Jewelry Storytellers: Dian Holton


One of the best parts of my job is being able to work with people to create memorable pieces of jewelry - whether it's a small necklace for a friend signifying an important milestone in their life, or an engagement ring representing two people's union.

In an effort to highlight the importance that jewelry plays in people's lives, i'm interviewing several creatives in the DC area about what jewelry means to them, their favorite pieces, and more. Next up in the series is Dian Holton, the Deputy Art Director at AARP and an amazing tastemaker, stylist, and designer. I met Dian a few years ago when she helped style my very first jewelry photo shoot!

Why is jewelry important/meaningful to you?

Jewelry in various forms has been a part of my family history. My grandmother with her non-pierced ears, was a connoisseur of large and often abstract clip-on earrings. She would wear them to compliment her large church hats (yes the ones with the big plumage) and bold suits every Sunday. I didn't know there was such a variety. With the apple not falling too far from the tree, my mom embraced this directive. She collected a plethora of earrings over the years eventually evolving the vast earring collection to necklaces and bracelets. She wore them to church and to work women's club meetings and military functions. So between my grandmother and mom, I associated and still associate jewelry with strong, smart women. Similar to the legendary Iris Apfel, my grandmother and mom weren't afraid of being feminine or making a statement. Jewelry was part of their DNA and the more unique, textured or colorful – the better. Though my grandmother is deceased, her penchant for style resonates within my mom and I. I'd rather be late than to leave the house bare.


What is your favorite piece of jewelry?

This is tough because I change so often but I'd say these two:

  • My sterling silver nameplate necklace similar to fictional character, Carrie Bradshaw on Sex in the City. I think I purchased 3 over the years because I wanted to always have them near (ok and also because I've occasionally misplaced them)
  • Simple sterling silver studded earrings (especially a custom pair I had Mallory design). As much as I love large, bold, graphic pieces, I really enjoy small dainty, minimal pieces that I can transition from day to night to sleeping in.

What’s the first piece of jewelry you ever received?

I believe it was a set of birthstone studs. They were opals.

What’s one piece of jewelry you never take off?

My sterling silver link bracelets from Tiffany's. One was a gift and the other I purchased. I rarely take them off.

What’s one piece from my collection you would love to wear?

Hmmmm... they are all so great but I'm going to say any of the rings ...or earrings. oh geesh. All of them!


Dian is pictured wearing the Sunstone Carlita Hoops and the Make Your Own Luck Necklace, as well as her personal collection of jewelry.