Dian Malouf’s “Go Girl” ring inspires mammogram testing.
Dallas, TX – August 8th – On July 30 th Dallas (and south Texas) jewelry designer, Dian Malouf, donated go girl rings for a drawing for those signing up for a mammogram at the 46 annual Nueces County Medical Society and Alliance Health Fair. Over 350 women signed up!
The go girl ring inspires those fighting breast cancer and was originally designed for Anne Richards, former governor of Texas.
This win-win for women was an event of awareness that could save lives of go girls everywhere.
Jump up and show life that you can GO GIRL!
Dian Malouf Jewelry
By RASMI SIMHAN / The Dallas Morning News
One of Dian Malouf’s favorite words is evolve.
As a child, Dian Malouf collected pretty stones in gravel pits. Since then, her artistic expression has blossomed in her collections and jewelry designs.
She wants her jewelry designs to evolve with the environmental issues that inspire them. She sweated until her writing evolved from childlike prose into a published history of Texas ranchers. Her collections, so numerous you might say she collects collections, evolved from a few paintings into a veritable gallery of Mexican art.
“I want to do something that hasn’t been done,” says Mrs. Malouf, 59, on a recent afternoon at her home in University Park. “It does not necessarily have to be a financial success.”
What hadn’t been done, she found, was elegant, chunky jewelry inspired by everything from the dwindling rainforests to Harley-Davidson motorcycles. What hadn’t been done: an insider’s look at ranches, a rap recording about a ring meant to empower women. She’s done them all.
And she succeeded: Her first book, Cattle Kings of Texas, won praise from George W. Bush and Gov. Ann Richards. Customers for her jewelry include Cher, Cameron Diaz, Oprah Winfrey, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Elton John.
“I don’t know what drives me, but where there’s something undone, I feel something pushes me to fill in the blanks,” says Mrs. Malouf.
Though her projects vary, certain themes recur in her work: her Texas heritage and her love for the land.
“When I first came to Dallas I was very embarrassed to tell people where I was from because I thought it was just terribly little and unimportant,” she says. “But the older I get, the more important it gets. They say if you’ve ever … seen the mesquite tree bloom, that you’ll always have to go back.”
From the border
Young Dian grew up on a ranch in Hebbronville, a border town of about 4,500 people. Her father, Lester DeWitt, ran a company that serviced oil wells.
As a child, she showed signs of an artistic nature: she found pretty stones in the gravel pits and she asked her mother to sew her a dress out of the same material as the bathroom curtains. She still has a photograph of herself at age 6 wearing that chintz dress and clutching her Brownie camera.
Before starting her freshman year in Austin at the University of Texas, she met her future husband, Don. She bagged UT and followed him to Dallas, where they started a family and she took college art classes. While he worked as a tax attorney, she shot portraits and weddings for about 10 years. But as interest in her Texas heritage grew, Mrs. Malouf turned her camera to the people she knew of as a child: ranchers.
Portraits and photos of ranches alone, however, did not reveal the poignancy of stories ranchers told her, such as the tale of a church bell that village women made by melting their silver jewelry.
After hiring and firing three writers in succession to capture their stories, she set out to write the book herself. But before the shooting and the storytelling, she needed to persuade ranchers that she wouldn’t do to them “what Edna Ferber did in Giant.”
“They would rather take poison than be portrayed as anything other than living in the brush country and owning their own land and minding their own business,” Mrs. Malouf says. “The portrayal of big-Texas-oil rich [people] is something I had to seriously convince them I wasn’t interested in.”
As a rancher’s daughter, she knew or had heard of most of the people she interviewed. She discovered others at meetings of the cattle raisers’ association. Even then, the work wasn’t easy.
When she sweet-talked one rancher into agreeing to a meeting, he set the time and place – 5 a.m. at a ranch two hours away. Before speaking with her, he sent her on her first helicopter ride to watch ranch hands herd cattle for six hours. Then he suggested lunch the next day at a place three hours away.
There, he finally invited her to his ranch.
She put 1,200 miles on her car during one four-day visit, and she hired helicopters to reach places without roads.
Something about South Texas kept drawing her back, something about places with little traffic, pollution or crowds.
