By  on January 6, 2009

Ariane Zurcher’s entrée into the jewelry business was decidedly unconventional. Although she had worked as a freelance knitwear designer and graduated from Parsons School of Design (now known as Parsons The New School for Design) in 1984, she left the industry for a career in advertising in the Nineties, ultimately ascending to the role of creative director at Long Advertising in New York. But in 2004 she had a life-changing event: her daughter, Emma, then two, was diagnosed with autism.

“I stopped all work. I needed to find out everything I could about autism,” says Zurcher, who also has an eight-year-old son, Nick. “It became my mission. I tried traditional therapies; I tried bizarre therapies; I tried alternative therapies. I think I read every book on autism that was published.” Meanwhile, her husband encouraged her to get back to her creative roots. What began with stringing a few beads together for fun and diversion grew into a fine jewelry collection of 18- and 22-karat gold baubles embellished with bold sapphires, tourmalines and rose quartz. “Within three months, I knew that this was what I wanted to do,” says Zurcher, who works out of a studio in Long Island City.

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