Tamara and her husbandWF logo

Tamara Thompson
Catherine's crystal
                            Tamara attended her first BATB Convention last year in New Orleans.
                         Being the creator of Catherine's crystal necklace, we thought you might
learning a little more about this engaging and talented lady.
                                                                               Tamara Designs

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well, 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.
Tamara's kitty, Heidi
What  is your background in design?
I 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?

Yes, 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!

Tamara and Lisa Gould as VincentWhy do you think the show is still remembered and celebrated by its fans after all these years?

True 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?

I 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 show.

Can you take us through the design process?  How did the design come about?  Was there more than one version?

I 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. 

Because 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.
Crystal necklace
Were you given free rein in the design?  Who had the final say?

Yes, 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 necklace?

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?

No, 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.)

I 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.  
Signed picture of BATB by Perlman and Hamilton
 Were you involved with any other part of the series?  Did you meet or interact with any of the cast members?

The 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?

Yes, 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”!
group convention picture
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? 

When 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 individuals.

Have you designed items for any other show? 

Yes, 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 Julie Christie.  

What are you doing currently?Two wine glasses on a railing at sunset

I 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?

I 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.