In John's Words
- I love making art and I love making people happy. I discovered early on that offering our ‘Gotta have it’, modern/vintage jewelry and gifts addresses both of these passions. I want our collectors to feel the romance and connection to the past, and even share the sense of discovery I feel when visiting Clingancourt Market in Paris and unearthing that special antique charm. At the same time I want them to look great, feel good, and strike up some conversations thanks to their jewels!
- I began making jewelry while studying at the Slade School of Art in London; on weekends I’d visit Portobello Road and find fabulous vintage bits, then I’d rush home, glue them into big, funky brooches, and wear them out that night. (Hey, it was the 80’s—think Culture Club and The Thompson Twins!)
- I also fell in love with Victorian jewelry—its beauty and the way it tells a story by conveying emotions (love, passion, friendship) and connections (family, friends, heritage). I set out to do the same, but in a fun, fashionable way. At that time I also met and was photographed by Andy Warhol, which while not totally jewelry related, was certainly a high-point for a young aspiring artist!
- I moved back to my hometown of Philadelphia and started Maximal Art in 1985. For the first few years, I worked with my close friend Hilary Jay. Our look hit the fashion world pretty quickly, we received lots of press, and the company grew quickly. One design in particular put us on the map—four vintage watch heads linked into a bracelet that was the ultimate conversation piece!
- The 90’s brought many changes—minimalism, a recession, and the evolution of Maximal Art into the watch and gift worlds. First came watches, as a spin-off of the 4-faced watches. We then developed a distinctive look that really played off of Victorian jewelry and essentially rebuild the company into a world where my grandmother’s antique lace tablecloths draped our tradeshow booth! Victorian lead pretty naturally to Country, and a focus on holidays and Americana that resonated with the times.
- We were invited into the permanent collections of both the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. I can’t tell you how exciting and gratifying this was (and still is…)
- In the last decade, fashion jewelry made a comeback and we introduced the John Wind Signature Collection. It has been an opportunity for me to tap into my artistic roots and also interpret the fashion vibe of the day. At the same time our gift jewelry has evolved beyond Victoria into a cooler and fresher new place. One of the wild things about a 25 year career is that we are now selling to the daughters of our original customers! Even better is when 3 generations come to one of my trunk shows together and everyone finds something they love…
- Another way we try to make a difference is through charitable projects. Through special designs, over the years we’ve raised money for AIDS research and kids health and welfare. Currently we are working with the national Cancer Support Community, for whom I designed this fund-raising Tree of Life necklace.
- This story would not have happened without the belief, intelligence, and commitment of our company president, Robbin Cook, who has worked with me since almost day 1.
- Finally, none of this would have happened without you-- John’s gals, our loyal customers, both wholesale and retail (ok, and the occasional guy too...) Over the years, we’ve sold many thousands of necklaces, brooches, earrings, bracelets, frames, etc... But ultimately every single piece goes out into the world and finds a home and makes someone happy. That direct, personal, uplifting moment is what it’s all about. And I thank you for allowing me to make this my life’s work.
For over 25 years John Wind has uplifted his customers by designing jewelry, helping them look good and feel good. His work tells stories inspired by a passion for travel, art, fashion, and style, along with a love for the symbolism and history of vintage jewelry.
While the meaning of “Vintage” has changed over the years, the company’s focus on producing accessible and affordable fashion jewelry in the USA is at the foundation of every design.