Sig Ward Finds Healing and Purpose Creating Vintage-inspired Jewelry
Sig Ward’s love of jewelry started early in her life. Her mother adored jewelry, although living in a house with five kids meant jewelry was not in the budget for gifts. Her mother would save and buy herself significant pieces here and there. “I remember the joy she would get from buying her own jewelry,” Sig says.
Jewelry became a topic that Sig and her mother bonded over. “I got her love for jewelry, and she got my love for jewelry,” she says. The two would visit vintage stores together, and it was the story behind each piece that piqued Sig’s interest. Today she creates pieces inspired by the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s.
Before she started designing jewelry, Sig was an acupuncturist. She says that working with people to help them heal was a fulfilling and unique experience. She loved gems and stones partly for their healing purposes.
She also loved the aesthetics of trendy, handmade beaded necklaces. One of those became a staple jewelry piece for Sig during her years in acupuncture school. She found beads like rose quartz and onyx at a store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard and made necklaces for herself and, soon after, for her friends at school. “It was the first seed,” she says.
In 2012 Sig’s third-grade son suffered a traumatic brain injury during a surf contest. An unleashed surfboard launched toward him, and what was thought to be a gash needing a few stitches ended up being emergency surgery, four days in the ICU, 190 stitches and a long recovery process for Sig’s son and her family.
Nervous about him getting hurt again, she took time off from her work as an acupuncturist to care for him. She needed time before she could apply her techniques to support her family in healing from the trauma. Even a year after the accident, the notion of healing others through acupuncture was still too much for her.
During this time, birthday money from her sister led Sig to peruse jewelry shops around her town. “I went to a local jewelry store, and everything was cookie-cutter—stuff I had seen before,” she says. So she started designing jewelry for herself again—adding variety beyond the beaded necklaces she had made and worn during her days as an acupuncturist.
Sig’s jewelry caught the attention of moms at her children’s school, and she eventually started designing pieces for those who inquired about them. At age 45, she opened Sig Ward Jewelry.
Modalities of healing that she had practiced in acupuncture transitioned into her jewelry design. The pieces she created were healing, one-of-a-kind items—each with an associated meaning. She thinks of each piece as a talisman.
Sig’s jewelry is featured in luxury hotels across the country, and she owns a showroom in Manhattan Beach. Yet she says her most valuable accomplishment has been establishing a relationship with clients—one that allows them to trust her with “their money and their precious moments, milestones and mementos,” she says. “They come to me because they’re getting something different, something their own.”