Feature Friday - Q&A with Stacey Lorinczi of Lorinczi Jewelry

Today on "Feature Friday" I have the pleasure of chatting with the incomparable Stacey Lorinczi of Lorinczi Jewelry.  Based in San Franscisco and founded in 2002, Lorinczi Jewelry is a wonderful boutique studio specializing in unique designer jewelry for the cosmopolitan jewelry set!  Personally, I'm a huge fan of Stacey's Handcuff Bangle from her Fetish Collection.  I love the simplicity of it while still offering huge visual impact.

So, please sit back, enjoy and drool over some of Stacey's amazing works of art in this week's Q&A!

Stacey Lorinczi

1. What prompted your passion for jewelry and jewelry design?
I have always loved making jewelry!  Even from early childhood, I could spend limitless hours stringing necklaces, sculpting and painting clay beads, concocting elaborate fashion accessories.  I was lucky enough to go to an amazing arts camp in the summer, Belvoir Terrace in Lenox, Massachusetts and at 11 began to learn more labor-intensive jewelry fabricating techniques like chasing and repouss√©. 

Despite this interest in personal adornment, I entered college assuming that I would be a fine artist, because two-dimensional painting, drawing and printmaking had become my primary passion.  However, in my junior year I spent a semester in Florence, Italy and decided to take a break from painting to try my hand at jewelry making - just for a change of pace.  I really adored it, and when I returned to university for my senior year I pursued an independent course of study with Professor Richard Fishman, who in addition to his teaching duties at Brown University had a company designing jewelry for Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, The Gap, Old Navy and Nordstrom.  After graduation, he hired me to design for him and it completely solidified my love of the field.

Black Coral bib necklace by Lorinczi Jewelry.

2. What is your favorite piece or collection?
I wear my Black Coral bib necklace and leather strap bracelet almost every day.  Even thought they’re large “conversation” pieces, they go with just about everything I wear.  And, more importantly, they feel transformative on me.  They have a heaviness that feels comforting; they make me feel safe, armored and powerful.  When I’m not wearing them I feel utterly bare.

Black Coral leather strap bracelet.

3. What would your perfect “jewelry day” involve / be like?
My perfect “jewelry day” would involve working on any wax model.  There’s something about the process of carving wax that I find completely absorbing.  Wax can be unpredictable and the spontaneity of the medium is exciting and always leads to serendipitous and fruitful accidents.  I could spend all day and night working on wax, without lifting my head to check the clock.

Stacey working with a wax model.

4. Thus far, what would you say is your proudest jewelry moment or memory?
That’s a great question!  Working with clients on engagement and bridal rings is always satisfying and brings me a sense of pride that’s unparalleled.  To begin with, I have the pleasure of working with couples at one of the happiest times in their lives, which is always a joy.  But my sense of pride when the ring is completed, and they’re so thrilled to have it, is unrivalled.  I feel like I’ve created something that they’ll treasure on a daily basis; that they’ll wear forever, and that hopefully their children and their children’s children will prize.  This kind of jewelry - that’s profoundly meaningful and talismanic, and not merely an accessory - is exactly the kind of work I most love making.  And with a custom piece, I have the honor of becoming part of someone’s family history, not only with the jewelry I create, but with the experience of being involved in the creation of it.  Commissioning custom jewelry is an intimate experience, and the collaboration often leads to lasting friendships; for that, I am most thankful and proud.

Custom-designed wedding band.

5. Where do you find your greatest inspiration?
I’m sure this sounds like a trite response, but I can easily say it’s nature.  There’s a limitless supply of inspiration to be found in nature, silhouettes and finishes that are totally novel.  I live in a very urban environment, so the nature I see is never pristine and pastoral.  When I take my city walks, I invariably find some sort of seed pod, leaf or bud that has incredibly compelling fractal geometry, but it’s always adulterated and coated with some kind of man-made pollution from the constant traffic.  It’s this intersection of nature with humans that I find most compelling.  That’s why so many of my pieces are oxidized, because the blackening mimics the finish of the citified natural forms around me.

City meets nature in many of Lorinczi Jewelry's pieces.

6. In your personal wardrobe, do you find that you gravitate to one particular jewelry accessory (rings vs. necklace vs. bracelets vs. watches, etc.) more often than others?
I pretty much never wear earrings.  But, it’s rare that I don’t wear a necklace and rings.  While I often wear my Black Coral leather bracelet, I am never ever without necklaces and rings.  I believe in statement pieces—pieces that spark conversation and comment; and make you memorable.  A great big cocktail ring elevates any outfit, and makes you feel pulled together and polished no matter what else you’re wearing.

Another one of my very, very favorite pieces from Lorinczi Jewelry - the Small Oyster Ring from the Castaway Collection.

7. When putting together an outfit, how do you feel about mixing metals, designs and even new with vintage pieces?
I adore mixing metals and different eras of jewelry to create an eclectic, idiosyncratic look.  When wearing my own jewelry, I tend to veer away from companion pieces within the same collection, otherwise it looks too matchy-matchy.  I also love pieces that combine white, gold and blackened metal because they act as a visual connective.  I generally avoid hard and fast rules about what goes with what, and prefer to make my own judgments; I suppose if I did have a rule, it would be “go big or go home!”  Why enter with a whisper when you can leave with a bang?

Stacey's "rule" when it comes to jewelry styling - "Go big or go home!"

8. Layering seems to be a trend that is here to stay, for now. What are your feelings on the layered look?  How do you like layered necklaces with layered bracelets plus layered rings? 
In keeping with my “go big or go home” philosophy, I love to layer multiple pieces for an edgy look.  Some of my favorite pieces are necklaces I’ve made that combine what look like multiple necklaces to make one piece:

9. What advice would you give to budding jewelry designers? To budding fine jewelry collectors?
Learn as much as you can about the history of jewelry design.  When I was 10 or 11 years old I started to collect books about different eras of jewelry design and my parents always supported my bibliophilic tendencies.  Not only will you learn a lot about history, but you’ll also train your eye and begin to gravitate toward certain eras that reflect your personal aesthetic.  I’ve always been enamored of Art Nouveau, Edwardian and Art Deco jewelry.  But rather than trying to perfectly mimic the authenticity of those eras, I try to inflect contemporary pieces with historical nuances.  I might take a classic Art Deco silhouette and make it more muscular and chunky, or transform a delicate Edwardian design into something more edgy by including black diamonds.  Here are some examples of engagement rings I’ve designed that merge antique influences with contemporary proportions, finishes and gems.

A solid grounding in a historical era gives your work—whether as a jewelry designer or a collector—depth and gravitas. I love to spend time in museums, sketching in just about any exhibit hall.  It’s amazing how inspiring old artifacts can be, whether it’s jewelry, the buckle on a pair of 18th century satin slippers, or the hilt of a Japanese sword.  Here are some engagement rings I’ve created that are inspired by Etruscan artifacts:

Flash Question - Dream trip destination?

You can follow Lorinczi Jewelry on Facebook!

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