It’s been a big year for jewelry designer Heidi Gardner. Her Creature Couture skull ring was featured in the September issue of W, and this weekend, Heidi’s designs will be seen on an even larger stage: the Super Bowl, during Madonna‘s half time show. Although we can’t guarantee what Madge will decide to wear on Sunday, the singer specifically asked for Heidi’s Logo Ring (above) for the performance after her stylist showed her images of line.
We sat down with Heidi to discuss what its like to design for the Queen of Pop. “It’s an honor,” Heidi told us. “Just to get on Madonna’s radar, and to hear that she requested this specific piece that has my name on the mouth – I was like ‘you’re kidding me.’ Major.”
So how does one get the attention of an artist who has, pretty much, seen it all? For starters, Heidi finds beauty in places that aren’t already ‘tapped out’ by other jewelry designers. During our meeting, I couldn’t keep my eyes off one of her new designs: a 14K gold and purple diamond cast of the female pelvis.
“All of my pieces are an homage to the naked skeletal form,” she says while examining the pelvis. “I love animals, human anatomy and animal anatomy.” She even sites old German lithographs and Grey’s Anatomy as some of her design inspirations.
The gold skull ring Karen Elson wore in September’s W.
Her attention to detail is what also sets her apart from other designers. Her signature pieces, cast mostly in silver and brass, receive several rounds of hand-crafting: from black rhodium or gold finishing, to the clever use of gemstones — like rubies for eyes, black diamond nostrils and moonstones for brains.
Before jewelry, Heidi was always sketching and painting skulls and little creatures. She even has a name and complete bio for each of her beloved characters. “Günther is a prehistoric hummingbird skull ring,” she tells me. “He is as sexy as he is dangerous.” A vivid imagination is another thing she and Madonna seem to have in common.