In the luminous realm where artistry meets craftsmanship, Aurora Laffite stands as a beacon, illuminating the world of fine jewellery with her enchanting designs. House of Coco had the privilege of delving into the captivating narrative of Aurora, a visionary jewellery designer whose passion for natural gemstones and dedication to authenticity have shaped the identity of Aurora Laffite Jewelry.
Embarking on a journey that began with childhood curiosity, Aurora shares the specific moment that ignited her fervour for jewellery, weaving a tale of family heirlooms, broken necklaces, and a transformative decision in the vibrant backdrop of Honduras. Her narrative unfolds as a testament to the power of hands-on craftsmanship, with each piece resonating with the intensity of physical creation and the intricate dance between traditional techniques and modern technology.
Through the lens of success, Aurora shares her invaluable advice for aspiring designers, emphasizing the fusion of passion and practicality. Her vision for Aurora Laffite Jewelry extends beyond the glimmering facets of gemstones; it becomes a legacy passed down through generations, an embodiment of elegance that transcends fleeting trends.
Join us in this illuminating conversation as we uncover the depths of Aurora’s creative process, her unwavering commitment to authenticity, and the dreams that breathe life into the House of Coco. Aurora Laffite’s story is not just about jewelry; it’s an ode to the timeless artistry that adorns life’s most precious moments, leaving an indelible mark on the canvas of elegance and individuality.
Can you share a specific moment or experience that first ignited your passion for natural gemstones and jewellery design?
All my life, I’ve been fascinated by jewellery. I remember looking at my grandmother’s and mother’s rings and earrings, wondering how they were made. When my father told me that a jeweller crafted them, I envisioned a man soldering metal and cutting stones, which, to my young mind, didn’t seem too feminine. For years, I only thought about wearing jewellery. However, during a vacation in Honduras, a broken necklace led me to a store offering beading classes. Choosing to fix it myself opened a new door in my mind.
What was that transformative moment of fixing a broken piece of jewellery like, and how did it shape your path as a jewellery designer?
It started with beading, and I couldn’t get my mind off it, but I knew I wanted to do much more complicated work than just assembling pieces. Back in New York City, I started taking bench classes in metalsmithing and wax carving at a local art school. That’s when I was really able to start making the kind of pieces I was envisioning in my mind. The physicality of bending, pounding, and melting metal is so intense, and when the final piece emerges elegant and pretty, it was such a thrill. There was no turning back; I was hooked.
Coming from Honduras to New York City must have been quite a transition. How has your cultural background influenced your design aesthetics and the overall ethos of Aurora Laffite Jewelry?
Certainly, there is a big difference in the aesthetic of my two homes. Honduras is largely about finding the beauty in nature, revelling in the colours and feelings of the tropical environment. New York City, on the other hand, is the glamorous capital of America, with glittering skyscrapers and the excitement of high-end fashion. I’m inspired to combine these two worlds, bringing lush colours into the bustling city of grand glamour.
You mentioned taking art classes in Manhattan and later advancing to GIA for cutting-edge jewellery software. How do traditional craftsmanship and modern technology blend in your creative process?
I’m glad I started with physically making the jewellery by hand – it gave me knowledge about manufacturing that reading alone couldn’t provide. But, wanting more advanced knowledge, I turned to GIA and CAD. It was a transition from a blowtorch to a computer program, but blending the skills from both techniques became freeing. Now, I start designs with jewellery software, where the only limit is my imagination, but always have it 100% hand-finished.
Your brand is known for its emphasis on high-quality, natural gemstones and solid precious metals. Why is this commitment to authenticity and craftsmanship so important to you?
I’ve experienced pieces tarnishing over time, and understanding the difference between gold-plated, gold-filled, and solid gold made me prioritise quality. I want to create fun, modern designs that last a lifetime, passed down from generation to generation. Natural gemstones, with their complex science, have fascinated people for thousands of years, and I’m proud to continue that tradition.
Each piece from Aurora Laffite Jewelry is individually made-to-order. How does this personalised What happened? approach contribute to the unique connection your customers have with your creations?
There’s something special about an item made specifically for you. It has emotional value beyond the purchase, connecting the customer to the piece. As a startup, working exclusively with precious materials, made-to-order ensures uniqueness, though it’s challenging to have every size in stock.
