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Gabriela de la Vega

Gabriela de la Vega

Precious Handwrought Jewelry Showcases Colors

Gabriela de la VegaBased in Brooklyn, New York, Gabriela de la Vega creates unfathomable beauty through her jewelry with draping gold chains and colorful, bold, and stunning semi-precious stones.  Gabriela was inspired to launch her own line after she began reworking vintage jewelry pieces and playing around with materials just for herself.  Yet, people kept wanting to buy her pieces and friends kept requesting her jewelry for gifts.  She quickly realized that her idea of what constituted beautiful jewelry was translating to a wider audience.  She says, “I have never been great with authority so working for myself and doing something I really enjoyed, seemed like a logical step for me.”  Gabriela loves using chains for its drape and flexibility, wires for its sculptural quality, and stones for their color and texture.  Her one-of-a-kind designs are unlike anything else we have seen and takes on fine jewelry incorporating semi-precious stones to a whole other level. 

Gabriela double majored in history and political science at Boston University but ultimately chose a different path as all the structure did not agree with her.  She never studied art of design of any kind and is completely self taught.  “I think my jewelry is different from other jewelry designs in part, because I am self taught.  I had no parameters or rules imposed upon me about how a piece should be executed,” she shares.  While she did struggle with technical issues at first, that struggle produced creative results when she had to find creative solutions to her design problems.  She found the right materials, mainly chains, wires and a variety of stones, to suit her design aesthetic. 

Gabriela de la VegaWe are excited to feature our Editor's Picks selections from Gabriela's stunning collection.  The Elizabeth Necklace is a breathtaking piece that is fit for royalty with its regal display of kyanite teardrops and pastel sapphires along 18k gold chains. The larger kyanite drops alternate between the smaller pastel sapphires among this multi-layered necklace, which creates a mesmerizing effect when displayed along the neckline. As worn by Jessica Szhor in Gossip Girl, this necklace is the perfect accessory for a party or special occasion. Gabriela can also create a more affordable version of this necklace with kyanite, iolite, and gold-filled chains.

Gabriela de la VegaFor something with a modern edge that is also artsy, the Janis Necklace hits the spot with its bold chunky look juxtaposed with the soft hanging tendrils of gold chains and bright red stones. This necklace features chunky, faceted labradorite stones clustered beautifully with pink tourmaline scattered throughout, on an 18k gold chain with gold chain tendrils dropping downward. The deep garnet red of the pink tourmaline contrasts perfectly with the smoky gray hue of the labradorite. This necklace exudes a bold and edgy aura for that rocker chic appeal.  Gabriela herself also loves this necklace because it is just “an over the top rock and roll haute couture piece…I had so much fun making it and just love the bold quality of it!” 

Gabriela shares some of her all time favorite pieces, which come from her fine jewelry collection.  She keeps her customers in mind as versions of her favorite pieces will be available in a more accessible price point in the future.  The Playa Necklace is one of her favorites as she likes the original combination of chain colored stones and coral and the bohemian sexiness of the piece.  In bracelets, she enjoys her Chunky Turquoise Cuff with Gold Chain for its sophisticated drama and the Magda Bracelet for its cool, calm glamour.  She also adores her Chavela Earrings, which dangle brilliantly with ametrine as they are elegant but edgy and sexy.  Gabriela does most of the fabricating and design herself with help in the production and marketing department if she is swamped.

Gabriela de la VegaMost notably in 2003, she launched her key collection before Tiffany & Company did. The key collection is her absolute favorite because she finds “keys are such beautiful objects with such symbolism.”  The Fish Key and Skate Key are her personal favorites but she truly feels there is a perfect key for everyone-in the collection.  All of the keys in her collection are Gabriela de la Vegaunique and make wonderful keepsake treasures, which is why we selected her two favorites as Editor's Picks.  First up is the Fish Key in sterling silver, which is the most unusual and stunning of the key designs. This key features two elaborately designed fish touching at the top of the key with their tails while their heads hold the base of the key. We have not seen any key design like this and guarantee this will be a conversation starter.  All of her keys are available in 18k gold along with a lower priced sterling silver version to suit personal preferences. One can either go bold or subtle in terms of the key size, from small (1") to large (3") and can also inset with your choice of semi-precious stones or diamonds for some sparkle.

Gabriela de la VegaWe also selected the Skate Key for its ornate design made to resemble a highly decorated sword from the "age of gallant combat." The design itself is simply striking and the shape differs from the standard elongated keys on the market. The large arching curves with its ornate and romantic design makes this key stand out. The natural silver of this key adds to its antique and rustic appearance and we adore the versatility of being able to wear this chain long or wrapped for a bolder look.  Her collection is always changing, but Gabriela often revisits and reworks older designs as there is always so much material to mine and she loves returning to expand on her past ideas with fresh eyes.  She has customer favorites she will always produce and any piece can be special ordered any time, which she says is, “the great freedom of having my own business!”

