Anna Sheffield, East Villager by Design

Jewelry designer Anna Sheffield

There’s an air of serenity about Anna Sheffield as she works at a small desk in her studio on Lafayette Street. On a recent Thursday evening, the jewelry designer spoke to The Local over a cup of tea, away from the buzz of her workroom and kitchen, in a well-lit corner room filled with her designs, art books and warmly worn wooden furniture. Her hair was pulled back and tattoos of hearts, flowers and birds covered both her arms.

Ms. Sheffield started her Bing Bang line (available at Cloak & Dagger, Warm, and Reformation) in 2002 in San Francisco and launched her fine jewelry line, Anna Sheffield, (available at Love, Adorned and coming to ABC Carpet & Home in a couple of weeks) in 2007. Before that, she grew up Catholic in northern New Mexico. Her influences are evident in the Madonna, crucifixes and feathers that adorn some of her works.

Her style, she said, is a “mixture of the precious and not precious.” She uses gems, silver and gold in idiosyncratic designs: Brad Goreski, for instance, owns a rose-gold commitment ring inscribed with a version of the phrase “not to be messed with” that includes a four-letter word. The stylist and Bravo star isn’t her most notable client: Justin Theroux recently gave Jennifer Aniston one of her signature two-finger rings.

In Ms. Sheffield’s studio, an old glass case contained a silver C-shaped piece studded with black onyx. The so-called EVOL bracelet (“love” spelled backwards, pronounced “evil”) was one of several items on display that showed unusual touches: earrings with the stones mounted upside-down, a ring with a metal mount atop a stone that peeked through the inside of the band. “It’s the little irreverent things that make me smile the biggest,” she said.

Catholic and Native American iconography are hard for a jewelry designer to escape, but Ms. Sheffield cited less typical influences: the energy of the city where she has lived for ten years, fire escapes (“an East Village staple”), the light in the smaller parks around the neighborhood, and running into a friend on the street just when she needs one.

This serendipity is what makes the neighborhood so special, she said, noting that in other cities “you don’t just show up at somebody’s house.” Ms. Sheffield’s phone buzzes all day with friends wanting to drop into her studio as they pass by. “There is an energy here that comes from this beautiful mosaic of people,” she said.

As for her other favorite things about the neighborhood, she listed the “purists” that work at Abraco Espresso on Seventh Street, the spaghetti limone at Lil’ Frankie’s, and mornings at Café Mogador over a plate of halumi eggs.

As her chat with The Local wound down, Ms. Sheffield mentioned a couple of galleries she hoped to stop by on her walk home to her apartment on Ninth Street. As busy as she is with her business, she makes time to enjoy such things.