Born in Brazil, Joana Salazar creates eye-catching, feminine jewellery designs that reflect her life experiences. Joana’s intrigue into the stories and symbolic meanings behind jewellery started when she was a little girl, and her belief that jewellery carries feelings and memories is echoed throughout her collection. We chat to Joana about traveling the globe studying jewellery, connecting with her designs and what the future for her brand.
When did you first fall in love with jewellery?
“I always had a passion for gemstones and jewellery as a girl. I remember going through my family heirlooms and asking about the stories of the pieces, who gave them, in which occasion etc. I loved to hear the stories and symbolic meaning of every jewellery.”
"I always had a feeling that jewellery was more than something you wore to look pretty. Jewellery always carried feelings and memories for me.”
Was jewellery significant in your childhood?
“I grew up in the north east of Brazil, in a coastal city called Recife. I remember as a child that my godmother would come to my house on my birthday to give me jewellery that my mother had passed to her when she was a little girl. I always had a feeling that jewellery was more than something you wore to look pretty. Jewellery always carried feelings and memories for me.”
How did you first get into jewellery design?
“Coming from a family out of the industry was hard for me in the beginning. I had to start all on my own. I decided to go to Italy to study for a degree in Product Design at Politecnico di Milano. After that I went back to Brazil and started to work on a jewellery manufacturing company that gave me my first experience in the industry. After one year designing there, I decided to continue my studies and I went to GIA institutes all over the world. In the USA, I learnt about CAD CAM, in India I did my Graduate Gemmologist Course and finally in London I did my Jewellery Designer Course. It was an amazing experience to be able to learn from different GIA institutes around the globe.”
"It was an amazing experience to be able to learn from different GIA institutes around the globe."
What drove you to start your own jewellery line?
“When I finished my Graduate Gemmologist course I was fascinated by the world of the gemstones, and by the amazing experience I had in India. Even there, I never stop designing. When I returned to Brazil I had friends ordering designs and one after the other I started to design and manufacture my first bespoke pieces.”
What are your brand’s core values?
“I believe that my jewellery is a true reflection of my life. What I feel and the experiences I pass through my designs. I connect a lot with my pieces.”
Where do you source inspiration for your collections?
“I have a collection that was designed while I was pregnant, and it’s all about maternity. I have a collection that I started to think about while I was in Cambodia and had an amazing connection with a monk. I have collection that I’m designing now that started while I was walking around my garden. There is no place or time for me to gain inspiration. I do a lot of travel and I love to visit museums and exhibitions but my inspiration comes from daily life, from memories, travels and experiences I have with my family.”
"I am a designer who is truly in love with my brand."
Tell us about the most meaningful piece of jewellery you have ever received…
“The most meaningful piece of jewellery I’ve received was a pair of earrings I used to see my mother wear often when she had an important event. Made in yellow gold, enamel and diamonds, the earrings are a piece of antique Portuguese jewellery from her grandmother and have the shape of a bunch of grapes. My mother passed them to me when my son was born and they mean a lot for me, as I see grapes as a symbol of longevity, fertility, festivities and joy.”
How do you want your customers to feel when they wear your designs?
“I want them to feel special. I’m proud of all my clients because they are special in their own way.”
What does the future hold for the Joana Salazar brand?
“I am a designer who is truly in love with my brand. I work with love and passion, and I love to make my clients’ dreams come true. JS is in continuous development, I love to work on bespoke projects with my clients, but I definitely want more because apart from being a designer, I am also an entrepreneur. I’m working to have my jewellery displayed in selected stores around the globe.”
Joana Salazar's jewellery collection is available to shop on Jewelstreet here.