Creating Unique Jewellery Collections With Gem Lark Jewellery
After discovering Marisa's unique and creative designs on Instagram, we just had to find out more! We are obsessed with the fun and colourful collections Marisa has created, from magical bottled stardust pendants to a whole collection of fruit and veggies made up of sparkling gems. In the interview below, we chat to Marisa about her one-off pieces, finding success with Etsy and Instagram to offering advice for those wanting to design collections of their own.
"I like to think that my aesthetic reflects who I am as a person, and is emulated through my whimsical designs..."
Hi Marisa, how did you discover the world of jewellery making and what drew you to it the most?
I started making jewellery in 2010. It was just a hobby of mine at the time, but I ended up opening an Etsy Shop. I started out using beads, gemstones, vintage pieces, charms, etc. and creating necklaces, bracelets and earrings. I did quite well over the years and even had a piece or two featured in magazines like Glamour and Vogue. But, I always wanted to learn how to create a piece of jewellery entirely from scratch, meaning - a piece of metal, stones, tools - enter Metalsmithing.
You have such a unique and signature style, how long did it take your to find your ‘aesthetic’?
Hearing you say that I have a unique and signature style is quite the compliment and I thank you for that! I like to think that my aesthetic reflects who I am as a person, and is emulated through my whimsical designs.
Your collections are so fun! How do you find inspiration for them?
Inspiration can come from anything - nature, everyday life, etc. One thing I’ve never really struggled with is trying to come up with new, unique ideas. My sketchbooks are filled with things I hope to create in the future!
Tell us about the unique gems you use!
I love using unique gems in my work, and I’m always on the lookout for beautiful pieces that I know people will appreciate and love just as much as I do.
"Becoming a full time Metalsmith was one of the best decisions I have ever made..."
We’re obsessed with your fruit collection! Tell us more about these designs
Ah yes! My fruit and veggie collections have become quite the thing! Everyone seems to love these fun pieces, and creating them is the best part. I was once referred to as the fruit and veggie girl in a comment left on one of my Instagram posts, and I just love that. Lol.
Do you work on your business part time or full time?
I have been a full time Metalsmith for almost 3 years now. Before that, I was a Graphic Designer for over 13 years. Becoming a full time Metalsmith was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
"Think of things that are near and dear to you, what makes you happy..."
What advice would you give to jewellers struggling to come up with new ideas?
My advice to jewellers who are struggling to come up with new ideas is this - think of things that are near and dear to you, what makes you happy? Sit and sketch all day if you have to, think of colours, textures, etc. Trying to hone in on those things will be helpful when creating/designing.
Tell us about your workspace!
My metalwork space is a small studio/room in my house, as well as a partial space in my basement for lapidary work. My small studio has a mix of everything I love-artwork, photographs, tools, etc. It’s one of my favourite places to be.
What’s one commission you will never forget?
Over the years, I have worked on a lot of commissioned pieces for clients. One piece in particular was for a dear friend of mine named Holly. She just so happens to be the author of one of my favourite books called The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. The piece I created for her was an owl that had the most stunning piece of Moss Agate as the body. Truly one of my favourite/most memorable pieces.
What has your experience been like with selling on Etsy and can you offer any top tips?
I’ve been selling on Etsy for quite some time now, but always with the intention of venturing off at some point and having my own website. A new website is currently in the works and I hope to have that up and running within the next few months. Etsy is so much different now than it was years ago when I first started, but I believe it is a great platform to start with.
What are your favourite gemstone shapes to use and why?
"Etsy is so much different now than it was years ago when I first started, but I believe it is a great platform to start with..."
What’s your favourite collection you have released so far?
My favorite collection so far would have to be my Gem Makeup Collection! I was very proud of that particular collection. I felt that the unique designs I came up with really stood out, and everyone seemed to love them.
We love your use of gemstone beads! Do you enjoy using them in your designs?
I love using gemstone beads in my designs! In fact, I think incorporating them into my metalwork is an ode back to when I first started making jewelry!
"I have made so many amazing friends and connections using the IG platform and I am so thankful for that..."
When you’re not making jewellery where can we find you!
When I’m not making jewellery, you can find me hanging out with my husband and two pups, exercising, reading, or enjoying nature. My little dogs are the centre of my world and they bring me joy every day! Living in the North East (of America) always has me looking forward to the change of seasons, especially Fall, and the magical, colourful leaves/scenery.
What’s your favourite thing about using Instagram?
Instagram has always been my favorite place to showcase my jewellery, and I find the community there to be quite wonderful. I have made so many amazing friends and connections using the IG platform and I am so thankful for that.
How far in advance do you work on seasonal collections and how do you keep organised?
I try to stay as organised as possible when working on new collections, but at times I can be quite the messy creator. I suppose that comes with the territory? Lol.
Any hints of future collections?
As far as future collections go, I do like to keep them a surprise, but I have a few up my sleeve! I hope to bring my same fun, unique style to those as well!
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