Saturday, December 18, 2010

EMILY ARMENTA DESIGNS

In the heart of La Porte, Texas stands the 567 foot octagonal obelisk known as the San Jacinto Monument; a structure built over seven decades ago to commemorate the men who died during the Battle of San Jacinto. Texas is also home to featured jewelry designer Emily Armenta.


The progeny of an artist and author, Armenta enjoyed sketching elaborate jewelry designs as a youngster, and also dabbled in rudimentary jewelry making.

However, as a young adult she chose to embark on a career as a Morgan Stanley stock trader.

As with other creative types in left-brain careers like Tamra Gentry (USA) and Julie Liu (Taiwan) of Mia Pezzi, Armenta longed for getting back to her artsy roots.

“In 2002, I went for my MBA and I had to create a fictitious company so I came up with a jewelry business that I called Phoeben, after my nickname,” Armenta recalls.

“Phoeben of course featured the brand Emily Armenta Designs in which I made 50 samples and sold them to Houston retailer Tootsies that is still a client today.”

Of Spanish ancestry, Armenta fell in love with the soulful verses of Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca. His eloquent musings on the ascension to greatness through struggle, known as “duende,” served as the inspiration behind Armenta’s visually commanding aesthetic.

Her high-end fine jewelry highlights a blend of 18-and 22-karat yellow gold, oxidized sterling silver, and a variety of gemstones including white sapphires, black and white diamonds, and opals within powerful outlines of baroque-style designs.

She brings the elaborate artistry of Old World Spain into every item from statement-making cocktail rings to blackened sterling silver bracelets to long gold chain necklaces in jaw-dropping renderings.

“Every piece we create tells a story,” says Armenta, “There are not many people who push the design envelope by mixing metals within this ornate Spanish style.”
Armenta’s bijouterie has also been featured on a hit television show. Her gorgeous Lacy Marquis Sapphire Ring in yellow gold was worn by Courteney Cox on Cougar Town.

With her team, the Armenta brand is hand fabricated with the use of time-honored craftsmanship including the “Etruscan method of granulation.” Her striking, inky black patinated silver bracelets with beautiful accents of diamonds and 18-karat yellow gold evoke images of magnificent Spanish colonial architecture.

“My ideal day is getting up early in the morning with my husband, Art, and spending some hours at my studio creating new jewelry designs. My success is directly correlated to the wonderful, supportive people I have met.

My head of production operation is Lida Giraldo, and I met her when I worked for Morgan Stanley. She was emptying trash cans while singing these amazing songs. I would think to myself 'If given the opportunity, what could this woman do?'

I didn’t care about prior work experience in the field, and I didn’t care about what type of education she had. Like Giraldo, my staff consists of women who have heart, soul and passion.

We function as a team and we all know we could not make it without each other. Ultimately, I get to do what I love and provide people an opportunity.”

Her jewelry is available for sale at online jewelry stores including Ylang23, Neiman Marcus, and Judith Ann Jewels.
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Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Diamond Shield Ring
Photo 2 (center): Oxidized Sterling Silver Scalloped Cuff Bracelet
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold and Oxidized Sterling Silver Gypsy Pendant
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