Heavenly Vices Fine Jewelry
Heavenly Vices Fine Jewelry (Est. 2016?) creative inventory of pieces inspired Forbes Magazine to write, “Love tokens were a global phenomenon during the 19th century, and people took coins to jewelers to have them engraved with names, nicknames, meaningful phrases, bon mots and even some sayings that defy explanation. … [Heavenly Vices] bring[s] them … into modern times in rings that bespeak a range of emotions and symbolism.”
The founder of Heavenly Vices writes on the brand’s official website, “[The company was] “…created in Atlanta, Georgia by New Orleans native Samantha Jackson. The [company’s] name evokes the experience of being a jewelry lover - the heavenly feeling you get when you see, touch, or wear a piece of jewelry that has captivated you … the vice that jewelry lovers have, the intoxicating thrill of finding a piece you can’t live without, and the universally held truth among jewelry lovers that one can never ever have enough.”
Samantha traces her love for jewelry back to the Mardi Gras parades of her childhood, where revelers vied for the colorful beads and doubloons thrown by the marchers. Heavenly Vices speaks to those who appreciate the past and revere the decadence and beauty of fine jewelry.
Inspired by sentimental engraved coins called ‘Love Tokens’, the Heavenly Vices large collections include antique love tokens from the 19th century set in various customizable gemstone bezels, modern rings with themes and motifs, and castings of universal and whimsical love tokens.
These are actual coins in different denominations from different countries around the world in sterling silver. Different karats of gold and copper were ground down in the front to personalize and give as a token of friendship, familial, or romantic love and, sometimes, to communicate what are deemed mysterious messages.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Samantha created collections named Rebirth, Audubon, Carnival, Celestial, Garden District, Spirits, Voodoo, and more inspired from the nature, history and culture of the region. Using vintage accents, like antique love tokens (originally coins that are burnished on one or both sides, then engraved with significant dates, monograms and secret messages), and an unusual combination of designs and gems, Heavenly Vices Fine Jewelry reveals how its customers strive to connect meaning between what and who is significant in their lives.
Inspired by jewelry since a child, Samantha connects jewelry to a virtuous purpose beyond appreciation and ornamentation.
Samantha is a passionate animal lover and devotes much of her time and energy to animal rescue. A portion of the profits from jewelry sales goes toward various rescue organizations Samantha supports including those that work to improve the lives of animals and to eliminate pet and animal over population. Not only does Samantha devote a significant amount of time and energy to animal rescue, she and her husband also foster and care for rescue cats.
When one buys a piece of jewelry from Heavenly Vices, buyers also know they are supporting Samantha’s favorite animal rescue organizations. For example, purchasers of the 14k Gold Cat Necklace are advised that 100% of the profits from this piece are donated to animal rescue.
This cat necklace features a fun and feisty cat silhouette with a heart, and was inspired by Peaches, one of Samantha’s cats. Even though Peaches is partially blind, due to scar tissue on his eyes from an untreated infection he got while in the shelter, he’s all about love - from his fur to his disposition. The heart in the 14k Gold Cat Necklace honors Peaches and the unwavering spirit of all animals in the shelter system.
Although there are dealers who carry love tokens and sell them ‘as is’ on eBay and Etsy and at antique shows, Samantha is always on the hunt to find the most unique and unexpected words, phrases, motifs and engravings. Since 2016, she has amassed over 2,000 pieces from the 1800s onward, developed an idea for how to build a collection around them and coined a new phrase and way of wearing pieces from the past for the modern woman.
She has named one of her collections, Souvenir (after one of the favorite coins she found), a word with origins in France in the late 1800s that means ‘remember.’ Her pieces are meaningful for the self-purchaser, gift giver and/or recipient.
Samantha’s range of tokens, both authentic and re-cast with engravable backs are perfect gifts for special women who have been inspirations, guides and to whom one wants to show appreciation with a special gift of affection.
Before the onset of the pandemic, jewelry designer Jackson debuted a new retail endeavor, the Essential Jewelry Collective (EJC), with jewelry journalist Beth Bernstein. EJC corrals small, hard-to-find brands—Moritz Glick, Hannah G, Karen Karch, Grace Lee, KatKim, and Talon, among them—that are well-known to jewelry fans but otherwise may be under the radar.
The new platform currently has a dedicated Instagram page where it’s posting bios and photos showcasing its brands, with links to every brand’s feed. A proprietary e-commerce shop is also in the works.
“EJC was an idea Beth I conceived in response to the COVID crisis to deal with the immediate and unplanned necessity to shift to direct-to-consumer sales,” Jackson told JCK, the jewelry industry website.
“Many independent designers including myself had planned trunk shows and in-store events with our retail partners. But when it became clear that this was not going to be a few-weeks shutdown, we had to change our thinking.”
Jackson adds that the unity among designers from within the collective has been inspiring, noting, “From the outside one might think that people trying to survive and sell in this environment might be reluctant to help someone else competing for consumers and sales. But that’s not the case. Using social media to foster online shopping, we can control our collective destinies, utilizing our innate creativity and embracing a paradigm shift to the ‘new normal.’ With COVID-19, this is the first time in a long time that our priority isn’t responding to a design challenge, but to an execution challenge.”
In jewelry, direct-to-consumer retailing (often called, DTC or D2C in print) has exploded in the past few years. The store closures during the coronavirus pandemic have accelerated the growth of such brands, which across the board focus on technology advances in retailing as much as (or more) they do product mix and design.
Among Heavenly Vices online offerings are pendants, love tokens, bracelets, necklaces, love token pendants, love token necklaces, souvenirs, spinners (all the rage in the Victorian era) and frequently combine two or more intaglios on a spinning mechanism that reveals all sides or comes as a double sided disc with a cryptic message, plus rings.
Much like New Orleans, the charm and lore of love tokens have survived over a century and, with the Heavenly Vices’ collections, their survival is ensured as new generations again fall in love with these treasures.