Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SOPHIA FORERO

Gold Ring with Pink Sapphires
The agora located near the south end of the Acropolis is one of many ancient meeting places in Greece. 

Agoras not only served as a place for social gatherings but were also a platform for political discussions and for seeking out marketplace goods.  Greece is also the ancestral home of featured jewelry designer Sophia Forero.

Forero is hands down a human dynamo.  The Chicago-based jeweler, and mother of four, boasts an impressive résumé: she is fluent in seven languages including Russian and French; she has a Master’s Degree in International Relations; she wrote a thesis on South African apartheid; and she worked for the Peace Corps teaching English to elementary school aged children.  If that is not enough her brother, Alex, is an actual rocket scientist!

Yet and still even with all Forero has accomplished since high school she always managed to make jewelry.  “I learned how to wire wrap from a high school friend,” she says.  “I started to sell my jewelry while I worked in Hungary for the Peace Corps, and whenever I traveled I began buying beads from all over Eastern Europe.

After my husband and I moved to Illinois in 2002, I entered a Marshall Field’s design contest and won first place.  It was then I decided to quit teaching and pursue jewelry making full-time.”

Launched in 2002, Forero’s classically designed gemstone jewelry (retailing at both high-end and affordable price points) highlight an array of colorful precious and semi-precious gemstones including pearl, carnelian, raw diamonds, green amethyst and tundra sapphires arranged in lush, tactile mosaic patterns.

Put a Ring on It Sterling Silver Hoop Earrings
with Labradorite Gemstones
Her robust and feminine gemstone necklaces, gemstone earrings and gemstone bracelets evoke images of her ancestral home of ancient ruins, goddesses and bygone days of powerful rulers.

For me her handmade jewelry designs embody that great balance of what I believe is womanhood: strength and grace.  “My mosaic pieces were inspired by the beautiful mosaic icon of St. Sophia at Holy Apostle’s Church.  I have an eye for texture and color.”

Her men’s jewelry items of recycled leather and aluminum are an edgy counterpoint to her women’s jewelry line.  Aluminum cuff bracelets wrapped with thin strips of leather are tough, contemporary and somewhat bleak.

That is not all.  Her delicate Lucky Girls Charm Necklaces (in gold and silver) are designs created to support the girls of the Theotokos orphanage in India.  “The orphanage has a capacity for 200 girls and houses 100.  By buying this necklace, $100 goes directly to the orphanage to help fund educational programs.”
Ruby My Love Necklace with Faceted
Ruby and Gold Nuggets
Ultimately the message behind each piece of Forero’s women’s line is empowerment.

“I believe that when a woman feels beautiful, she is unstoppable.

Women should always feel beautiful.Reciprocity is a factor in creating great pieces of jewelry. It is empowering for me to make women feel good and confident.”
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