Dawn Mellon’s Local Fashion Talent Report Part Two: Shona Gilbert

A sampling of Shona’s designs.

Fall fashions are hitting the racks of local stores. The spring shows at New York Fashion Week are hitting the internet. We’re in a fashion state of mind. Today Dawn Mellon brings us a report about local jewelry designer Shona Gilbert. Stay tuned next week for the third installment in the series. (Click here for last week’s profile about designer Mario Alberto Gallegos).

By Dawn Mellon.

I’ve long subscribed to the adage that the best gifts come in small packages. Take Tiffany’s blue box for instance. Nothing bad has ever come out of that box. But, what does a self-proclaimed jewelry aficionado do when her husband presents her with a cigar box?  I recall hesitantly accepting the box, all the while thinking my better half was confused about what kind of aficionado I was. Much to my delight, I was wrong (and that doesn’t happen very often, just ask my husband). Inside the box and sandwiched between two little velvet pillows was the most beautiful and unique necklace I had ever seen. That’s when I learned about Shona Gilbert–wife, mother, and jewelry designer extraordinaire.

When I talked to the artist behind the jewelry, she confided, “I want to paint my sleeves with meaning.” This was a sentiment a friend once shared with her and one that strongly resonated with Shona. I was immediately captivated and mesmerized by the possibilities of this concise and powerful statement. Ironically, she could be described in much the same way. The more polite term for the former competitive gymnast turned jewelry designer would be petite, but powerful nonetheless.

“Jewelry is, and has always been, a way for people and cultures to punctuate their lives, religion, and bodies with meaning,” believes Shona. “We benchmark history with symbols and style. My jewelry is just an expression of my personal highs and lows, my gratitude, and how I re-invent my life with and for everything and everyone who comes into it.”

Her line SHŌNA is an eclectic mix of handcrafted necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, each piece as diverse, interesting, and worldly as the designer. She gained local notoriety when her collection made its debut at the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art in November of 2011. And, might I add, this was only a year after moving to Dallas from Greenwich, Connecticut, New York City, and St. Croix. In fact, it was the Jean Paul Gaultier’s Montreal exhibit “From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk,” along with the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York that inspired Shona’s first collection, Vintage Reformed Couture. Sadly, Shona admits the collection was created during a rough time in her marriage. A period of mourning, she concedes. Her jewelry, like her mood, was very dark, but at the same time also nostalgic and romantic. The mood is evident in the collection’s drama featuring vintage pendents, rare stones, and diamond roundels.

Today, SHŌNA is comprised of many different collections inspired by the “interpretation of my environment however lovely or dark it is at the moment,” she explains in a simultaneously strong and vulnerable manner.

Fortunately, her once-broken relationship is now mended, and the collections Shona has subsequently created are every bit as beautiful as the first. The La Scala collection is an expression of the California native’s young and playful side with its flirty and alluring deep red, orange, and violet stones and beads. Ayanna is the artist’s favorite collection. Perhaps that’s because it resembles the woman Shona is today – casual, relaxed, chic, and approachable. This collection represents nature and love through carved agates, quartz crystals, polished wood, and vintage ivory.

Shona recently traveled all over the country with Neiman Marcus and her streamlined, contemporary St. Germain collection. She readily admits she enjoys seeing women adorned in her statement-making pieces. The artist’s newest creations are a reflection of the important aspects of her life today – family, friends, community – and the connections between them.  “Balance,” she asserts, “is a combination of strength and grace, and if you can find yours, you win!”

“Balance” for Shona meant trading in her seemingly glamorous travel schedule for a much simpler lifestyle consisting of exercising, volunteering, making jewelry, and spending time with her family. She also enjoys giving back to the community through her involvement in various charitable organizations, and has even found ways to use her talent for fundraising. Earlier this month she hosted a trunk show after which she contributed a percentage of the sales to Trinity River Mission’s Mission Olé event and also donated a necklace for inclusion in the event’s auction.

To find Shona’s jewelry, you can visit her website which she actively updates with new pieces and information on upcoming trunk shows including one slated for Wednesday, October 23rd, at Elements Boutique on Lovers Lane in Highland Park.

To find Shona, you’re likely to spot her walking her daughters to school or enjoying a date night with her husband at a local charity event.

To find true bliss, simply take a peek at what lies between the velvet pillows inside her ‘special’ cigar boxes.

Dawn Mellon is a Dallas-based fashion stylist and mother of two teenagers, Andrew and Erica, known for effortlessly dressing some of our fair city’s loveliest ladies for all manner of tony appearances. Over the next few months, the fashion maestro will be joining us here on D Moms daily to share her expertise on how to build a killer wardrobe and don it with confidence.


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