lock of blond curly baby hair, tied by a ribbon, belonging to some family member now a grown man with a big scratchy mustache, foggy photos, dried flowers from some happy summer, the ring my grandmother got on her 16th birthday (I still have it!), the broken necklace of her mother, and a lonely sparkly button from some ethereal dress long gone.
I was born into a long line of professional artists. Learning some form of art was as inevitable as learning how to speak. I distinctly remember the day my painting career "took off ". I was three years old and watching my grandfather paint a huge portrait of a tzar in golden bejeweled robes. As he meticulously made brush strokes which transformed into rubies, emeralds and pearls, I was overwhelmed with the burning desire to be able to create something equally as stunning. As soon as he left the room, I did just that. This act of vandalism immediately resulted in my very own easel next to my grandfather's and enrollment into art school. It then lead to a whole life in art: days spent tet-a-tet with the canvas in my studio, in theater back stages, touring with exhibitions, tremors of opening nights, sketches of my first jewelry designs...Sometimes I ask myself, what was the force which moved me that first pivotal moment: passion for painting or passion for jewelry? I still don't know.
If I were to choose one word to describe what jewelry means to me, it would be: Power. From early childhood, jewelry was firmly linked to invincibility in my mind. From reading fairy tails, I knew that having a magic ring would always allow you to escape gloomy ordeals. It would help you find a way out of the dark forest, make you invisible, or turn you into a glamorous swan. Whatever the circumstances were, that ring was the key.
As a teenager, jewelry took on new layers of meaning. History lessons showed me repeated images of glorious counts and countesses in the throes of great revolutions sewing family diamonds into the hems of their coats and stacking tiaras in jars of buckwheat as they fled the country chased by rising flames. Landing on new shores, rings and tiaras transformed into roofs above their heads and loaves of bread on their tables.
As an adult studying art and ancient cultures, I saw that even the most primitive jewelry was used by our ancestors as an enchanted armor, a spell which attracts the attention of the world, yet protects the wearer. Adornment is embedded in our DNA. Jewelry is a form of clan energy. The most meaningful pieces stay in the family and connect generations. This concept in a word: Memory. That's why when I create a new piece of art or jewelry, I hope it lives on long after I am gone. It is like throwing a bottle with a message into the future. I entertain the possibility that reincarnation might turn out to be real and one day in a different life, in a different body, I will see one of my pieces in an antique store and buy it, something in me recognizing it. Jewelry encapsulates this continuity of life. It is a physical manifestation of our emotions.