When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a jewelry designer?
I grew up in Queens NY, there's a mall by JFK airport. I started working at a mom and pop jeweler shop at the mall making my college tuition money in the mid-90s. Here is where I learned making and selling Grills/ Bamboo Door Knocker earrings. I had so much fun! Although at that time I was going to school for Financial Accounting. But the fun memories of making those pieces always lingered in the back of my mind. So I decided to go back to school for Fashion Management/ Jewelry, Metalsmith work and always held positions in Jewelry trade while I was in my 5 year span in FIT and never looked back!
Where do you go for inspiration?
I'd like to think pieces of jewelry are small sculptures. Different depths within the piece can create interest in such a small and limited area. That's why I’m always intrigued by architecture/ sculpture forms that have three-dimensional design aspects. My Pinterest boards don't just have inspiring jewelry pieces, but mostly are industrial patterns, structured apparel photographs, building images and even graphic novel pages. I'm just fascinated by how simple lines can create so much depths and drama.
What’s your process? From conception to final designs and finally, prototypes.
I first define what element would be the hero in the piece - stones? or forged metal? Then I focus on how to enhance it and make it stand out better. Of course for Lightbox Jewelry the stones are the heroes, metal is the supporter. But it still has to be interesting in construction to make the piece tell a story.
Describe a day in the life of a jewelry designer…
Any form of exercise starting the day is a must for me - I day dream during that time frame. If I go out for a run, I observe my surroundings. I always notice something interesting, even if you ran that route every day! Sunlight creates shades differently every day, every hour. After the adrenaline surge, I will have a much quieter mind and go through my to-do list and execute them. I always have a little sketch session in between projects to break up the day.
What’s been your favorite Lightbox piece?
My fave piece is the cubism ring: it shows off all three colors of the stones. They are leveled in different heights - which creates interesting dimensions on your finger.
What is your favorite part about being a designer?
Restrictions can force or make the best creativity.