Creative conversation: jeweler Ariel Gordon

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For Los Angeles-based jeweler Ariel Gordon, her motto “more is more” is perfectly clear through her beautiful stackable pieces; after all, why wear one piece when you can wear a whole range of jewels? There are stackable wafer-thin rings, eternity bands, gold bracelets, zodiac-inspired necklaces, and personalized pendants, just to name a few — and here it’s encouraged to wear them eclectically.

Designed to be worn and loved every day, Ariel’s pieces are versatile and stylish – and it’s where the classic (cue diamond tennis bracelets and signet rings) stands next to the contemporary (see the fun hand-painted enamel fridge magnet initials pendants). The result? Jewelry that appeals to a wide range of women, and this also includes a long list of famous faces from Gigi Hadid, Jennifer Lawrence and Charlize Theron to Kate Bosworth and Beyonce. That’s a mix of cool, powerful women – a brand signature, regardless of the customer.

Ariel shares more about her brand, career highlights, and how she would like her business to evolve.

Felicity Carter: What is your first memory of style?

Ariel Gordon: I will always remember how my beautiful late mother, Myrna, made accessories. She had a super big and bright energy that lit up a room. Whatever her outfit, she always wore her red lipstick with large rhinestone earrings and frilly socks. It was her signature look. I learned my motto ‘more is more’ from her. She wore her jewelry and accessories with such confidence, and I hope to bring that same kind of energy and beauty into the pieces I design today.

FC: Tell me how you got into the industry?

AG: My first job after college was for a marketing company founded by Caroline Graham, a titan in the magazine world. She was the West Coast editor of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Talk Magazine under Tina Brown. She taught me so much about marketing, PR, event production, proper etiquette and much more.

Then I worked in entertainment PR for a few years before turning to jewelry. What started as a hobby quickly became a passion. First I went back to school to learn how to make jewelry, forge metal and set stone. Then I started soldering and cutting wax from my dining table in my Santa Monica apartment. At the same time, I was apprenticed to Maya Brenner for six years, where I learned the tricks of the trade.

Humble beginnings, to say the least, but slow and steady, it gave me the experience I needed to match my passion for jewelry design with my need to create a profitable and sustainable business. A strong PR and marketing background helped build the brand from the ground up.

FC: How would you summarize the aesthetics of your brand?

AG: Chic but accessible. I want a woman to feel the best version of herself when she wears my clothes. I want her to feel both confident and comfortable, stylish but not too fancy, casual yet sophisticated. I want her to know that her jewelry is indeed ‘fine’, but not so precious that it cannot be worn on a daily basis. I want my jewelry to grow with a woman and become her trademark.

Every piece I design is meant to represent a special moment or person in your life – precious objects with a personal, sentimental meaning. Each piece has beautifully handcrafted elements (think hand engraving, enamel, birthstones, etc.), but there is also a playful element to it. They are not meant to be taken too seriously, but are designed to be worn all day, every day. I don’t take mine off for months, and I want them to become a part of the woman who wears them… and the stories they tell.

FC: What was the first piece you designed and how did it come about?

AG: My Love Knot Ring has helped put my brand on the map. It got a lot of press coverage (think Lucky Magazine and Daily Candy… RIP). I think it resonated with customers who wanted something that was both elegant and convenient for everyday wear – the kind of garment that you never have to take off. I still like to wear mine as a pinky ring.

FC: You’ve had so many highlights in your career; which one is your favorite?

AG: It was probably my moment with Gwyneth at the Goop pop-up in San Francisco a few years ago. Goop has been a long and loyal partner and we have had tremendous success together. It’s so gratifying that Gwyneth has become a friend of the brand herself. So it was incredible to finally have a personal contact with her and celebrate our collaboration.

FC: Who is your customer?

AG: Our customer is every woman. We have created a collection that appeals to a wide range of ladies. For example, we have accessible entry-level prices (for a younger customer who is just getting to know the brand and who wants to love beautiful jewelry) and for the grandmother who wants pieces to celebrate the grandchildren she holds dear. I love seeing women of all ages and all stripes wearing AGJ, and I especially love seeing them in layers and stacks that they’ve accumulated and worn over time. I like the idea that the pieces I create can be passed down as family heirlooms.

Women no longer want to wait for gifts or grand gestures from others to build a jewelry collection – they can do it themselves. This customer often buys jewelry for herself as a tangible symbol of a happy event in her life. Because so many pieces of Ariel Gordon jewelry can be personalized or customized with hand engraving or birthstones, I sell a lot to these ladies. It is so rewarding to design and create something that becomes part of one’s chosen uniform.

FC: What are your top picks at the moment?

AG: At any given time, I have A LOT of jewelry on. So this is what’s in my current rotation:

Two Necklaces – An Imperial Disc Necklace engraved with my kids’ names (layered with an enameled fridge magnet and an opal strawberry) with diamond rope pendant

Four rings – a single Paper Thin Ring on my thumb, Moniker Ring on my little finger (with my married initials), and my engagement ring (AGJ designs, of course) stacked with a 22k Victorian wedding band I bought for my Heritage Collection

Five bracelets – Diamond Hex Tennis Bracelet, Grande Link Bracelet, Twine Bangle, Endless Bangle and Pearl Orbit Bangle. A pile that’s thick and big in the best of ways.

Six Earrings – Heart Helium Hoops stacked side by side with my Skinny Tire huggies all day every day (with some Twisted Petite Hoops and Junior Pave Hoops in my cartilage)

Two Anklets – A Cuban layered anklet. One for each foot.

A Toe Ring – Skinny Tire Ring

FC: How would you like your brand to evolve?

AG: The pandemic has been a wild ride for any small business like ours, but it’s been incredible to see the brand continue to grow year on year. I’d love to expand our reach to new markets – and new customers – worldwide. I enjoy working with new partners on projects and collaborations that allow us to dabble in other product categories that make sense for the brand.

See more at arielgordonjewelry.com.

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