When we say the women behind Workhorse Jewelry go way back, we mean all the way back: Two of its three founders, Nicole (left) and Amber Sutton (right), are twins. And along with their DNA, they also share a longstanding love of vintage jewelry. “As kids, we would always go with my grandmother and my aunt and my mom to flea markets,” says Nicole. “And we just got obsessed with searching for those special things that nobody else had.”
That homespun passion spurred them to ditch the 9-to-5 after college and move to Florence, Italy, where both enrolled in a yearlong metal-smithing course. While there, the duo got in touch with Zoë Chicco (center), whose namesake jewelry line they had always admired. And after they spent some years in her ranks, Zoë was the one who encouraged the sisters to explore working on their own line, which they did with Archive, founded in 2006.
“Even after we got to work on Archive, the three of us talked a lot about collaborating on a project together,” explains Nicole. “We obviously all get along. It just felt natural to mess around and see what we could do as partners.”
So in early 2012, the trio hunkered down in L.A. and came up with Workhorse—a line of hand-finished, Victorian-accented pieces that are subtle and elegant enough to wear every day. “People have been wearing these representative symbols for centuries,” says Amber. “And to the untrained eye, they’re beautiful, but meaningless. With Workhorse, we try to communicate those hidden messages. We want to share those stories.” And we want to hear them. —mattie kahn
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Meredith and Wendell Do Florence
They’re practically regulars at these five spots.
Meredith and Wendell German, the husband-wife team behind Meredith Wendell, produce their luxe, crazy-bold leather goods in Italy—which means heading across the Atlantic to Florence every six to eight weeks. Sounds like a tough gig, we know, but the travel really is essential. “The people we work with are such artisans,” Meredith explains. “You can’t Skype them. It’s very old-fashioned, and I’ve been taught to just go there.” These are the five places they hit when they’re in town.
Wendell: They serve the best steak—it’s better than any steakhouse here in New York.
Meredith: It’s just olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Wendell: Last time I was there, I wasn’t with an Italian, but I got the Italian discount—so they’re getting to know us, which is good.
(Via Pisana, 33, 055 223132)
Meredith: It’s really, really cool. It’s not very typically Italian—it’s all blue and white.
Wendell: It’s right off the Ponte Vecchio.
(Vicolo dell’Oro, 5-red, 055 27261; lungarnohotels.com)
View from the hotel
Wendell: These are the gardens next to the Boboli Gardens, which are a big tourist attraction. The Bardini Gardens are like an afterthought, and it’s quite nice to go there and get away from everybody, especially the crush of people who are around during the summer and the springtime.
The plush Bardini Gardens
Il Santo Bevitore
Meredith: This is a hip new place owned by these younger kids. The food is incredible.
Wendell: It’s sort of avant-garde Italian food.
(Via di Santo Spirito, 64-red, 055 211264)
Meredith: The name sounds like a Chinese restaurant.
Wendell: And it has the signage of a Chinese restaurant, but it’s just pretty, clean food. They have live jazz and serve food until midnight—which is nice because we’ll be at the factory until six or seven and then keep working because everyone in the U.S. is working.
(Vicolo del Canneto, 2, 055 288683; goldenviewopenbar.com)