Using vintage and repurposed materials, jewelry designer Laura Lombardi creates truly unique, made-to-order pieces. Each jewelry design is crafted by hand in Chicago, Illinois, with carefully selected components. ”I am often inspired by the materials I come across unexpectedly, and more often than not leave with pieces that “speak to me” rather than pieces I set out to find,” Lombardi says of her vintage explorations. See what else she has to say about her individualized, one-of-a-kind pieces, in an exclusive with two+seven.
two+seven: Give us some background: how did you get started in jewelry design?
Laura Lombardi: I studied fine art all my life, and had taken pre-college classes in art and design at FIT and SVA in New York. I then had a brief stint at art school in Boston. After I left school I started working in a jewelry store. I became more and more interested in the material I was surrounded by every day- gemstones, chains, crystals- and started trying to incorporate them into my art. Eventually I stopped making sculptures and started focusing my energy on making jewelry.
2+7: Where do you find your ‘vintage and repurposed’ materials? Is there a certain characteristic you’re looking for in the pieces that you use?
LL: I source my materials from various vendors who specialize in vintage closeout jewelry materials. It takes a lot of time to sift through the bulk of the offerings and find pieces I actually want to work with. I can go in to the search with a general idea of what I am looking for, but am often inspired by the materials I come across unexpectedly, and more often than not leave with pieces that “speak to me” rather than pieces I set out to find.
2+7: Does your Chicago city location play a big part in the influence of your designs?
LL: I don’t consider Chicago to be a design influencer, but in certain ways Chicago has had a great impact on my business. Regardless of where I am my designs are primarily influenced by the way I perceive things and what I’m inspired by at the present moment.
2+7: What’s the most challenging part of running your business?
LL: The most challenging part of running my business is finding time for the creative side of it. To be a designer encompasses a lot of roles and responsibilities- ironically designing usually ends up being the last thing on the list.
2+7: What’s next? (upcoming collections, shows, collaborations, events, etc)
LL: The release of my AW 2012 collection this August, as well as the release of a capsule collection designed for Market Publique. I just wrapped up designing and shooting my SS13 collection, and will be debuting it at Capsule trade show in New York this September.
2+7: Which style is your favorite?
LL: Of all of my styles Mida Necklace. from the Fall 2012 collection. And I love the Cortona Necklace and the Novus Cuff.