This O‘ahu Designer Creates Jewelry to Match her Personality
A.Wattz Dezigns mastermind, Amanda Watkins, has a two-track mind and crafts her jewelry to match.
Photos: Odeelo Dayondon
Amanda Watkins will tell you straight out, “I’m kind of a split personality—I’m a Gemini.” One glance at her jewelry, and it’s evident. Her popular line A.Wattz Dezigns consists of two distinct collections. The first, for which Watkins is best known, features vibrant vinyl-disc beads strung into multihued necklaces and bracelets. The other is a collection of minimal, metallic pieces that has its own understated appeal. “For my own personal psyche, I need both to keep me balanced,” she says.
On any given day, Watkins can be found soldering, drilling or beading up a storm in her Kaimukī studio. She moved to the Islands from New Jersey 15 years ago, and has been in the jewelry business for the better part of 10—long enough to carve out her own little corner of the industry.
Watkins is almost entirely self-taught, although being married to a jewelry maker has certainly helped. “When my husband and I first got together, he was making jewelry and that sparked it in me,” she says. A few community classes, a gig at a bead shop and countless hours tinkering in her basement later and A.Wattz Dezigns was born.
1. The Daydreamer Beaded Necklace, $52. 2. The Bar Drop Necklace, $62. 3. The Basic Necklace, $48. 4. The Duster Earrings, $58. 5. The Infinity Ring, $58.
Watkins’ penchant for duality can also be seen in each individual piece she creates. For her beaded styles, she scours the Internet for materials in contrasting hues and textures that will create bold patterns and colorblocked effects. One of her top-selling necklaces pairs candy-colored clay beads with neon tassels and a single, smooth cowrie shell. “I like to bring different styles together,” Watkins says. Another hot commodity, her new, lightning bolt ear cuff, which has been selling faster that she can restock, offsets sleek, gold-vermeil with a statement-making silhouette.
Today, A.Wattz Dezigns is sold in boutiques all over the Island and Watkins’ burgeoning Instagram following elicits orders from as far away as Germany. The designer is content enjoying her place in the Honolulu sun. “I like it here,” she says. “I like my niche. You have the city, but you also have the beach, so it’s like merging those things.” It’s just the type of contrast to make for a happy Gemini.
Select A.Wattz Dezigns styles are available at Fighting Eel, Kāhala mall, 808-738-4912 , Olive Boutique, 43 Kīhapai St., 808-263-9919, see awattzdezigns.com for a full list of stockists.
READ MORE STORIES BY NATALIE SCHACK