Pena Jewels/ Art, Fashion Image : Silva Conde
Today RED talks to Pena Jewels, a handmade jewellery label born in Lisbon and brainchild of former publicist Miriam, we find out how her and her Pena Jewels partner Maria Sanchez use techniques over 5,000 years old to make such beautiful jewellery.
You have collaborated with some amazing brands including magazines and fashion designers. What has been your most challenging project to date?
MARIA: We love collaborations because they let us work side by side with people whose work we like. The most challenging one might have been the one that we just launched, a capsule collection of five rings designed with blogger Anna Ponsa Lopez and inspired by Italian architect Carlo Scarpa’s work. It’s the most ambitious one so far, which is scary and exciting equal parts.
Your jewellery line is so varied and unique. Where do you find your inspiration for creating such beautiful pieces of jewellery?
MIRIAM: We find inspiration in pretty much everything that surrounds us or happens to us. A trip we made, a piece of art that we discovered randomly on the Internet, a friend’s story, a song… we keep our eyes wide open.
Can you tell us more about the traditional techniques you use in creating your jewellery?
MIRIAM: Most of the times, we make our jewels by hand, one by one in our atelier in Madrid. In some case, however, we use the lost-wax casting technique, which is more than 5,000 years old! Andrea, an artisan that works at our workshop, creates a sculpture out of a mockup I’ve done before. From there, we create a mold that allows us to generate the same piece as many times as we need. On top of that, we only work with local suppliers, trying to grow as sustainable as possible.
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You used to be a publicist. What made you make such a significant career change? How easy/difficult was it to become a jewellery designer?
MIRIAM: It was fun to work in advertising for a while, but it wasn’t my thing. I’ve always liked jewellery — In fact I used to make my own accesories amateurishly before studying it. So, when I quit the ad industry, it was no surprise that I decided to study jewellery. Becoming a designer wasn’t my goal, though. I guess I thought it was kind of unrealistic — but it ended up happening I don’t know how.
You say that there is still a ‘Lisbon vibe’ to your jewellery despite having moved the label to Madrid. How does Lisbon still influence your jewellery line? OR What makes Lisbon such an important influence on your jewellery line?
MIRIAM: I studied in Lisbon instead of Madrid, where I am from, because it was an opportunity for me to live abroad for a while. “Pena” means “feather” in Portuguese, and it was the name of the neighborhood I used to live in the city. I was still living there when I created the label and I wanted to be grateful to the city because it had been a great inspiration to me, and it still is. Lisbon’s personality is in the brand’s DNA.
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What type of person wears Pena jewels? OR What is the Pena Jewels woman or man like?
MARIA: Pena Jewels is a reflection of who we are. We are travelers, we appreciate experiences over objects, quality over quantity. We are from the city but we love the countryside, we are open-minded, laid-back and multi-faceted.
We assume that is our customer’s profile too.
You mention brass as your favourite metal to work with when making jewellery? Why is this your favourite medium?
MIRIAM: I used to work with brass at the beginning, but I’m recently working with silver and gold plated silver and brass. We are currently working on a gold collection that will hopefully be launched by 2016. I don’t think I have a favorite material anymore!
What piece of jewellery would you never be without?
MIRIAM: A necklace I made out of one of my grandma’s earrings that I inherited when she passed away. I never take it off.
25 – 35 years
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