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Journal. The stories behind the styles.

Designer Dossier

From Gem to Jewelry: Behind the Scenes with Amy Gregg

April 5th, 2017 | by Alison Burwell|,

Gemstones are Amy Gregg’s passion. As a college graduate, she honed her skills working as a stone buyer for fellow SoCal designer Irene Neuwirth. Today, Gregg’s eagle eye for unique stones is reflected in her own jewelry line, which she stacks with one-of-a-kind finds from Peruvian opal to rainbow moonstone.

Here, Gregg fills us in on her design process from late-night pencil sketch to finished piece.

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Tell us about the “hunt” for gemstones. Do you attend the gem shows that are held all over the world?
“At this point, I have relationships with dealers I’ve met through various gem shows. I know which vendors specialize in different stones, and they know what I’m looking for.

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I’ve seen so many rocks at this point! It’s exciting to find something that looks completely unique. So, I have an open dialogue with a handful of dealers who keep me up-to-date. A dealer will say, ‘I found this rough material, do you want me to cut some samples?’ From there, I draw out new designs and experiment.”

Where do you get your design inspiration?
“I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for an earring or a ring. I keep a pad of paper on my nightstand and write it down quickly. I spend a lot of time drawing jewelry and manipulating and arranging stones in different ways.”

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My favorite stone is…
Peruvian opal is one of my favorites. I like stones that have visible inclusions—I think it makes them more interesting. To me, they have more character than just a clear stone.

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My favorite gemstone shape is…
“A big cut of mine is the mirror cut. I love the reflective quality and how the light bounces off it. I work with a lapidary and we experiment on exactly how to cut different stones. Many are one-of-a kind as a result. A lot of the mirror cuts are aquamarine and morganite, and I’ve done some amethyst as well.”

When I’m not designing jewelry…
“I’m very consumed with mommy-ing and that is the most incredible thing I’ve ever done! I have an 18-month-old daughter. I draw a lot and I love to cook. My daughter and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen together.”

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My design ethos is…
“When you work in an industry, you start seeing what you want to wear. That’s how all this started. I like beautiful jewelry, but I like pieces that can transition from daytime to nighttime seamlessly. There’s no point in having a jewelry box full of things you don’t want to wear–or can’t wear.”

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My fashion uniform is..
“I love Chloé.  To me, that brand perfectly walks the line between carefree yet confident style. You can wear their pieces a million different ways, make a statement and always feel utterly feminine the second that you put them on.

I love James Perse and Vince basics for every day. There is nothing better than a few layered chains, a soft tee, blazer and jeans that I can pair with a fun pair of heels at work and then slip on my sneakers on the way home to chase around my little one.

I am also obsessed with Santa Marguerite’s embroidered tops and dresses. Those will be my go-to this summer. Each piece is an incredible work of art that I find stunningly beautiful.”

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My jewelry basics are…
I have my set of jewels that I never take off: my engagement ring and wedding band that I designed with my husband (he thought of the band which makes the shape of an “A” on either side to represent our initials); my green tourmaline ring (the first piece that I ever made…I put it on and never took it off…It reminds me of how far I have come and to always keep pushing); a rainbow moonstone ring that my husband and I made after our daughter was born as my “push present”; and finally, a rose gold chain necklace with three tiny diamonds that represent each member of our family. The pieces that I don’t take off each have significant meaning, which is one of my favorite things about jewelry.”

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