Jewelry Designer Spotlight: Luna & Stella Personalized Jewelry

Need a thoughtful gift for someone special on Mother’s Day? I have often wondered why jewelry created for Mothers seems to be juvenile or just not attractive–as if sentimental jewelry somehow means that style and fashion don’t apply. Fortunately, Luna & Stella is addressing the need for stylish, memorable jewelry as gifts to Moms, Grandmothers, sisters, friends, even Dads!

The husband and wife team behind Luna & Stella has been creating personalized jewelry to commemorate significant relationships since 2009. Founders Suzanne Ellis Wernevi and Erik Wernevi wanted to honor the unique relationships between families and friends with totally customizable jewelry. Precious gems are set into modern settings that suggest classic style. With a variety of styles in their namesake of moon and stars, the possibilities for customizing are almost endless with chain lengths, metal types and 12 different birthstone gems. They are especially proud of their personalized customer service, and hope to create a unique experience for each customer.

Luna & Stella Moon and Stars Birthstone Necklace

Luna & Stella Moon & Stars Birthstone Charm Necklace, totally customizable, starting at $115.

Mother’s Day would be a big holiday for Luna & Stella under any circumstances, but this Mother’s Day is especially important: Suzanne and Erik are expecting their first baby, and is due to arrive any moment, making this Suzanne’s first official Mother’s Day!

The Jewelry of Luna & Stella

Their clean and simple website guides you through their offerings of rings, earrings, bracelets, cufflinks, and pendants. There are ways to add on and build for any category. You can choose an initial design, like a pendant with stars or the very current wing design on a specific length of chain, then add more birthstone charms as needed in the future. I like the idea of combining their eternity band design with the bezel-set stacking rings to create a unique look that represents important dates, but in a way that looks like fashionable stacking rings in a very affordable price range. Going beyond necklaces and rings, their bangle bracelet with birthstone charms is totally unique, and their cufflinks provide an interesting way to personalize a gift for men. This is significant, stylish jewelry that just happens to be deeply personal.

Luna & Stella designs are all made of natural gemstones and precious metals. They recently relocated the company headquarters from New York City to Rhode Island, which has a rich history of being a jewelry manufacturing base in the US.

Luna & Stella Birthstone Ring

Luna & Stella Crescent Moon Stacking Ring, totally customizable, starting at $48.

Luna & Stella Interview 2009 seems like a challenging time to start a new company. What made you feel that this jewelry genre needed your attention?
Suzanne Ellis Wernevi, Luna & Stella founder: Birthstone jewelry has been around for a long time (I remember my mom buying my grandmother a Christmas tree pin in the early 80s with her children’s and grandchildren’s birthstones for ornaments!), but we felt it could use a fresh approach. There has been a growing trend in symbolic jewelry for moms over the last few years, particularly styles with initials and names, but we liked the more subtle look of gemstones. Most of what was on the market in birthstone jewelry was frankly pretty tacky, and we thought there was an opportunity for a more sophisticated, modern look. We found that despite the recession, people were still willing to buy gifts for their loved ones, particularly ones that were symbolic and meaningful to the recipient.

Where did the original inspiration come from for the designs that you launched with?

The name Luna & Stella means “moon and star” in Italian — we like to say that like the relationship between moon & star, our jewelry symbolizes the connections between ourselves and those we love. Our first designs were all inspired by celestial iconography.

Luna & Stella Moon Birthstone Necklace

Luna & Stella Moon & Stars Birthstone Necklace, totally customizable, starting at $205.

How does your team come up with new designs? What is the criteria for adding to your collection?

Our design language is clean and modern, and each piece has a symbolic meaning. We find inspiration in many places; from our travels, from art, from nature, from our customers. Often we are inspired by our own life events, or those of our family and friends. I designed the angel wing necklace for a friend who lost twin babies at birth. Since then, we have had many customers purchase the angel wing necklace in memory of a loved one, or as a symbol of protection for someone close to them. I am currently wearing an angel wing with the birthstone of our yet-to-born son, I like to think of it as a talisman of good luck.

Luna & Stella Charm Bangle Bracelet

Luna & Stella Crescent Moon Birthstone Charm Bangle Bracelet, totally customizable, bangle bracelet is $98, and charms start at $45 each.

Do either of you have specific jewelry experience that helped you launch Luna & Stella?
Prior to starting Luna & Stella, I headed merchandising and design for RedEnvelope, which had a sizable jewelry business. I have held a variety of merchandising and product development roles for J.Crew, Bally, and Victoria’s Secret. I’ve worked in nearly every category, from swimwear to apparel to leather goods, but have always loved jewelry and accessories best.

You have gotten some great press from The Today Show, People Magazine, and others. How does it feel to have some national press spotlight on your company?
We’ve been lucky to be covered in many national news media outlets, such as The Today Show, People, UsWeekly, Oprah, Real Simple, and Esquire. We are grateful for the positive attention, but the best feedback we get is from our customers. We love hearing client’s individual stories about the people our jewelry represents, and what they mean to them. Last mother’s day, after our appearance on The Today Show, we got a call from a woman who wanted to buy our moon and stars charm necklace for her granddaughter. The woman’s husband had recently passed away, and she wanted to give her granddaughter a gift with her grandfather’s birthstone to remind her of him. Granddaughter and grandfather loved to look at the stars together, so our design spoke to her in a very special way. We love to hear these very personal interpretations of the meaning of our jewelry to our customers.

Are there some challenges with having an all-custom jewelry model?
A custom jewelry model is definitely more labor intensive, but we believe that creating individual pieces makes them more meaningful to our customers. Most of our pieces can be easily added to over time, in celebration of a special occasion, or with the addition of a new member to the family.

Luna & Stella Cufflinks

Luna & Stella Birthstone Locket Cufflinks, totally customizable, starting at $150.

Have you been asked to create items outside of what you offer on your website?
We do get requests and try to accommodate them as much as possible. We just created a brooch inspired by our moon & stars birthstone necklace for a customer that wanted one as a birthday gift for her mother.

Can people return something they have ordered?

We accept returns on all items, with the exception of the moon & stars birthstone necklace.

Luna & Stella Heart Birthstone Necklace

Luna & Stella Heart Birthstone Charm Necklace, totally customizable, starting at $70.

It sounds like it has been an exciting couple of years! What’s next for Luna & Stella?
We look forward to expanding our collection and bringing the Luna & Stella brand to a growing base of customers, both in the US and overseas. We also hope to set up a small manufacturing facility in Rhode Island, and to increase the number of styles we offer in 14K gold per customer requests.

We are so excited for your new arrival! Do you think that you will be even more inspired once you are parents yourselves?
We are too! Its hard to anticipate the ways that parenthood will change our lives, but we imagine that it will bring new ideas and opportunities that we never expected. We look forward to the adventure!

Thank you, Suzanne and Erik, for the opportunity to get to know you and your designs better! You can see more and purchase Luna & Stella designs at their website here. You can also email me at monica at idazzle dot com to inquire, and I’ll get you in touch with the right people.

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