One of the more enjoyable idazzle.com perks is that I get to interview fantastic jewelry designers. I love getting a glimpse into their world, where creativity and inspiration meets execution in fine jewelry metals and gemstones. I am thrilled to connect with recent Red Dot Jewelry Product Design 2010 award-winner evelynH!
You might say that jewelry is in Evelyn Huang’s blood, since her background is high-end jewelry retail, first at her family’s Los Angeles business, then for the DeBeers store on Rodeo Drive. She received her technical gemology training from GIA, and loved connecting with customers, but still had a creative desire that needed to be explored. After studying Jewelry Design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, evelynH officially launched in 2006. Within months her “Infinity” suite of bridal rings had won 3rd Place in the DIVA Awards, and garnered a lot of attention.
She’s won numerous other awards and mentions, notably the 2010 Red Dot Design award, and Rio Tinto’s First Place award in 2009 for her extraordinary fancy color diamond necklace design. The necklace is on tour this Fall, traveling with the Rio Tinto National Retailer Tour.
evelynH and Africa’s Hope
The “Africa’s Hope” earrings designed by evelynH have an incredible story. The earrings themselves are truly stunning with diamonds and African Emeralds scattered in the suspended strands of 18K white gold. The earrings won the 2009 WJA DIVA Design Red Carpet Category, and Evelyn gifted them to the Diamond Empowerment Fund. I loved reading about where the design came from, out of a place in her heart “that these good thoughts will create a positive energy that will be the beginning of a catalyst that will one day alter someone’s life and take that person down a different path full of opportunities and promise….I will name it Africa’s Hope and wish upon it goodness and change and the spirit of giving back…”. Then I found out that at the DEF auction, Russell Simmons himself purchased the earrings, then gave them to Barbara Bush as a gift for her support of DEF! How amazing! This is a reminder that a jewelry designer can make a very positive, tangible difference…
idazzle.com: I love the fact that the Red Dot award-winning ring has moving parts and interconnected pieces (and the awesome 1.25″ scale!). Can you tell me a little more about the design inspiration behind the Squared Ring?
evelynH: The squared ring was really inspired by the interconnectivity of the social paradigm that exists today. Complex human relationships which are built upon the technological accessibility of information to the masses directly influencing all aspects of our social culture from how we interact in our relationships to education, art, and architecture all come together in this simple but complex looking design. My point was to try to capture a snapshot of where we currently are as a society and try to interpret it into a piece of jewelry.
I think you really captured it well: how we interact as humans is incredibly rich and complicated! Were you surprised to take top honors in the Red Dot Jewelry Design category?
Honestly, yes I was surprised. The Red Dot is one of the most famous/pre-eminent international design competitions with products being entered by some of the best and most successful companies (Apple, BMW, Rolls Royce, ligne roset etc) on the market today, and I kind of just figured I would give it a try without any expectations. Needless to say I was ecstatic when I received the news.
Are you sure you aren’t a mathematician? While some designs, like your Cometes Cuff are sinous and organic, many are quite geometric. Can you tell me more about your collections?
I’m definitely not a mathematician considering I had to take calculus a few times before I passed the class during my university years. As for my design work, most of our focus is on one-of-a-kind designs for private clientele. My collections are just a way for me to showcase an idea or a mood at the time of its creation. Some pieces are more organic such as the Cometes Cuff you mentioned, while others are much more symmetrical. The point is to try to get a little movement as well as symmetry, because the human eye tends to want things to balance out while looking at a design.
Tell me about your process. Do you start with the raw materials and noodle with them until you have a direction, or do you envision a design and go source the materials?
I usually start my process with a set of parameters. I find it much more interesting and much easier when you are given limits. For example, a client’s budget, or a pre-existing gemstone that must be utilized, etc. When I first began designing I would envision “grand masterpieces” in my mind and then try to have it materialize in front of me. I learned very quickly that this was a fast way to burn-out and lose direction and focus because all designs will have some form of restrictions. It is always better to know them first before you begin the design process. Usually once I understand what the restrictions are, the design process flows very efficiently.
The other important thing for me is to get out in the world and see new things, whether in a different city or visiting a completely foreign country with a different culture. Everything I absorb outside of my day to day environment will eventually shape my ideas in some way. It might not be a particular architectural wonder or a breathtaking sunset that will be interpreted, but somewhere all those experiences become part of me and will translate into something tangible at a point in time.
Nicely said, it makes sense that inspiration comes from everywhere and you pull essences out in different pieces at different times. In addition to your collections, you also do custom commissions for private clients. Do you work with people long distance? Which do you consider more rewarding, designing for yourself, or designing for others?
I do work with people locally and also long distance. For me personally, designing for others is much more rewarding. I love to get to know my clients and then interpreting what I feel coming from them into a piece of jewelry. Because I believe jewelry is extremely personal and is usually linked to a story or a memory, I really try hard to capture a feeling or a moment…something special for my clients. Every piece I design is meant to be for that person I designed it for. If I took the same piece and put it on a different person, it wouldn’t look right, it just wouldn’t belong. My most rewarding and happiest moments are when I see a client again, and they tell me since they’ve received the finished piece, they’ve never taken it off, and have received so many compliments that they would feel naked without the piece on.
Where can people find your designs?
Since we specialize in private commissions, our designs are not offered through normal retail channels. Anybody who would like something special or a piece from our collection, can just pick up the phone or shoot us an e-mail and we would be happy to start a conversation with them. Our designs are not mass produced and not as readily available as other designs out there.
What is your current obsession? Anything new we should know about?
I tend not to have any crazy obsessions in general…I only have one ongoing and permanent obsession which is to create pieces that will elicit a “wow” from a client. It’s always a challenge that I look forward to…how to top that emotional factor for them. As for new “news”…yes, everything is always a work in progress, but we try to keep mum on things until they happen. =)
I don’t think getting a “Wow” is a problem with your work! Thank you, Evelyn! It was an honor to get to know your background, inspirations, and amazing designs! You can see more of Evelyn’s designs on her website, and can reach Evelyn and her team at their by-appointment Los Angeles studio by phone at (213) 996-8448, or email by clicking here.