Susan Ruskin’s gold and diamond earrings.

NEW YORK — Movie producer Susan Ruskin decided to make creative use of the downtime that is the bane of filmmaking. <BR><BR>Some stars knit, others unwind in their lavish entertainment-center-equipped trailers. But the crew can get weary, too,...

NEW YORK — Movie producer Susan Ruskin decided to make creative use of the downtime that is the bane of filmmaking.

Some stars knit, others unwind in their lavish entertainment-center-equipped trailers. But the crew can get weary, too, and almost two years ago, Ruskin, whose credits include “Anaconda” and “The Woman in Red,” turned to fine jewelry to pass the time.

“If you’re creative and most of your time is spent making movies, you need an outlet,” she said from her home in Los Angeles. “At the end of the day, I like having something tangible that I created with my own hands. Instead of making a thousand phone calls, I produced something.”

After learning how to work with gold from Ralph Goldstein, an acclaimed bench jeweler, Ruskin created a collection of 18-karat gold bracelets, earrings and rings. About eight months ago, she began to sell her pieces, which wholesale from $300 to $1,200, to 23rd Street Jewelers in Santa Monica, Calif. Now she’s looking for sales representatives in Dallas, Boston and San Francisco.

The handmade collection is mostly brushed gold combined with precious and semiprecious stones. The silhouettes have a rough look to them. After all, gold is a malleable material, Ruskin said, and sharp corners belie its origin. “It doesn’t show the quality that gold is mostly liquid.”

Large rings have weighty-looking bezels that Ruskin insists are lightweight. They’re just thick enough to hold a tiny diamond chip that is meant to be seen only by the wearer when motioning to show off the ring or when driving. Ruskin calls them “winks, like an inside joke [for the wearer].”

It’s likely celebrities would welcome a little humor in the pressure-chamber situation that is the red carpet these days. Not only has Ruskin treaded that carpet (“I’ve been on the red carpet. I know what stands out and shines and what doesn’t,” she said), but, as a producer, she has connections to stylists and photographers with whom she’s worked.

She’s hoping now to see them less in her producer capacity and more as a jewelry designer. “As the jewelry gets more serious, I get more picky about the projects I choose,” Ruskin said. “There comes a point when you ask, ‘How do I want to spend my days?’”

This story first appeared in the October 11, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

— Emily Holt

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