Emily Armenta’s beginning’s with her company Armenta is unorthodox to say the least. It’s roots were founded at Rice University as a MBA project.
Below is an interview taken conducted by Couture on what’s new at the brand in terms of design, what her use of moonstone in jewelry represents and what influences her design.
Couture: Can you tell us about the Armenta brand? When, where and how were you established?
Emily Armenta: I come from a family of artists so I was introduced to beautiful works of art at a very young age. Surrounded by artists, I have always had a lot of support to express myself through my art work. As a result, I have been designing, sketching and working with stones ever since I was a young girl and it has always been a passion of mine. Designing jewelry has not only been a vehicle for me to express my creativity, but also my thoughts and emotions.
However, I did not realize that my passion could become a reality and a career path until I began the MBA program at Rice (University in Houston, Texas). While taking an entrepreneurship class at Rice, I was given an assignment to create a fictitious company and write a business plan. I chose to focus my project on my passion, which is designing jewelry. I was very fortunate to have the support of the school and an amazing mentor who not only believed in me, but also gave me a chance to fulfill my dream.
Couture: What is new at Armenta in terms of design?
EA: We are super excited about working with ancient artifacts from ruins in Eastern Europe as well as organic materials like tortoiseshell and abalone. I like that they each have a certain story and resonate with history. There is romance in reminding us where we’ve come from.
Couture: What is unique about your design? What sets Armenta apart from other brands?
EA: For me, jewelry is about the creative process and the deeper meaning behind art. Therefore, I believe that it should not be limited by one element, but rather explore all elements and create the unexpected. Thus, I believe that jewelry is both heavy and light. I believe that there must be a balance.
Armenta is a luxury brand that isn’t afraid to be bold and daring in its design point of view. Through its unusual combinations of metals, gemstones and diamonds, Armenta has created intricate, artisan jewelry that has a high perceived value and evokes a passionate response from consumers who are looking to differentiate their wardrobes. Armenta is a pioneer in developing new types of products whether it is with our hand-crafted jewelry or one of the brand extensions to come.
Couture: What metals and stones do you work in, and why? What do you like about them?
EA: We use a lot of symbolism in the collection and add stones that have a mythical past. For instance, moonstone was used in jewelry because it is believed that the stone was formed from the light of the moon. It is believed to bring good fortune, to enhance passion, and balance the yin and yang and is said to protect women and children. In early times, it was believed that one could see the future if the stone was held in the mouth during a full moon.
We also use ancient stones such as opals, which takes its name from the Latin word “upala” meaning “precious stone.” It is believed that the opal is the symbol of hope and purity. They called it “cupid paederos”–child as beautiful as love–and thought the wearer safe.
Couture: What influences your design?
EA: I do a lot of soul-searching before I design. There is a lot of thought that goes into what I want the collection to say to the women who wear our jewelry and what message we want to deliver. I believe that through art we have a voice and a message that needs to be heard. The underlying message that is intricately woven through out each collection is to challenge the status quo, embrace diversity and embrace the struggle to achieve something of greatness. Greatness does not come easily and does not come without sacrifices. Therefore, there is a lot of symbolism that is used throughout the collection and a story is told in each piece of jewelry.
Since so much thought goes into the collection designs often come to me at night or in a dream, which is one of the reasons for the midnight collection. In addition, I am inspired by other artists and their stories they tell through their art or the struggles that they have overcome. Therefore, many of the pieces are inspired by works of art found throughout Spain, such as poetry, paintings, architecture, and sculptures. Certain pieces are physical representations of images described in poetry or other works of art, which is to pay homage to the artist’s message of inspiration.
Couture: Who is the Armenta customer?
EA: Our customer is a passionate woman with heart, soul and spirit.