Anndra Neen’s Sister Act
Published January 18, 2011
PHOEBE AND ANNETTE STEPHENS
With cuffs made for warriors and pendants that look like talismans, the Anndra Neen jewelry line is not for the faint of heart. Founded by sisters Phoebe and Annette Stephens, the jewelry line is handcrafted by artisans in their hometown of Mexico City. Growing up, the sisters got their start in jewelry-making with help from their grandmother. “Our grandmother was a painter, artist, and jewelry designer in Mexico in the ’30s and ’40s and designed jewelry that was worn by Frida Kahlo and Helena Rubenstein,” explains Annette. With such a glamorous family business, the sisters started work early. “We started making a lot of pieces when we were young,” Phoebe says. “She had all these beads, so it was part of our life growing up.”
Worn by celebrities like Rihanna and Michelle Obama, Anndra Neen pieces are an exaggerated take on the jewelry the sisters saw growing up. Some of the necklaces are oversized enough to double as armor, but each is made with such care and detail that it doesn’t lose its sense of romance—even when adorned with bone. Designed collaboratively by the duo, the pieces reflect a variety of viewpoints. “The artisan we work with also tweaks it himself—so it’s communal. We have a modern silhouette with some older influences. But we’re really creating something that hasn’t been seen before in that way,” says Phoebe.
The now-Stateside-based pair had the idea for their truly multicultural jewelry line while on a trip to Japan. “I think they’re respectful of tradition [but also] respectful of both the new and the old in the same way,” Phoebe says. “Everything has a purpose.” Among other influences, the pair cite a recent obsession with Tina Chow and the legendary Iris Apfel. But their ideal piece is ultimately reflective of the owner. As Phoebe explains, “Jewelry is so personal, you fall in love with a piece and then it becomes a part of you…”
Her sister interjects. “It tells a story.”
Phoebe and Annette thrive on the partnership. “You’re faced with the better and worse parts of yourself, and I think that in a short time we have learned a lot about ourselves and about each other,” says Phoebe. “Just the other day I turned to Annette and was like, ‘Can you believe this is our job—we just get to hang out together all day?’ She answered, ‘It’s ideal!'”
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ANNDRA NEEN, VISIT THE STEPHENS SISTERS’ WEBSITE.