Tamara attended her first BATB Convention last year in New Orleans.
Being the creator of Catherine's crystal necklace, we thought you might
enjoy learning a little more about this engaging and talented lady.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
where do I start? I’m enjoying life
living in Oakland, California with my wonderful husband of 10
years and my rescue kitty Heidi. In my
spare time I love gardening, creating adornments, painting, traveling and
pondering universal philosophies.
What is your background in design?
attended the Maryland Institute College of Art and hold a B.A. Degree in Fine
and Communication Arts from Loyola Marymount University
in Los Angeles.
Are you surprised that you are being
interviewed because of something you created for the television series “Beauty
and the Beast”, which was canceled over 20 years ago?
most definitely! My association with
BBTV fan base began last year when the sister of a fan, Laura Denale, requested
I “recreate” a Catherine’s necklace for Laura’s birthday surprise. I had not made an anniversary crystal for
over 20 years, but Christy was so nice and I thought that the necklace would be
such a wonderful gift for her sister. I
exchanged emails with Laura who said she mentioned the necklace on the BBTV Yahoo
group; and the rest, as they say, is history!
Deb, the chairperson of the
NOLA Convention, contacted me and asked if I would like to be a
“Guest” and suddenly I realized that I was connected
to a whole bunch of
folks who loved the show like I did!
Why do you think the show is still
remembered and celebrated by its fans after all these years?
Love, that’s why. For me, the celebratory
theme of the show is the relationship between the “Beauty’ and the ‘Beast’, representing
the highest form of unconditional love; one that transcends all odds, and
embodies purity, kindness and devotion. (Sigh)
How did you get involved with designing
the crystal necklace?
was designing jewelry at the time around 1985 and frequented the Burbank warehouse of an Arkansas crystal importer. Ken, the owner, was always so supportive of
my jewelry designs. One day, in 1988,
Ken mentioned that he gave my contact info to Bill Dietz, a property master in
a Burbank movie
studio, who was looking for a designer to create something special for a TV
Can you take us through the design
process? How did the design come
about? Was there more than one version?
was designing crystal and titanium jewelry back in the 1980’s, selling
wholesale to retailers at gift shows and showrooms throughout the country. A
popular design of mine combined colored gemstones into sterling silver or gold
filled wire wrap on crystal clusters, used for pendants, collars, bracelets or
earrings. I started with that design
concept but modified the wrap style to fit the role of Catherine’s necklace.
The commission from Witt-Thomas Productions
props department wanted two crystal necklaces that would be used in filming the
series. That got me thinking about how
to wrap a single crystal point which would be secure enough to hold suspension
without slipping off. I also wanted the design to be simple, yet
still expressive of the characters and their level of love and commitment, without
use of solder, casting or glues. The
pendant was to represent the almost fragile and delicate quality of Catherine’s
love for Vincent, but juxtapose that with a golden but rough type of wire wrap
enclosure that symbolized the tunnel “Beast” embracing a precious
treasure. I wrapped a test crystal with
a triple band of 14kt gold filled wire and finished off the design with a
“Rose” motif on the crystal that showed a completion of their gift
exchange. That first test pendant was
the original design which flowed out of me spontaneously and which I decided to
use in creating the necklaces for the show.
the crystal was considered a high
point in the relationship between the characters in
the series; I meditated on the meaning behind the beautiful gifts; with thoughts
of romantic love stories, complete with a sense of mystery and
otherworldliness. I used the most
beautiful, optical clear naturally formed crystals I could find to represent
the purity, empathy and heavenly quality of their partnership. Attempting to immortalize and materialize a
Love so ephemeral, divine and transcendent was a wonderful, exciting, and
illuminating challenge for me as an artist, a memory I cherish for a lifetime.
you given free rein in the design? Who
had the final say?
the design was totally up to me; they just requested a “crystal necklace”. I believe that the property master on the set
had the final say if it was acceptable or not.
What was the crystal used in the
crystal was an optical clear naturally formed quartz crystal point from the
crystal mines in Arkansas, U.S.A.
Was there only one necklace made for
the run of the series or were there multiple copies?
I made only two necklaces for the show.
Do you have a necklace from the show?
I never made a necklace for myself; but I do have a couple of favorite optical crystal
specimens from that same bulk purchase of crystals I used for the show.
We discovered that you’ve recently made
necklaces from the same stock of chain and crystals that you used for the
show. Were there any special
circumstances that had you hold on to those materials for so long? (Not that we’re complaining about having them
available, you understand.)
actually made a large investment in crystals and findings back in the 80’s when
I had my jewelry business because I was designing wholesale to the trade for
about 6 years from 1984 – 1990. I kept
my leftover inventory; thinking that I would eventually get back to designing
sometime in the future.
Were you involved with any other part
of the series? Did you meet or interact
with any of the cast members?
property master’s wife, Laura, invited me to accompany her to the set to meet
the cast, but unfortunately got the flu and could not make the date ;-( Linda
and Ron were so pleased with the crystal creation that they signed a photo
thanking me for the beautiful design!
Is there an interesting moment during
your involvement with the show that you remember and could share with the fans?
Laura Dietz asked me to create a birthday present for her to give to Linda
Hamilton. I did not know at the time
that Linda was a twin, but ended up creating a lovely double terminated flat
crystal twin cluster necklace finished off with two beautiful opal
gemstones. Linda loved it and sent
thanks to me for creating it.
You attended the BATB convention last
year in New Orleans. We know that was the first time you have
attended a convention. Have you had any
other similar experiences where you met with fans of the show?
The NOLA convention was so much fun and I met so many
lovely fans! Yes,
I have corresponded with other fans that were not connected to BATB Convention
or Yahoo group. I placed a posting for
Catherine’s Necklace on EBay and have met several fans through their contact
for a necklace. I always include a link
to the Yahoo group so they can connect to our “Tunnel Family”!
Some of the
folks at the convention
remember your mentioning selecting specific crystals for people.
How do you go about that? How does that selection process work?
I create a piece of jewelry I usually “feel” an energy of some type as I begin
to create - perhaps it’s my inspiration/intuition guiding me to combine
materials, gems or crystals that seem to naturally fit together. Usually, that unique combination captures an
individual essence of what I feel. When
I meet someone, I will often know exactly which energy piece “goes” with that
person. Each naturally formed quartz
crystal has its own shape which falls into a pattern of growth as it is formed
in the earth. These shapes concentrate
the energy pulse quartz crystals are known for (quartz crystal power in watches,
for example). The facets on the faces of
the crystal points have different number of sides sometimes 3, 5, or 7 sides in
same or combinations. These faceted
points emit different subtle energy patterns that can be transmitting,
receiving, or concentrating, as well as being in harmonious resonance for
Have you designed items for any other
years ago, I designed a necklace for Star Trek the Next Generation for “Deanna
Troi’s” mother Roxanna; it was a large titanium collar in a v shape with a
large crystal in the center of a golden threaded web. I also designed some jewelry that was seen
in Trident commercials as well as feather necklaces for Priscilla Presley and
What are you doing currently?
am VP of Sales and Marketing for an anti-phishing, anti-keylogging SaaS
security software company based in London. Still actively pursuing my creative
expression, gardening and enjoying life!
Is there anything you would like to say
about yourself, Beauty and the Beast or the fans?
am so blessed to have been drawn into the Tunnels - originally by fate, and now
by friendship! Look forward to seeing
you all at the San Diego Con!
Leave a comment for Tamara in our Guestbook if you like.