JOAN HORNIG designs stunning jewelry at price points for all budgets, but what she does with the profits is even more amazing, says EVAN HUGHES.
Sure, you could call Joan Hornig a “jeweler to the stars.” After all, her gorgeous designs have adorned the bodies of such Hollywood A-listers as Zoë Saldana, Emma Roberts, Emma Stone, Amy Poehler, Naomi Watts, and Cameron Diaz. But you’d be only half-right. In fact, Joan Hornig’s real accomplishment is that she donates 100 percent of her profts to charity. No, that is not a misprint.
Browse the tasteful, distinctive pieces—made with 18k gold, sterling silver, and semiprecious stones—on the Joan Hornig Jewelry website ( joanhornig.com) and you might presume that Hornig is smiling all the way to the bank. But the former Wall Streeter has a much higher purpose.
After the tragic events of 9/11, Hornig was inspired to transition away from high finance and put her budding passion—and exquisite talent—for jewelry-making to work helping others. But the Harvard Business School graduate was determined not to follow the conventional charity formula of throwing expensive bashes for worthy causes (where, unfortunately, the nonprofit being supported by the benefit is often an afterthought).
Instead, Hornig decided to focus on the enthusiasm and passion that many potential charitable donors bring to jewelry. “Jewelry is portable sculpture that doesn’t find a home till it’s worn by a woman,” Hornig says. “As a fundraising tool, it’s easy to transport and store, and because of the precious metals used to craft it, jewelry only increases in value over the years.”
Thus was born Hornig’s philanthropy model: When you buy one of her pieces— available at luxury retail outlets such as Bergdorf Goodman and at joanhornig.com, she donates all of her profts to the charity of your choice.
“We make it easy: Just tell us the name of the nonprofit you want to donate to, and we’ll track them down and take care of the paperwork,” Hornig notes. “And once you’ve made a donation, your charity will go on our online list so others can consider donating to your cause too.”
A quick look at her website will confirm that this is a win-win: Not only are you supporting the worthy cause of your own choice, but you will take home a miniature work of art—often inspired by tribal designs and Hornig’s deep knowledge of art history. And lest Hornig’s beautiful design eye makes you fear sticker shock, know that she prides herself on offering price points from under $50 to five figures. The name of her parent company really says it all: Philanthropy Is Beautiful.