Tamara's love of art started at a very young age. Throughout her childhood she was immersed in a myriad of art lessons that ranged from watercolor, oils and drawing to clay and collage. Her innate love of color, shape, texture and design sparked her desire to discover the history behind the world of art. In the art history department at UCLA Tamara found herself fascinated by the cultural and social motivations that proved as muses to the artists as well as their own personal connection to their art.
After her studies at UCLA, Tamara entered the world of Interior Decorating, creating an eclectic style all her own. She loved to use her knowledge of art and history, bringing new life to antiques by modernizing them through the use of fabrics, paints and settings. At 25, with the addition of her one year old son Brandon, her decorating took on a new dimension as a designer and manufacturer of children's clothing. Again, art played a role with unique appliques and hand painted designs on the garments. These were sold at upscale boutiques and specialty stores throughout the U.S.
In 1994, Tamara started Fabulous Favors, specializing in party favors and custom gourmet gift baskets. It was a perfect balance for work and being a mom. But her restlessness returned after five years to use more of her creative skills.
While Tamara took time off to be a mom after the birth of her second son, her love of beauty and form did not take time off. When her youngest son Grant was two they began rock collecting. It was at this time that her own fascination with rocks and gems was ignited. As her son's interest in gems, their color and sparkle grew, she too became drawn to their irresistible beauty. He moved up from buying rocks to gemstones. They would go to gem fairs hunting for his next treasure. At the tender age of six he purchased a 1.64 ct. emerald, next came a 2ct. sapphire, then an amethyst and next an opal. Tamara was captivated by this time. As luck would have it, GIA was relocating its world headquarters to Carlsbad, California and the search for her next endeavor was over. Tamara enrolled in an at home diamonds course to test the waters. From the minute she opened the textbook, she knew she had found her niche. Her love of art, history, stones and design became intermingled.
While being a full time mom to her two boys, Tamara enrolled as a full-time student at GIA. And in April of 2000, she received her Graduate Gemologist degree and started designing and producing her jewelry. Shortly thereafter, Tamara Alter-One of a Kind Jewelry was begun. Neiman-Marcus, San Diego was the first major specialty store to schedule a trunk show six months later. A relationship developed with designer Bradley Bayou and she created special pieces for a fashion show honoring Mohamed Ali in Beverly Hills. She has also worked closely with various collections from Oscar de la Renta shown in Southern California, as well as San Francisco designer Michael Casey.
Tamara's intention for her jewelry creations is to have the jewelry be an extension of the person wearing the jewelry. The design, stones and metal all serve to empower and beautify the individual allowing them to be the best that they can be. She believes in the power of the past and the strength of the future and through the artful combination of both each piece will be cherished for generations.
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