Rock Candy

Beth Yorn digs into nature and comes out a style maker



Beth Yorn

MICHELE McMANMON

The desert sunset reflects beautifully on the 24K gold, diamond-accented Bobcat necklace that dangles from Beth Yorn’s neck, and inspires the wife of singer-songwriter Pete Yorn.

She has come a long way since her days modeling for Ford and Wilhelmina in New York City. Now she “works” in the Hauser Geode Beds and Opal Hill Fire Agate mines, scouring for materials to use in her line of Elisabeth Bell Jewelry — pendants, earrings, rings, and bangle bracelets.

Cameron Diaz, Sandra Bullock, and Gwyneth Paltrow have rocked Yorn’s one-of-a-kind designs. Splitting her time between Los Angeles and Palm Desert, where the couple has a second home, Yorn creates art inspired by nature. “She has a special eye,” Pete says. “Whether [it’s] design or photography, sure, she has learned over the years, but I think some people are born with an instinct.” Palm Springs Life talks with the renaissance woman about her artistic journey.

What experiences have shaped your career as a jewelry designer?

When I wasn’t modeling, I’d take classes at the Jewelry and Arts Institute in Manhattan and learn about soldering, gem setting, and metal-smithing. When I moved to L.A., I was laid up for months on end while recovering from a horrible car accident in Costa Rica. So, I studied online with [Gemological Institute of America’s] gemstone certification program. It was so much fun. I’m looking into their diamond and pearl programs.

What in nature inspires your creative process?

Pete was recording in Omaha with Mike Mogus (Bright Eyes), and I met him out there, and we decided to drive [home]. We were in Colorado, stopped in a Gold Rush town, and I found a small quartz egg. I took it home and had it cast, so it’s now a solid gold Bird Egg signature piece. All of the jewelry I create has different meanings. The Bobcat necklace I wear everyday is playful, passionate, powerful. The bird’s egg means beauty and freedom.

I love to find things on the ground, like pinecones or fossils. I found these fossilized Stingbay barbs and made a ring out of them. My new project is to combine the fossilized barbs with diamonds on one side, and an emerald stick on the other. It should be beautiful.

You had your first photography show last fall at Roseark in L.A. How long have you been a photographer?

My main goal, having been a photographer on the high school newspaper, was to be a photojournalist. I wanted to shoot for National Geographic. But as an adult, married woman, I can’t just go off to Antarctica. We travel a lot though, and I always have a camera with me.

See Beth Yorn’s jewelry collection at www.ebelljewelry.com

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