Adam Foster: The St. Louis Gem
Adam Foster embraces an aesthetic that executes an exceptional lesson in contrast: past meets present, delicate and bold connect, and traditional techniques are used alongside a contemporary eye. Working as a jewelry designer in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, Foster’s love of fine craftsmanship and his belief in the importance of individuality continue to propel his design journey.
How did your St. Louis roots affect your business today?
St. Louis is a mid-sized city that has a small town feel to it. It is very friendly and family-oriented. People are very grounded, and they have a “stick-with-it” tenacity about them. I started Adam Foster Fine Jewelry almost 20 years ago, and have been plugging away at it ever since. There certainly have been ups-and downs along the way, but overall it worked out.
What about how you grew up have you taken with you in your design process?
My mother is a first generation American. Growing up, our family would travel to Italy frequently to visit family. My experiences in Italy greatly influenced the design of my signature Constellation Collection. The Florentine finish that I favor was also something that I saw in Italy.
Would you say your time at the Art Institute of Chicago contributed to the designer you are today? If so, how?
Definitely…it absolutely did. It taught me the value of caring about how things are made.
Can you tell us the thought process behind using unique materials in your pieces, such as lava rocks?
I’m always on the lookout for unique and cool material—no matter what it is. So even if it’s not a traditional precious gemstone, my mind is always thinking of ways to incorporate new and different materials.
How did you get into the jewelry industry? What influenced you?
I started out really focused on painting and drawing at the Art Institute of Chicago. I took a jewelry and metals course and ended up really enjoying it. I was able to envision a more achievable career path in jewelry as well.
With such creative pieces, where does most of your inspiration come from?
The inspiration for the Constellation Collection came largely from the time I spent in Italy. Inspiration for other pieces are really quite varied. It may come from a shape I see (whether in nature or everyday life), or may come from a thought that pops up while I’m talking with someone. Other times it comes from a historical event or fashion.
You incorporate a variety of gemstones across your collections. Is there a gemstone, or gemstones, that you prefer to work with or wear yourself?
I really enjoy moonstones…I love the versatility of the stones’ colors. White and grey moonstones can be worn with just about any other color and any piece of clothing.
The collection, Plume, is inspired by nature. What have been some of your favorite places that you have visited that inspired these beautiful, earthy pieces?
I really enjoy being outdoors, especially with my family. Many of the places that provide inspiration were Midwestern farms and woods where I hunt with family and friends. I love to collect feathers, and I love thinking about the symbolism of a feather: delicate looking, yet strong and flexible. A feather can take a lot without breaking.
How do you want people to feel when wearing your jewelry? What do you want your work to convey?
I want people to feel like a better version of themselves when they wear my pieces.
Can you tell us about the first piece of jewelry you ever made? How much different are your designs now?
My very first piece was a steel necklace that was forged in the foundry at the Art Institute of Chicago. The materials I use in my current designs are higher quality, but my design process has largely stayed the same.
We are aware that you recently partnered with the Ollie Hinkle Heart Foundation. What was your inspiration for the bracelet’s design and the partnership?
The mission of the Ollie Hinkle Heart Foundation is to strengthen and empower families affected by congenital heart disease, so the heart motif of the bracelet made complete sense. The branch that is engraved on the heart is “Ollie’s Branch,” and it symbolizes a special segment of the Foundation that focuses on providing free mental health services supporting family members of children with a congenital heart defect.
It was an honor to partner with the Ollie Hinkle Heart Foundation. The Foundation does amazing job of supporting families affected by congenital heart disease.
Do you enjoy creating custom pieces? What is your process for working one-on-one with a client?
I really enjoy opportunities to connect with clients, and creating a bespoke piece is a fun and detailed process. It provides an opportunity for me to spend quality time with a client talking about their likes and dislikes and what they envision for the finished piece. You get to know things about someone that you probably wouldn’t otherwise discover.
I usually will create several rough sketches while the client and I talk. The sketches provide a foundation/launching pad for the design.
What are your goals for the Adam Foster Fine Jewelry brand in the future? Do you have anything special planned to share with us?
I’ve been developing additional “everyday” pieces for the Constellation Collection…necklaces, rings and earrings that look great with jeans, leggings and sweatpants. Many people want to be able to pair their jewelry with casual clothing these days. It’s been a fun departure for me from creating larger-scale pieces.
Visit https://www.fosterjewelry.com to learn more about Adam Foster jewelry, and to view or purchase pieces from his collection. Follow @adamfosterjewelry on Instagram to stay up to date on his new designs.