Stained glass and Swarovski crystals unite in Schroeder’s resin and sterling silver pieces.
Dragonflies fly and butterflies flutter, while a colorful flower sways. No, this isn’t a garden in summertime. They are just some of the designs that adorn the ears, wrists and necks of the clients of Ann Carol Designs.
For Janet Schroeder, it all started when she answered a newspaper classified ad. Armed with a history degree from Nyack College in Nyack, N.Y., she was unsure where her life was headed as she flipped through the “Jobs” section. It was there she saw an ad for an assistant at Ann Carol Designs in Carol Baretz’s Nyack studio. “I began experimenting with jewelry making in my early teens and had managed a bead shop in college,” Schroeder said. “When I started at Ann Carol Designs in 1999, I began doing small tasks and learning the trade.” She soon realized that she’d discovered an untapped talent—creating lively works of wearable art with resin and sterling silver.
When Baretz retired in 2008 after 22 years, Janet took over the business, moving it to Bound Brook, N.J., where it continues to thrive. “I kept the name ‘Ann Carol Designs’ out of respect for everything that Carol taught me,” she said, “how to successfully run a small business and to master a unique artistic skill.”
To create her jewelry, Schroeder has developed a method using resin in four different consistencies ranging from thin to extra hard. Vibrant colors are created by mixing more than a dozen different hues, which are then applied to a canvas of sterling silver. The result is a truly one-of-a-kind fashion statement—delicate and feminine with a contemporary edge.
The future looks bright for Schroeder, both with her work and her studio. Currently she is branching out from jewelry making and working on a line of mirror and card cases. But don’t expect her to shy away from brilliant color. “In a world with so many talented craft artists, I’m always trying to push the boundaries and design something that really stands out.”