In 1981, Jay Strongwater made and painted a wooden necklace for his mother that drew adoring attention from her circle of friends. Within no time, the young Strongwater was recruited to make large beaded pieces for the likes of Oscar de la Renta. He quickly began creating jewelry and picture frames that referenced antiques and often employed traditional jewelry-making techniques. In 2005, Strongwater started using new materials like zinc, sterling silver, and forged bronze to make mirrors, screens, and tables. Among his famous fans are Madonna, Oprah, and Elton John, who have snapped up his opulent, whimsical pieces.