Here at House of Coco we love jewellery that sparks conversation, the kind of pieces that are so unique that people can’t help but to ask you about them. That’s probably the reason why we fell in love with Angela Galiano and her designs.
Passion, dedication and sustainability are at the forefront of what she does. We spent some time with Angela to find out more about her plans for the brand…
Tell us the journey that led you to launching your brand, Angela Galiano…
I started learning and designing jewellery while I was studying my Ph.D. in Economics. This may sound bizarre since science is usually associated with technical and mathematical skills, but one could be surprised to know how it is even more important to be creative in order to be a good scientist. The reason I dived into the jewellery world by then relies mainly on two facts. One, it was very hard to find original designs made of good quality, which was important to me because I developed a common allergic reaction when in contact with metals that are not pure. After feeling frustrated for a while, one day I decided I would create the designs I could not find and do it with the right quality and natural gemstones. I would do this whenever I had the time and here comes the second reason why I started: it was a way out and a good break from the toughness of a doctorate. However, it was soon very clear that it was more than a break. When I started designing jewellery, I knew I would not be able to stop later. I already had the passion for gemstones and had studied them from long before, but now I had a vision. I knew exactly what I wanted to create, I could picture the essence of the pieces in my mind. It was a natural, completely unforced process of creation. A few years later, I became a Doctor in Economics and have been working for the New York University up until recently when the two jobs got too demanding together. Now I am on sabbatical from academia – I keep up with my research at my own pace though and focus entirely on the firm, enjoying seeing Angela Galiano growing.
Your jewellery is handmade in Spain, what’s the process behind creating a new piece?
The process of creation starts with the environment that surrounds me at that moment. Earthy shades, dim natural light and organic shapes is how I get inspired the most. It may seem like a sad setting, but it is the quietness of it that allows me to listen to my own thoughts and ideas very clearly. I cannot help imaging the life of the jewels while drawing the sketches and picturing how they will pass through generations –I guess that explains the timeless style of the designs. A curious aspect of this process is that I never have pieces or pictures of jewellery around me when designing. There may be paintings or pictures, but they must be from a whole different nature.
After the sketches are fully complete, we move on to 3D design. Here we can focus on each detail in depth and make the corresponding marginal, yet important, changes. After the 3D design is finished, it is time to get our hands dirty and make the jewel come to life. In this process we take our time. We avoid rushing despite the opportunity cost that it imposes. The idea is to make an eternal piece of jewellery, so we take it easy.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a jewellery designer so far?
Within the jewellery design, the normal thing to do is to adapt the designs to the stones that are available. Stones come usually ready to set and they are usually standardised in terms of sizes and shapes. However, in my case, when I design a jewel and I design the whole piece, including the stone. Thus, the design does not adapt to the stone, but all the pieces work together to become one. A clear example is the ring Masterpiece and its central labradorite. Finding a group of lapidaries that would do this for me was not an easy task. There are not many of them out there so this was the biggest challenge I have faced so far as I designer.
In your opinion, what sets you apart from other jewellery brands?
The novelty of the designs. A great number of jewellery firms play the safe side and gravitate closely to each other in terms of designs, which is respectable, but it is not my intention. My objective is to create pieces out of the box, yet timeless in style and without lacking quality or personality.
Looking back since launching the brand, is there anything you would do differently?
I would have launched the firm sooner. The process of making and selling jewellery has been very enjoyable so far and I get to know a lot of nice people along the way. Many of them are good friends now, so I guess I have missed some enjoyment from this journey while waiting for the “right” moment to launch.
How much has social media played a role in the success of your brand?
Social media has played a major role in our growing process. It makes it very easy to keep clients and potential clients updated, and the fact that social media has become a well-structured and secured marketplace, it allows both firms and clients to engage regularly and satisfactorily. It is a win-win scenario.
What is your go-to quote when lacking motivation?
“Get it done without motivation, but get it done”.
What advice would you offer to aspiring designers that want to launch their own jewellery brand?
To be conscious of the natural resources they demand. For example, around 80% of the gold mines in the world have been exploited, while gold can be easily recycled. That is, in fact, the common procedure within the jewellery industry. In the same way, I would advise them to be aware of the origin of the stones they use. The number of Indian children exploited within the gemstone industry is outrageous.
Our readers love to travel, what destination is your all time favourite and why?
Africa. Being in Kenya and Tanzania I saw life itself. Animal and human life at its purest. Ever since I was there, Africa has always been with me somehow and I still wonder whether it was all a dream. The sounds, the sunrises, the storms, the ferocity of the lions and the truthful eyes of their people. Driving the endless unpaved roads while looking through the window and reminding myself to blink the least I could while I was there. Everybody should go to Africa, at least once.
What’s next for the business?
Along with new jewels and outstanding stones, I have been working on the design of patterns for a textile collection of silk scarves. Hues and measurements have been very well thought-out and the patterns are absolutely unique. I am wrapping things up now, so I hope this collection can see the light very soon! Silk bracelets are also on their way.
What does self care mean to you?
To me, self-care means protecting my peace of mind. I find it hard to work, exercise or take care of myself properly if my mind is not in the right place. Finding the balance may carry some difficult decisions, like reducing the circle of people you interact with and engaging with those whose energy flow along with yours. In the end, our mind is the most powerful resource we have been given, it influences our life for the good, but also for the bad. Thus, it is essential to keep an equilibrated mindset within our own existence so we can thrive in all directions.
Where can people find out more?
Everybody is welcome to visit our website www.angelagaliano.com, follow us on IG @angela__galiano and/or read the blog www.petitcomite-angelagaliano.com where I write the stories behind some of the designs.