Dana Bronfman did not decide to become a jewelry designer from growing up in Paolo Alto, California. "All I saw were very traditional pearl necklaces and diamond rings," she recalls of the preppy suburb. "I rebelled from this image by not piercing my ears until I was 17."
Every summer, however, Bronfman would travel to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to visit her grandmother, an avid collector of Native American and Mexican jewelry. Together, they would go to the local trading post. "The textures, colors, and shapes [of the jewelry] fascinated me," Bronfman explains. A formative visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico during college cemented Bronfman's interest. "The incredibly vibrant arts' culture there reignited the passion and made me want to innovate what is normally accepted as fine jewelry," she says.
Now based in New York, Bronfman helms her own eponymous jewelry line. Made from recycled 18-karat gold, sterling silver, and ethically-sourced gemstones (Bronfman does not support the unethical mining industry), her collection includes pieces for both everyday and statement wear. A simple gold bangle is given a subtle sense of individuality through three marquis-shaped, textured sides; drop earrings—a traditionally feminine form—are industrial and architectural; a pair of stud earrings comes in a mismatched pyramid and triangle. For inspiration, Bronfman looks to the streets of New York, Bvlgari necklaces from the '60s and '70s, and the history of her materials. "I aim to rebuild classic jewelry styles—like a classic band ring—and put my own fresh, modern spin on them to create a more innovative design that is built on stylistic concepts that have proven functional," she concludes. Her most prized piece, however, is still a silver cuff with several pieces of bezel-set turquoise slices inherited from her grandmother.