A chic outfit isn’t complete without the perfect accessories such as a statement necklace or ring. Currently, contemporary jewelry designs are dressing up the ears, necks, and arms of our favorite celebs. Ever since Carrie Bradshaw revealed her gold cursive ‘Carrie’ necklace on Sex and the City, there’s been a trend toward delicate gold jewelry. On my radar is LA-based designer Zoë Chicco, who has created an eponymous jewelry line featuring necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings fashioned from precious metals and stones such as yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, white diamonds, and black diamonds. I recently caught up with Zoë for an exclusive e-interview to get intel on her line and her style favorites.
“I have a weakness for handbags.”
What do you believe sets your work apart from other contemporary jewelry designers? I have a small team of amazing jewelers that work with me in our studio hand-making each piece in the collection. We are able to customize any of our designs to fit our client’s needs. I think that sets us apart. That enables me to have control over the quality of the pieces and to offer them at a reasonable price. I pride myself on making affordable as well as more aspirational jewelry. Since we do our own manufacturing we are able to keep a wide range of pieces available in the collection.
What inspires the pieces you design? I draw inspiration from fashion, art, design, travel, and nature. I am a very visual person – what I see inspires me. I find that the West Coast, where I live and work, is what inspires me the most on a regular basis. I love the laid back vibe here, it translates very well into my design aesthetic. I also derive a lot of inspiration from fashion, what you see on the runways as well as the latest trends.
Is there a special meaning behind some of the jewelry? Like my personal style, my jewelry designs are always evolving and I find I’m inspired by so many amazingly stylish fashion-forward women and designers. I generally find that I am inspired by a certain fashion trend, color or pattern that I can then interpret in my jewelry. For example, I love the fringe trend so I designed it into a collection last year and then I saw tassels coming back so I created a few pieces to compliment that trend as well. The birth of my son Truman has made me go back and dive a bit deeper into the personalized collection. I just designed a dog tag with his information on it and I plan to offer even more unique pieces and personalized options later this year.
How long does it take to create a piece? The length of time really depends on the specific piece of jewelry. Recently, in celebration of the 15th Anniversary of Zoë Chicco, I created a special cuff in one of my signature styles. It was a larger more expensive piece, so first I created the design then we did a rendering on the computer so the dimensions would be prefect. We then formed it by hand in silver first and once I felt it was perfect we executed it in gold and set the diamonds. That particular piece took about two weeks from design to completion. But some pieces I just think it up, go in back and make the sample and it is done in about an hour. It just depends on how elaborate the design is.
Congratulations on your 15th Anniversary! What has been your best accomplishment so far? I think my biggest accomplishment throughout my career has been staying true to my own vision. Having a point of view is very important in the industry. I always focus on making pieces I would want to wear year after year.
If you could design a piece of jewelry for anyone, who would it be and why? Probably my Grandma Sal. She was my first muse. She always had rings on every finger and bangles stacked up both of her arms. She was never without a pair of earrings. I have such fond memories of being at her house and looking through her jewelry box, it was like a treasure hunt. While I made her a lot of jewelry when I was in school and first apprenticing with other jewelers, she passed away before I had really come into my own and established my brand. I would love to make her something now and really do my best to wow her. That would be really fun.
Which piece from your line is the most popular? Our personalized initial pieces are the most popular. People really love to wear something that conveys special meaning. I would say in general the more simple delicate pieces have always been the most popular for us. The kind of jewelry you never have to take off and you can layer with other pieces. Those are the styles that I have built my brand on.
Zoë’s Tips for Wearing and Caring For Jewelry
- Layer, layer, layer! The good thing about delicate gold jewelry is that you can wear a lot of pieces without it seeming like you are overdoing it. Stack rings, bracelets, necklaces, even earrings up the ear.
- Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Mix your gold colors together, mix up your earrings. Anything goes these days. The more interesting mix you get with your stacks, the better.
- One of the best things about fine jewelry is you don’t have to worry about it tarnishing. So you don’t have to take it off to shower, etc. BUT if you do wear your pieces all the time – in the shower, when you wash your hands, etc – you do need to clean it. A little dishwashing soap, warm water and a tooth or nail brush, followed by a polishing cloth will really help you stretch the time until you can make it to a jeweler to have it professionally cleaned.