Oona Collections has been on my radar for a while thanks to Megan Aoki, a sales representative for many of my very favorite brands. Maria, the designer behind Oona, has an interesting story with a focus on craftsmanship and showcasing the beauty of gemstones. Also, much of Maria's inspiration comes from her love of antique jewelry. Don't miss her and her stunning collection at NY Now (booth #8178)!
I started creating jewellery during my trips around the world. I have loved antique jewellery for years and I was collecting and designing pieces for myself working with local artisans. I was always interested in the traditional jewellery-making techniques and searched the local craftsmanship in different regions, but specially in Asia. My passion for travel took me to Sri Lanka where I fell in love with the gems and precious stones that I found in the tropical island. Sri Lanka has such a big variety and diversity of gems, I started learning about the stones and created my first small collection three years ago. Then I decided to leave my professional career in the fashion industry and launch my own brand, OONA.
First I visualize the piece. It is a creative process that is always live and continuous. I can keep the designs in my mind for weeks and months and then one day I sketch what I have been mentally designing. My process starts with inspiration which may be a piece of antique or an artistic creation, the creative part is always present. After a first drawn I make a second sketch more detailed for the goldsmiths and artisans. Many times during the production process when I see some of the pieces it is also a source of inspiration to create more.
I am inspired by art, textiles, architecture, the influence of European design in the Asian continent and of course by the tropical nature, specially the colors. The colors from the sunsets, the jungle or the intense blue of the Indian ocean.
There are some of my first pieces pieces that I love and I wear in special occasions: a pair of deco-style diamonds drop earrings and the onyx net necklace, a fine and delicate work of craftsmanship that reminds a piece from the early century. And one of my last pieces, the Baguette sapphires ring.
I always combine my pieces with an antique diamonds ring.
I do not wear much jewellery during the day but always a Ceylon sapphire ring with a natural sapphire that I love and some of my diamonds bracelets.
Favorite Artists & Designers
About Artists: I love Modern Art, I would like to mention the Spanish expressionist artist Antoni Tapies, in the classics, Modigliani.
Designers: Dries Van Noten as a Fashion Designer for his use of original fabrics in its designs.
Jewellery designer: Suzanne Belperrone
Other than jewelry: Designing is a very important part but I also love the making process with the goldsmiths. I work closely with them in all the steps until the piece is finished giving the final touches. The other interesting part to me is searching and selecting gems. The gems are key as part of my creative process. I personally chose rough and natural gems to give the form and shape them for the different designs.
Currently listening to: Becca Stevens
Visit their website to see more designs!