BY ERIN CUNNINGHAM
Los Angeles based fine jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche started integrating cannabis motifs into her pieces way before it was cool. In fact, her first ‘Sweet Leaf’ piece (the official name of her weed-inspired collection of pave diamond necklaces, hoops, and stack rings) was created a full decade ago as she was launching her own business.
Aiche, who has a penchant for layering necklaces, bracelets, anklets, tells Ember of her brand’s beginnings. “Over 10 years ago, I was working in a boutique and found it hard to find jewelry that I connected with. Traditional, classical jewelry is amazing, but it’s just not me. I wanted to create adornments that were sensual and feminine...pieces that would make women feel like the goddesses that we are,” Aiche says. “So, I started designing my own jewelry and selling it anonymously. When I saw the way women responded, I knew this is what I was meant to do.”
Aiche, who lives in Beverly Hills and grew up nearby, got her start by working at her family’s boutique, Damani, on Sunset Boulevard. After deciding to focus on her own line full-time, she closed up shop and shifted gears to jewelry. But not just any jewelry—jewelry that felt reflective of her own personality and lifestyle: whimsical, relaxed, unabashedly cool.
Over the past decade, Aiche’s line, featuring pieces that run from $450 to upwards of $27,000, has become a favorite of celebrities like Behati Prinsloo and Emily Ratajkowski. It’s sold at retailers like Net-A-Porter and MyTheresa. It’s earned itself a cult following—what Aiche calls her “tribe.”“I feel so blessed to be on this incredible journey,” Aiche says, reflecting on her 10 years in the business. “There are many moments that have brought me so much gratitude. The ones that stick out the most are seeing my jewelry come to life on powerful women. It's all about the tribe.”
Aiche’s offerings have also expanded enormously: There are the “essentials” (pieces like the shaker necklace and the triple cross choker), “the specials” (think pave starburst necklaces and labradorite marquise rings), and then, of course, “the Sweet Leaf,” which she says has brought her “so much love.”
“Even clients who aren’t users of cannabis are drawn to the femininity and positivity of the Sweet Leaf line,” she says, noting that the motifs aren’t just used in her jewelry, but in her lifestyle products like hoodies, pillows, and pouches. “My tribe loves the Sweet Leaf—it just makes you happy.”
Oftentimes, integrating cannabis into fashion can feel cheesy and forced. Aiche, however, was able to do it in a way that felt natural to both her and her brand. “The marijuana leaf is such a botanical beauty,” she says. “I’ve always loved it as a symbol of freedom. I wanted my Sweet Leaf collection to represent it in a way that was feminine, beautiful, and badass.” Initially, proceeds from the Sweet Leaf line went to the Spark The Conversation campaign, which is meant “to change the social stigma of cannabis and the people who use it.” Needless to say, Aiche was thrilled once Prop 64 was passed. “I love it,” she says of California legalizing marijuana. “I’ve always been about spreading the happiness.”
But initiatives like Prop 64 are just the beginning. Recently, as the stigma around cannabis in the larger cultural conversation has begun to shift, designers like Aiche are paving the way in the fashion space for more acceptance and tolerance. “The world is constantly evolving and changing, and I think fashion has always been at the front of social change,” she says of this continued evolution. “Fashion and cannabis are both about shifting perspective, creativity, and spreading positivity. The Sweet Leaf is the perfect pairing of the two: It celebrates happiness and freedom in a way that is personal.”