Adam Foster is a true Renaissance man, viewing the world through the lens of what is beautiful to him. While that’s the mantra of this very magazine, he’s living it out every day with his wife, young daughter, and newborn baby boy in St. Louis, where he lives and designs exquisite couture jewelry.
He’s well known as a successful jewelry designer who is achieving national acclaim. However, what makes him and his designs even more fascinating is his commitment to his personal passions which define who he is, from culinary pursuits to automotive restoration.
Foster and his wife make wine at home, getting Tetra Pak grapes from vineyards all around the world. They then barrel-age and bottle the wine themselves to their taste.
What makes him and his designs even more fascinating is his commitment to his personal passions which define who he is.
“We live in the Midwest, and live well. We love going to friends’ restaurants to enjoy dishes that are farm-to-table, where the food literally comes from no more than 100 miles away. We’re the people who’ll buy a share in a farm, purchase an entire cow and have it butchered at a butcher that I know, who will deliver the meat to us,” he says.
Foster is even intentional about his everyday driver, the 1994 Bronco he’s been repairing. “When you open the hood, it’s pristine,” says Foster, who is also rebuilding a 1972 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.
The world of design through Foster’s eyes includes his signature collection of glasses, which he is known for wearing, and gives him great joy.
“I try to live my daily life with things that are interesting. So whether it’s furniture, vehicles, alcohol, food, or just everyday objects that are handcrafted, they should be used. Someone made that for you, and they wanted you to enjoy it. We have an antique couch in our living room from my grandmother. We sit on it all day long, and our kids climb all over it, but it was made to be used. When it gets worn down, we’ll find another craftsman to build it back up and it will live its life even further,” he says.
Foster shares that he’s a self-proclaimed hands-on guy, preferring to make things himself rather than purchasing. Of course, this translates into his love of jewelry as well, which is exquisitely designed.
As a student of the Art Institute of Chicago, Foster started as a drawing and painting major but moved to jewelry-making because it was very hands-on and, to him, more marketable. “I ended up just really falling in love with it,” he says.
His earliest inspiration was trips to Italy as a child to visit family with his parents. It was there that his eyes were opened to the world of design. He became fascinated with the intricate details in all of the sculptures, paintings and works of art, particularly the ceilings of Italian churches featuring celestial artwork.
It was from there that his first collection, Constellation, was born, characterized by the same beautiful detail, embellishments, and artistry that inspired his travels. The collection features hand-engraved elements, gem-faceting, and is a nod to Old-World artistry.
Foster and his team of craftsmen make almost everything in his studio, with some pieces getting sent to retail locations within hours of completion. “Then I see it later at a trunk show, and I’m almost surprised and delighted at the same time that the work is mine. I get to come back to it with fresh eyes.”
Even though he doesn’t use them in his design, Foster is drawn to bone structures and skeletons because of their organic, but modern, feel. “That’s why I did the Plume collection, which is all feathers, because it’s still like this rigid structure that has a function, but it’s still very pretty. It’s because the function is dominating what it is versus the actual look of the object and just by default, it’s beautiful,” he says.
In addition to his Constellation, Plume, and Bespoke collections, Foster is gaining great recognition for his latest creations from Canary Island lava rock. The idea first came about shopping for materials by first focusing on textures and colors, not the actual material.
“Lava rock was something I came across, and I thought this is really interesting,” he says. The first rock Foster found was chalky and gray, which made him wonder if it could be more black. “I was able to narrow it down to locate Canary Island lava rock that had the tighter porosity and more stable, darker color that I wanted,” he says.
His aesthetic is a study in contrasts: past and present, traditional and contemporary, delicate and bold. He pairs Old-World jewelry-making techniques with the latest technology to create pieces that present a modern sensibility, with a nod to the past.
Foster says the purpose of the end design is that, when it’s done, people see the totality of the beauty of the piece of jewelry with all its stunning details.
“Adding gold and diamonds makes the jewelry more precious, but let’s have a little bit more fun with your jewelry, right?”
And fun he’s having, living a beautiful life with his family and making the world of jewelry lovelier at the same time.
This story was produced in partnership with our friends at Adam Foster Fine Jewelry. Click here to shop his collection. Adam Foster Fine Jewelry is found at Neiman Marcus at Scottsdale Fashion Square, Neiman Marcus at NorthPark in Dallas and Neiman Marcus in Atlanta.