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Olia Designs

Magical Jewelry Made to Bring You Goodness

Olia DesignsOlia is a jewelry designer, based in New York City, with a genuine passion for creating.  Olia created her first jewelry collection in 2003 and has since been featured in magazines such as Brides and In Style, as well as a number of TV shows.  Her eclectic pieces play with “symmetry and asymmetry, perfectly faceted and imperfectly rough semi-precious stones, innovative and ancient-inspired color combinations, to produce an aesthetic both alluring and meaningful.” Her pieces evoke a magical appearance by making the wearer look and feel beautiful.  To Olia, all her pieces carry a special meaning that is sometimes obvious and sometimes hidden.  She spends a great deal of time considering how each piece will look on different people, from long and short necks to dark and fair skin, as she wants everyone to have a special piece that looks great on them. 

Olia finds it hard to choose her favorites as they are all her babies, but if she had to, she would start with the beautiful Nefertiti Necklace from her Classics Collection, for its versatility in being able to be worn three different ways.  One of her new favorites and also a featured Editor’s Pick is the Olia DesignsTree of Life Necklace.  This hand carved necklace is modern and classic at the same time, and adds a touch of sentiment with its tiny heart perched on one of the branches.  The intricate and detailed branches stretch upward and outward, evoking hope.  Olia loves this piece because it is an ancient symbol of life and aspiration in many cultures and says “I love the idea of everyone's life trees producing fruits of love.”  Shown in Gold filled vermeil and also available in Silver.  She also loves pieces with flowers and floral patterns as her hippie side transforms the classical pearl look.  Olia loved the hippie movement, but not its clothing.  From that period, she enjoys using fun colors and concepts from the 60’s to incorporate into her flower power collection. 

Almost every hip jewelry designer these days has their own Zodiac collection and after seeing one, you soon feel like you have seen them all.  Olia DesignsBut Olia’s collection is quite different and a breath of fresh air to the commonly traditional zodiac prints.  Her collection stands out because each piece is more subtle but still a beautiful sculpture in itself.  Her personal favorite and her astrological sign is the arrow featured on the Sagittarius Necklace.  As she had always wanted to wear an ancient arrow around her neck, that was enough inspiration to create one that Olia Designsshe liked.  She says, “I took the element of each sign that I thought was beautiful like the hoof of the Capricorn goat, the pitcher of the Aquarius, the gorgeous horns of Aries and Taurus… I like pieces with deeper meaning and a personal feel. ” Olia did not want her zodiac necklaces to be so literal as to where a bystander could look and immediately label someone by their sign.  We selected the Cancer Necklace, featuring a stylized main crab claw in gold filled vermeil that looks more like a miniature sculpture with its detail and smooth shine.  All pieces are also available in silver.

The oxidized silver pieces are also her favorites because they are subtle and unique.  While they may not be the best sellers for their rustic dark color, she personally loves them for their funky style and charm.  We agree, as we selected the Canopy Necklace, made of an oxidized sterling silver Olia Designschain with 14k gold filled chain drapes dangling delicately from the center.  This simple yet unique necklace will add flair to any shirt as the combination of gold and charcoal black gives it a modern feel.  From her White collection, specifically geared towards brides, the Dew of Pearls Earrings is one of her favorites for its subtle asymmetry in giving it a natural feeling.  It is her take on “pearls in art nouveau with a modern twist” as she uses casting and wire instead of traditionally setting the pearls.  For Olia, she usually does not come up with ideas because they instead come to her in dreams, people, colors, nature, sketching, or whatever jumps out.  For her more systematic designs, Olia works with materials and then goes with her instinct, which usually leads her to something new and exciting. 

Olia’s first encounter with jewelry making started when she was seven, after taking a jewelry class in the former Soviet Union.  She would then spend countless hours joyfully beading by herself.  At ten, she immigrated to the United States with her family and stopped making jewelry as she was unable to bring over her beads and tools.  Olia never thought of herself as a creative person because she was brought up in an immigrant Russian family where it was more practical to pursue careers in Math or Science.  Olia graduated from Boston University with a degree in Computer Science and a Business Minor.  During her first job on Wall Street after graduating, she remembers complimenting a woman on her necklace.  When the lady responded by telling Olia how expensive the necklace was, Olia thought to herself that she could likely make that very necklace herself.  After that encounter, she ventured around New York City collecting beads and supplies, and as luck with have it, she created a similar necklace. 

