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Oct 13, 2007
Upon birth, I entered a world surrounded by the beauty and splendor of exquisitely designed jewelry creations. My parents, Russian master jeweler, Jakob Kats and jewelry designer Olga Schmidt, instilled in me an instant gratification for the detail and dedication essential to making fine-crafted jewelry.
The late 1970’s marked a pivotal moment in my life when my family emigrated from Europe to Texas and embarked on the beginnings of a true American success story. Immediately introducing their designs to the country, my family opened a highly successful jewelry store specializing in one-of-a-kind and custom-made pieces. The store would prove the perfect setting for my basic training - from the daily business of managing a thriving jewelry boutique to observing the intricacies of creating master designs.
I began my formal studies at the University of Texas, where I received my bachelor’s degree in art history with a minor in business and marketing. I then traveled to Italy to study at the renowned Le Arte Orafe in Florence, ultimately receiving a master’s in jewelry design and later becoming a certified Gemologist through the Gemological Institute.
Armed with extensive real-life training, my parents’ drive and an entrepreneurial spirit, I set out to transform the age-old art of enamel-making. Popularized by the craftsmen of Etruria in northwestern Italy between 950 and 300 B.C, I personalized this ancient art by creating pure, bright designs of contemporary sophistication. Besides incorporating the highest quality enamel, pave diamond detail and 18-karat gold, I also embellish many of my designs with a signature gold-leaf “foliage” technique, a patented method exclusive to SOHO, where foliage-like pieces of gold leaf are embedded into the design during the enameling process.
I have not only earned the admiration of the independent, fashion-savvy woman with my distinctive creations, appeal and design versatility but have also garnered the interest of Hollywood A-listers including Halle Berry, Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, Kate Winslet, Jada Pinkett Smith and Sandra Oh. Most recently, my talents were recognized in the jewelry designer category at the 2007 FGI Rising Star Awards where I was a finalist.