On the 40th anniversary of Secretariat’s jaw-dropping 31-length victory at the Belmont Stakes, the image of the fine racehorse, forever wearing his blue- checkered blinkers, has been lovingly crafted into wearable memorabilia.
Jane Heart Jewelry recently unveiled finely detailed sterling silver and enameled pieces that bring the big, red racehorse to mind as a reminder of his goose bump-raising victory at the Belmont Stakes in 1973.
Offerings in the Secretariat line include a large and small pendant, a charm and a broach, as well as a sporty blue leather bracelet with charm, a denim lapis bead necklace and classic cuff links. All designs are made and enameled in the U.S. and stamped on the back with Secretariat’s name. A portion of all sales benefit the Secretariat Foundation started by Penny Chenery to benefit equine related charities.
In this week’s Clubhouse Q&A, Jane Heart Jewelry answers questions about the latest addition to a horse-centric collection, which also feature great racehorses like Barbaro, and pieces inspired by other horse-sport disciplines.
Q: How did you take the giant leap, as you describe in your website, from a successful management career at major retail outlets to crafting equestrian jewelry?
Actually it was not planned. I wanted to leave the Chicago area for a warmer climate and there were no opportunities to move within Gucci to managing another store, so I just decided to go to Wellington, Fla. for the winter horse show season.
I love jewelry and horses and could not find any horse jewelry that I liked so while I was there I started designing my own line and that is how Jane Heart was born.
Jane is my middle name and was following my heart in starting a business of my own. When I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona the following spring the line started to grow and has been growing ever since. 2014 will be my 20th anniversary!
Q: What is the range of products you offer, and from whom do you draw your inspiration to create?
I first started with Dressage designs as I took lessons in dressage and enjoyed it.
From there, I moved to Thoroughbred and Hunter/Jumper styles and then branched out into different breeds like Quarter horse, Friesian, Arabian, Morgan, Saddlebred, and the others on my website.
And even a Fox collection!
I guess my inspiration comes from within. This is where it starts before I decide on a breed or discipline to focus on, that I think horse owners might like and enjoy wearing.
Q: You’re offering Secretariat-themed jewelry now. Please explain the different options available, and why you decided to feature him?
I had been searching for charities to benefit with my designs, and in 2008 my husband happened to read that Mr. and Mrs. Roy Jackson were starting The Fund for Laminitis Research to honor Barbaro and search for a cure for laminitis, which ultimately took his life.
Laminitis affects a great many horses and this seemed like a great starting point and it was with my licensed jewelry for Barbaro still benefiting this cause.
As my interest grew in horseracing, and after spending so much time in Kentucky—this is where I am from March through November—Secretariat was a natural choice to pursue for a jewelry license.
His legacy as the greatest racehorse of all time has endured to this day with his Triple Crown records, which have yet to be broken.
Licensed in 2010, the Secretariat jewelry benefits Mrs. Penny Chenery’s Secretariat Foundation, which helps thoroughbred related charities.
I was also an extra in the movie and walked the red carpet in Lexington, KY for the opening of the movie, which was great fun! This past holiday season, his iconic blinkers were enhanced with hand done blue enameling which gives a special look to the sterling silver designs.
Q: You donate some of your proceeds towards horse charity. Please tell me about this. Why did you decide to do this, and which charities have you helped?
My most recent licensed design is of Ravel, the Dutch Warmblood gelding Olympic Dressage Champion who was recently inducted into the United States Dressage Federation Hall of Fame.
To see the collection of Jane Heart Jewelry, please visit www.janeheart.com.