Emilie Shapiro Jewelry

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How did growing up next to the Atlantic Ocean inspire you and your work?
Growing up close to the water has been a huge inspiration. My work is inspired by textures, colors and movement in nature. My Father is a fisherman so we spent lots of time on the water and scouring beaches for treasures.

I read that you come from a long line of artists. What were some other mediums of art that your parents or other family members encouraged? How did jewelry making come about?
I was always interested in art and fashion growing up. My father works in the garment industry for a fabric company and I loved walking the sample floor to look at color and texture. He once brought me a home a box of costume jewelry from a company that was closing when I was around 5 – I remember lots of giant clip on earrings and pins. I called this my “treasure chest.” My favorite game was looking for pairs – not necessarily that were the same thing but that I thought went together.

In addition, I come from a long line of creative entrepreneurs – My great grandfather was an inventor, most famous for the invention of the blue dot light (the flash bulb in cameras). My grandfather owned a toy company and I spent a lot of my early childhood on the floors of his Brooklyn factory with toymakers interested in how things were made. My sister, Allison owns a bakery (The Sweet Peace, Lynbrook NY) where she makes incredible cakes which really look more like sculptures. I’ve always been very interested in making and selling products and have certainly been encouraged by my family.

Tell us about the importance of using rough gemstones.
I incorporate gemstones in their rough, natural state to celebrate beauty in imperfection. I hope the wearer sees a reflection of themselves in the gemstones and in my work – perfectly imperfect.

Where do you source your gemstones? Do they hold any specific meaning?
I work very closely with vendors from around the world to get my atperry's healing crystals and stones. The vendors I work with share the same ethos of sustainability in business. Once a year I go to the Tucson Gem Show which is one of the largest gem shows in the world where people come from all over the world to buy and sell stones. Many of the vendors I work with have become friends!

Take us through the process of making your jewelry.
All of my work is created by the process of lost wax casting. I create a model in hard jewelry wax which almost feels like plastic which is then cast to metal. Everything is created by hand in my studio in Long Island City.

What was your favorite part about studying jewelry in Italy?
Meeting so many jewelry designers in one place was really incredible. I learned a lot about myself and how far I could push myself while studying there. I loved getting lost in the city and finding new things every day. It is such an inspirational city with so much history.

Who are other artists, outside of jewelry, that inspire you?

Who do you keep in mind when designing?
Movement, comfort, and fit with the body and gemstones.

What are some of your favorite must haves in your line?
The mosaic wide cuff is a forever favorite and a staple for when I go out!

Tell us about the classes you teach! Can anybody take one?
I teach classes in wax carving and jewelry production. I’m very passionate about sharing knowledge and teaching others – plus I meet the coolest people! I teach classes at Liloveve Jewelry Studio, 92Y and Brooklyn Brainery.

What’s next for you and your jewelry?
I wrote a book, How to Create Your Own Jewelry Line which comes out on April, 5!