Behind The Scenes: MONICA SQUITIERI JEWELRY CA

This Behind The Scenes is all about California-based (and California-vibed) jewelry designer Monica Squitieri. Monica is taking us behind the scenes into her California studio where she hand casts her line of rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. Read on to learn more about Monica's process:

"Being a designer means that I am open to my surroundings. It also means that I choose what sticks and filter the rest out. My favorite thing about being a designer is the freedom I have to make what I love based on the environment, my experiences, and our California culture."

Monica started her line by making one-of-a-kind pieces, but struggled when it came to production. As any designer knows, the issue with one-of-a-kind is that there's...just...one. This makes it difficult to sell in large volumes. Monica revamped her business, and now creates a line of jewelry that allows for her pieces to be unique and handmade yet still marketable to retailers and customers.

"With this line, it was really important to me for the casted jewelry to have a truly unique design. I feel that they do – and they all have stories behind them as well."

On the biggest misconception about jewelry designers: "Making jewelry is not elegant or glamorous – my hands are always blackened from working. Before I meet a buyer or do a show, I take a day ahead of time to suspend myself from working so that I can get my nails done. It's not so appealing to have callused hands in front of a potential buyer or customer."

All of her pieces are made in the U.S. from recycled materials – sustainability is something she's passionate about. Monica talks about her design process: "Typically something will inspire me during a road trip, or a walk – whatever it may be. From there, I take photos or sketch ideas, then start carving wax. This process can take me as little as a day (if i'm lucky) or as long as a couple weeks."

"I use the lost-wax process and have an amazing team of artisans helping me in LA. Once the piece is casted, we finish it (cut off the sprues, file the seams, tumble and hand polish). I then solder any pieces that need additional components and do all of the stone setting myself, in the studio."

"Once the process is finished, I store them in sealed bags. Oxidation is a natural process for base metals. Keeping them sealed slows that process down."

Follow @robinreetz and @monicajewelryca for a chance to win a Monica Squitieri Anemone Ring. For more, visit secondfloorflat.com

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