From the Blog - JPI history

Dear Friends,

I am announcing with a heavy heart that Jeanine Payer, Inc. as we know it will be closing on January 1st of 2014, which is the right decision at this time.

The poetry that surrounds us here has a magical effect.  We hear innumerable stories from you that are inspiring, transformative and moving; always so personal, as the work we create is to all of us.  I am and always will be uplifted by these stories, both happy and sad, and the fact that you chose to commemorate events, milestones and celebrations for yourselves and for your loved ones with just the right design and passage.  We recognize how meaningful this company and the jewelry we make are to so many of you.  It is very special to all of us as well and we will miss it terribly!

Love is where the art starts, and I am at a place in my life where, as a mother of a six year old, I want to put my heart and soul into raising my son.   I am not sure what the future will hold, and I am keeping the door open to possibilities regarding this work that I so love and to the poetry that inspires it. For the time, it is important for me to focus inward and on my family to create a space for future creative/artistic outlets.

As hard as it has been to write this, right now I am feeling a tremendous amount of gratitude for your loyalty and support and for all the incredible people who have worked here with me over these past 25 years.

With much love and my deepest thanks,

Jeanine Payer

Master printer, book maker and founder of Greentree Press, Jack Stauffacher is a American National Treasure.  Today he came in wearing a suite of camel linen,a  silk scarf and bowtie.  When I thanked him for wearing the fresh flower in his lapel he said, 'It really does make the difference.'  At 94 he is still thriving and working everyday in his space, full of ephemera, antique wood block lettering and his own type faces he designed in the 50's.  He is working with his team to archive his materials to eventually go to Berkeley. The day I  moved my studio into the building I poked into his space to introduce myself. He not only showed me around his space but he out of the blue gave me an original print from his show at MOMA and signed it, as a welcome to the building.  It is a treasure to me and I keep it up on my board where it serves as an inspiration. 

Currently I am working on a set of letters to be worn around the neck.  Lord knows there are tons of versions of letter necklaces but I am inspired by Jack's work and I am making them in the spirit of a time before digital fonts, a time when letters were hand drawn and hand cut.  I am looking to create a grain, a hand, imperfections not unlike the antique wood cut letters from antiquity.   The first few letters I have made are in the traditional and clean Gill Sans.  They are off to the caster and I cannot wait to get them back next week. 



Back in 2008 we had a home spun guerrilla campaign for a sale at Christmas. Does everyone remember that Christmas?  That Thanksgiving marked the dreadful beginning of a span of time that wreaked havoc on the luxury goods market.  Anyway, our small sale was only offered covertly to our customers on our email list but the sale became legendary (or should I say infamous!) Each day we sent an email linking to one piece from our current collection offered at a discount until supplies ran out.  We didn't have a lot of stock so it caused a frenzy.  On the 5th day of Christmas our site crashed!  The 12th day we featured this hilarious picture of William, my son at age 2-I love Santa's face more than life itself! The email linked to the Dale Necklace below.  You can find it currently for sale on our site here.


Here is what I wrote back in '08 about the Dale necklace:


The Dale was made back in 1999 and it was in a small collection called Boites D'argents. It was originally part of a three box nesting set that hung from a very long chain,and over time the design was simplified into one elegant solo box. The simplicity of the design combines powerfully with Rumi's words to create a design that has endured and become a part of our repertory of favorites.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there.

-Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

This piece is named after my dear friend, Dale Lindholm. When I first started making jewelry my work caught the attention of the wonderful actors Kyle Mclaughlin and Lara Flynn Boyle who had worked together on the legendary television show Twin Peaks and were a couple at that time. In San Francisco shooting a movie about Jim Morrison and The Doors, they came into a shop where my designs were featured. When they found out I didn't yet sell to any stores in Los Angeles they gave me the card for a small store on Melrose and told me to be sure to tell the manager that they sent me. This is the backstory to how I actually got my work into THE jewelry store in Los Angeles at that time. Dale was the scary and intimidating manager who ended up ordering every single piece in my mini Russian suitcase...I still have that thing. At my first appointment I was so nervous that I couldn't take my necklaces out of the suitcase due to my trembling hands and had to have my best friend there to help me. I also remember wearing a tragic outfit---that may have included a cape or a floor length velvet dress, I'm not sure--it was the late 80's. As time went on I remember Dale telling me that Brad Pitt was always coming in and buying up my things to give as gifts, especially for his then girlfriend, Juliette Lewis. The funny thing is that back then Brad Pitt was just the hot cowboy from Thelma and Louise, who knew?. Dale and I remain great friends to this day and he never lets me forget that his namesake has remained all these years one of our top sellers. I think it is perfect to close this special 12 days with a nod towards Dale and all those who have been so helpful along my journey as a designer; you just never know where the angels are in this life; they turn up unexpectedly and they help you along in ways that are pure magic. And to those of you reading, thank you as well, and may you all be blessed with good friends and happy holidays!


Here are some shots of our studio that was in the historic jewelry mecca, The Phelan Building dating back from...who knows when. My studio and offices were there for 18 years.  We grew organically in that space- by just breaking through walls to add suites when we grew. It was a bit like a crazy rabbit warren at one point, but fun. Our new space is better organized, efficient and airy with big walls for artwork and a giant bookshelf.  I really love having people visit us here, but when I look back at these photos I feel nostalgic for the old days and for the people who worked there with us.



Abby and William are little atoms that when joined together equal more than the sum of their parts.  I took them to be photographed by Sven in his Hayes Valley studio, and it was as if Thing One and Thing Two were let loose from their crate.  They felt instantly at home enough to jump on the couch and yell at the top of their lungs—they also ferret away Japanese yen sitting in a dish.  Soon they are on an adventure going from room to room, looking with wonder at tiny, unusual sculptures and figurines that were both mysterious and beautiful.  Abby’s mother and I are really happy to show them a glimpse into another world, a different aesthetic, which is all Sven, world traveler, accomplished photographer, and exceptional sock maker.  I love the part of his work that includes children. He captures that authentic child vibrancy, the moments betwixt and between-- they never look like they are in a ‘sitting’.  I have known Sven since we both lived together as warehouse mates in a very raw work/live space south of Market in the early 90’s. It is nice to have him take pictures of my son and his bestie, and have them become part of his work, and mine, it is a special connection all around.  When he meets the children he points to his Dogwood necklace and asks Will, ‘Do you know where this came from? Your momma's brain.'

I choose these two because of their relationship with not only each other but with us, their mommies—we are just off camera.  I want to capture an exuberance and love that they have for each other, their families and the generous dousing of joie de vivre that spills over, as everyone on our block can attest to.
The nosegay is from my own mom's garden which is a sweet touch.  One more thing.  A few days afterwards, William, finding a Mano necklace in a box that is to go to his school auction, decides to give it to Abby and after making this proclamation to his father, he scrambles over there and presents it to her.    Whether playing dueling harmonicas over the back fence or sending stomp rockets onto the neighborhood roofs, I just know these two will carry these sweet memories in their hearts forever