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Conversations: Tanya Dukes visits with Jane Taylor and Cleo Zancope Gnatek


Jane and Cleo Fall 2015

Tanya: You two are mother-daughter relationship role models. I couldn’t work with my mom (and she probably feels the same way about me). What’s your secret?

Cleo: Patience—with yourself and the other person. There are always moments when we get annoyed with each other. Usually it’s not [Jane] who’s at the root of any annoyance. It’s other factors.

Jane: I give Cleo the space she needs to do her work and she gives me the space to do what I need to do. Neither of us steps on the other’s toes. We make suggestions based on our own expertise.

Do your responsibilities ever overlap? Cleo, do you ever design jewelry?

Cleo: I’m focused on marketing, communications and graphic design. As far as jewelry design…my ideas are usually based something my mom’s already done.

Jane: Even if Cleo doesn’t design, she has a different, younger voice, which is really important. I ask for her input. I want to hear her perspective.

Cleo: She’ll catch a typo in one of my Instagram posts and I might suggest that she make a stud based on one of her earlier drop earrings.

B30 Happy

Which comes first: materials or developing specific designs?

Jane: I have an innate voice that’s clean and kinda mid-century modern. Sometimes it’s too streamlined and other times I get too multicolored and psychedelic. I have to constantly recalculate. I reside somewhere in-between and the stones translate my voice. I don’t know why I identify with those hard, shiny objects.

Cleo: Jewels are her spirit animal.


What’s exciting your spirit right now?

Jane: One of the things I stumbled onto at the end of the Tucson show were heart-shaped sapphires that were intensely hot pink. I went crazy for them because that’s my favorite color and I love hearts. Most people aren’t usually so gaga over them. I don’t know why. They’re the cutest things.

Cleo: We’re not overly girly people but she’s always loved hearts and always doodled them on my lunch bags. She would always draw the heart with the arrow. Now its my favorite emoji.

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Is it totally impossible for anyone to give you jewelry?

Cleo: This is a tough question for us. We buy our own jewelry for ourselves. I’m pretty sure my mom designed all her own engagement rings. I designed mine.

Jane: We love jewelry. It’s a sickness. It’s virtually impossible for anyone to give us jewelry. For normal people, a gift of jewelry is the greatest. Right now, we’re working with someone who was married just under a year ago. We made a necklace for her wedding and now we’re making her a one-year anniversary piece with the colors from her wedding. Its heartwarming to know these pieces have so much sentimentality.


What’s the way to your heart…besides jewelry?

Jane and Cleo (in unison): FOOD!

Is there a failsafe menu that will win you over?

Jane: Food is love for our family, but not in a creepy way—in a good and creative way. I could gladly give up a meal just to eat a couple of brownies from a recipe I developed around 20 years ago. It’s insanely chewy gooey chocolatey goodness in a square, but would be followed by healthy garlic spinach.

Thanks for recipe inspiration. Bon appetit!




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Tanya Dukes (@tanyadukes) is a freelance writer, editor and stylist. TanyaDukes.com


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