Cathy Waterman (Est. 1990) is a California based jewelry designer whose eponymous jewelry has been worn by Michelle Obama, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Viola Davis, Laura Linney, and Sally Fields. This is only a small sampling of the women who have been seen in Cathy Waterman jewelry.
Designed with whimsical details such as leaf-shaped bands and thorn-like settings, Cathy Waterman’s intricate jewelry is crafted of platinum or 22k gold and set with a variety of faceted gemstones. Her collections of necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets are some of the most sought after jewelry in the country and offer a lyrical, feminine and quietly understated combination of diamonds and other hand selected stones.
Her signature style relies on an incorporation of colorful gemstones and fancy diamonds in a vivid blend of colors and shapes that celebrate life’s diversity. Cathy Waterman’s collections convey her free spirit and love of life with a glorious, rich tapestry of designs and one-of-a-kind pieces.
Delicate curves and complementary shapes blend in a feminine, lyrical combination of stones and materials that celebrate luxury and beauty. Each hand-finished piece stands out with quiet, dreamy sophistication.
The unusual and contemporary jewelry Cathy Waterman creates blooms in full beauty in one of her collections that honors her husband. She calls it, Love of My Life. It has gained recognition and praise and is described as “ethereal, feminine and lyrical.”
Cathy Waterman’s jewelry designs are noted for their fluid, organic shapes, like vines and tendrils weaving around the wearer’s wrist or finger. Delicate flowers bloom in platinum with diamond petals unfurling. Other motifs, like medieval crosses and spider webs also appear from time to time, but it’s primarily the bloom and vine that characterize her work.
Cathy’s childhood in California’s fertile climate perfectly suited someone who grew to appreciate naturalist virtues. “Flowers were my playthings growing up,” she says. “I was playing picnic with honeysuckle and making perfume with our garden roses. Roses permeate my life, and I wish I were better at growing them. My house is full of flowers, and my kids tease me that there is always a tree growing out of our kitchen table, usually a tall vase of blossoms.”
Waterman got her start as a jewelry designer sketching out designs for herself. “I began drawing jewels that I imagined,” she says. “I think it was because I couldn’t afford or find the perfect jewels for me. My first pieces were either hammered gold with precious stones or tiny cultured pearls with diamonds, rather medieval.”
She begins with a central stone, hand-picked for quality and beauty. With stone in hand, she opens a clean page in her sketch pad and starts to create. Before she even puts pencil to paper, a design fully takes shape within her mind.
For her, creating jewelry is a joy, an opportunity to connect in a deep way with the materials as well as with the woman who will wear her finished piece.
Whimsical, lyrical, feminine, ethereal, magical are just some of the words attributed to her designs. In her Santa Monica studio, Cathy draws her inspiration from nature and from her travels. She also draws upon history, particularly church history, as well as literature.
She considers herself a magician, applying her craft to the raw materials she works with and transforming them into organic jewels that she imbues with her prized virtues: consciousness, authenticity, devotion, and true love.
Cathy designs the rings, necklaces, bracelets, and charms by hand in her Culver City, California, studio. Metalsmiths, carvers, setters, and polishers render her designs for retail outlets like Barneys New York and boutique accessories shops like Etc. in Birmingham and Aspen.
Waterman and her husband travel frequently and have visited Africa, India, Italy, Spain, France, and England. When they returned from a visit to Egypt, Waterman was overflowing with inspiration. “We visited the Wonders of the Ancient World, and it was a blast. Such bold thinking gets me charged up. And who knows where that will take me? I don’t do much relaxing, but recharging is perhaps a better way to describe my vacations. I have a deep interest in history, so holidays are always destinations where a spirit of place is palpable.”
Cathy also has an extensive and eclectic art collection, including Austrian Art Nouveau pieces, American folk art made at the turn of the century, as well as tramp art made from recycled materials. As a designer, she also uses recycled gold and describes Art Nouveau as her favorite design period.
Waterman designed the jewelry featured in the 2012 film, ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ including a crown worn by Charlize Theron and the gold ring worn by Kristen Stewart. Stylists have used Cathy Waterman jewelry for award shows, articles, fashion shoots as well as television and movies, including Leighton Meester. Photographer Sally Mann wore her jewelry on the cover of the New York Times Magazine in September 2001 with a self-portrait (that also included her two daughters) for a theme issue on "Women looking at Women."
Cathy Waterman is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Her collections present an interesting paradox. While her pieces have graced the bodies of the wealthy and powerful, her philosophy in design reflects a clear, down-to-earth aesthetic. Each piece is made with passion and intense focus to the minutest of details.
Cathy’s love of experimentations makes it difficult to pinpoint the creative direction of her future professional endeavors, but if one thing is certain – it is that her creations will continue to push the boundaries of creative possibility and be a source of artistic inspiration.