Obituary: Jewelry designer Ann Lambrecht scoured the world for her art

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 26, 2013 - 1:35 PM

Ann Lambrecht

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Ann Lambrecht blended her talents and spirit into every piece of jewelry she conceived, rewarding the person wearing it with a one-of-a-kind adornment that came with a story.

Lambrecht, who traveled the globe in search of fascinating stones, coins, ancient glass from the Roman Empire and even fossils from the animal kingdom to ignite her jewelry-designing imagination, died Sept. 16 on what would be her last creative odyssey. The Wayzata artisan died suddenly and unexpectedly from an undetermined cause while traveling in northern India. She was 48.

“Her whole deal with jewelry was it wasn’t just about wearing something beautiful or making something beautiful,” said Leah McMullen, a onetime assistant who considered Lambrecht her mentor. “It was the story behind it. That’s why her customers came to her.”

McMullen counts among her most cherished Lambrecht pieces a “huge pendant from Afghanistan that she found somewhere along the way.”

Among the more unconventional objects Lambrecht turned into jewelry was a huge fossilized walrus tooth “that she saw something beautiful in,” McMullen added.

In her travels, Lambrecht also was inspired by a collection of colorful pieces of broken bottles found along the “Silk Road” in Afghanistan.

The bottles were “used by the Roman army,” McMullen said. “They carried their water and wine in these bottles … beautiful blues and greens.”

Lambrecht would return from the far reaches of Asia, Africa, Europe and South America with her eye-catching discoveries, then work her magic in the studio built off the home she shared with life partner Michael Morin.

Jana Shortal, a reporter for KARE-TV, Ch. 11, said that wearing Ann Lambrecht’s creations has captivated friends and strangers alike.

“People would stalk you and ask you what you were wearing,” Shortal said. “She was very intentional that every piece would have a story.”

Nancy O’Shea, a longtime friend who helped Lambrecht cultivate her business, fought back tears as she mentioned that Lambrecht was scheduled to return home this coming Saturday with jewelry for her 16-year-old daughter to wear for homecoming.

O’Shea said Lambrecht welcomed her clients to the studio for private showings, where she would serve “herbal tea and some wine and tell them stories about Tibet and China” connected to the pieces.

Lambrecht’s jewelry also was sold as nearby as 50th and France and in “stores all over the world,” O’Shea said.

In admiration of Lambrecht embracing the world as her creative space, one of her travel partners on that final trip to India has organized a global farewell that is being expressed in flowers bobbing atop some of the world’s most famous bodies of water.

Close friend Dianne Wilson said this demonstration of loss will be seen when “in Paris friends will toss flowers into the Seine; in the Caribbean, at sunset flowers will be floated out to sea from the west-facing beaches; in Bali, flowers floated down the streams; in London into the Thames; and even in New York City, the Hudson River will have a floral flotilla.

“We all miss Ann.”

Along with Morin, Lambrecht is survived by parents Anne and George; and brothers Joseph, Paul, Jon, Michael and Nick. A memorial service is scheduled for 2-4 p.m. Thursday at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska.

 

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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