Peep The Private Gem Collections Of L.A.'s Bauble-Making Babes

[UPDATE: This story was originally published on Jun 21.]
There are a whole lot of eye-catching things floating around L.A.’s fashion scene that have our tails wagging of late, and local jewelry designers are certainly contributing to a large portion of that. Every time we spot one of the accessory industry's elite at an event, they’re bedecked in pieces so posh it’s enough to spark an Entrapment-style heist!
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Well, enough admiring from afar. We cut to the chase and asked 13 of L.A.’s most creative ladies to pop open their jewelry boxes for an intimate glimpse of what’s floating their bauble boats. Of course, for them, this space isn’t just a regular old curio container, but rather a think tank and home to their deepest inspirations. Whether it’s a family heirloom, an Hermès cuff, or Silly Bandz, these gals take their trinkets seriously. Ready to swoon? Take our tour and you’ll see that these gem dens are anything but square. (And if anything's missing, we swear it wasn’t us.)
Photographed by Lani Trock
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Cole Morrall and Natalie Mauro of Bones and Feathers Collective

Describe your design aesthetic in five words or less.
"Raw. Ethereal. Masculine. Macabre. Alluring."

Where do you find the most inspiration for your designs?
"In dreams."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What are your most prized possessions in your jewelry boxes, and why?
Cole: "My grandma's vintage turquoise bracelet because I love the color and it makes me feel connected to my family."

Natalie: "My silver totem pole bracelet that my dad bought me in Alaska. It's one of the most unique pieces I own and I love that it was given to me by him."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What's your most recent purchase found in your jewelry boxes?
Natalie: "Florescent-vinyl necklaces and stone-beaded bracelets from a street market in Kenya because at the time I had never seen anything like them before."

Cole: "A Ni'ihau shell bracelet from Hawaii. It reminded me of my childhood."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Jennifer Meyer of Jennifer Meyer Jewelry

Describe your design aesthetic in five words or less.
"Clean. Timeless. Versatile. Colorful (sometimes). Personal."

Where do you find the most inspiration for your designs?
"I'm constantly inspired. Whether it's looking at the outfit my daughter put together for school, walking down the street and seeing an adorable L.A. girl, or having dinner with my amazing group of women friends — I see it everywhere. I try to design for the busy, everyday woman and seeing them in action always gives me ideas. I also love British and Japanese magazines. I just lived in Australia for six months and saw the most fashionable girls in the world there. It was pretty inspiring!"

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What's your most prized possession in your jewelry box, and why?
"Ahh, that's a toss up! I have to say it's a tie between my wedding band, a charm necklace my daughter made, the first piece of jewelry my dad gave me, and a few of my grandmother's pieces."

What's the most recent purchase in your jewelry box?
"I actually just bought myself a diamond elephant from my own collection! I've been wanting it forever and just couldn't resist (just checking that one off the list!). I also bought a few of these FEED Kenya bracelets — not only does it go to an amazing cause, but they're beautiful and colorful, perfect for summer."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Where are your favorite places to pick up gems in L.A. and online?
"My favorite online stores are Ylang23, Barneys, and Net-A-Porter. Lucky for me, they all carry my jewels and they also have so many other pieces that I covet! My favorite place in L.A. to shop is Roseark. Kathy Rose makes the most incredible jewelry and then mixes in other designers — every item there feels like art. Late night, I love to hit up 1stdibs. They have gorgeous high-end vintage pieces that I can obsess over while my family sleeps. A girl can dream!"

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Gabriela Artigas of Gabriela Artigas

Describe your design aesthetic in five words or less.
"Timeless, delicate, and architectural."

Where do you find the most inspiration for your designs?
"It's more about specific situations like road trips with my sister Tere, lunch or coffee breaks at Kings Road Café (they have the best coffee), and a lot actually comes while I sleep. Some of my favorite places in L.A. are definitely my house and backyard or walking our Italian greyhounds around Beverly Boulevard and West Third Street. I go downtown every other day and always take Sixth Street on my way to work — it's so peaceful, full of trees and beautiful houses. My favorite house in town is an Art Deco white home on the Southwest corner of First Street and Orlando Avenue."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What is your most prized possession in your jewelry box, and why?
"My Daytona Rolex. It's the most valuable because it was a gift from my mom for my 25th birthday. I also cherish a single pearl tassel necklace with diamonds that belonged to my grandmother."

