Feature Friday Q&A with Emily Armenta from Armenta Collection

I am completely infatuated with today's Feature Friday Q&A artisan!  I have been since I first laid eyes on her work.  Her Old World Collection is just one of my most favorite guilty jewelry pleasures!  I love her use of mixed metals, gemstones and texture.  Her designs just feel like treasures from antiquity that have been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years.  The craftsmanship and the quality are simply top tier.  

I think that you too will have fallen for her designs as well once you read today's Feature Friday Q&A with Emily Armenta from the Armenta Collection!

1.  What prompted your passion for jewelry and jewelry design?
I come from a family of artists so I was introduced to beautiful works of art at a very young age. Surrounded by artists, I have always had a lot of support to express myself through my art work. As a result, I have been designing, sketching, and working with stones ever since I was a young girl and it has always been a passion of mine. Designing jewelry has not only been a vehicle for me to express my creativity, but also my thoughts and emotions.

However, I did not realize that my passion could become a reality and a career path until I began the MBA program at Rice. While taking an entrepreneurship class at Rice, I was given an assignment to create a fictitious company and write a business plan. I chose to focus my project on my passion, which is designing jewelry. I was very fortunate to have the support of the school and an amazing mentor who not only believed in me, but also gave me a chance to fulfill my dream.

Shield Enhancer with diamonds - Blackened sterling silver & 18k yellow gold shield enhancer with cross, white
diamonds & green tourmaline. Diamond Weight 0.428 ct., $2,590.

2.  What is your favorite piece or collection?
I can’t say that I have a favorite -- For me jewelry is about the creative process and the deeper meaning behind art. Designs often come to me at night or in a dream. Therefore, I believe that it should not be limited by one element, but rather explore all elements and create the unexpected. 

Our stories are told through each piece of jewelry by selecting a unique combination of stones, metals, and shapes. For instance, moonstone is used in many pieces of our jewelry and it is believed that the stone was formed from the light of the moon. It is believed to bring good fortune, to enhance passion, and balance the yin and yang and is said to protect women and children. In early times, it was believed that one could see the future if the stone was held in the mouth during a full moon. 

"X" And Diamond Bangle - Blackened sterling silver & 18k yellow gold "X" bangle with white diamonds.
Diamond Weight 0.12 ct., $1,300.

3.  Thus far, what would you say is your proudest jewelry moment or memory?
After I started the company I realized that this was a great opportunity to not only make beautiful jewelry, but also tell an amazing story about inspiration and dreams.  The story behind the women who work at the studio is truly one of inspiration and is what the American Dream is all about. I feel that I have been given a chance in life to make a difference in the lives of others and challenge the status quo. This belief is a guiding principle that we all embrace and strive to pass on to others.

Glass Mosaic Wide Band Ring - Old World blackened sterling silver &18k yellow gold wide band ring with
scrolls & glass mosaic square tiles & champagne diamonds. Diamond Weight 0.44ct, $2,690.

4.  Where do you find your greatest inspiration?
My studio is a source of inspiration. I am inspired by the creativity that surrounds me on a daily basis. I cannot imagine outsourcing my art to another country and missing out on the creativity that takes place every day. Spending time at the studio provides an incredible opportunity for me to invent and create something that can never be duplicated. Furthermore, the studio is a magical place for me as I am able to see firsthand how believing in duende can make the impossible become a reality.

I am inspired by other artists and great leaders, and their stories they tell through their art or the struggles that they have overcome. Therefore, many of the pieces are inspired by famous works of art found throughout Spain, such as poetry, paintings, architecture, and sculptures. Certain pieces are physical representations of images found in works of art, which is to pay homage to the artist’s message of inspiration.  

Filigree Coin Scroll Layering Necklace - Old World blackened sterling silver & 18k yellow gold 16 inch coin filigree
scroll layering necklace with Boulder Opal, tourmaline & white diamonds. Diamond Weight 0.14ct, $1,690.

5.  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?
No - I’m an accessory girl! I’ll throw on a white T-shirt, ripped-up jeans and flip-flops, but as long as I’ve got a great bag and the jewelry and everything else, then I’m set. 

Sculpted Scroll Diamond Stack Ring - 18k yellow gold & blackened sterling silver sculpted scroll stack ring with
champagne diamonds. Diamond Weight 0.245 ct., $1,225.

6.  When putting together an outfit, how do you feel about mixing metals, designs and even new with vintage pieces?
I don’t like things perfectly matched. I love it when things can be coordinated that are different, that create your unique style where it doesn’t look planned. I love the bohemian lifestyle and look and feel. 

Carved Marquis Charm Necklace with Diamonds - Old World blackened sterling silver & 18k yellow
gold 20 inch elongated carved marquis black diamond charm necklace with champagne diamond
double-sided cravelli inset. Diamond Weight 0.19ct, $1,890.

7.  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? 
I love all the layering – it’s a huge part of Armenta. Layered necklaces with beautiful enhancers, stacked rings and a bunch of bangles create the everyday, easy look that we strive for.

Lacy Marquis Eternity Sapphire Stack Ring - Blackened sterling silver & 18k yellow gold lacy marquis eternity
stack ring with white diamonds & white sapphires. Diamond Weight 0.112 ct., $1,445.

8.  What advice would you give to budding jewelry designers? To budding fine jewelry collectors?
Your only limitation is your imagination and that anything is possible if you want it bad enough.

Boulder Opal Bangle Bracelet - Blackened sterling silver & 18k yellow gold oval Boulder Opal bangle bracelet, $1,290.

Flash Question - Dream trip destination?
The South of France

Carved Cushion-Cut Stack Ring with Mother of Pearl Doublet - Old World blackened sterling silver & 18k yellow gold
carved cushion-cut stack ring with Black Mother of Pearl/Smokey Quartz doublet & white
diamonds. Diamond Weight 0.15ct, $2,690.

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