• isabella_isles_jewelry_interview_zipmagazine
  • isabella_isles_jewelry_interview_zipmagazine
  • isabella_isles_jewelry_interview_zipmagazine
  • isabella_isles_jewelry_interview_zipmagazine
  • isabella_isles_jewelry_interview_zipmagazine
Isabella Isles - creator and founder of Isabella Isles Jewelry.
Pink Venetian earrings.
Crystal Heart Butterfly earrings.
Cowgirl necklace.
Boy necklace, 14k gold vermeil and sterling silver.

    Up - And - Coming: In conversation with Bella Isles - Isabella Isles Jewelry

    26 February 2020

    Los Angeles,

    By Katja Schmolka @katjaschmolka

    With her charming appearance and sophisticated British accent one can only be blown away. Only 20 years old, Bella Isles has been turning the pages for herself by becoming an entrepreneur - creating a jewelry collection Isabella Isles Jewelry and putting little hidden messages into her designs. It is the things she lays her eyes on that come with their own intriguing stories, that fascinate her.

    K.S.: How did you come across the idea to put hidden messages into the design of your jewelry?

    B.I.: I’ve always liked the idea of heirlooms because they carry stories with them. The family jewelry passed down to me through generations holds history within it. Wearing jewelry like this is wearing the stories of those that wore it before you. My favorite garnet ring was once considered worthless by the diamond miners in South Africa that discarded them. But to my grandmother who found the gems, rough cut in a golf course years later in that same place, they became treasured and beautiful. I knew that I wanted my own jewelry to carry meaning because it aids in transforming the jewelry beyond the metal it’s made of. And jewelry can spark conversations, so I think it’s also cool to have something to talk about beyond “I thought it was pretty”.

    K.S.: When was the first time you thought about creating your own collection?

    B.I.: The first time I really thought about creating my own collection was when I was 14. I went out and bought some tools and actual beads (which I say because before this I had been using my dad’s pliers and broken pieces of jewelry) and started putting things together. Creating my own line was put on hold when I was hired a few months later to design for an international company. I’m glad this initial formation was put on hold though, because it allowed me to realize and solidify my own style and also get key insight into a global market. My mentor and old boss constantly uplifted me and instilled a lot of self confidence. 

    K.S.: What do you like most about the creating process? And why did you choose the materials you chose?

    B.I.: That moment when an idea comes to mind for the first time, almost fully formed but very soft and still fragile, is what really makes me want to create. The best feeling though, is grasping those thoughts and solidifying them into something that reflects what you’ve envisioned. From a physical standpoint, this often entails reusing, breaking apart, and fixing jewelry to create something completely new - a palimpsest of sorts. However, no matter what recycled jewelry or parts were used in creating this first collection, I knew I wanted to use precious metals in production. Plating silver jewelry in 14k gold is more sustainable than using solid gold, and is more affordable. It also doesn’t turn your neck green like other plated base metals like brass, and will last forever with a bit of silver polish or a re-dipping in gold.

    K.S.: Do you remember a particular moment of your childhood where you knew that you wanted to work in the creative field?

    B.I.: There was never a particular moment where I knew I wanted to work in the creative field. Physically creating has always been a part of my conscious life - putting thoughts and ideas to paper or clay or metal or wood or any material I can transform. But seeing someone across the world, who has grown up and lived an entirely different existence than me, also appreciating my jewelry is the most rewarding part. Good design brings people together.

    K.S.: Where are you drawing your inspirations from?

    B.I.: For me, jewelry design comes at the intersection of sculpture, fashion, math, and history. I am always looking to the past for inspiration as I think a lot of people have done it right before. In the early days I would piece together broken jewelry because I wanted to be thrifty. But now I consciously use it as an integral part of my creative process. Overall I would say my design process is experimental but at the end of the day, if something looks good, you can tell. It is a feeling you understand without having to explain why or how you know it. Architecture classes taught me this.

    K.S.: You are still in college, how do you manage to be a college student and entrepreneur at the same time?

    B.I.: Managing college and beginning and running a business has been very challenging so far. I’m trying to make the most out of this once in a lifetime experience of undergraduate university while also ensuring I have adequate time to focus on the business side of things. Sometimes it feels like I’m not doing a good job at either school or business simply because I am doing both at the same time. But then I remind myself that I wouldn’t be happy just doing either - I will always want to create, and I will always want to learn. Everyone thinks it will be easier for them in a different setting, like if they had less on their plates for example, but the truth is nobody is ever in their ideal place to do their best. You have to do your best where you currently stand, but also know your own limits and have the courage to change things, if necessary. 

    K.S.: Are there any visions for the future?

    B.I.: I’d like to have a family business and work with my siblings and parents for as long as they can stand me as their boss! With my degree, I would like to scale my business sustainably and then see where things go. Perhaps graduate school or perhaps living in the wilderness on a ranch for a few years: growing my own food and finally learning to ride a horse. Or a secluded island somewhere has always appealed.

    K.S.: If you had one wish that would be granted, what would you wish for?

    B.I.: One wish to be granted: That everyone would listen to one another, properly.

    Thank you for the interview.


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