WITH A STORY CHOCK FULL OF INSPIRATION FROM MEXICO CITY TO LOS ANGELES, GABRIELA ARTIGAS CREATES DELICATE JEWELRY THAT IDENTIFIES WITH YOUNG WOMEN OUT TO CONQUER THE WORLD… 

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Jewelry is everywhere; it is a worldly thing. Something we can hold in our hands, adorn ourselves with. Five thousand years ago, the ancient Egyptians saw jewelry as having magic and spiritual significance. They made glass replicas of precious stones and wore amulets of luxurious gold and gems. They dressed themselves in designs for burials and for being buried, so that it would stay with them forever. Jewelry has a history and its importance is centuries old, but true originality in jewelry design is just as rare and precious as the history is encompasses. Gabriela Artigas is unique. Original.

Although I’ve only seen designer Gabriela Artigas through Google images, she stands a part from all the faces we see throughout the day.  She has a fresh, familiar face, a nose perfectly curled and adorned with freckles. In one picture she wears thick glasses and a smirk that says, “I know this huge necklace I am wearing is rocking your world.” In another picture she wears a tee with Kate Moss smoking on the front. Between that and her actual collection, I am in love.

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I ask Artigas about the first piece of jewelry she ever made and I expect the answer to be good.  She tells me a story and I immerse myself in her world. She first tells me about how her now popular “toothbrush cuff” was born… “It all started when we decided to create toothbrush cuffs, in our kitchen.” She went to every supermarket in the city and bought handfuls of toothbrushes in primal colors. Yes, her first bracelets were toothbrushes repurposed into cuffs, which later spun into hundreds of orders from admirers. A sort of campy start to a jewelry line, no?

Shortly after, she was 21, living in Mexico City when her mom needed a necklace for a wedding and was nervous to wear anything remotely precious in fear of it being stolen. And right then and there, Tere (Gabriela’s sister) and Gabriela sweep in like some sort of super-heroes with capes made of precious metals and diamonds stones and sparkles, bought some gems and materials and (poof!)… A coral and silver necklace appeared on their mother’s neckline.

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This love, unprecedented talent and passion in jewelry have to come from somewhere. Gabriela tells me of her grandmother, who I picture as a beautiful and strong women with “hands wearing, with courage, an amazing deep green emerald beetle ring.” It’s obvious; the sisters learnt this talent through instinct… It came natural. They were drawn to it.

Her jewels seem to be rolled out of a “things SHK likes” machine and produce every kind of accessory we twenty-somethings crave in New York City. The characterization of the pieces identify with young women conquering the world, cities, careers and style, while the aesthetic brings a lot of contrast and familiarity to the many different ways a woman wants to carry herself. Delicate vs. statement bulkier pieces, diamonds and tusks, futuristic vs. vintage; we all want a little bit of those things. And if you are at all remotely interested or cool you know about the new knuckle ring movement, which I credit to Gabriela.

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I glance over at the coveted knot ring, the cutest and daintiest knuckle ring on the block. I study it with a kind of intensity because… I’m thinking, how could something so simple be so important to an outfit? And quickly I find my answer in Gabriela’s words…  “Your hands are your strongest representation of yourself and why dedicate jewels in a traditional way if you can cover your hand with gold and adorn?”

Well. I couldn’t agree more. — EMILY MARUCCI

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