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Darrell Roach 

Bling designer

Charlotte's love affair with jewelry designer Darrell Roach began when he was "discovered" by Boris and Natasha's owner, Hope Nichols, in 2004. Now Roach is making a national name for himself with his one-of-a-kind wearable art. Last year, America's Next Top Model winner Eva Pigford wore one of Roach's designs to the BET Awards. Roach's jewelry has also been seen on Fantasia of American Idol fame, Essence magazine mogul Susan Taylor, Myra J of "The Tom Joyner Morning Show" and singer Anthony Hamilton.

Roach calls himself an "American artist," a poor kid with diamond-studded dreams. He's an athlete-turned-artist born in Rockingham, N.C., who attended Johnson C. Smith University and Winthrop College. Recently married, Roach lives in Uptown Charlotte and frequently travels to New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta for trunk shows where he showcases and sells his work.

Roach has worked since the age of 12 and has held a number of jobs from vacuum cleaner salesman to long distance truck driver. He started making jewelry at age 22 because he needed to earn money for college. Back then, Roach sold everything from handmade copper bracelets to women's pantyhose. "I'm grateful to be able to craft a living for myself with my art," he says.

He is inspired by nature and by women. "When I see a leaf or a flower or a sunset, I think about how I can capture the essence of that image against a woman's curves."

His craziest jewelry request? "I was asked to make a copper bra and panty set for a photo shoot. The photographer won a Kodak photography award from it."

What's next for Darrell Roach? Clearly diamonds are in the picture. Roach's fine jewelry line features 18K gold with precious and semi-precious stones. "I'm glad that people admire my work." He says he hopes people know that they can also buy it. To find Roach's work, check out Boris and Natasha at 1214 Thomas Ave., Glamour Puss at 1800 Camden Road, call 704-375-0079 or e-mail Prices range from $50 and up.

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