Pile on the Charms

Meet Indie Jewelry Designer Vicki Rollo of Hearts Desire

Vicki Rollo creates baubles for those who don't play it safe with their jewelry collection.

By Heather Dunhill May 19, 2016

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For more than twenty years, local and Ringling College of Arts and Design grad, Vicki Rollo has been designing and creating strung bead jewelry under the moniker of Hearts Desire. And she's cultivated a following of Sarasota socialites and snow birds alike, many of whom commission her for originals. To personalize a piece, Rollo will often incorporate family heirlooms to craft a sentimental conversation piece.

"Wearing and collecting jewelry is a passion of mine. When I wear one of my 'Rollos,' I always get compliments. Compliments and the same questions, time after time.  “Who made that?” “Where did you get it?',” says Molly Schechter. "I tell them about Heart’s Desire Boutique. And those bold enough to ask, 'How much did you pay for it?' are inevitably delighted with my answer."

Intrigued by mixed-media, Rollo deftly combines man-made materials like Murano, Czech and Venetian glass with semi-precious gemstones, earth stones and natural elements such as wood, bone, freshwater pearls, sea shells and even insect wings. 

As an RCAD alum you'll find her work at madeby or in Bradenton’s Village of the Arts on First Fridays (11 a.m.–4 pm and 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m.) and First Saturdays (11 a.m.–4 p.m.) at 1221 12th St. W., Unit B.

In the meantime, get to know this local artisan.

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How was your passion for jewelry design born?

I have always loved mixed media art, sculpture and jewelry. As a student at Ringling College, I explored art in many forms. Twenty years ago, a friend took me to a large gem and lapidary show. A vibrant landscape of raw gemstones, semi-precious stones, minerals, lampwork glass, pearls, and other elements in multiple shapes, sizes, and colors greeted me. At each booth or table was a veritable rainbow of beads, beads and more beads. I was entranced, and my bead addiction was born!

What serves as your inspiration?

As a graphic designer, I compose using visual elements such as fonts, photographs, and graphics, arranged to effectively communicate a message. My jewelry assemblages do the same: I incorporate a variety of shapes, colors and textures to communicate a unique artistic statement.

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Tell us about the materials you use….

I use an eclectic mix of elements in my designs. Nearly all of the materials come from the natural world--from deep inside the earth, from creatures in the ocean--or are produced by the awesome forces of nature. I am particularly drawn to semi-precious stones – including agates, jaspers, and jades – petrified wood and amber, seashells, and freshwater pearls.

Interesting-shaped objects are all around us. Anything I find can become part of my jewelry, such as the smooth, green oval stones I discovered at the mouth of California’s Russian River or a piece of raw quartz that I found in my back yard.

I delight in the ancient art form of jewelry creation. Beaded jewelry has been around since the days when early humans painted on cave walls. Ancient cultures used many of the same elements that I use today: stones, shells, seeds and bones.

What mistakes do women make when it comes to their jewelry?
I don’t think I would refer to this as a mistake, but I do meet women who severely limit their wardrobe choices. “I only wear silver,” or “that’s not in my color palette,” or “that necklace is too big for me” are statements I hear often. Instead, I encourage women to explore many wardrobe possibilities and develop their own style, and not be limited to what is dictated by department stores, celebrities or general trends.  

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What's the coolest jewelry shop you've ever seen?

Everywhere I travel, I seek out artisans like myself who create beautiful, unique jewelry.  Rather than go to department stores and jewelry chain stores for ideas, I visit art galleries, museum stores, and art fairs.

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