Based in Pasadena, CA., Latondra Newton is the founder and designer behind the innovative jewelry and lifestyle brand stôn, which was founded in 2016. Purposely spelled out in lower case letters, the brand name rhymes with “stone.” According to Newton, “I wanted the name to convey respect for the natural world, including the diamonds and colored gemstones, ancient stones and other materials that I use in my jewels.” The modest and quirky brand name also hints at Newton’s preference for making luxurious, handmade jewelry collections for all genders that are far more accessible to consumers than most other fine and design-driven; handmade jewelry (80 percent of her one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewels are priced between $500 and $2,000.) Carried by luxury stockists like the Newport Beach, CA. boutique A’maree’s, stôn jewels are also available in Healdsburg, CA. at Gallery Lulo.
Embodying luxurious one-off pieces in 18-karat gold as well as mixed metal collections in 18-karat gold and sterling silver, or sterling silver and bronze, stôn’s nature-based motifs, bold volumes, and often repurposed materials unite to create organically elegant adornments, plus bejeweled home accessories. These and other elements of stôn jewels embody their creator’s engineering skills. (Newton holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management Systems, which is a mixture of systems engineering and business, from Michigan’s Kettering University; the same institution recently awarded Newton an honorary doctorate for her work in advancing social equity. At the time of writing, Newton is a senior vice-president and the Chief Diversity Officer at The Walt Disney Company. )
“I carve all of my own wax models in my home studio,” Newton explains. “I often cast organic materials that I find in nature, such as twigs and seed pods, to make my jewelry or bejeweled home accessories such as sterling silver cocktail forks studded with rose-cut champagne diamonds. All of my jewelry,” Newton says, “is hand-fabricated by jeweler Evelyn Crommett. The reason why I work primarily with women artisans and models of color,” she continues, “is because I am passionate about creating equity in everything I do, not just my corporate work.”