Design of the Times: Brooke Gregson

Known for her original creations and unmistakable use of color and craftsmanship, Brooke Gregson is a Los Angeles born designer moving onto her 14th year of designing jewelry. Gregson focuses on attention to detail, the craft of creating jewelry itself and the meaning and purpose of her jewelry to each customer.

A lover of jewelry and art at a young age, Gregson studied Art History and Geology in college before later delving into designing and creating herself. Today, she offers seasonal Fine Jewelry collections, along with Astrology necklaces with diamond constellations. Her signature layering style is created through her hand woven Silk Gemstone bracelets with 18k gold or silver chain, pieces that allow customers to add to their collection and style over time by combining and layering the pieces that reflect their personalities.

You can find Gregson’s works at JCK Tucson 2019, from February 6-9, 2019 at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa. Until then, see what she had to say about her design process, what inspires her, what she’s most looking forward to at JCK Tucson and much more:

We know you had an interest for art and jewelry at a young age. You also have a background in textile and watercolor painting. Did you always have an interest in design, particularly in jewelry, or was it something you were always just attracted to and realized later in life that you wanted to design?
When I was younger I was lucky to be surrounded by beautiful jewelry and art (my father was a collector of both) and showed my admiration of these subjects by focusing on Art History and Geology in College. It took years of gaining confidence and studies before I made the leap to actually creating myself.

What was the initial inspiration for your brand?
From the beginning my brand has developed organically and I can’t say I had any specific inspiration but I knew I had something unique to tell with the Astrology collection which  launched in 2004. This was the first collection to combine my love of texture, Astrology, and symbolism and is still one of my most popular collections today.

What are your other inspirations when designing?
I learned a certain process in design school which starts with observing, studying and then creating from these studies. Although I still draw from this  design school template, it’s important for me to be open to inspiration in other ways. Sometimes I will visit a gem show and find a spectacular shaped  stone and this alone can dictate a whole design process. I also like to draw on my love of architecture and art when designing.  For example, in 2016 I created a collection based around the Architecture of  mexican architect Luis Barragan and the mexican muralist artist Diego Rivera, both who used vibrant colors. Barragan became my biggest inspiration at this time because he loved mixing raw materials such as stone and wood with bright colors and I realized I also loved the juxtaposition of raw gems such as raw diamond with bold gemstone colors.

Can you give us an idea of your design process?
I like to take time to just observe my surroundings whether it be seeing how people wear their jewelry on the street or visiting a museum. I then like to draw and write which starts forming the direction I would like to move with my collection. Although sometimes I will go to a Gem Show and will find the most incredible stone that can sometimes spark the perfect design. The longer I am in the business the more fluid I like to be with the design process because sometime the actually piece comes to life during the actual making!

How long does it typically take to create a piece of jewelry?
The time to create a piece of jewelry really depends on the piece itself. I have just finished a piece that took months to make because of the involvement of different processes such as hand forging, enameling, and engraving all which required different craftsmen. When casting is involved the process can take less time but most of my one of a kind jewelry is made totally by hand so I would say it takes much longer than you think! We also do commission pieces that can range from a simple set band which sometimes only takes a day up to more elaborate commissions which also can take many hours to create depending on the job.

It’s great how you have a signature style of layering different pieces so customers can best reflect their personalities. Personalities often have many layers. If you were to narrow it down into one description, how would you describe your target audience?
My target audience is someone who isn’t afraid to show their own unique personality on their body.

Was your idea of layering jewelry to represent the many layers of the modern woman’s personality created out of a lack of such self-expression in the market? What gave you this idea or was it something that happened naturally as you began designing more and more jewelry?
I have to say it happened naturally but my time spent living in London and witnessing incredible diversity and personality in how people wear their jewelry and clothing was a huge inspiration for me.

How do you personalize your jewelry and designs?
My fascination with textiles has driven me to explore different textures in metals and stones so I tend to wear a mix of shiny and matte, raw and bold. I think personality is multi layered so it’s fun to create the same quality in how jewelry is worn.

You have a number of different collections. Do you have a personal favorite?
This really is like picking my favorite child since each collection has something very meaningful to me. That said, I am very excited about the Talisman collection as it combines so many new ideas I’ve been developing these past few years such as the combination of a textured surface beneath thin enamel work. It’s exciting when meaning and design can come together.

Favorite piece?
I really don’t have a favorite piece but I still dream about a double hinge necklace that was a mix of the most beautiful Boulder Opal and Blue Quartz that had sparkles within the stone. I have never seen anything like it and I don’t think I ever will. It was irreplaceable and I think all my favorite pieces are just that, irreplaceable.

You also use many different stones and hues. Are you partial to any in particular?
I do tend to gravitate towards green and blue hues so you will find a lot of Aquamarine, Blue sapphire, Emerald , Boulder Opal (in blue tones) in my collection. Although lately I have been obsessing over pink and I recently got a hold of some incredible Morganite with peach undertones so I might be moving to the pink side!

What do you think sets your jewelry apart from other companies that specialize in fine jewelry?
Although I sell globally , I am still a small company that likes to work closely with the gem stone sources, makers, and clients themselves. I have always preferred the personal approach to fine jewelry and will always keep it that way.

We are so excited to have you for the first time at JCK Tucson 2019! What are you most looking forward to?
I am excited about heading back to Tucson and being able to exhibit and also take some time to shop for beautiful gems while taking in the beautiful desert surroundings. I am also looking forward to meeting with the other designers and new clients who I know will make JCK Tucson 2019 a time to remember!

What types of pieces or collections can we expect to see from you at JCK Tucson 2019?
I am excited to launch the first part of my Nature collection which has yet to have a proper name but it will be focusing on the beauty of flower forms in nature. I am excited to work with new unique shaped tapered diamonds and organic round sapphire cabochons for this collection!

Learn more about Brooke Gregson here.

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