Where did you purchase the box itself?
"It's a blue vintage toolbox from one of my first trips to the Rose Bowl."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What's the most recent purchase in your jewelry box?
"I bought a vintage ivory tusk bangle with tips dipped in 18K gold for my sister Tere for her birthday. It's in my tool box because we share almost everything."

Where is your favorite place to pick up gems in L.A. and online?
"Des Kohan and TenOverSix in town and GOLD Philosophy online."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Sonia Boyajian of Sonia Boyajian

Describe your design aesthetic in five words or less.
"Whimsical, balanced, free-spirited, grand."

Where do you find the most inspiration for your designs?
"I find most of my inspiration from people and their cultures. There are alot of cultural references in everything that I make. Other than that, mostly objects in nature and my surroundings."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What is your most prized possession in your jewelry box, and why?
"My grandmother's engagement ring. I think for obvious reasons!"

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Where did you purchase the box itself?
"It was a gift from a good friend in Antwerp."

What's the most recent purchase in your jewelry box?
"I actually never purchase jewelry. It's always a gift."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Kate Albrecht of Mr. Kate

Describe your design aesthetic in five words or less.
"Organic, whimsical, fun, textured, unexpected."

Where do you find the most inspiration for your designs?
"For the last couple of collections, I've been inspired by ancient jewelry — I love things to look like re-imagined antiquities. I also look to nature for textures and proportions. Turkish and Native American jewelry have always fascinated me. I also adore rhinestones and vintage pieces from the '40s. I love combing flea markets like the Melrose Trading Post and the Rose Bowl for ideas. I'm inspired by a carefree L.A. style where you pile on a variety of jewelry with a vintage tee and cut-off shorts. Self expression, individuality, and freedom are my ultimate inspirations."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What's your most prized possession in your jewelry box, and why?
"A tanzanite and diamond ring that my parents gave me when I was 15. It was a thank you gift for helping my sister after a car accident."

Where did you purchase the box itself?
"The large box was a hand-me-down. I also have a jewelry tree that was a DIY using sticks, twine, and a glass jug from Ross."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Where are your favorite places to pick up gems in L.A. and online?
"I love thrift stores and flea markets. The National Council of Jewish Women thrift stores around town often have fun watches and chunky necklaces to pick up for pretty great prices. Online, I love to support Etsy artists. Some favorites are Tinahdee for beautifully simple hammered rings and Moon Raven Designs has some radical organic and bone-inspired pieces. Then there's always Not Just a Label for some serious art jewelry pieces."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Melinda Maria of Melinda Maria Jewelry

Describe your design aesthetic in five words or less.
"Jewelry I want to wear!"

Where do you find the most inspiration for your designs?
"Most recently I have been obsessing over anything Balmain. When I see new collections, I have a tangible artistic feeling that makes me want to sit down with my sketch pad for hours. Architecture has always been a source of inspiration for me, too. There is a new Frank Gehry building that I was looking at not long ago to find inspiration for my next set of jewels. I also love walking around downtown to take in all the cool architecture in L.A."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What are your most prized possessions in your jewelry box, and why?
"I have two. One is the hamsa that my husband made from part of his grandfather's wedding band (which he wears) and gave to me when my son, Max, was born. The second is my set of canary yellow diamond bands that my husband gave me when my second son, Levi, was born."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Where did you purchase the box itself?
"It was designed for my closet by my architect!"

What's the most recent purchase in your jewelry box?
"It was a vintage '50s bee pin by who knows what designer at the Melrose Trading Post from a Russian vendor who always has great pieces. There were a couple of stones missing, but it made me happy when I pinned it to my belt."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Suzanne Lequeux of Rossmore

Describe your design aesthetic in five words or less.
"This is really tough, so here's a series of descriptions. 1) Never. Take. It. Off. 2) Love. Light. Modern. Beauty. Dope-as-eff. 3) Love. Light. Rossmore. Lost Angeles."