She was creative from a young age as she grew up in a very craft oriented family, from making their own cards and decorations to gifts that were woven, sewn, or painted.  Hooked rugs and more, Gabriela’s practice of working with her hands comes very naturally to her so translating an idea into a fabricated piece is not intimidating.  Her mother is a photographer and her father is a clothing designer, while three sisters out of her six siblings are circus performers.  And of course, her husband, Nikko, is a painter.  Her encounter with jewelry happened by accident as she could not find jewelry that “spoke” to her or reflected her sense of style and ornamentation as she wanted something more organic and free form.  Since she was sewing a lot, she found that embroidery and vintage laces continued to be good ideas for jewelry and began experimenting with different elements, which led to her successful career as a jewelry designer.

Gabriela de la VegaAnother favorite of ours is the Gabriela Necklace, for its romantic and elegant appeal as it offers a classic design with just the right amount of color from the semi-precious stones. The necklace is made of three smooth and shiny kyanite drops along an 18k gold chain, with petite sapphires dangling along a chain from each kyanite stone. The draping effect of the delicate gold chains in between the stones adds a Victorian touch. One cannot help but feel special when wearing this piece as it is undeniably one-of-a-kind.

Gabriela de la Vega has been featured in numerous television shows such as Gossip Girl, All My Children, and on actresses like Queen Latifah on the big screen.  Kyra Sedgwick has been a colossal fan of her designs and graced the red carpet wearing Gabriela’s pieces, notably the Cognac Diamond and 18k Majaii Chandelier Earrings and Chavela Pearl Bracelet and Earrings.  “She is so ethereal and beautiful.  There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your work out there looking wonderful,” Gabriela shares.  Ali McGraw and Candace Bergen have the Mia Aquamarine and Citrine Necklace.  Gabriela loves that there is a range of ages and styles because it is nice to know that all different kinds of people respond to her work. 

Gabriela de la VegaShe loves and follows fashion but is never bound by what is “in” or trendy at the time.  “I try always to express my individuality as much as possible and I think that is something that my clients really respond to because they know they won’t see anyone else wearing the same piece,” Gabriela says.  The country that most influences her will always be Mexico, where she was born and where there is something about the wildness of it that inspires her.  She is proud to be Latin as she can attest that Latin women are not afraid of a little drama!  While she does not have a favorite jewelry designer, she loves clothing designed by Blumarine, Alberta Ferrettii, and Alexander McQueen.  Gabriela was so inspired by one of McQueen’s strapless “shipwrecked” gowns that she designed an entire corset woven with gold wire and encrusted with semi-precious stones.

Gabriela de la VegaHer ideas for designs often come from the materials themselves or anywhere from nature, sculptural elements, old photograph, or even a piece of clothing or a mood that is simply begging for the perfect piece.  “My husband used to make fun of me for picking up odds and ends on the street, a twig or piece of metal, but these things would sit in my studio and eventually the inspiration would be incorporated into a piece …so now he trusts my scavenging instinct!” she exclaims.  Gabriela also thinks her family’s nomadic life style has informed her design aesthetic as well since there is a bohemian/gypsy element to her pieces.  She likes drama and color but combines it with worldly sophistication.

Gabriela de la VegaHer dream of opening her own shop is now a reality as her Brooklyn store had its grand opening June 1, 2010.  Her purpose behind creating a retail space was to reflect the experience that her clients have when visiting for appointments.  Her store is a place where they can see her influences and process, but also relax and take their time with the work.  Gabriela de la Vega has also been selling at Barneys for many years and is currently at Satine in Los Angeles and Cloth in New York City.  Her website and private trunk sales also give her a lot of design freedom and the opportunity to really connect with her customers.  She comments, “I love the chance to collaborate or custom design pieces.  It is a great way to keep your work fresh.” 

Looking ahead to the next five years, she would love to collaborate with clothing designers and further develop her more price accessible collections as she has been working on that.  She would really like her bridal collection to grow and become an established market for her designs as they lend extremely well to bridal, being very feminine and yet individual.  Gabriela shares, “be courageous and don't be afraid to express your own ideas of fashion, style whatever!  It is generous to Gabriela de la Vegatake creative risks as it inspires creativity in others.”  She also emphasizes color is good and that people should not be sucked into the all black wardrobe with only gold or silver jewelry.  “There is a time and a place for that but there's so much more out there...,” she says.  To view and shop her fabulous pieces, visit her store at 88 South Portland Ave. (between Lafayette and Fulton) Brooklyn, NY 11217, (718) 858-1152 or gabrieladelavega.com.

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