6 1/2 Minutes with Dana Bronfman
What’s your five-second elevator introduction when a stranger asks about your jewelry business? I design fine jewelry with a non-traditional aesthetic that I call "quietly bold."
Diamonds Dropping on Helena Mirroring Earrings
Why is design important as a part of culture and why is designer jewelry important (as opposed to generic jewelry)?Innovative design inspires us to think outside-of-the box, and thinking outside-of-the-box is what inspires people to make a difference in the world. If we never challenge the status quo, we will never achieve progress as a society. Not to mention, how boring would it be if everything were the same? As people, we all want to feel special and loved, and there is nothing in my mind that makes someone feel as special and loved as wearing an original work of art that was created from someone's soul. In today's world where so much of our interaction is online rather than face to face or even voice to voice, objects that are tangible, meaningful and created with love allow us to connect.
Did you go anywhere for summer vacation? In the summer, I always take a trip to meet up with some of my extended family in the Sierra Nevada mountains, close to Nevada but in California. It is the middle of nowhere but is the most beautiful place in the world. We have been going there every summer since I was born. My grandmother took me to a local Native American jewelry trading post there when I was a child, and that was when I fell in love with jewelry.
Will we see any future collections based on your summer travel experience? Being culturally appropriate is very important to me, so I would never dream of trying to mimic a Native American jewelry aesthetic, but I think a fondness for similar colors and a taste for the geometric became ingrained in me, and you can now see that in my work.
What’s your spirit animal? A horse! They are free spirited and strong. I have loved riding horses since I was a little girl. I haven’t ridden in quite a while because I have been so busy working, and it is a pretty expensive hobby, but I still think of myself as a “horse person.” I have always connected with their spirit that is both wild and loyal to their herd and people they love.
What's the most exciting thing you designed in your collection right now? I try not to play favorites! But lately, my mismatched rutilated quartz and diamond drop earrings have been capturing a lot of attention. They were so much fun to design. I am personally most excited about my new one-of-a-kind large geometric shapes of beautiful blue Sleeping Beauty turquoise I have been holding on to for five years. They are definitely statement pieces.
Mismatch Rutlilated Quartz Earrings
Where is your design studio located? I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to work right in the diamond district in midtown Manhattan, New York City. I share a studio, office and showroom combination with a few other jewelry designers, who are all wonderful to work alongside and collaborate with as we participate in group press events and trunk shows in our space.
Name your favorite late night restaurant in New York: Narcissa, at the Standard Hotel in the East Village. The food is farm to table, creative, and beautifully presented, the drinks are lovely, and the atmosphere is both fun and relaxed. I love to sit outside in their garden when the weather permits. It reminds me of my Californian roots.
Favorite part of being a jewelry designer? I feel so lucky every day to have the freedom to call my own shots. I am not sure what is a higher high for me—seeing my designs come to life, or having them find new life in an owner, when I get to see the joy it brings people and can the love and connection people have for each other and themselves.
Do you cook? Since moving to New York three years ago, I have admittedly become lazier about cooking.
Mismatched Galaxy Turquoise Earrings Front and Back
If yes, what are your favorite dinner party menu items? I love to start with pan amb tomaquet (toasted bread with rubbed tomato on top—it’s the staple bread of Catalonian cuisine and is delicious) and serve it with manchego cheese and avocado. Caprese and big salads loaded full of fresh, high quality, and colorful ingredients are also some of my favorites, probably because they require minimal actual cooking and more time assembling and making things look pretty, and experiment with flavor combinations.
Who would be three of your guests (living or dead) be at a dream dinner party? Lady Gaga, Georgia O’Keefe, and Michelle Obama. Although I’d have to pull in a few extra seats so some of my friends and family could join in!
Diamond Oculus Band
Who would you most like to do a design collaboration with? Dana Bronfman X ??? I would love to collaborate with Alessandro Michele for Gucci or Comme des Garcons. They are not so innovative and not afraid to go against the grain. I have always loved Gucci’s bit motif, and although they do have some fine jewelry with it, I would love to see how many ways we could bling it out! Rei Kawakubo I admire so much because she does not care what anyone thinks and is so uniquely and authentically herself in her work.
What award are you most proud of to have received? This year, I won Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award in the Fine Jewelry category. It was such an honor to be receive recognition by the fashion industry as a fine jewelry designer!
Where do you keep the trophy? On my desk!
What do you like in your burrito? Extra quac? Definitely extra guac! I like a little chicken, black beans, pico de gallo, spicy salsa, grilled peppers and onions, and cilantro with my guac!
What’s the most exciting thing you have coming up in your business life? I am excited about expanding the color offerings in my collection to include more really unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, as well as more alternative bridal options! On the wholesale side, I’ll get to showcase these at JCK Tuscon in February. I am already looking forward to Tuscon because I am in love with the desert and the southwest landscape and energy in addition to the gems.
More immediately, I am excited for the upcoming holiday season! A couple of the designers (Lauren Chisholm and Goldhenn Fine Jewelry) and I share my showroom with and I will be sharing a booth at the Grand Central Station Holiday Fair, and we will also be showcasing some art and luxury accessories. It will be fun to connect with people who are looking for holiday gifts and will be a great learning experience.
Go to Dana's website to discover more of her jewelry collection: http://www.danabronfman.com Her Instagram account is http://www.instagram.com/danabronfman