In retrospect, her family and friends confirm she always had that creative flair as she would always love doing things with her hands, inventing presents for loves ones, loving poetry and philosophy.  Olia says, “I never imagined leaving my computer science career in a pursuit of jewelry design.  It has taken me years to get used to the new reality of my life.”  Olia never obtained any formal education in jewelry making or design but has taken many classes at FIT.  Olia possess so much experience and talent that she does not need a degree anyways as most of her techniques are self taught and created.  Olia strives to constantly invent new ways of wire wrapping or viewing objects.  Olia’s shining moment was when she visited a high-end fashion boutique and was then approached by the owners.  They complimented her necklace and suggested that she bring in her pieces to see if it might sell in the boutique.  It was an exciting time for Olia because her hobby was beginning to take over her apartment as she had more jewelry than she knew what to do with.  Olia brought a bunch of her pieces to the boutique, and after returning from her vacation, all of her jewelry had been sold in just two weeks.  That was the moment a light bulb went off in her head that this was her calling.

We also fell in love with her semi-precious stone pieces.  The Blue Rain Necklace is made of five faceted iolite gemstones attached and interspersed to a necklace of gold-fill intertwined hoops.  Olia DesignsThe striking purple clarity of the stones dangling from the gold chain links evokes a regal essence when worn.  Olia says, “I feel that our own uniqueness as humans is always translated into the objects that we create...I have so many different looks but I decided long ago that it is not interesting for me to stick with one style that identifies my jewelry.  I love the exploration.”  Olia also studied Reiki for a few years before delving into jewelry design, and manages to now incorporate the two.  “Reiki teaches that each object, person and element has a certain vibration, and while we do not perceive these vibrations, they do impact us. I clear the stones and use Reiki to enhance the energy of my jewelry, so that each piece can transfer its positive attributes to the wearer,” says Olia.  For her, it is all a matter of intention as she intends for her jewelry to be a source of happiness to those who own it and for her work to be a source of goodness for the world and herself. 

Olia DesignsHer earrings made of gemstones are just as seductive.  The Comet Earrings features a generously cut labradorite stone layered with a gold chain that is complimented with a tassel of hand wrapped faceted aquamarine stones.  This modern and sophisticated piece will be sure to catch the attention of everyone near you.  Olia is the sole designer of her jewelry, but she works closely with two other associates in brainstorming and seeking comments.  She is very open to other people’s ideas and suggestions and always welcomes feedback.  Olia’s passion for jewelry is strong and she says, “I love jewelry that is classical but has something new and exciting to bring to the table. Pieces that reference the past without being a cliché.  I like jewelry that is reinventing itself.”  Olia likes to keep it fresh by changing the materials and mediums in her jewelry.  Olia DesignsThe Maia Earrings are made of gold filled oval hoops with three petite laboradorite stones dangling delicately along a gold chain behind and against the hoops.  This elegant and romantic piece is feminine, flirty, and perfect for a special night.  She loves semi-precious stones, gold, and silver, but has recently been experimenting with feathers, pearls, and anything new and exciting.  She also has a heart for the environment as she is extremely interested in working with recycled sea glass or reusable materials because of the damaging impact that mining for semi-precious stone has on Mother Earth.

These days, she tries to pursue creativity wherever it takes her and she has embraced the fact that creative projects make her the happiest.  Her other secret passion is comedy improv and she has recently taken some classes because she feels improvisation is a revealing and liberating form of expression.  Olia is also all smiles because she is a newly wed as of July 2008.  Her husband is the toy designer of and continues to be an amazing source of inspiration and support.  While their work differs, they share common pitfalls and successes and most importantly, anticipate a new addition to their family this year.  Olia looks forward to seeing how being a mother will change her work and designs.

Some Hollywood starlets who also wear Olia jewelry are Rachel Ray, Molly Sims, Eddie Falco, and Lorraine Braco.  Olia loves traveling because the act itself inspires her to create by providing her with a good perspective of what great opportunity she has by living in the United States.  Olia does not take for granted her freedom to create her own artwork and be able to support herself through it.  Olia’s collection features a Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer line, with best sellers continuing.  Olia hopes that the future will bring development and change in her jewelry designs as her current collection differs greatly from that of five years ago.  She would love to eventually have permanent display cases in department stores and cultivate a stronger online business and store so that she can reach out to more people everywhere.  Olia can be found in boutiques in New York and nationwide as well as in Nordstrom and on Olia’s website at  Olia wants others to know to “follow your inspiration because it always leads you to where you are most happy.”


Gabriela de la Vega



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