Designer: Vale Jewelry (Ava & Eva Bai)
Location: New York, NY
How did you get started making jewelry? Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
We always had a love of accessories as kids, visiting craft stores to create pieces for our friends and family. There were always some ongoing projects on every table in little NYC apartment. We weren’t sure whether becoming a designer was in the purview but we both knew that we would both always appreciate hand-crafting objects during our lifetimes.
How long have you been in the trade?
We have been in this industry for almost 20 years now. Wow! That sounds like a very long time said out loud!
What does your business look like now, versus when you started?
There were not many contemporary fine jewelry options on the market when we first began. In fact, that was one of the main reasons we started this hobby that eventually become our careers, to be able to make things for ourselves to wear! We are happy and excited to see more and more contemporary jewelers coming out with their collections, in particular female-run ones!
What’s the most challenging part about being a jewelry designer?
Probably being able to translate the client’s vision when creating bespoke work and understanding what they have in their minds and materializing it in a technically-workable and aesthetically-pleasing way.
What’s your favorite part about being a jewelry designer?
Being able to achieve the above! Haha. When all those aims align perfectly, it is really rewarding! That and the fact that we are always so honored when clients comes to us to help translate those ideas to something they will wear everyday.
Do you have a favorite metal or stone that you prefer to work with?
We love working with rose-cut diamonds because they are so individual despite having the same chemical composition. We also love working with spinels and sapphires! We create a lot of ceremonial pieces and being able to produce very special and one of a kind pieces for each individual client’s need is an amazing job! Having been in this business for a long time and understanding how gold and stones are extracted from the earth we have also made it a focus in the last decade to create our pieces as responsibly as possible, using mainly recycled gold and stones with a ethical provenance.
Do trends in the industry effect the way you design a new collection?
It would probably be very difficult to be completely blind or unaffected by current industry trends but we make an effort to be guided by our personal aesthetic when designing our pieces.
What’s your favorite piece of jewelry from your own personal collection?
For us, aside from the craft and design of a piece, it’s also the memories associated with it that makes that particular piece special. When we travel, we both love collecting pieces, either vintage or contemporary, to add to our own personal collection. Recently on a trip to Corfù, we both ended up purchasing pieces from a family jeweler on the island that has been making jewelry since the 1800’s! It’s very easy to appreciate other jewelers’ work and thought process and jewelry is an especially easy category to collect as it is typically very petite and a fun souvenir.
Shop Vale on our website!