Q&A with Yasuko Azuma, Designer and Founder of Yasuko Azuma Jewelry
What do you enjoy most about being a jewelry designer?
I love searching for stones. When I find a super unique or beautiful stone I get a rush! Also, working with wedding customers is truly special. In my showroom, I oftentimes get to watch couples as they’re seeing their pieces for the first time. Watching them smile makes my work worthwhile. I can’t help but cry with my customers sometimes!
Does a design typically come to mind before or after you have found the stones?
Every year in February I attend the Tuscon Gem and Mineral Show. In Tuscon, I get to participate in my favorite hobby: searching for stones. After I’ve purchased stones and returned to New York I start to design. I let the stones inspire my design.
For example, I’ve never worked with Paraiba stones, but I found them this year in Tuscon and I felt they’d be perfect for my collections so we bought a bunch and started making rings. The color, shape, and texture of the stones really inspired the designs. We ended up making a series of beautiful rings with the Paraiba stones. They turned out wonderfully.
What period of jewelry are you most drawn to?
I’m not particularly drawn to older designs. Although much can be learned from the works of many influential and talented jewelry designers before me, I try and focus on creating new designs.
How does your past experience as a fashion designer help with designing jewelry?
I worked for an outerwear company as a designer for a good period of time. While there, I developed a love for fashion. The fabrics and colors really inspired me – and still do today. I’m especially inspired by fabric textures. Texture is very important to me in my jewelry. I always have a hand hammered or matte finish on my pieces.
What is next for Yasuko Azuma Jewelry?
We’ll have to see what happens when I return from Tuscon this year!
Yasuko Azuma launched her collection in 2003, after moving to New York from Japan to begin her studies in jewelry design and fabrication at The Fashion Institute of Technology. Her elegantly feminine and delicate jewelry is fabricated in 18K gold with precious and semi-precious stones.