Betony Vernon was born on August 15, 1968 in Tazewell, Virginia, an isolated mountain town on the Appalachian Trail. She was the third of four daughters. Her mother, a British civil rights activist/art historian and her father, an American pilot/inventor bestowed on her at an early age a love for nature and a passion for the arts. Her youth was spent practicing classical piano, wandering in the woods and whiling away the hours with in-home studies. In 1990 she graduated Cum Laude from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Art History and a double minor in Religious Studies and Goldsmithing.
After graduation, Betony moved to Florence, Italy to direct the metalsmithing program at "Studio Art Workshop" and open her atelier where she created one-of-a-kind objects for the concept store Luisa Via Roma. She also worked as an actor and a fashion model but abandoned these potential careers in order to refine her jewellery making skills with the Florentine masters of repoussť, mosaic, and engraving and jewellery fabrication.
In 1995, Betony moved to Milan where she obtained a masters degree in Industrial Design from Domus Academy. Simultaneously, she founded "Atelier B.V.", her present day studio. Betony's skill caught the eye of many prestigious brands, and in addition to developing her numerous proprietary collections, she began to consult externally. In 1995 and in 1998 she designed for Pampaloni, the renowned Florentine silversmith. During that time, she was also appointed as design director for the Italian interior design firm Immaginazione, first opened by Italian artist Piero Fornasetti. She continues to develop a Jewellery line that respects the artistic matrix of the whimsical Fornasetti style.
In 2001, her Eco-Coral jewels adorned Missoni's summer fashion collection, and she collaborated with Alain Tondowski on a collection of limited edition jewelled shoes called "Venus." In her most recent collaborations she designed a couture neckpiece for Swarovski and served as principal designer for Gianfranco Ferre's premier fine jewellery collection that launched in Fall 2003. Betony has held design seminars at both the European Institute of Design and Domus Academy in Milan, Italy. Her work has also been included in a number of international exhibitions from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to the Museum of Sex in New York City.
Betony's ongoing research of the body, sex and sensuality gave rise to the creation of the Paradise Found collection. She presented the collection publically for the first time during fashion week in Paris in 2001. This collection of objects designed explicitly to promote, encourage and celebrate sexual vitality was her most powerful and directional. Paradise Found embodied Betony's goals to heighten body confidence, glorify the human instinct to attract, and to emphasise the innate beauty, harmony and sensuality of the human body through flexible forms that often hide their real functions within their forms. Through this collection, she explored different sensations, as well as the power of a new sexual aesthetic. She used the terms "Sado-chic" and "Jewel Tools" to define these objects made in gold and silver for aesthetic lovemaking, playful attraction, sophisticated bondage and invigorating massage.
The invention of Paradise Found compelled Betony to examine entirely new dimensions in her work. In 2001 she completed the design of her infamously mysterious Boudoir Box, a custom-made limited edition luxury travel case containing 21 objects from the Paradise Found collection. Betony used the Boudoir Box to present her Jewel Tools to collectors in hotel rooms and private homes around the World. In 2001, she began to conduct sexual well-being, skills and ceremony salons in Europe, America and Russia.
Betony came to be considered one of the pioneers of the emerging niche market for upscale erotica. Paradise Found has been carried by boutiques like Coco-de-Mer in London and LA, Maniac Corporation in Tokyo, Metropol boutique in Moscow, L'Eclaireur inParis, Urban Flower in Dallas, Zou Zou in Rome, and Darling Frivole in Munich. The Boudoir Box, on the other hand, was never made available through classic retail venues.
In 2004 Betony opened a private members only Salon in Paris because security issues had made international travel with the Boudoir Box increasingly problematic.
In recent years, Betony's been in increasing demand. In 2006 she collaborated with Los Angeles based photographer Jeff Burton to document the Boudoir Box in the historical context of the museum house of architect Carlo Mollino, in Turin, Italy. In 2008 at the request of MTV Italy, Betony wrote, starred in and co-produced The Boudoir. The 7 episodes aired on LoveLine, a show that delivers sexual information to young people. In March 2009 Jean-Paul Gaultier represented Betony as an erotic icon in his fall-winter fashion show. Shortly thereafter, her works were exhibited in the Furniture Fair in Milan in the context of the exposition RedLight Design.
The culmination of Betony's research and designs will materialise in the form of a book called Paradise Found-Sexual Common Sense and Ceremony, due to be published in December 2009.