Khobe made me laugh with her reply to my email asking for a studio visit. Her answer is probably one of my favorites: Really fast, a big YES and a let me check my calendar but count me in! And she couldn’t be more accommodating by meeting me at 8:30am in the middle of a very busy week, when she had to finish more than 400 pair of earrings the day before and going strong on custom work for mother’s day.
So I knew I was up for an awesome studio visit.
Sometimes you meet someone and it just feels like you’ve been friends for a long time. And this is how I felt when I met Khobe from Studio deLucca as she gave me a big hug when she opened the door to her place. Her space used to be an old barbershop with a huge window and lots of sunshine coming in. The studio is a big space, very well equipped (oh the tools!…), with a showroom area, a big, beautiful wood table where everything from assembling jewelry to laptop work is done. By the window there are some beautiful vintage leather mannequins that are used as displays. There’s also a gorgeous small display table with 2 old tools inside.
Khobe started doing jewelry in 1996 and never looked back. She has an easy laugh and a very philosophical way of seeing life and work. While she was writing down the answers for the questionnaire I noticed a beautiful and meaningful tattoo on her arm. It says “The gift is nothing without work”. The same idea is also framed on the wall of her studio space: “The artist is nothing without the gift. But the gift is nothing without the work.”. In an age of instagram and instagratification, sometimes it’s hard to understand that nothing comes your way without a lot of work. And if you want to be successful and good at what you do, you have to work for it, and that’s pretty much exactly Khobe’s life philosophy.
I spent a ton of time shooting and drooling over her jewelry. And not only is Khobe a really good jeweler she is also an impressive stone setter. Last year she decided to take some time of production and improve her skills by taking an advance stone setting course with Blaine Lewis. Not only did she come back reinvigorated but she now does a perfect and symmetrical micro-pave (you can see how good it is with a macro lens, just check the opal necklace photo!)
And I really have to share that Khobe is a neat freak (sorry!). She will deny this but the proof is everywhere. On the walls, beautifully arranged by size are hammers, pliers and soldering tweezers. Everything is in place, easy to grab and use. And it makes sense and takes a lot of effort to have everything so well organized, but this studio not only handles large volumes of jewelry production but serves as a jewelry-teaching studio as well. ( It baffles me but Khobe still finds the time to organize workshops where she shares her wealth of experience with avid jewelry students.) As a result there are a lot of funny signs around the different studio areas. I laugh out loud with the one by the sink: “DO NOT POUR OIL IN THE SINK. EVER. Or anything else that doesn’t belong in a sink”. You have to wonder what happened before that sign was put there…
I also have a serious case of bench envy has Studio deLucca has one bench for wax, one for metal, a soldering station, an assembly area, a stone setting bench, and the list goes on. Everywhere I look there are gemstones lying around ready to be transformed into beautiful pieces: dandric quartz, opals, moonstones, rose cut sapphires, rubies and the list goes on. Studio deLucca is serious about production and the volume out of this studio is amazing. And all is done by this wonder woman jeweler who does pave setting as well. (Please, we all know not all jewelers do this…)
What was supposed to be a normal visit ended up in a big conversation that went on for almost 3 hours. We talked and chatted and exchanged ideas and stories and when I noticed I needed rush for my next appointment. I could have easily stayed the rest of the day!
Thank you Khobe for a wonderful studio visit and for being an awesome jeweler. You are the work, the artist and the gift.
What do you like most about your studio?
“ The light, the floors, the energy”
Pick 3 objects in your studio that make your space yours:
“All the tools”
What’s your favorite spot in the studio?
“ near the window and at the bench”
What do you love and hate doing at the bench?
“Love soldering. Love filing. Love setting.
What makes you procrastinate?
What is currently inspiring you?
“The ocean, friendships, generosity.”
What piece of jewelry do you always wear?
“My gold spirit animal fox necklace by Carmen Diaz, my 22K gold wedding band circa 1915 , my grandmothers diamond”
Currently obsessed with?
“Tourmalines! Opals! Dentritic quartz! Rough diamonds…22K gold.”
Piece of jewelry you’re most proud of?
“30+ carat opal necklace with diamonds surrounding in 18K”
What’s your dream jewelry piece?
“I would make lots of gold cuff bracelets – like wonderwoman style.”
What’s the longest period of time you’ve spent at the studio and why?
“6:00 am – 1:00 am is not out of the question. Production deadlines”
The best thing a client told you?
“That their marriage succeeded because of the rings”
The funniest thing a client ever told you?
“Make it really fast”
If you weren’t a jewelry designer?
“ I would be an anthropologist, explorer.”