HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE JEWELRY INDUSTRY?
While I have been in the industry for over 10 years, I have always had a strong connection with jewelry since I was little. I took metalsmithing classes in junior high – I was lucky to go to a school that offered soldering and metalsmithing at a young age. When I graduated from college, my now husband and I moved to Chetumal, Mexico, where my godparents were living and I was inspired to pursue my dreams. I knew working with my hands and materials that came from the earth was something I had always taken great pleasure in, so I dove back into jewelry. When we returned to the U.S. I started apprenticing - first in Vermont and then in New Mexico. In Vermont, I took a few classes and apprenticed with a lovely artisan jeweler. In Santa Fe, I worked for a silver father and daughter company where they had me constantly polishing the silver. They were sculptors and artists, true Santa Fe bohemians. I also worked for an incredible self-taught master goldsmith, Mario Chavez, who put me to work on the bench. After Santa Fe, I moved to New York City for a year where I took an intensive metalsmithing course at Studio Jewelers in Midtown Manhattan. After the course ended I interned with fashion jeweler, Janis Savitt and Brooklyn fine jeweler, Scosha and started my Graduate Gemology classes at the GIA.
DID YOU HAVE ANY TYPE OF DESIGN BACKGROUND?
I don’t have a formal design degree, but over the years I have taken many art and sculpture classes including ones at the GIA and Otis College of Art and Design. I have also worked with and shadowed a wide range of artists, metalsmiths and jewelry designers.
HOW LONG HAS YOUR COMPANY BEEN IN BUSINESS?
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO START YOUR COMPANY?
I was inspired to create jewelry that my friends could love and feel good about purchasing - I wanted to make colorful, timeless, everyday pieces at affordable prices that use ethical materials and are handmade in the U.S. What's more, I saw a gap in the market place - making Starling a direct-to-consumer e-commerce brand has allowed us to avoid the traditional markups of fine jewelry.
WHERE ARE YOU BASED?
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
DESCRIBE YOUR JEWELRY
Colorful and customizable.
IS THERE A UNIQUE STORY BEHIND YOUR BUSINESS NAME?
The Starling is a small bird. I wanted a name that was fun, feminine, approachable and light. And I love stars!
WHAT’S THE FIRST PIECE OF JEWELRY YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH?
Visiting my grandparents' home growing up, the first thing I would do is run to my grandmother’s spare bedroom where she had a dresser filled with her costume jewelry. During each visit, I would take every piece out, inspecting all the glimmering details - it always felt like I had discovered an amazing treasure chest. There were many pieces that I loved, so it’s hard to pick one, but she had this large brown Swarovski crystal double stranded necklace and matching clip-on earrings that seemed especially glamorous at the time.
WHO IS YOUR JEWELRY ICON?
There is no one person I would consider my jewelry icon, but I am always inspired when I see people wearing jewelry that is so clearly part of their everyday, ranging from new pieces to family heirlooms to maybe even macaroni necklaces - beloved pieces that are worn throughout their lives, collecting stories. I hope Starling pieces become those kind of pieces.
WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL?
A hedgehog – shy and a little spiky on the outside, but actually a very soft and cuddly little animal.
IF A THEME SONG PLAYED EVERY TIME YOU WALKED INTO A ROOM, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
'Black Cat' by Janet Jackson.
DO YOU HAVE A PIECE(S) OF JEWELRY YOU WEAR EVERY DAY AND IF SO, WHY?
- My wedding band is the one piece of jewelry I never take off, because you know...love ;)
- I’m usually wearing a solitaire necklace that I made with a diamond my grandmother wore as earrings. She was a big champion of mine and since she passed, it’s been my way of keeping her encouragement with me.
- Otherwise, I am constantly rotating through pieces that I will consistently wear for periods of time before switching them out for others. I’ve done this since I was a child but now I like to call it “product testing.” For the last two years, I wore a black diamond pinky ring on the right hand and a white diamond pinky ring on the left – they felt really grounding but at the beginning of January I took them off.
- Now I wear a large colette pave band with white diamonds, the classic men’s wedding band in yellow gold, a little yellow gold band, two Olive Rings and a few new rings that will be coming out soon! Plus two or three other necklaces, five or so bracelets, sevenish earrings...you know...pretty simple….
DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE
Sentimental, fun and layered minimalism.
LAST PIECE OF JEWELRY YOU BOUGHT AND LOVED
I just bought a very small Paraiba Tourmaline that I am going to make into something fun, as a birthday present to myself.
THE THING YOU ARE COVETING NEXT
I really want to travel. I want to get back to Italy and visit Japan for the first time!
THE BEST GIFT YOU’VE GIVEN RECENTLY
We gave our new nephew a baby blanket and hand embroidered his initials. My husband has beautiful handwriting, so he wrote it and I embroidered.
THE BEST GIFT YOU’VE RECEIVED RECENTLY
My goldsmith gave me a little rose cut diamond necklace.
YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH...
Love and diamonds.
LEAST FAVORITE FOOD?
WINE OR CHEESE?
Both – I can’t choose…they are staples.
COFFEE OR TEA?
YOGA OR BOXING?
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT?
A deserted island, but I’ll also take the California coast any day.
THE LAST SONG YOU LISTENED TO?
‘Kate’ by Charlotte Gainsbourg.
THE LAST CONCERT YOU WENT TO?
Jazz in the Park.
SUPERPOWER OF CHOICE?
I can figure skate.
SOCIAL MEDIA OF CHOICE?
Not having social media.
FAVORITE PART OF THE DAY?
LEAST FAVORITE PART OF THE DAY?
4 to 5 o’clock in the afternoon – I’m either doing post office runs or stuck in traffic.
YOU WON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT...
A notebook and my phone.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL HAPPIEST?
I feel happiest when I am connecting with people or I’m outside and with my family.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL STRONGEST?
When I feel prepared.
HOW DO YOU PICK YOURSELF UP FROM A LOW DAY?
Dark chocolate and playing with my dog, Ozzie, a Shiba Inu.
WHAT PIECE(S) OF JEWELRY MAKES YOU FEEL HAPPIEST?
- My emerald engagement ring and a diamond solitaire necklace that belonged to my grandmother.
- I’m really loving the newest collection with mini baguettes that I designed for Starling – I’ve been wearing the ring for a while and it’s been making me really happy!
- I really enjoy reworking old pieces for clients and seeing the finished product is always very exciting.
WHAT PIECE(S) OF JEWELRY MAKES YOU FEEL STRONGEST?
My emerald engagement ring – it’s my power ring. My husband designed it with the jeweler I used to work with.
WHAT DOES JOY MEAN TO YOU?
That warm and glowy sensation from the center of your body.
WHAT DOES CONFIDENCE MEAN TO YOU?
Not overthinking – trusting yourself.
WHAT DOES EMPOWERED MEAN TO YOU?
Taking a leap.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
You’re doing great, don’t be so hard on yourself!