Where do you find the most inspiration for your designs?
"I'm mainly inspired by artists and experiences in art-driven settings. I think I'm synesthetic! I get flashes from memories to tastes to colors to textures. Lately I'm inspired by Sister Mantos, Thank You Rosekind, Mark Golamco, 1919, Fitz and the Tantrums, The White Buffalo, Vintage Trouble, Nikko Gray, Wife, Alison O'Daniel, Dawn Kasper, Samantha Magowan, Matt Johnson, Antonio Puleo, Kristin Reiter, Curated Spaces by Vanessa Vazart & Tien Cheshier-Allen, Specific Merchandise, Irons&Duck, the Satellite, the echo, The Dresden, The Pacific Dining Car, and many more peeps, places, and experiences provide me with all sorts of sparks and chills."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What is your most prized possession in your jewelry box, and why?
"My dad gave me a tiny, irregular, artisan-crafted sterling silver ring with four little bits of turquoise artfully set in it in an off-kilter, uneven way. I was probably 12-years-old and he had bought it from an artist in residence at the Laguna Beach Saw Dust Festival, an art and craft festival that runs alongside the Pageant of the Masters. I still have it and cherish it as part of the inspiration for everything I do! Thanks dad!"

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What's the most recent purchase in your jewelry box?
"I bought two items at a Laurel Canyon trunk show, prompted by both designers' take on minimal, modern, and gorgeousness. One is a stunning crystal and wood Sophie Monet, the other a beautiful Mara Carrizo Scalise Dew Necklace — both go really well with my pieces! I can layer it all on like I always do! I wear my dirtiest black downtown pieces with the Sophie Monet, giving me some edgy Cali bohemia, while the Mara Carrizo Scalise adds some sexy refinement to my goldy sweet things. Their pieces are both available at Planet Blue."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Gia Bahm of Unearthen

Describe your design aesthetic in five words or less.
"Objects surrounded by force fields."

Where do you find the most inspiration for your designs?
"I find inspiration in my friends for sure, on walks in the woods, by rummaging through thrift stores, by reading weird stories and legends, and more than anything, music."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What is your most prized possession in your jewelry box, and why?
"A very simple-looking thin brass bracelet cuff because I've had it since I can't even remember, and it reminds me of my childhood."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What's the most recent purchase in your jewelry box?
"I honestly never really buy jewelry, except for random things I see at the Rose Bowl or other flea markets. Every once in a while I'll buy from or trade with other designer friends. I like things that feel personal."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Rona Pfeiffer of Rona Pfeiffer Jewelry

Describe your design aesthetic in five words or less.
"Contradiction. Contradiction. Contradiction. Unconventional. Contradiction."

Where do you find the most inspiration for your designs?
"Music is my creative trigger. I turn it on and I'm on my way, creating new designs — each one that has a story of its own. My visual trigger comes from old oil paintings, including Da Vinci and Modigliana. One glance at an old painting, and a plethora of new designs form in my head."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What is your most prized possession in your jewelry box, and why?
"A project with my daughter, Audrey, started this entire venture and was the best accident ever. I still have the piece of jewelry she made that day. It is and will always be my most prized possession."

Where did you purchase the box itself?
"It was a gift from someone I love and every time I open the box, I think of that person."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What's the most recent purchase in your jewelry box?
"Just the other day I was buying a gift at the Hermès store in Beverly Hills, and was immediately drawn to a case with a cuff made out of horn with a geometric inlay. The cuff is simple but elegant. It was love at first sight and I had to have it!"

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Amanda Thomas of Luv Aj

Describe your design aesthetic in five words or less.
"Edgy, chic, tough, femme, and eclectic."

Where do you find the most inspiration for your designs?
"I find most of my inspiration from the materials I work with. I love sourcing vintage-inspired chains and interesting crystals and forms to cast and play with. I love collecting all the pieces and mixing and matching them together to create the final jewelry for each collection."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What is your most prized possession in your jewelry box, and why?
"My Alexander McQueen skull rings. My dad gives me one every Valentine's Day because I never have a Valentine. But honestly I'd rather have a McQueen ring than a boyfriend, ha! They're heavy and massive but sometimes I wear them all at once. It's kind of over-the-top, but I can't help myself."

