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How She Wears It: Adanya’s Story

How She Wears It: Adanya’s Story
November 4, 2015 Barbara Schwartz
Adanya Dunn's story

One of my favorite aspects of consulting was the relationships I formed with my clients, so when I started selling vintage costume jewelry I knew I wanted to get to know the women who buy my pieces. What I particularly like is helping clients build a jewelry wardrobe that works with their clothing and inspires their personal styles. One such client is Adanya Dunn, a young soprano who is at the beginning of her professional career.

Meeting Over Art Deco

I first met Adanya briefly at one of the local vintage clothing shows. When she came to my booth with her father, Rod, she headed straight to an intricate sterling silver and marcasite German Art Deco necklace that had been part of my personal collection. While she was trying it on, I asked what about the necklace appealed to her. Adanya said, “I just love Art Deco. The designs are so unique and sophisticated”. Seeing the big smile on her face while wearing the necklace, Rod urged her to buy it. But she declined, saying she had other priorities, and they moved on. Within seconds, Rod rushed back and whispered in my ear, “Hold that necklace. I’ll call you later in the week”. To my delight, he did.

When I delivered the necklace, I learned that Adanya was studying opera and spending a lot of time in New York City. Because she was beginning to appear on stage and also meeting important people in her field, she needed to build a wardrobe of formal wear for performances as well as more traditional business outfits for auditions, networking, and attending master classes, concerts and theatre productions – a challenge for anyone on a slim budget. So her jewelry would have to be versatile.

Another Surprise Gift

Then about a year ago, Rod called to ask if we could get together to choose another necklace as a surprise birthday present for Adanya. Knowing that Art Deco is her favorite style, I put together a selection of pieces that I thought she would like and that would work well with a range of outfits. I chose a number of crystal necklaces, because they can be worn with any color. At our meeting, Rod admired each one I held up and tried on. After reviewing at least 10, he selected a crystal chicklet and sterling Art Deco necklace.

See How She Wears It

Laura-and-Adanya-2014-12-08I was so happy when Adanya sent me this picture of herself (on the left) wearing the necklace on stage – I think the glow of the jewelry and her own face are a perfect match. Adanya explained that she and classmate Laura Soto-Bayomi (on the right) performed solo pieces and ensemble numbers in the annual Vocal Arts Program’s Winter SongFest at Bard College Conservatory. Adanya wrote:  “I performed ‘River’ by Joni Mitchell in an arrangement by the Canadian composer John Greer. As the only Canadian in this program and currently the only international student, I feel it is important to keep promoting the works of artists from my country.”

Later she sent two more pictures to show me how she wore the necklace with other outfits and for other concerts, including an appearance at Carnegie Hall – imagine, my jewelry gracing the stage where so many great people have performed!


“This photo was taken at Carnegie Hall, Weill Music Institute’s new Resnick Education Wing. In January 2015, I had my Carnegie Hall debut as part of the Song Continues: The Marilyn Horne Legacy! For one week, we performed, coached, and had masterclasses with renowned artists such as pianist and coach Ken Noda of the Metropolitan Opera and the legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne. One of the last afternoons of the Song Continues, the participants had the chance to perform in a special invitation-only recital. I wore this simple blue dress and the necklace my dad had bought me – this has been its third outing since he gave it to me for my birthday in November 2014!”

Adanya-Necklance-with-Jeans“I went out for dinner in NYC with one of my friends and wore the necklace as part of a more casual outfit!  I think the necklace is beautifully subtle – depending on what I wear, it is either the enhancer or feature of the outfit without overpowering the overall look. I love that it is so versatile.”

Building a Jewelry Wardrobe & a Relationship

In June Adanya was back in Toronto for a few days because she was scheduled to perform locally and wanted a bracelet for that concert. She sent me several photos of the gown and the 1950s earrings she was planning to wear. Keeping in mind her need to add sparkle to her formal wear without detracting from her performance and to buy vintage costume jewelry that is wearable with a range of outfits, I assembled several pieces for her to consider. She bought a citrine and sterling two-row 1950s bracelet by Eisenberg. She also selected several items for her “wish list”. I can’t wait to see Adanya again next month, when she returns from her studies/performances in New York and Santa Barbara!

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