From Volume I of the 2023 issue of the #thisispearl digital magazine
Anne Baker’s path to jewelry design was a circuitous one, with two successful full-time jobs on her resume—founder of an international athleisure clothing brand (called Anne Leman) and mother of three—ahead of her present-day career in pearls. She put her couturier career on hold when she became a mom, loving every minute of motherhood, but the creative soul in her still yearned for an outlet. Around that time, she took a trip to St. Bart’s where she bought a long leather and large pearl necklace. She loved the pearls—golden South Sea and Tahitian—but was less enthralled with the leather, so she styled the piece for wear with all the pearls clustered upfront, making the leather less visible.
“The pearls had a big juicy look that was dynamic, strong, and modern. I wanted to wear big pearls but not on leather in the city,” she says of her life in Manhattan.
From there on, she started making more pearl jewelry, including an oversize A pendant on a jumbo strand of white freshwater pearls. She made more strands with pendants and toggle heart closures, eventually making pieces versatile by way of enhancers and strands that connected for longer looks. She wanted the jewels to look sporty—a nod to her past life in clothing—but with a girly sensibility. When friends started buying her jewelry, she decided to take her budding new passion more seriously.
“I love jewelry because it has such permanence and meaning behind it,” she says. “You have jewelry forever—you pass it down to others.”
Fortuitously, Baker was an early client of Beth Bugdaycay of FounRae, who she befriended and who became a source of sage advice and guidance. “She said some things that really resonated with me,” recalls Baker.
Baker’s eponymous jewelry design firm debuted at the end of 2019. Read on to learn more.
Why are pearls your favorite gem? Pearls go with everything and soften looks beautifully. Pearls provide a softness and a glow to wearers without being distracting. Pearls pair well with gold and platinum and other gemstones. And there’s so much beauty and balance in the contrast of hard and the soft, diamonds and pearls.
Who is your pearl mentor? I don’t necessarily have mentors in pearls but do in jewelry. Beth Bugdaycay of FounRae has been so gracious and given me so much advice. There’s also the person who does my production in New York City and a teacher at GIA.
What was your first break in the pearl business? I showed at a Sotheby’s event in Palm Beach in February 2022 as part of a group of female designers. That was a big boost. Now I get orders from repeat clients.
What pearl was the hardest for you to sell? There hasn’t been one piece that was hard to part with, but there is one that I’m surprised has not sold yet: a pair of earrings with diamonds and big South Sea pearls—studs and jackets.
Does someone famous own your pearls? In Palm Beach I had incredible sales and there was a lovely social component to the event. There were philanthropists and collectors at a lunch, and fitness guru Tracy Anderson wore my pieces.
Type of pearl?
White South Sea
Piece of pearl jewelry?
Studs with white South Sea drop jackets
St. Moritz in Switzerland
Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning
Dogs or cats?
Wine or whiskey?
Ocean or lake?
Winter or summer?
Summer, but winter has magical moments, too.
City or country?
Both—I can’t choose just one!
Party or party of two?
Party of two, always.