Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ilana Ariel Jewelry

Q&A with designer, Ilana Ariel Sarna

Describe your design process.  Can you walk us through the steps from original conception of a design to reality?
Every time I start a new design concept, I first think of people and places I hold near to my heart. I reflect on the story I wish to tell with the final product. Then I sketch some ideas until I’ve perfected the general design, after which I decide whether I want to use diamonds or colored stones. Next, I play around with scale.
I work with amazing jewelers and stone dealers in New York City’s Diamond District. We go through each new design meticulously until the model comes out just right. Then we move on to production!  It’s always equally surreal when I first see the final product and place it next to its original sketch counterpart. It excites me every time and fuels my ambition to create even more jewelry.

Explain the inspiration behind each of your collections and their names.
I usually work on a more conceptual level before making my way to the drawing board. Even though each collection was designed in its own time, my goal at the outset was to create a brand that stood as a reminder of where I come from, where I begin and where I’m going. 
The Legacy Collection’s nostalgic aesthetic represents heritage, while the Ten Eleven Collection’s clean lines and basic shapes are reminiscent of beginnings and stable foundations. Lastly, the Stepping Stone Collection, like a stepping stone path, signifies journeys and endless possibilities.  
Initially inspired by my late maternal grandmother Ella’s jewelry, the Legacy Collection has grown into a retrospective, paying homage to all the women in my life who have nurtured my creative aspirations.
Named for my birthday, the Ten Eleven Collection originates from patterns in a tapestry I found while traveling in Peru. At first, I was intrigued by the shapes I saw in the background of the patterns. But what began as an exploration of these shapes quickly developed into a medley of triangles, manipulated to highlight and contrast negative space. I’m now in the process of adding more shapes to the collection.
Lastly, from its inception, the Stepping Stone Collection was intended to playfully unite mismatched shapes and colors through a combination of various gemstones. Once consisting of wire wrapped bracelets, the collection now features sequences of differently shaped and colored bezeled jewels.

Describe the Ilana Ariel woman.
The ILANA ARIEL woman recognizes that fine jewelry is both personal and timeless, but can also coincide with contemporary fashion. She appreciates the beauty that exists in the juxtaposition of ostensibly different styles, and covets understated yet memorable jewelry.
Similar to the women in my family, the ILANA ARIEL woman sometimes feels like standing out in a crowd and other times prefers more understated glamour. Either way, she always has a real appreciation for unique and thoughtful designs.  She’s also socially conscious, good-natured and has integrity. Let’s just say she loves to stack some fun rings while also wearing a big smile, and layers a bunch of dainty necklaces close to her sincere and giving heart.

What period of jewelry inspires you the most?
I’m an October baby so I have a real affinity for opal. The Victorian and Art Nouvea eras saw a lot of opal jewelry, so I definitely feel inspired by those time periods. However, I also enjoy architectural design so the clean lines of the Art Deco period prod my creativity as well.

What is next for Ilana Ariel?
I’ve been working on two projects - adding to the Stepping Stone Collection and creating a new aesthetic that’s inspired by my time in Tel Aviv, Israel. The samples will hopefully go into production soon. I can’t wait to see them off the page!

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Ilana Ariel Jewelry features 14 and 18 karat gold with precious and semi-precious stones.

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