As an avid gardener and ardent supporter of the New York Botanical Garden, Mish Tworkowski’s passion for horticulture flows throughout his jewelry. From earthy materials like fossilized jasper to organic designs like a ring resembling branches wrapped around the finger, Tworkowski’s work is never too far removed from nature. So, when he received a package from the acclaimed interior designer Charlotte Moss containing a piece of wood with a note reading “I have a project I know you will love!” Tworkowski’s interest was, naturally, piqued. It turned out that the aforementioned wood was from a pair of over-200-year-old tulip poplars that are said to be Thomas Jefferson’s favorite trees at Monticello, his historic home in Charlottesville, Virginia.
After flanking Monticello’s West Portico for two centuries, the poplars eventually succumbed to aging. Moss, a Monticello trustee, had the insight to see that, though their time at Jefferson’s home had ended, the trees could find new life in Tworkowski’s hands.
And what a second act—the resulting collection of one-of-a-kind pieces (from $7,200) faithfully respects the wood’s provenance and inherent character. A cuff carved from a single piece of wood comes embellished with an 18-karat-gold fig leaf. Drop earrings feature tulip poplar wood suspended from brown diamond-dotted blossoms.
“I am truly honored to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Tworkowski. “To be inspired by the vision of one of America’s greatest presidents and foremost tastemakers, and interpret his vision by using wood from his majestic trees—it is heaven for me!” Mish’s jewels not only celebrate Jefferson’s legacy, but they are also helping to preserve it; a significant portion of the jewelry sales will benefit the operations and education programs at Monticello.