When we say the women behind Workhorse Jewelry go way back, we mean all the way back: Two of its three founders, Nicole (left) and Amber Sutton (right), are twins. And along with their DNA, they also share a longstanding love of vintage jewelry. “As kids, we would always go with my grandmother and my aunt and my mom to flea markets,” says Nicole. “And we just got obsessed with searching for those special things that nobody else had.”
That homespun passion spurred them to ditch the 9-to-5 after college and move to Florence, Italy, where both enrolled in a yearlong metal-smithing course. While there, the duo got in touch with Zoë Chicco (center), whose namesake jewelry line they had always admired. And after they spent some years in her ranks, Zoë was the one who encouraged the sisters to explore working on their own line, which they did with Archive, founded in 2006.
“Even after we got to work on Archive, the three of us talked a lot about collaborating on a project together,” explains Nicole. “We obviously all get along. It just felt natural to mess around and see what we could do as partners.”
So in early 2012, the trio hunkered down in L.A. and came up with Workhorse—a line of hand-finished, Victorian-accented pieces that are subtle and elegant enough to wear every day. “People have been wearing these representative symbols for centuries,” says Amber. “And to the untrained eye, they’re beautiful, but meaningless. With Workhorse, we try to communicate those hidden messages. We want to share those stories.” And we want to hear them. —mattie kahn