comScore

How 2 local jewelry designers, Jac & Violet and Las Ranas, find inspiration

Las Ranas, Upper Case Photography, Las Ranas

Las Ranas, Upper Case Photography, Las Ranas

The Twin Cities has a bustling jewelry design scene, with new talents popping up every day. 

You may have seen the designs of two new favorites, Jac & Violet and Las Ranas, while shopping at your favorite boutique or pop-up market. We chatted with each line’s founder about their inspiration, favorite trends, and their design process.

Jac & Violet

Jac & Violet Upper Case Photography, Emily Isakson Photography

JAC & VIOLET

The name Jac & Violet comes from Andrea Gharritt’s two grandmothers, Jacqueline and Violet, who inspired her art, style, and character in countless ways. Gharritt, who is a full-time dietitian and body confidence coach, has been making jewelry since she was just six years old, and her bold, colorful, eye-catching designs can be found at Niche Boutique in St. Paul, the Vine Room in Hopkins, and online.

Citypages: How did you get started making jewelry?

Gharritt: I still remember my first tub of beads and materials that I would cart around everywhere. I was that kid, always prepared with arts and crafts to keep myself entertained. Thankfully, my designs and materials have evolved over the years, but that creative space has always been a constant in my life.

Jac & Violet is my side hustle… It's my version of art therapy. It's the time when I get to turn off my left brain a bit and find that space that just feels effortless and stimulating at the same time.

Citypages: What inspires you?

Gharritt: Everything.... I literally sketched up a collection idea the other day after catching a glimmer of inspiration from my friggin' shower curtain. I brought my sketch book in the bathroom and sat there sketching for a good 20 minutes. 

But my more sustainable inspiration comes from women. Because powerful women make the world go around. Each collection I create is named after a powerful woman who inspires me: friends, family, artists, legends, movers and shakers.

Citypages: How do you go from inspiration to finished product?

Gharritt: The primary materials I work with are polymer clay, gold foil, and brass. How I use these and in what combinations depends on the collection.

I have sketchbooks where I keep magazine clippings, drawings, paint chips and inspiration that I curate as I find it. I will flip through these for inspiration and decide on my color story. 

Once I've decided on my colors, I will sketch up some shapes and styles that I want to make sure I create. If I am doing a pattern with the collection, I will also sketch a few ideas for this as well. But then I take a step back and let things just flow. The harder I try to plan, the less fun I have. 

Citypages: What are your favorite jewelry trends for the coming season?

Gharritt: Some things I am loving and playing with in my fall collections are:

Asymmetry & mismatched earrings: This is so fun and playful and breaks the rules. Love it.

Statement cuff necklaces: Bring on the bold necklaces again, this time with some strong geometric shapes.

Long earrings: One of the major perks of the materials I use is how lightweight they are. This allows me to create shapes that are big, bold, and sometimes sweep the shoulder, making a statement without killing the wearer in the process.

Hoops: Circles are a common theme in my work. I like to play with these in a variety of ways and have some new designs to cook up to reinvent the classic hoop.

Las Ranas

Las Ranas

LAS RANAS

Candida Gonzalez is a queer Puerto Rican from south Minneapolis who works as a public artist and arts consultant in the Twin Cities. She began selling jewelry just last year, and her colorful, almost-magical pieces are inspired by everything, including tarot and dance. You can find Las Ranas at b. Resale and the Future in Minneapolis, as well as at various pop-ups around the city.

Citypages: What’s the general vibe of your jewelry? 

Gonzalez: The general vibe is magic and empowerment. My jewelry has no gender, although it tends to be more on the femme side. I want anyone who sees my work and vibes with it to put it on and feel empowered, strong, confident, magical, chingonx. The English equivalent of “chingona” would probably be "badass.” In Spanish we use the “x” to make it gender neutral.

Citypages: How did you get started making jewelry?

Gonzalez: I've been making jewelry since I was a teenager. I was a huge rock and crystal nerd as a child, and I have always been interested in how the spiritual properties of different materials can be used to affect and strengthen our energies by including them in our jewelry. I'm fascinated by the power of the things that we use to adorn ourselves with: tattoos, jewelry, clothing, haircuts. 

Citypages: What inspires you?

Gonzalez: I am heavy into tarot, astrology, seasons, colors, crystals, tropical vibes, dance, and magic... As a mixed Boricua, the tropical vibe is always present; when I put on my earrings I want to feel as if I'm sitting next to the Caribbean. 

I'm also inspired by all the chingonxs out there who are pushing boundaries in art, music, gender, sexuality, and politics... I want anyone who puts on my earrings to feel like they can be their biggest selves, that they can live out loud and that they can fight all the toxic, outdated systems and beliefs that no longer serve us as a diverse and inclusive community.

Citypages: What are your pieces made from? How do you go from inspiration to finished product?

Gonzalez: I use a mix of materials: crystals, acetate, laser-cut acrylic, upcycled beads, and charms. I do a lot of bead thrifting at Art Scraps in St. Paul. I love the Beadhive in Minneapolis, and I find fun stuff all over the world. The new sigil line is made of laser-cut acrylic with shells and crystals and came with signature collages and mantras. I'm currently working on another line for the holidays that will represent the twelve zodiac signs.

Citypages: Tell us a little bit about the name Las Ranas. Where did it come from, and why did you choose it for your jewelry line?

Gonzalez: “Rana” means frog in Spanish. I’ve been obsessed with frogs all my life.

Frogs are transformers, beginning their lives breathing water, then growing legs and arms, losing their tails and finally breathing air. They live the final step of their lives between two worlds, air and water. They are the Scorpios of the animal world, transforming and rising from the ashes like the Phoenix. They are environmental alarm bells; changes in specific areas can be seen first by what the frogs are doing.