GET TO KNOW OUR ARTISTS: Erica Molinari Q&A
We’re drawn to Erica Molinari’s work not only for its beauty, but for the meaning & symbolism behind each design.
Every piece is a story waiting to be told, a future heirloom, and a resting place for memories and milestones.
We recently caught up with Erica to learn a little more about the woman behind the jewels and charms we’ve loved for so many years.
You have a pretty incredible story as an olympic athlete-turned-jewelry artist! Can you tell us a little more about your journey and how your studio grew into what it is today?
I spent 18 years racing on the World Cup circuit and competing in two Olympics Games, 1988 Calgary and 1992 Albertville, needless to say this was a 24/7 endeavor.
When I was young, I spent every summer with my grandmother learning to knit, doing needlework, canning vegetables, making jams, and gardening (she had ginormous flower and vegetable gardens), so I have always loved working with hands. I retired from luge with no idea of what I was going to do; 11 years later I took my very first jewelry class and was hooked. I started taking as many different classes as I could, starting with 22k granulation classes, and classes at the 92nd st Y. Shortly thereafter I hired a seasoned bench jeweler with whom I like to say I apprenticed under for 6 years and learned as much as I could which brings us to today.
What was the first piece of jewelry you ever made?
My first real piece of jewelry was a 22k ruby eternity band; I wanted to work in gold right away.
How did that evolve into your incredible designs of today?
My love for learning any new jewelry skill has opened a world of possibilities resulting in more ideas than I have time to make.
What is the inspiration behind the quotes and images used for certain pieces?
Really anything I am drawn to in regard to images. I always have at least 10 pieces in the works. I go back and forth with quotes till I find what I feel works.
What are your favorite materials to work with, and why?
I am a gemstone junkie and need to start using them in my work. GOLD, 22k or 18k, are definitely my favorite metals. My new obsession is enamel. I have gone back to class, so you will see it start showing up in the new collections I am developing.
What piece of jewelry do you own that is the nearest and dearest to your heart, and why?
My grandmother’s wedding band and a strand of Mikimoto pearls given to me from my Mom and Dad when I graduated high school.
You’re always creating and continually coming up with so many amazing new pieces…what drives your creative process?
I always refer to my career in sports as having set up the foundation of who I am today; it’s my nature to always push for more and to be better at what I do. Competition in any field requires focus, determination not to fail, and perseverance to succeed. That coupled with my appreciation and passion for all arts and the amazing gifts mother nature gives us (gemstones and pearls) are inspiration enough.
Explore Erica Molinari’s work here, and shop her entire collection, including brand new designs, rings, bracelets, earrings, exquisite one-of-a-kinds, and endless charms in-store and online on Saturday, April 17 from 12:00 to 5:00 pm. We hope to see you there!
Photos by Laura Barton