Even Amanda Jaron’s eyeglasses have a gem-like quality. Her cat-eye Lucite frames are faceted, like the many stones that adorn the Naples jewelry designer’s hands; the spec’s iridescence complements her silver hair. “I became an empty nester and I turned 50 this year,” she says with a laugh. “So, I allowed myself to go gray.”
Amanda’s skilled at sparking reinventions. She maximizes the one-two punch of her creative flair and business acumen to share new visions for her jewelry line, as well as revitalize the causes and communities near to her heart.
Most locals are plenty-familiar with the stylish, straight-shooting dynamo, who has been a favorite among Naples’ fashion insiders since founding A. Jaron Fine Jewelry in 2004. For those new to the scene, it’s worth revisiting her bonafide credentials: Before coming to Naples, Amanda lived in New York City, where she worked for Givenchy, Tommy Hilfiger and led Avon’s jewelry design team during the company’s heyday. Her line’s known for luxurious statement pieces that effortlessly blend a punk-rock boldness with romantic whimsy. With a degree in metalsmithing and fine art from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, Amanda balances her honed artistic instincts with metal precision and chemistry. “The ability to use both sides of the brain isn’t typical of artists, but it’s typical of jewelers,” she says, “It’s as much a science as an art because you have to figure out how to make something from nothing.”
Walking into Amanda’s showroom, you’ll often find her dogs, Opal and Pearl, playing in front of antique gold-and-black display cases stocked with sculptural rings, statement necklaces and modern drop earrings. A sofa, upholstered in rich plum velvet, perches near a wall that’s been papered with drawings of previous designs. “Everything here is made from scratch,” she says. “There’s no catalog.” Amanda starts every project by sketching a visual reference, which she’ll often gift to clients as a prismatic memento of their work together.
In addition to her original creations, Amanda’s sought out for her heirloom designs, in which she reimagines pieces into individualized, contemporary jewels in a process she’s vivaciously branded as “Bling Overs.” During the pandemic, she started posting detailed sketches and before-and-after photos of each redesign on Instagram, sparking renewed interest in the series. “With Bling Overs, the palette’s always already designed for you,” she explains. “You’re working with yellow gold from your client’s grandmother or her mom’s stones. But you get to give them new life, new color.”
The mother-of-two approaches all her pursuits with improvement-oriented savvy. Giving back is central to her life, and she eschews buzzy causes and galas in favor of connecting with issues that intimately speak to her, like supporting public education. Last year, the teachers recognized in Champions for Learning’s Golden Apple awards donned gold-and-diamond necklaces by Amanda. Local nonprofits have looked to her as a secret weapon for their philanthropic committees, where she helps brainstorm out-the-box ideas to enliven events and expand marketing. In 2017, Naples Art tapped Amanda to shape their now-popular Scene to Be Seen gala, which she suggested anchoring with a fashion show where local talent presents imaginative wearable art, using unusual materials and sculptural designs.
She’s also used her vivaciousness and creativity to fuel the growth of the Bayshore Drive area, where she moved in 2015 and opened her studio in 2017. “People actually called me brave for being in Bayshore,” she says, with the exasperation of a former New Yorker who isn’t deterred by so-called tough neighborhoods. “Maybe a few years ago, it was shadier, but, to me, it’s quirky, it has character.” Emboldened by Bayshore’s bohemian atmosphere, Amanda commissioned local artist, Marcus Zotter, to paint an Instagrammable mural of a massive mermaid on the side of her studio. She shared photos of the mermaid on social media and tagged each post with #BayshoreArtsDistrict—a moniker that had floated over the decades with efforts to revitalize the once-seedy neighborhood. Soon, other area artists adopted the hashtag. A movement emerged.
As grassroots interest skyrocketed, Amanda thought of ways to solidify the area as an arts destination, despite the lack of real estate for artists. She’s engineered event series to draw attention and concentrated art activity, including starting Art Among the Blossoms, an outdoor art fair at Green Door Nursery, and Music Under the Mermaid, a music festival held at her showroom and featuring local high schoolers. During the pandemic, she corralled artists to paint hundreds of wooden butterfly cutouts for an installation called Transformation, which they mounted on fences and trees, luring visitors for a COVID-safe, outdoor art stroll.
In many ways, Amanda is the Bayshore Arts District. Look at the neighborhood’s info webpage and you see a picture of her standing in a floral ball gown skirt in front of her mermaid mural. Though studio space is still limited, the area’s become known for its street art, and there’s been an influx of creative businesses since she moved in, like Bean to Cup Coffee Lounge, Ankrolab Brewing Company, the Things I Like by Catherine gallery and zero-waste retailer The Humble Hut.
As the Bayshore Arts District blossoms, Amanda remains at the center, drawing her loyal shoppers and new, younger followers that reflect Naples’ shifting demographic. “I’m sort of becoming a family jeweler,” she says. “Young couples come to me for an engagement ring, then come back for their wedding bands, their first anniversary, their first kid. I just love that.” Her clients appreciate her glittering inventory as much as her egalitarian, open-minded spirit. In her showroom, you’ll find a high-dollar necklace with green tourmaline, blue topaz and diamonds near a $35 Lucite cuff. “With designing jewelry, you need to be clear in your vision but still have something for everyone,” she says. “It’s inclusive; just like how in Bayshore, there’s no gate.”