Joanna Williams is a world-class collector. Her company Kneeland Co. Mercado is a design studio that sources inspiration for product development for fashion, interiors, and beauty brands. Williams also sells a curation of her global discoveries, ranging from Moroccan striped blankets to Brutalist jewelry from Mexico City, in an online shop. When it comes to jewelry, Williams is a true maximalist. It’s not about quantity; instead, her jewelry style is about the showstopping awe that one artful piece can create. We stopped by her studio at Atwater Village in Los Angeles to get a first look at Williams’ incredible collection. -The Stone Set
“I started thrift store and vintage shopping at a very young age. About six years ago, I really started hunting for jewelry and my love of accessories developed intensely. Jewelry makes an outfit and pull it together. I’m all about getting out of bed, throwing my hair up, wearing a little dress, and putting on some great jewelry. It makes me so happy and there are so many creative things you can do with it.
I go through phases. I was really hardcore with the Brutalist movement, fueled by a trip to Mexico City. I still appreciate it and it’s one of my favorite periods. I love brass and copper. One of my favorite necklaces from Peru is made of aluminum discs. I’m trying to recreate it. There’s also a trend happening with macramé and crochet pieces.
I’m very drawn to modern pieces that look like they have a past and a story. Tammy Tiranasar pieces are my favorite. They remind me of natural art. This necklace I have evokes Spiral Jetty. I love statement jewelry more than anything. I like to combine it with smaller pieces, like my Jessica Winzelberg rings, Grace Lee diamond friendship bracelets, and vintage ribbons.
My favorite piece of jewelry is my wedding ring. It’s rose-cut diamonds and emeralds, and over 300 years old. My father-in-law found it for my mother-in-law in the 70’s in St. Croix. We had all of the stones reset with new gold so they wouldn’t fall out. I wear a lot of Jessica Winzelberg, like her Spiked Marquise Ring with silver, sapphire, and emeralds. My other favorite is my antique locket, which I got at a flea market in Argentina. Jessica gave me this necklace for my 35th birthday with rubies and gray diamonds. On the back it says, “Do epic shit!” –Joanna Williams
Visit Joanna’s shop, Kneeland Co. Mercado.
Photography by Stefania Yarhi.