Accessories Designer Joanna Laura Constantine grew up in Lebanon and it is plain to see how her native country’s Middle Eastern roots and culture influence and inspire her jewelry designs. From rings and bracelets to earrings and necklaces, all of Joanna’s statement pieces are emblazoned with bold colors and striking stones, crystals and pearls. Retail prices range from $70 to $200 for bracelets, $60 to $150 for rings, $150 to $400 for necklaces and $100 to $200 for earrings.
“In this economy, I want women to feel good about buying new pieces without spending outside of their budgets,” said Joanna Laura Constantine. “I design statement pieces for women who would never sacrifice their sense of style.”
Read my interview with Joanna Laura Constantine to find out what fuels her creatively and get a peek at her Fall 2013 accessories collection.
Olive: What inspired you to be a jewelry designer?
Joanna: During my studies at Parsons School of Design and following my internship at Donna Karan, what I enjoyed the most was designing fashion accessories. I really felt passionate about this field and decided to pursue a career in Fashion Jewelry.
Olive: Can you tell me what your five favorite pieces are from your nearly one dozen collections?
Joanna: In every collection, I always have a favorite piece. In the current one, I am in love with the new plexi glass necklace. I love the mix of different materials and the idea of transforming an old design into a new modern way.
Joanna: The Fall collection is inspired by Baroque design. The collection is made of statement necklaces in different colors of plexi glass, gold plated metal and crystals as well as unique ear-cuffs and rings.
Olive: What fuels your creativity?
Joanna: Traveling is a major source of inspiration for me in order to spot trends and to widen my horizons. For my fall collection for example, I was very much inspired by a gate that I saw in Paris by the Arc De Triomphe. Another source of inspiration is following haute couture designers and of course looking at vintage jewelry.
Olive: Can you elaborate on what you mean by, “Fashion jewelry that looks like the real thing.”
Joanna: It defines how the jewelry is made and how the finishing and techniques used are very much the same as making real or fine jewelry. For some pieces, I actually use a diamond setter to set the stones. You can buy a piece and keep it for years because the design and finish is timeless.
Olive: What are your favorite elements, materials and colors to work with?
Joanna: My favorite materials to work with are Swarovski crystals because it gives endless possibilities. I don’t wear a lot of color myself but I enjoy using and creating different color combinations for every collection. My favorite color this season is red!
Olive: You are very well-traveled. What is your favorite city and country to travel?
Joanna: Of course, New York and Paris. If I need to escape and relax, my favorite place would be Capri and the Amalfi Coast in Italy.
Olive: Do you have a favorite place in New York? Favorite restaurant?
Joanna: I love 1,000 places in New York but if I have to choose a place, I would choose Cafe Gitane on Mott Street. It reminds me of when I first moved to New York.
Olive: What’s next for your brand?
Joanna: There is always so much to do but what’s next is the new ad campaign! I cannot wait to launch it!