Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Occupation: Jewelry designer and founder of Mociun.
Hometown: Nevada City, CA.
Studio location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Describe what you make: I design fine jewelry, including one-of-a-kind and custom pieces. As the company’s only designer, I select all of our materials, sketch designs, and work closely with our production team and our New York City–based jewelers to bring every piece of Mociun jewelry to life.
One of my favorite aspects of what I do is source gemstones. I hand-select every stone in our inventory that will eventually be used in a piece of jewelry, usually at trade and antique shows or within my network of trusted dealers.
I consider myself a curator and a creator. I love hunting for the most unusual, interesting diamonds and colored gemstones out there.
We also carry an edit of home goods, like ceramics, glassware, and textiles. Part of my job is discovering new, emerging brands to include in our assortment. Right now I’m really into obscure brands with a rich heritage and legacy.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: It’s hard to pick the most important thing. I’ve probably designed hundreds of custom pieces and thousands of one-of-a-kind pieces. I design a lot of engagement rings and wedding bands. Because I know how important these pieces are to my clients, they are important to me, too.
But it’s nice to change things up, so every fall we release a collection that’s not so engagement-focused and more of a passion project for me.
Last year, we released our first charm collection inspired by iconic foods of New York, like pizza, hot dog, and pretzel charms. I love miniatures, sculptural objects and in particular fake food in all scales, so it was a fun project but also a rewarding learning experience for me and my team because we hadn’t worked on charms before.
Jewelry-making on that scale is really challenging. There were a lot of things that didn’t make it into the collection because they were too technically complex, or we couldn’t execute it to the standard I wanted to. Because of the positive feedback, we’re working on another charm collection.
It was an especially wonderful experience to design my engagement ring with my husband—challenging but exciting and somewhat humorous. Though he’s a designer, he doesn’t design on such a small scale like I do.
Describe the problem your work solves: My work doesn’t really solve a “critical” problem, as no one *needs* jewelry to survive. But I think jewelry is a wonderful object to have in your life because people buy it for a reason, whether it’s for themselves or it’s a gift for someone else. There’s usually a sentiment, an occasion, a celebration or something else special behind the purchase. Jewelry holds a story. I consider myself a sentimental person, so making jewelry suits that part of me and feels purposeful.
The same could go for your home and the objects you surround yourself with. I always say that our pieces are meant to adorn the home you live in. It could mean your special mug that you always drink your coffee out of, or it could mean jewelry that adorns your bodily home, jewelry that is meaningful to you and makes you feel good when you wear it.
In our custom program, clients come to us because they want something designed, often engagement rings, but some of my favorite custom pieces have been created for other occasions. That process truly does feel like solving a problem because clients bring their inspiration and ideas, and I work with them to figure out the best materials and design for their taste and lifestyle and to make sure they will love and treasure that piece of jewelry forever.
Describe the project you are working on now: I am always juggling multiple projects in various phases, whether it’s gathering inspiration for a future collection, designing jewelry, planning a photo shoot, renovating my house in the Catskills… I always have to have a project.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: We’re launching our next annual collection in the fall. I don’t want to share much about it right now, but I will say that we haven’t put out anything like it before. It’s by far the most personal collection to date. I’m both excited and anxious to share it with the world.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Peace and quiet and no people around, but this never happens because our office is behind the store, so usually I don’t end up designing there. Wherever I’m working, I need to have order. I have lots of little knick-knacks on my desk collected during my travels or received as gifts. They’re always arranged in a certain way. When I take my materials out to begin designing, it wouldn’t look organized or make sense to anyone else, but there’s a method to my madness to how everything is arranged.
What you do when you’re not working: Spend time with my husband (Tammer Hijazi of Bower Studios) and our cat (@misscleo_callmemeow). In the summer we go to our house in the Catskills. We’re very social, so often are having dinner parties or going to visit friends. I like to cook and try to exercise every morning. I love to travel and consider it part of my work because it’s usually where I get new ideas and feel inspired.
Sources of creative envy: I don’t envy them, but I deeply admire architects and designers like Luis Barragán, Ricardo Bofill, and Gio Ponti. I’m grateful to have their work to look toward because it always inspires me. Also Louise Bourgeois, Frida Kahlo, and Georgia O’Keeffe because they’re badass ladies and their vibe inspires me.
I also look to antique Cartier designs for inspiration, especially from the 1920s and Art Deco era. I don’t necessarily want a business like Tiffany or Cartier, but I admire their past and the houses they’ve created.
The distraction you want to eliminate: The nagging feeling that I’m not good enough.
Concrete or marble? I’m not going to pick. I love them equally.
High-rise or townhouse? Neither. I’d prefer a weird, old commercial building.
Remember or forget? Remember.
Aliens or ghosts? No comment. You don’t even want me to get started on my theories on aliens and ghosts right now.
Dark or light? Light.