Interview with Jewellery Designer // GINA MELOSI

 Gina Melosi - Cracked Long Studs in Gold VermeilGina Melosi - Broken Promises Inbetween RingGina Melosi - Cuff Bracelet 

What's your earliest memory of Jewellery making? 

For sure when I was little I fashioned some random bits of beads and stuff together and called it jewellery. I also used to make these friendship bracelets out of embroidery floss and lanyard bracelets at summer camp out of plastic string. Oh and for awhile charm necklaces were super cool - that was all about collecting charms and creating your own piece to show off. With all these kinds of childhood amateur jewel creations, there were elements of meditation, talisman, craft, detail, sharing and creativity that I always enjoyed. I just didn’t put it all together until later on in my head. 
But in terms of ‘real’ jewellery, I suppose that was in high school when I crafted my first piece out of metal. For a few years I took an extra art class. I actually got up early (sort of) and went to school before it officially started to do that. Crazy... Anyhow, I learned how to saw silver. I made a pierced barrette for the hair. I even soldered the clasp/clip, although with assistance from my teacher, I’m sure. 

How did you know this was different to other hobbies?

Hmmm, at the time I didn’t. I never considered it as a viable career until much later on. I just always wanted to be an Artist. Ever since I was 3 I had that aspiration for some reason. Sometimes I was really into becoming an interior decorator, other times I would be sitting around like a geek creating floor plans on graph paper, and by the time I was in high school I got pretty into photography. So that actually became my focus for college, whilst still studying other forms of fine art. I guess I always loved being creative and never really saw myself doing anything else. 

When did you decide to pursue Jewellery making as a career? - How did friends and family members respond to that decision? 

Years later I was living in London and working in bars and clubs and sort of ‘failing’ at trying to ‘do my art’ on the side. I needed a break from thinking about the photography path and not really effectively actioning it. I studied fine art photography but never really knew how to make it work living-wise and also didn’t really realistically want to be flexible with that creative vision. I was lacking focus, and I decided to take some day classes at an adult education centre to help me determine which creative path I wanted to embark on. The first class I took was a jewellery making class where we learned how to make a silver ring in a day. Basically I was sold and never ended up taking the other intro classes I’d intended to explore. I signed up for part-time classes at that school and, for the next two years, learned a variety of jewellery making techniques. I loved working with my hands and metal and fire and tools and thought I could also enjoy creating meaningful objects for other people, whereas with photography, I was less open to expanding my practice to commercial endeavours. 

I then decided to go back to university as I’d always had in the back of my head to get a masters degree. And I wanted to get some design training since the PT jewellery courses I’d taken were really exercises and project-based, less about design. Soooo, it all developed from there as my final project for my Masters informed my first collection and hence, my label.

  Gina Melosi - Cracked Long Studs in Gold VermeilGina Melosi - Broken Promises Inbetween RingGina Melosi - Cuff Bracelet 

Did you feel confident or out of depth when starting out? 

I had zero idea about starting a business. I didn’t really even think about it like that. I just wanted to do my own thing. It now seems so naive. I definitely started before I was ready (which is one of my mentor’s mottos), although I did take some time between graduating and launching the first collection. 

Between graduating and launching the first collection, I was trying to gain as much knowledge as I could, from researching all sustainability and ethics options, to material sourcing and so forth. Thankfully at the time there were loads of EU-funded projects and workshops, which I feel rather grateful for, and I really just ate everything up that I could. 

I felt excited to launch my vision and be part of a small crew trying to produce more ethical jewellery. So yeah, I felt proud of the collection I’d manifested, but was sorta out of my depth in terms of being a solopreneur. I went for it and figured it out, and am still figuring it out all the time, again and again...

Do you feel accepted and understood by the industry you work in? 

That’s difficult to answer. When I first launched some pieces, certain retailers didn’t know how to market them because you didn’t really see many/any examples of multi-finger or midi rings, lobe earrings, and etc. I was also adamant that the materials were accurately described and this was also a challenge at a time when the industry (and jewellery consumers educated on ethics within the industry) was kind of in its infancy in terms of sustainability practices. 

