fbpx vie magazine subscribe button

The Sandra Brooks Collection

By Matthew Christ | Photography by Michael Granberry

Sandra Brooks, the creator of a distinctive line of jewelry that fuses antique gemstones with modern design, has had multiple careers including high school English teacher, owner of a successful marketing company, and life coach—but never did she intend to become a maker of high-end jewelry.

“It was totally an accident,” Brooks tells me during our interview at Amavida Coffee in Rosemary Beach. “I saw a jade artifact online and I was fascinated.” After contacting the seller only to find that he had recently sent the antique jade pendant to an artist friend in Spain, Brooks was referred to an antique dealer who dealt in historic jade pieces. She decided to buy a few pieces of antiquarian jade to use as focal points for personal pieces of jewelry.

Yet once she started wearing her jewelry in public, her designs started attracting the attention of others around her. “What is that on your neck and where did you get it?” Brooks recalls one owner of a San Francisco art gallery asking her as she walked through the door. After explaining that she had designed the necklace herself around a 2000-year-old jade artifact, the gallery owner insisted on representing her work on the spot. “And I thought, ‘Represent my work?’” Brooks says laughingly. “So I went home and thought to myself, ‘Wow, maybe other people are really drawn to this combination of antiquarian jade and modern design. Maybe others will recognize its unique value.’”

sandra brooks collection jewelry vie magazine antique gemstones with modern design  

After sending the gallery some of her jewelry, Brooks found herself suddenly fielding requests from the gallery to create more pieces as they were quickly selling out. It wasn’t long before other galleries and jewelry shops across the country began representing what would become known as the Sandra Brooks Collection.

Flash forward a decade, and Brooks’s collection has expanded from a couple of necklaces to an entire online inventory (www.sandrabrookscollection.com) of her original designs featuring a whole multitude of earthly gems, from vibrant turquoise to metallic gray pearls. Her jewelry has been worn by many notable women, including Sue Grafton, author of the Kinsey Millhone mystery series, and Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of this summer’s blockbuster novel and movie, Eat, Pray, Love. Part of Brooks’s success is that her jewelry is not just beautiful and rare, but original as well. Despite the exclusive use of the term, “original” might be an understatement. Two necklaces that Brooks showed me each featured large, carved Chinese jade pendants dating from 2000 BC that were found in an archaeological dig. And, while she’s interested in precious and semi-precious gemstones, Brooks doesn’t focus her artistic energies on typical gems. Sure, precious gems and gold can be found on many of her pieces, but they often play a supporting role, used to enhance the anchor stone, which, in Brooks’s pieces, may be a large chrysocolla drusy, a brilliant blue topaz, or an ancient jade pendant.

Jade is what started Brooks on her journey of the jewelry trade, and it is the stone that many of her clients have emotionally reacted to the most. “Sometimes the jade can become hot on a person and other times it becomes cold. It depends on the energy of the person,” Brooks says. She’s convinced that the ancient metaphysical belief that jade can calm the mind and unleash positive emotion still holds true today. “Some people are just drawn to certain pieces. It’s almost magnetic,” she tells me. “Now, I don’t have an explanation for that, but it does seem that jade has a mystical and magical quality to it.” According to ancient Chinese customs, Brooks explains, people who wear a piece of carved jade will be blessed with happiness, health, prosperity, and protection. That’s perhaps the reason why so many warriors in history wore jade pendants as they marched into battle.

Cost-wise, most of Brooks’s collection is currently priced between $1,000–$3,000 (some are higher), but she recently created a line of jewelry that is less expensive, giving more people the chance to own a piece of history with her modern design aesthetic. She’ll also create commissioned works for clients, collaborating with them on personalized jewelry pieces.

Part of what makes Sandra Brooks’s collection so unique isn’t just the visual distinctiveness of her art, but the story behind each piece she sells. Accompanied with the jewelry, Brooks will include a small card detailing the origin of a particular piece of antique jade, explaining, for example, how one piece’s carvings imply that warriors in the Ming Dynasty wore it. She’ll also include an authentication certificate for each antique jade pendant she sells, something that is sure to calm jittery buyers afraid of purchasing one of the many pieces of fraudulent jade currently on the market.

sandra brooks collection jewelry vie magazine antique gemstones with modern design sandra brooks collection jewelry vie magazine antique gemstones with modern design  

But what fulfills both Brooks and her clients is the fact that at the end of the day, a Sandra Brooks Collection piece is more art than simple jewelry. “They are all one of a kind,” she says. “They’re art pieces.” Much more than a run-of-the-mill status symbol, each piece holds an emotional connection to an ancient past yet retains a hold on the modern world with Brooks’s distinctive design imprint.

sandra brooks collection jewelry vie magazine antique gemstones with modern designFor more information about Sandra Brooks’s jewelry, please visit her website www.sandrabrookscollection.com or she may be contacted directly at (602) 330-4141.

— V — 

Read Responsibly

December 2023, Holiday Issue, Christmas, VIE Magazine, Lisa Burwell, Cover, Gift Guide, Holidays
Marisol Gullo, Not Too Shabby, Home, Decor, Interior Design, Santa Rosa Beach, Churchill Oaks
VIE Magazine September 2023 Jay Mercado
VIE Magazine - The Art & Design Issue November 2021
VIE Magazine January 2021 Special Commemorative Edition
VIE Magazine September 2020 Wanderlust Issue, Fancy Camps, The Idea Boutique
VIE Magazine August 2020 Art & Culture Issue, Nathan Alan Yoakum Art
VIE Magazine - Architecture & Design Issue - July 2020
VIE Magazine - Decor and Home Issue - June 2020
VIE Magazine May 2020 Entertainment Issue, Leslie Odom Jr
VIE Magazine - April 2020 Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine March 2020 The Fashion Edit, VONDOM, Alys Beach Fl, Digital Graffiti, Tres Chic, isidro dunbar Modern Interiors, Digital Graffiti Festival
VIE Magazine February 2020 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Travel Issue - January 2020 - Tanzania Safari Cover
VIE Magazine - Women's Issue - December 2019 - Tina Brown Cover
VIE NOV19 Goodness Issue
VIE Magazine, September 2019 Art & Culture Issue, Paul Hanninen
VIE Magazine - August 2019 - The Architecture and Design Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2019 - The Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - June 2019 - Fashion Edit
VIE Magazine - May 2019 - Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine - April 2019 - The Health & Wellness Issue
VIE Magazine - Special Entertainment Edition - March 2019
VIE Magazine February 2019 Luxury Homes & Technology Issue with Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted
VIE Magazine - January 2019 - Southern Sophisticate Issue Cover
VIE Magazine - Special Anniversary Travel Edition - December 2018
VIE Magazine - The Goodness Issue - November 2018
VIE Magazine - The Art & Culture Issue - October 2018
VIE Magazine - Home & Garden Issue - September 2018
VIE Magazine - August 2018 Animal Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2018 Architecture & Design Issue - Subscribe to the magazine!
VIE Magazine - June 2018 Travel & Tech Issue
VIE Magazine - May 2018 Couture Issue
VIE Magazine - The Culinary Issue - April 2018 Cover - Chef James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst
VIE Magazine - The Entertainers Issue - March 2018
VIE Magazine - February 2018 Destination Travel Issue
VIE Magazine - January 2018 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine, The Sophisticate Issue, December 2017
VIE Magazine - November 2017 Art & Culture Issue
VIE Magazine - October 2017 Home & Garden Issue
VIE Magazine | September 2017 | The Stories and Storytellers Issue
VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail