It’s a Cin!
Artist and jeweler, Cindy Saad, travels the US in search of stones and jewels for her one-of-a-kind pieces.
by Jackie Perrone
If you own it, you’ll flaunt it. Cindy Saad’s one-of-a-kind jewelry attracts attention everywhere it goes. Those sparkling stones, 14-karat gold wires, and imaginative designs come together in pieces unmistakably “Made by Cin,” and can be spotted at Columbia’s most festive occasions.
As an added twist, try asking the wearer how she came to own it. Perhaps she spotted it at City Art Gallery or the Columbia Museum of Art gift shop. Then again, it may have been bought right off the neck of its creator. When Cindy is modeling her jewelry at a gala or a convention, it draws attention, and strangers may approach asking to buy it. There is no other piece like it, but she has plenty more that are just as original and jaw-dropping. Cindy never runs out of ideas; she’ll show you a full line of jewelry and accept a commission to create one just for you.
“I love what I do and always have more in the works,” she says. “I travel a lot, seeking out the stones to be the centerpieces. I go to Franklin, NC; Tucson, AZ; and New York. I look for triangular shapes, which make perfect pendants. The wire is either sterling silver or 14-karat gold; the stone tells me which is right for that one. Then it’s just a matter of twisting and turning.”
Cindy’s own twists and turns brought her from a childhood in Sumter to her own studio in Columbia. “My parents owned a dress shop in Sumter, and I grew up playing there,” she says. “I fell in love with the beautiful dresses and jewelry and made up my mind to be a fashion designer. When I was in kindergarten, I was drawing pictures for my friends and making up ideas for clothes.”
“I’m mostly self-taught,” she says. “I took in classes wherever I could find them and experimented on my own.” Clothes, sculpture, painting – the artist was trying them all. Then she discovered jewelry design.
“I was trying my hand at jewelry, and when I learned to solder the wire I was hooked,” she says. “Wire is an essential element in the pieces I make; it’s amazing what you can do with it. It’s delicate and strong at the same time and adds an unexpected element to the jewels it supports.”
A tragic turn in her family provided direction for her work. Cindy’s sister died from breast cancer in 1982, and Cindy began painting t-shirts to raise funds for cancer research. Some years later, Cindy herself underwent treatment for breast cancer, not once but twice, and now participates in non-profit causes and events every year.
“I traveled to New York to see if I could connect with a gallery there,” she says. “It was so huge, kind of overwhelming, I thought, why not Columbia? I don’t have to leave home to create art. South Carolina has been very supportive to me; there’s plenty of opportunity right here, and it’s where I live.” Her studio and creations have been thriving ever since.
Cindy Saad likes to describe her work as a combination of traditional and free-form modern. Some aspects of ancient Egyptian and Greek design might turn up in her work. You’ll notice a preponderance of blue and turquoise in her jewelry. She also favors Venetian glass.
Those who know this creative personality are not surprised that she has turned to yet another artistic medium, photography. She never gave up the painting that caught her attention decades ago, and photography is an avenue to the scenes for painting. She discovered (as have many other artists of today) that the camera in modern cellphones is of such high quality that it serves her purposes most of the time. Playing with the picture on the computer allows for color and texture adjustment; an artist uses all tools that can contribute to the product. Now, the photograph may wind up in a frame on the wall, alongside the painting it inspired.
Look for Cindy wherever beautiful art is displayed. She has been invited to the South Carolina Arts Award Luncheon and Gala every year for 17 years. City Art Gallery, Columbia Museum of Art, and the South Carolina Artisans Center in Walterboro all show her work. She enjoys doing commissions for special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, business events, and of course the non-profits she has supported for many years such as South Carolina Philharmonic and Columbia Classical Ballet.