But in terms of now, well I guess sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. But I often feel that way personally anyhow, like the black non-sheep who sometimes fits in and sometimes does not.

I think the collective in which I am working and operating is supportive, and we all champion each other’s work and strengths. So I feel grateful to have found this launch into re-setting up here in Berlin (from London).


Gina Melosi - Cuff Bracelet 

What would you change about the industry you work in? 

I suppose this is the case also with fashion (and jewellery often is a blurred line between fashion, art, design, craft…), but unfortunately there are some people and companies in these industries that take advantage of young/upcoming/independent designers. It gets very tiresome to follow up getting paid for work that has been lost, bought, borrowed, taken etc… No one really talks about this, but why shouldn’t we? I find it very disheartening. Thankfully it is not everyone, and over time I learn to trust my gut more and more and say no when necessary. It’s really important that other professionals I collaborate with in any fashion are also ethical in their approach to running their business.

Have any relationships been hindered by your work?

By my work specifically? I suppose this question ties in with the previous one, and of course I could go on about it, but I choose not to right now as I’d like to concentrate on the positive.

What advice would you give to young creatives starting out?

Take the time to think about and work through what options would best serve your personality. Gain experience. Try some things. You have time to decide. Absorb, reflect, and take action. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice, and direction, but also trust your own creative vision and inner wisdom. 

Gina Melosi - Cracked White Arc NecklaceGina Melosi - Broken Promises Ridge Ring, Gina Melosi - Shattered Fragments Inbetween Ring

 If you could go back in time and choose a different line of work, would you?

I don’t know about that. It ties in with regret, and I don’t want to regret the choices I’ve made, because I would then be a different person. One can always say they wish they knew this and that earlier. Also, I have the opportunity to try other lines of work still, should I chose and when time stays on my side. The other things I’d have loved to do are pretty extreme and require more than your average college degree. If I could automatically be an animal medium/whisperer, I’d not turn that down

Why did you leave your home town?

I’m not sure what my home town is any more! I grew up in a small city in Texas, but my family moved to Houston when I was eight (so I had little choice in that matter, but I actually remember not wanting to leave). Then I spent the next ten years in Houston. I never really considered not going directly to university, but I wanted the opportunity to see somewhere else in the States and this experience of living in a college town. I think my time spent at university was enough in a small town for me, but also my time there led me to a study abroad program in London. Somehow, I ended up going back there two more times: the first for a student visa/work exchange and the second for a relationship. I never intended to spend the next fifteen years there, but somehow that happened! I did my masters and started my business in London. London brought many opportunities, but it is also a city that takes a lot of energy, and it’s a lot to sift through. This is compounded for many freelance artists. So, with Brexit looming and possibly my one chance to experience living somewhere else in the EU, I took some time out and went to India and Sri Lanka, which led me to many other places over the course of year, and eventually to Berlin. Once I fell into Berlin’s lap, it felt right to start to make a new nest again. I felt like I could breathe, and I welcomed the change of energy and environment. I also wanted to expand my professional practice, and it felt like I could have a better quality of life in Berlin whilst still being mobile and working around Europe (obviously Covid wasn’t a thing yet).

 Gina Melosi - Cracked White Bangle with Garnets, Gina Melosi - Cracked Long Studs in Silver, Gina Melosi - Silver Ring

What would you like to improve on this year, in both your personal and work life?

In my personal life, I have some health stuff to resolve. So honestly this is taking much of my focus and energy. I am committed to it, but I would like this to drastically improve this year so I can shift my focus to other aspects of my life, such as the direction and growth of my label and artistic career. 

Work-wise, I have a few things in the works, so to say. I have to use patience and practice flexibility within the framework of where we are today in the world, but I had some professional plans from last year that, after a hiatus, want to fully alchemise this year. It’s in process :)

What about yourself are you most proud of?

I don’t give up easily and I am resilient. I stand behind the work that I create, even when I know there are always ways in which I can improve and refine, both personally and professionally. I also stand by the values that I put into place when I birthed the brand - marrying ethical sourcing/production with conceptual design - that hasn’t changed since Day 1.