The Golden Light of Gina Love

The jewelry designer and Auvere founder opens up about her unorthodox creative journey, the challenges of being a small business owner, and the beauty of pure gold.

Even though Gina Love embarked on a career as a real estate lawyer in New York, she couldn’t shake the impulse to create. So she enrolled in night and weekend classes at Parsons School of Design, where she started seriously honing in on her artistic side thanks to encouragement from her husband, Steven. The rest is history. Love first branched out by launching Peryton, a label that specializes in fine leather handbags, and soon followed with Auvere, a purveyor of high karat gold jewelry in its purest form. Though young enterprises, both Auvere and Peryton have shown a prolific creative range. In particular, Auvere’s offerings—all sculptured by master artisans using 22 and 24 karat gold—run the gamut from planetary-inspired hoop earrings to geometric necklaces that pay homage to the ancient Greek mathematician Arignote. 

Love’s creative roots were planted during childhood. Her mother fashioned jewelry from semi-precious stones for as long as she could remember, and Love always recalled being fascinated by gold. “It’s the color that does it for me—it’s so rich and luminous,” she says. Even before launching Auvere, her affinity for gold has taken her around the world to places like Greece and Turkey. And she shows no signs of slowing down—she’s deeply involved in every aspect of the business, and hints at more ambitious, experimental pieces in the works. We catch up with her below. 

When did you first get the “creative bug” and who has inspired you the most in your creative journey?

I got the creative bug early; however my creative bug was up against an analytical and practical personality. I was “old” when I was young and was less willing in my college and graduate school years to take risks with my career. So I became a lawyer. I specialized in real estate because it resulted in a form of creativity that was simultaneously practical—a skyline.  

While still practicing law, I started taking night and weekend classes at Parsons School of Design. For five years, I juggled my bread-and-butter job as an attorney with my dream job of making things. I started designing and making handbags. Not long after I met my husband, Steven Feldman, I formally launched my handbag company, Peryton, even though I had been selling them to my circle of friends and acquaintances well before that. Steven encouraged me to take my creativity seriously. He helped me build up my confidence to the point where I felt I could leave law. Not long after I left the law firm, we co-founded Auvere.

There are two people who have inspired me the most in my creative journey—my mom and, as I mentioned above, my husband, Steven. My mom is a creative herself. She has always encouraged me to express myself through various media—whether with pencils and paper, paint and canvas, knitting needles and a ball of wool, a hammer, wood and nails or through the lens of a camera. My husband helped me believe in my creative “self”—that I could leave one career and create another.  

But there’s one other person who helped me make the transition even though I’ve never met her. One late night ten years ago, I was at the office searching online for stories of people who transitioned out of institutions such as law or banking into creative professions. In that search, I came upon Monique Péan, the former Goldman Sachs investment analyst turned successful jewelry designer. I must say that her story gave me some confidence that I could do the same.  Thank you, Monique!

What galvanized your interest in creating jewelry, and working exclusively in gold? 

My mom has created jewelry from semi-precious stones for as long as I can remember. So maybe that rubbed off a bit even if my approach to designing jewelry is so much different than hers. Why gold? I cannot recall a time when I wasn’t fascinated by gold—especially high karat gold. It’s the color that does it for me. It’s so rich and luminous. Before I co-founded Auvere with Steven, I would travel to places where I could find 22 and 24 karat gold jewelry—places like Turkey and Greece where high karat gold is part of the culture.

What does a day in the life of running Auvere look like?

Even though I work with a fantastic team, I’m deeply involved in many parts of the company, from design and marketing to daily operations. As a result, my days vary.

One big project occupying my time right now is our next photoshoot for designs that will be launched throughout 2021. Photoshoots are a beast. They require a lot of planning because of how much imagery we require in an online business. At the same time, I enjoy and respect the teamwork that goes into each shoot. And nothing is more satisfying than seeing the incredible imagery that comes out of the process.

You recently started experimenting with colored gemstones and diamonds, incorporating them into your 22k and 24k gold offerings. Have any other materials caught your eye lately?

We remain focused on high karat gold. As the marriage of high karat gold and gemstones has proven to be successful, we will offer more pieces with precious and semi-precious stones;  but never so much that we lose sight of what makes our jewelry unique, which is our dedication to true 22 karat gold and pure 24 karat gold.

What have you learned as an independent business owner during the pandemic? What has been your biggest challenge?

When we first launched Auvere, in October 2017, we received feedback that suggested that we were making a mistake by being 100 percent e-commerce. But we persisted because we wanted to avoid the additional markup of our pieces. In retrospect, our approach was the right one for us. The negative impact of the pandemic on wholesale businesses was dramatic; however, we were not impacted by the collapse or reduced footprint of so many big-name stores because we’ve never had a bricks-and-mortar DTC footprint.

Our biggest challenge during the pandemic was the shutdown of our manufacturing partners in New York and India until May 2020. We were selling out of jewelry on our website with no idea when we could restock. Fortunately, that situation resolved itself by June.  

What are your favorite pieces in Auvere’s collection, and how do they embody the brand’s design ethos?

I have many favorites but I’ll focus on one for the moment. When I was in Paris many years ago, I bought a piece of art showing a girl daydreaming about conquering the world. The artist called the piece Fearless and Indomitable Spirit. Those words alone made me want to buy the print, which has traveled with me for 12 years, lived in three apartments, and now hangs in my design studio.  

Every time I feel a bit vulnerable or apprehensive, I focus on those words—I make them into a mantra. Eventually, I shake off the negative vibes. It works every time. I made a bag for my handbag brand called Indomita. And I wanted to make a piece of jewelry that reminds me of those words as well, but it had to be a gender-neutral piece of jewelry—strong and bold but still incorporating a bit of delicacy. 

The medallion is a hefty chunk of solid 22 karat gold but the chain is delicate in comparison. I like the contrast. The arrows circling the medallion reminds me to charge ahead, shoot for the stars and never stop trying to reach them.

What does your creative process look like? Where do you source inspiration?

There’s no one place from which I source inspiration. But I do have an aesthetic and approach, which tends to be minimalist and geometric. So even when I get ideas from nature, with the exception of the 4 Leaf Clover pieces in the Talisman collection, my pieces probably won’t look all that natural.  So my jewelry is united less by what inspired the piece and more by how I see and render the pieces. For example, for a few of the pieces we’re launching this summer, I was inspired by hanging mobile art and stalactites—two radically different things. When you look at the jewelry resulting from those influences, they’re connected aesthetically because of my linear approach.

What was the brand’s original vision? Has it evolved at all since you launched?

The brand’s original vision was to create jewelry with a modern aesthetic handcrafted from one of the rarest metals on earth—solid 22 and 24 karat gold. But just gold. The process was challenging because of the softness of pure gold but totally worth the effort. Our vision has evolved to the extent that we have adorned some of the pieces with diamonds and gemstones but our primary focus remains gold. We will continue to add new collections and styles, but that’s more of an expansion of our vision rather than an evolution.

What jewelry trends are you forecasting for 2021 that we can expect to see incorporated into upcoming launches?

Gold link chains have become super popular again at least over the past two or three years. We plan to launch a new collection later in 2021 focusing on chains of all weights and styles, from Foxtail Franco chains to basic link chains to diamond encrusted link chains. I can’t wait!

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