Sometimes I come accross people who make extremely special things and Loren Nicole Fine Jewelry is an example of someone making, something, extremely special. I got the chance to interview Loren, which you will see below but I was awestruck with the commitment to craftsmanship but also the amazing historical references in her jewelry that feel modern but with a distinct nod to the past. Her jewelry feels strong, empowered and fit for any modern day goddess. In the process of this interview, I fell in love with many of her pieces. This is a must read interview to get behind the scenes with a true craftsperson and artist.
Tell us about your background and how you go to where you are today?
My background and education are essential to understanding Loren Nicole (my fine jewelry brand). I was a conservator working at two world-renowned institutions, one of which houses an impressive collection of ancient Greek jewelry. When I had started working at one of the museums, just out of college, I began taking classes in ancient metalsmithing. I have always been interested in the arts and as an archaeologist, was curious about how material culture of the past was made, so it wasn’t unusual for me to pursue such a class.
My hand skills from conservation allowed me to excel at the jeweler’s bench and my archaeological background provided an expanse wealth of inspiration. Creating and exploring the works of other civilizations became a growing passion I couldn’t ignore.
Two years ago, I made the difficult decision not to attend the graduate program I had been admitted to, moved to California, and dove in, developing what is now Loren Nicole.
Why do you love about what you do?
It is a privilege to start and own your own company. There are of course moments of anxiety and a schedule that is constantly adjusting its demands, but the rewards far outweigh those few heavy moments. I am learning so much about other areas of business and marketing I have never been exposed to, and I am able to share my heart with the world. It is incredibly rewarding to see other people getting excited about my jewelry!
While we were participating at our first trade show, JA New York, this past July, a woman and her daughter came up to us on the first day and knew everything about Loren Nicole. She was so excited to try on the jewelry for the first time and already had her favorite pieces selected. I couldn’t believe it, my first fan! I hope I can spark that joy in thousands more people to come!
You handcraft everything — tell us more about your process?
We are proud to celebrate the techniques of ancient artisans; some of these techniques include hand-woven chains, bezel set stones, and granulation. We don’t cut corners!
When working in such a precious metal, you have to honor it with your craftsmanship. Granulation is a 4500-year-old technique dating back to Etruria. It had a short revival in the 1800’s when the technique was rediscovered, but hasn’t yet achieved widespread knowledge. It is a precise and quiet technique that allows you to create patterns of micro granules fused onto a surface. It allows an interesting texture and satin appearance that I can’t get enough of!
Where do you get the inspiration from?
I love texture! My inspiration for our first collection drew most heavily on Ancient Greek and Etruscan artifacts. The pieces highlight different layers of texture and pattern in gold, rather than having gemstones as a focal point. I have been feeling a bit starved for color though, which has resulted in a gemstone heavy collection launching towards the end of this year or early next year. Ancient Scythian and Eurasian Steppe nomadic cultures have heavily influenced the inspiration for those designs thus far.
You work a lot in yellow gold — why do you love it?
Gold represents all things important as far back as 4500 years ago. I think the specialness of the material is diluted when it’s transformed into lower karat gold alloys. High karat gold is an incredible vibrant color and on top of that it is an amazing medium to work in. Compared to other metals, I find it easier to manipulate, and I am able to highlight such techniques as granulation and hand-woven chains that are only possible in 24 and 22 karat yellow gold. These techniques do not use solder; all of the elements are fused together, so it would not even be achievable in 20k.
What’s your favorite piece in the line and why?
Right now, I love our rock crystal bangles. It took nearly a year to source the stone! My gemstone dealer is amazing. She manages to transform all of my queries into reality and this bangle is a testament to all of her hard work. In addition to having these visually amazing stones, the greatest efforts have been made to source the materials responsibly, supporting minority and female artisans where possible.