How do you measure the impact and fulfilment of your work?
I feel successful when a customer wears my designs and feels extra special and beautiful. When the piece connects with their personal style, enhancing their uniqueness – that’s the entire point of jewellery. When it finds its way to the right person, it’s a fantastic feeling that drives me to keep creating.
We’d love to know more about the inspirations behind your designs. Are there specific artists, places, or eras that consistently influence your creative vision?
Certainly, one of my biggest inspirations is nature, reflected in my newest collections, “La Fleur Rouge” and the “Humming Beauty Set.” “La Fleur Rouge” draws from childhood memories of my grandmother’s garden, and the “Humming Beauty Set” captures the magical experience of encountering iridescent hummingbirds.
We understand your belief that jewellery is an expression of individualism. How do you ensure that your designs capture the essence of each person’s unique style and personality?
For “La Fleur Rouge” and “The Humming Beauty Set,” I pull specifics from my own life, aiming to connect with customers in an emotionally resonant way. While their past may be different, our childhood memories are interlaced with the same glow of nostalgia.
You’ve mentioned that you see jewellery as a way for women to feel dazzling and empowered. Can you recall a customer’s story that particularly touched you and reinforced this belief?
One of my set designs was sold to a woman who loved them so much that she later ordered a customised matching pair for her daughter. This meant a lot to me because it connects two generations, strengthening their bond when they wear the matching set.
How has New York City itself played a role in shaping your artistic identity and business?
One of my designs, “The SkyTower Set,” is directly inspired by the glamour of the “big city.” It represents the entire city, glowing and glittering at night, like its own jewel. My hope is that set will make someone feel – no matter whether they’re at a Manhattan event or off in the countryside – like they’re shining bright, straight from the very centre of the world’s culture.
As a successful entrepreneur, what advice would you give to aspiring designers or individuals looking to start their own creative ventures?
Research your market, understand your customers, and listen to their needs. Build something you are personally passionate about because that passion will keep you motivated through challenges. Love what you do, so external noise won’t slow you down.
Beyond the world of jewellery, what are some of your other creative outlets or artistic pursuits that influence your designs?
Living in New York City, I have access to some of the greatest museums in the world, and I love going to places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MOMA. Just looking at their colour mixes and varied use of shapes and style can be so inspiring.
What does success mean to you as the founder and designer of Aurora Laffite Jewelry?
Success, to me, is taking my passion and vision and bringing that out to a wide audience that cherishes my designs.
Travel often sparks creativity. Are there any specific destinations on your travel wish list that you believe would inspire future jewellery collections?
As a Central American, I feel proud to say that there is a lot to explore there that can help everyone find inspiration. I aim to keep exploring my native Honduras, as well as our neighbours, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and all of the Central American isthmus.
Looking back on your journey, is there anything you would do differently, and what valuable lessons have you learned along the way?
I wish I had learned sooner to stop looking for perfection. Sometimes imperfections make something extra beautiful. I was hesitant to make the next move in my life because I felt like I had to wait until everything was “right,” but really, I just needed to dive in and dare to move forward.
In the world of fine jewellery, trends can come and go. How do you stay true to your artistic vision while remaining adaptable to evolving tastes?
My goal is to create jewellery that has one foot in classic design and the other in the modern world. True elegance never goes out of fashion, and that’s what I aspire to make.
What legacy do you hope to leave through Aurora Laffite Jewelry, both in terms of artistic impact and societal contribution?
I hope my jewellery is passed down from generation to generation, standing the test of time. I aim to bring out the glory of natural gemstones, supporting ethical mining practices and continuing a tradition of making art that connects to a woman’s natural beauty.
Outside of the demanding world of jewellery design, how do you unwind and find joy in your personal life?
I enjoy going to museums, spending time in nature, and having quality time with my family. Being with my toddler, who constantly demands attention, is the most fulfilling experience.
Lastly, if you could collaborate with any artist or designer, living or historical, who would it be and why?
Since I was little, I’ve always admired Carolina Herrera’s elegant, classic designs. To me, it would be a dream-come-true to collaborate with someone who’s made her mark so powerfully. What she’s accomplished is what I aspire to do myself.
Where can people follow you and find out more?