Where did you purchase the box itself?
"I just took a quick day trip up north for work and stumbled upon the most incredible antique mall in the middle of nowhere. It was totally untouched and filled with so many treasures. I made out like a bandit with a bunch of beautiful jewelry boxes for dirt cheap! Now I keep all of my jewels in them."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What's the most recent purchase in your jewelry box?
"I got this gorgeous necklace at the antique mall up north. It's vintage hammered metal discs painted with a lapis lazuli hue — it's very YSL and won't be coming off my neck anytime soon!"

Where is your favorite place to pick up gems in L.A. and online?
"I live in Brentwood, so sometimes I'll pop into Broken English at the Brentwood Country Mart and drool over jewels I could never afford. But for actual purchases, my favorite accessories website is ShopJeen. I follow its Instagram and practically everything it posts is something I would wear. The shop has a well-curated selection of trendy and affordable pieces that won't break the bank."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Elena Coleman Howell of TOMTOM Jewelry

Describe your design aesthetic in five words or less.
"Geometric. Modern. Minimal. Architectural. Rock and roll."

Where do you find the most inspiration for your designs?
"The Great Pyramid of Giza. It's perfect, monumental, historical, and symmetrical."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What's the most recent purchase in your jewelry box?
"A vintage Deco crystal bracelet from my grandmother. I miss her a lot and it reminds me of what a fun, classy lady she was."

Where did you purchase the box itself?
"West Elm."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What's the most recent purchase in your jewelry box?
"The most recent addition to my collection was actually purchased by my husband. He gave me a black diamond and rose gold 'B' necklace on the day our son Beckett was born."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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Nola Singer of Jewelry By Nola

Describe your design aesthetic in five words or less.
"Vintage, feminine, unique, classic, and one-of-a-kind."

Where do you find the most inspiration for your designs?
"I get my inspiration from life, my surroundings, my stylish friends, going to flea markets or antique stores, hiking, flowers (lately pink peonies), going to the beach, and music. I always design jewelry while listening to music. Lately, I have been feeling inspired while listening to Neil Young, Jason Aldean, Ryan Adams, and Miranda Lambert. Traveling always gives me inpiration, too. I love Paris, Italy, Hawaii, London, Amsterdam — there's something very special and magical about visiting new places. In California, Malibu, Ojai, Carmel, and Santa Barbara are places that have sparked ideas. Visiting Bergdorf Goodman's jewelry and shoe departments in New York inspires me, too. Since I make jewelry from recycling vintage pieces, I gain a lot from looking at antique jewelry. I love everything that has a history. Sometimes I can find an old piece of jewelry that inspires me to design a new style based on that vintage piece."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What is your most prized possession in your jewelry box, and why?
"I have a locket that my Uncle Ben gave me for my tenth birthday that he engraved with my name and birth date on the back. He passed away when I was twelve, so this locket is very meaningful to me. I think jewelry is such a wonderful gift because it captures the memory and is forever a wonderful keepsake. Whenever I have a something important or feel nervous, I like to wear that locket and feel like he is with me."

Where did you purchase the box itself?
"I bought my jewelry box on Etsy. I love supporting other artists. It's an antique jewelry box that was re-worked by Barbara Erickson."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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What's the most recent purchase in your jewelry box?
"I recently bought a vintage filligree butterfly brooch from one of my antique dealers. It's an exquisite piece that was entirely made by hand around the turn of the century. When I saw it, I knew I had to have it and I have made it into a delicate bracelet. I love butterflies, and now when I wear the bracelet, it looks like the butterfly has landed on my wrist! Also, when I told my mom that Refinery29 was featuring my jewelry box, she gave me a ring that was my grandmother's and it is very special to me. It's a unique and delicate ring that looks like an abstract tulip. I can't stop wearing it, but I put it in the box for the photo shoot of course!"

Where is your favorite place to pick up gems in L.A.?
"I love The Way We Wore — Doris has the most most exquisite antique-jewelry collection. I also covet Sonia Boyajian's studio — she has the most beautiful head pieces, which make me feel like a fairy! Lucky for me I love to shop at all the stores I sell at like Planet Blue, Intermix, Anthropologie, Free People, and Hiptique."

Photographed by Lani Trock
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