Laurel always said, “I refuse to have anything in my life that I cannot turn around into something magical and beautiful.”
Laurel began making jewelry in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in the late 1960’s, selling her designs on the streets and in local galleries. Her unique jewelry was featured in Vogue Magazine in the 1970’s after the necklace she was wearing impressed an editor of the magazine. She had created it from found objects she hammered on the back of a frying pan. Laurel quickly became an internationally renowned artist and designer.
As a self-taught artist, she traveled around the world to work with local artists and learn their craft. Her first trip to China in the 1970’s was groundbreaking as she was the first woman to work with a Chinese company to create her own designs using their ancient cloisonné techniques. Her trips to Egypt, the Middle East, Mexico and Bali inspired her to create new collections. On her trips to Bali, she worked with local craftspeople to create hand-carved figurines and jewelry. In the American Southwest, Laurel witnessed the wild mustangs running free through Elk Canyon. This inspired her to create the Wild Horses of Fire, one of her most treasured paintings. Her design inspirations came from the many personal experiences she had with diverse cultures of the world.
She formed her own company Laurel Burch, Inc. and was the first designer to create a boutique within a Macy’s department store. This resulted in the creation of a model that many designers follow to this day.
Her life’s work was about the connectedness of all living things, which is expressed through her art and messages, bears important relevance today. There are lots of stories about the giving, receiving and sharing of Laurel Burch art that perfectly reflect her spirit and love of life. These stories inspire many Laurel Burch fans and collectors, young and old, who have been deeply touched by her designs.
On September 13, 2007, Laurel passed away due to complications from osteopetrosis. She was truly a remarkable spirit. Although she is greatly missed by those that knew her personally, and many who did not, her art and messages will forever brighten our world.
Aarin Burch, CEO
Laurel Burch Studios