Thursday, July 15, 2010


Today we bask in the tropical climate of the city of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Founded over 500 years ago, the city contains numerous historical sites including the Fortaleza Ozama building, and the historical center Alácar de Colón. The Dominican Republic is also the ancestral home to featured jewelry desginer Claudia Gill.

When you endeavor to learn something like jewelry making on your own, passion and natural talent is central.

In my opinion, perhaps a greater level of dedication is required as numerous distractions can easily undermine the pursuit as opposed to keeping to a formal, set schedule.

In 2007, twenty-nine-year-old Gill set out to teach herself this detail-oriented craft while majoring in fashion at Miami International University of Art and Design.

"I decided to enter a jewelry design contest while I was attending fashion school. Besides the fact that I love to wear jewelry, I had no previous jewelry-making experience," says Gill.

"I created a concept drawing with Photoshop, and I showed it to my Figure Drawing professor to critique. The completed design was a rather intricate, five-strand necklace composed of leather, Swarovski Crystals, and gold-filled findings.

When my professor saw my concept drawing, he told me to consider jewelry design. At first, I did not think it was an option for me. After creating the piece with my bare hands, I realized it came natural to me. With a few tests and a few mistakes, the finished piece turned out beautiful. I still have it."

Gill's next project was creating jewelry for the bridesmaids of a friend's wedding. From there when time permitted the wife and mother continued to research and study her craft eventually establishing her company Claudia Gill Designs.

Gills' jewelry embodies Caribbean panache with Paua, abalone, and Brown Lip shells in unique, feminine designs.
Such designs as her geometric 1-2-3 Necklace are simple and classic at one turn, while pieces like her Sun Kissed Pendant are exotic and statement making. Crystallized Swarovski Elements and luscious gold-filled and sterling silver chains accent the pieces.

"My jewelry is very eclectic because my inspiration varies and when I am creating a collection I just let my imagination take over. I love feminine pieces that are strong, whether dainty or opulent," she explains.

"Growing up in the Dominican Republic molded my creativity. The lifestyle there is very laid back. I was an avid writer during my teenage years," she recalls.

"In an effort to understand certain things and to find answers to my questions, I turned to writing poetry and short stories. Writing was a big part of my life and it also allowed me to channel my creativity.

In New York, where I currently live, it is much faster paced, and sometimes I have to remind myself to stop, and let my creativity flow."

The neoteric designer enjoys creating pieces that not only reflect her internal life but also that of the women who wear her jewelry. "Those who know me tell me that my jewelry is like me. I am a dreamer and hopeless romantic. I am simple yet a little complicated, as are my designs.

I design with the everyday woman in mind. Before we were career women, wives and mothers, we were individuals first, and I believe our hectic lives should never take us away from who and what we are.

Jewelry has the power to evoke a sense of security and beauty in those who wear it. Jewelry has the power of self-expression."
Photo 1 (top right): Sun Kissed Pendant with Brown Lip Shell
Photo 2 (center): Gold-filled Hammered Chain Cleopatra Goes to Broadway Earrings

Photo 3 (bottom left): Reflections Pendant with Paua Shells
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