CANTON, Ohio -- Dana Schneider’s love for movies started at an early age.
As a little girl, she often visited Canton Palace Theatre. She had her eye on one thing on the big screen.
“I would notice the jewelry back then,” Schneider said. “I’d watch a movie and I’d notice the ring, the bracelet, the belt buckle. I was paying attention to jewelry from the very beginning.”
A little more than a year ago, the Canton native got a call from a friend for the opportunity of a lifetime.
“She called me and she said, ‘There’s a very important piece of jewelry we’re going to need.’ And as soon as she said, ‘The Hunger Games,' I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh. That’s the mockingjay pin,' ” Schneider said. “I couldn’t believe it. To me, it’s like winning the lottery because I’m such a fan of the books.”
Schneider immediately signed on to the project. It took her three months to transform Suzanne Collin’s design into the pin worn by Jennifer Lawrence.
“It’s really kind of intimidating,” Schneider said. “When I first started working on the pin, there is a lot of pressure to get it right.”
Schneider travels between L.A., Canton and other movie locations to work with designers to create the perfect jewelry. She said people opt for her work because of the high quality pieces she creates.
“There’s a big responsibility when you’re bringing to life of something fans know so well, and I have a lot of respect for that,” she said. “I’m a fan myself. The pin is important because it symbolizes hope and freedom.”
BEFORE ‘THE HUNGER GAMES’
Schneider studied metal sculpture at the Rhode Island School of design. She also learned a lot on her own. She worked at Tiffany & Co. while living in New York.
In 1998, she decided to pursue her passion for film by making the big move to Los Angeles. By then, she had 15 years of experience under her belt, but landing gigs wasn’t easy.
“It was tough,” she said. “But once I figured out how to break in, then I was really welcomed, which was terrific.”
Her first job was creating a ring for characters in the Jack the Ripper film “From Hell.”
Then in 2001, she landed a big break in Tim Burton’s 2001 remake of “Planet of the Apes.”
“I saw this guy with ape makeup, and I knew it was Tim Roth,” she said. “Here I am talking to a man, you know, in full ape makeup, but in jeans and t-shirts smoking a cigarette, and we’re just talking about jewelry. That’s Hollywood. That is absolutely Hollywood.”
After living in L.A. for eight years, Schneider moved back home to be close to family.
Since then, Schneider has made hundreds of pieces for nearly 50 films, including "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "Elektra, X-Men," "Tron" and the "Matrix" films.
“In one movie, Snoop Dogg wears this ring,” she said. “I made just three. And it had to be opened in the back because Snoop Dogg has a broken knuckle.”
She makes pieces to each person’s style and fit. Many celebrities like Marilyn Manson, Cher, Jennifer Garner and the band Slipknot have hired her for custom jewelry.
“I’m lucky, very lucky,” she said. “This is just incredible. This is just unbelievable to be here, and you just stop for a moment and just soak it in and appreciate where you’re at.”
For those who want to see one of the four Mockinjay pins, you can visit Lingg Jewelry at 28500 Chagrin Blvd. in Woodmere.
Schneider will have a trunk show at Lingg on April 19 and 20 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Her creations are also available on Etsy under her store, Dana Schneider Jewelry.