Dian Malouf has a sparkle in her eye — the sign of a woman who does what she loves. And with a fan base that includes Oprah, Cher, Cameron Diaz, Hillary Clinton and Elton John, it’s clear she’s good at it too.
From the sofa in her home in the Dallas suburb of University Park, Malouf shares the story of how her passion grew into a business. It started when she was vacationing in Santa Fe, as she does every summer.
During her trip, she decided she needed a big silver ring. She spent the summer searching for the perfect piece but came up empty. Now, what does an innovative woman do when she’s unable to find what she wants? She makes it herself, naturally.
“When I tell you my jewelry is one-of-a-kind, I mean it," Malouf says. "If I’ve seen a piece of jewelry once, I don’t want to see it again.”
You can probably guess the rest. Everywhere she went, people complimented her on her jewelry. Even in Rome, someone stopped her to ask about her silver ring.
“I went back to Santa Fe that next summer with a couple of rings that I had made and told them that I had a few pieces that I wanted to show them,” Malouf says. “They said they weren’t taking any new designers, but when I showed them my stuff, they took them in the back room for nearly 30 minutes and came back and said that they had already sold one of them.”
Malouf was inspired, and now, many years and more than 8,000 designs later, we are lucky to have this creative mind tooling around in our backyard.
Malouf gathers inspiration from anything and everything; nothing is off-limits. Thinks fossils, religious relics and Harley Davidson motorcycles. If those don’t pique your interest, how about a 2-million-year-old mammoth ivory, 100-million-year-old crystalized shells from India, antique cowboy pieces, sleeping beauty turquoise or a 300-year-old carnelian stone found buried in the Far East?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you don’t have a piece like this in your collection unless it’s one of hers.
Malouf's latest collection, which is available in Houston at J. Landa (formerly J. Silver), features pieces with fossils, crystals and even Pre-Columbian tombs. She create pieces that people have a hard time finding. For example, she is on a pearl kick, designing pearl earrings, pendants and rings, because she feels it’s lacking in Texas — and, of course, because pearls go with everything.
“When I tell you my jewelry is one-of-a-kind, I mean it,” Malouf says. “If I’ve seen a piece of jewelry once, I don’t want to see it again. I would want to wear every piece of jewelry that I create, because I know that I am not going to see anything like it.”