It’s a beautiful, sunny day in July when I go visit Elaine B Jewelry studio in Charlottesville. I get a text from her saying that I should pass the garden door and go upstairs directly to the studio. And do you feel there’s something strange in this message? Yes, you are right, she has a garden. Are you starting to feel a little bit jealous?
As I get in I’m greeted by Elaine and Lauren who are sitting in the couch in front of a beautiful large table assembling pieces together. This feels like I just walked into a friends’ relaxed boho house for a nice visit where we’ll chit-chat about life. And to be honest, that’s more or less what we do, but with a bigger emphasis on jewelry, the Elaine B jewelry brand and the woman behind it.
Elaine is a Colorado native that moved to Virginia as a teenager. Her mom and sister lived in Charlottesville and she decided to spend some time in VA. She ended up doing her undergrad studies at VCU in Richmond and pursuing her creative flair in metals and glass. Some time after that she started working part-time with Gabriel Ofiesh (a local jeweler) , amongst other jobs. And it wasn’t long until she decided to create her own jewelry brand with an emphasis on simplicity, geometry and wearability. And Elaine B Jewelry was born, less than 2 years ago.
Back to Elaine’s studio, I’m sipping my coffee while Elaine is showing me around and explaining how she came about this space. The best description I can give you is for you to imagine that you had a whole house that you could use as your studio, and that’s Elaine’s studio space. But more homy and comfortable. And more cool. The energy in this place is so zen that I feel like sitting down with Elaine and Lauren and work with them on the jewelry (fear not, my curiosity won and I grabbed my camera to shoot the space).
Even though the studio is separated into rooms it feels like it’s an open space. The room where Elaine and Lauren are working is where the benches, machinery and soldering station is. This is the hands-on room. There’s another room that’s more like a showroom, where the jewelry can be displayed and tried on, and it’s quite a relaxed place to be. The kitchen is probably one of my favorite rooms, maybe for the light, the view or maybe because it’s such a communal place where the Elaine B team cooks lunch very often.
The studio space is filled with little interesting details. There’s a beautiful workbench that she bought at a thrift store and thought it was so beautiful that nobody actually uses it for work. There’s art hanging on the walls: from paintings, to the chandeliers and table lamps. There are the glass sculptures that Elaine did and small and large hexagons and other geometric shapes that you find hanging from the ceiling, on the bookcases or on the floor. There is a nice contrast between modern and clean look with a bohemian and relaxed vibe.
What I love about Elaine’s jewelry is the fluidity and lightness of it. And by this I don’t mean she does small things. Her talent comes from creating a piece that has a beautiful imposing geometric volume but is light and flowing at the same time. It’s playing with empty spaces and that’s an art in itself. Elaine tells me she likes minimalistic and geometric pieces. She likes the clean lines and angles but at the same time she aims for easy pieces that you can always wear and sleep with and eventually forget that you’re wearing them because they became part of you. And that’s exactly what jewelry should be.
So waist no time and get to know the studio space and the beautiful designer behind Elaine B jewelry. A huge thanks to Elaine and Lauren for a lovely morning and for sharing their time and studio space with me. And I’m sure Elaine would be an awesome dish ware designer but I’m glad she’s making lovely jewelry for the time being.
Elaine B Jewelry
How did you become a jewelry designer?
“I have always loved making things. When I went to art school I took up glassblowing and metal-smithing…”
What’s the first thing you do when you get to the studio?
“Make coffee. Turn on the pickle. Turn on the computer.”
What do you like most about your space?
” I love the light and color”
Pick 3 objects in your studio that make your space yours
“Art. Dishes. Succulent garden”
What’s your favorite spot in the studio?
“Sitting next to the window in the kitchen. It feels like a tree house.”
Any studio rituals?
“I love to get in early & eating breakfast there”
What do you love and hate doing at the bench?
“I hate sanding. I love drilling”
What is currently inspiring you?
“The power of social media”
What piece of jewelry do you always wear?
“A string 24k gold bar and an oxidized silver chain”
Currently obsessed with which gemstones/metals?
” Herkimers and big cloudy rubies”
Piece of jewelry you’re most proud of?
” The invisible diamond ring”
What’s your dream jewelry piece?
“I love some of the thinly hammered gold of ancient Greek jewelry”
Worst piece of jewelry you had to create?
“A 24K gold greek cross”
What’s your favorite tool?
What’s the longest period of time you’ve spent at the studio (and why)?
“13h. Getting orders out before traveling somewhere.”
The best thing a client ever told you?
“The shapes perfectly represents their sentiments and they wear it everyday”
The funniest thing a client ever told you?
“That her boyfriend swallowed one earring while they were making out.”
If you weren’t a jewelry designer?