Rachel was gracious enough to host us in her beautiful Brentwood home when we sat down for our interview. Our first impression walking in was of the strong, polished dark wood floors and the overall space, which was edited to look clean and not over done. Rachel’s jewelry embodies these same feelings of strength, character and beauty. Her overall style and personality is a mixture of tenacity and grace.
When did you realize you wanted to design jewelry?
I’ve wanted to be a jewelry designer ever since I was eight when my grandmother gave me my first bead kit. That was it, for every holiday I made presents for my family and friends. My friends now call the pieces I once made them “Vintage Rachel”.
How did you get started in the jewelry business?
China was where I learned that I could make my dream of designing jewelry a reality.
After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, with a major in International economics and having studied Chinese for three years, I moved to China. China was where it really took off… I realized if I could live and work in a communist country , that’s very intimidating, then I could take my passion for jewelry and make it a viable business. I realized that I have my own voice.
What motivates you in your jewelry designs?
When I’m getting dressed I think of exactly which piece I want to wear to compliment my outfit and if I don’t have it then I’m inspired to design it for the collection.
I put a lot of thought into what I think the last touch should be to complete an outfit.
I’m inspired by the stones, always using semi-precious natural stones mostly with faceted cuts, because it looks more expensive and gives character to the piece. I focus on the colors of the stones that compliment the season, for example in the Spring/Summer collection I’m using colored stones such as light pinks, blues, and purples. For added character (SPOILER ALERT!) I’m planning on adding shells to the mix.
How Has Your Line Evolved Over Time?
It took 15 years for the craftsmanship of my jewelry to be at a caliber I am happy with.
I’ve evolved in the quality of materials I use, having asked the question, how do I make bulky material beautiful and strong at the same time?
A faceted rather than a smooth stone looks effortlessly beautiful from every angle. I tried so many different techniques; looping, knotting, and wire wrapping (which has become my favorite). Through experience I discovered that wire wrapping every single stone, time-consuming as it may be, is worth it to make raw metal materials look graceful.
What sets you apart from other Designers?
It’s all about the stones. I’ve rarely seen other designers wire wrap each stone individually and facet them in such a way that creates layers of movement like I do. This focuses on the stone rather than the piece.
If you’re not wearing your own jewelry whose are you wearing?
If I’m not wearing my jewelry…I’m really not wearing anything except classic diamonds or gifts.
What Celebrities if any wear your jewelry?
What Celebrity Would You Like To Wear Your Jewelry?
Drew Barrymore because she’s free-spirited, playful yet can be dramatic, which is exactly what my jewelry is. Also Kate Hudson and Halle Berry because they are free-spirited strong women.
What Are your Favorite Stores?
Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus…I appreciate good quality and my dream is for my jewelry to one day be in these stores.
What one piece of jewelry do you think every girl should have in her jewelry box?
I don’t think there is a must have piece…. If you’re really excited about a piece of jewelry than you should own it. Nothing in life should be a “should be”.
If We Were To Buy One Piece Out Of Your Line What Would It Be?
A 42 inch long necklace with smoky quartz stones faceted so that they dangle from every inch of the chain. This necklace finishes any outfit and makes it feminine.
How Would You Describe Your Clothing Style?
Classically tailored and simple…I think with clothes less is more. I prefer a simple palate and well-tailored pieces that can be spiced up with jewelry.
What’s Your Favorite Piece of Clothing In Your Closet?
Shoes!! I’m a simple down-to-earth girl but when I put on my favorite pair of 6 inch black stilettos I feel like I’m magically transformed into a vixen. These shoes are totally opposite of my personality.
What is success to you?
Success is being able to do what you want to do everyday. Success is working hard at what you love. Money comes and goes…to be happy everyday is priceless.
Rachel is truly a budding flower and once she fully blooms will be “the jewelry designer” to follow ….her dream of being in Neiman’s and Bergdorf’s WILL come true.