“It belongs to a simpler time or lifestyle that something in me longs for,” she says.
Charm and determination, whether with ranchers or aspiring rappers, is not to be underestimated when charting her success. Along the way, she has turned to 10 Rolodexes’ worth of friends and contacts, from professors to mine operators.
“It was acknowledged when [Cattle Kings of Texas] came out that she had insights, experiences and acquaintances in that world that nobody else had,” says Marshall Terry, an English professor who teaches fiction writing at Southern Methodist University and who read some of Mrs. Malouf’s early drafts.
“Those ranchers were talking to her and not talking to anyone else because she was an insider to them, with her growing up in that country. She’s a very good writer, and it’s a strong piece of Texana.” (The book is now out of print, but she says it will be reprinted when her next book is released.)
Lure of the ring
While she was working on her book, another talent unexpectedly surfaced.
During a stay at her second home in Santa Fe, N.M., in 1986, Mrs. Malouf had an itch for a silver ring. An avid shopper and collector, she combed the stores but could not find the large, simple ring she wanted.
Finally she sketched the jewelry she wanted and had it made. Praise for the ring’s design from strangers on a visit to Europe led her to try her hand at jewelry design when she returned to Dallas, she says.
After Cattle Kings of Texas came out in 1991, she turned full time to the art of creating jewelry. Her jewelry now sells in 450 stores nationwide, including Neiman Marcus, Tootsie’s and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, one of the top sellers of her work.
“They’re pieces with Southwestern and spiritual influences that are done in a fine artisan manner,” says Dana Christy, fashion market director of Saks Fifth Avenue. “She’s a sculptor of jewelry, using wonderful mixed-media materials.”
Mrs. Malouf’s designs are often chunky and highly textured pieces in sterling silver and gold. Though she’s known for rings that can be stacked on each other, the most popular design is a high-domed ring with a rough-cut cabochon stone, often lapis lazuli or turquoise.
Many of her lines, such as “Shellegance” and “Flowers, Ferns and Rainforest,” call attention to the environment. Those two were inspired by the oceans and the rainforest respectively, with conch-shell and bubble motifs, and handcarved fish.
Mrs. Malouf’s latest collection, “Terms of Endearment,” features Spanish words such as chula, bonita and madre engraved on rings.
Part of the thrill – and the challenge – of designing jewelry is finding interesting stones.
For example, lime-green Australian gaspeite, used in some of her rings and earrings, is no longer available, she says. This never-ending search for materials and the ability to create “signature” pieces that are one-of-a-kind intrigue Mrs. Malouf.
“Everything else is so mass-produced, so replicated,” she says. “There’s a certain romance to a piece of jewelry that is not going to happen again.”
Besides her passion for Texas and the environment, there’s a certain unexpectedness to Mrs. Malouf. She’s the kind of woman, who, upon meeting an ex-convict and aspiring rap star on a train to Tucson, Ariz., decides to record a rap about her Go Girl! ring with him and his friends.
(A portion of the proceeds from the Go Girl! ring – $25,000 so far – benefits the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.)
“They were all saying, ‘Don’t say mother, say ‘mutha’; don’t say brother, say ‘brutha.’ I said, ‘I don’t talk like that, y’all!’ They were darling. They really worked with me.”
She’s the kind of woman, also, who will explain her success not in terms of jewelry or books, but in terms of what her four children achieve.
Mrs. Malouf continues to evolve. She’s preparing to finish her next book, on South Texas ranches, this summer and then lay out, design and publish it herself. Although she has never done that before, she says she loves a challenge.
Her friends say creativity is her trademark.
“The most extraordinary thing about her for me is that she has a ceaselessly curious imagination,” says Bonnie Wheeler, director of the medieval studies program at SMU and a longtime friend of Mrs. Malouf.
“And that applies to designing a piece of jewelry, writing about Texas ranches, talking about a garden or trying to describe a color.
“Dian, for me, is an incarnation of the kind of Texas woman I associate with the eternally rebellious debutante. She has a wry sense of humor, and a very independent streak of mind and sense of language that I think of as being so remarkably true to their roots.”
To learn more about these bracelets, visit Dian Malouf.