Graziela, it is such a pleasure to be speaking with you today! Can you share with us your earliest memory of gemstones and what later inspired you to start Graziela Gem?
It is my pleasure!! I was born in Brazil to an Italian jeweler grandparent. My grandfather Mario Barone was a bench jeweler, he taught me so much; from craftsmanship to design and style. I received wealth of knowledge from him and was greatly influenced by the fact that I grew up with gemmological treasures in my backyard. Brazil is one of the largest producers of coloured gems in the world and being surrounded by nature and gemstones daily inspired me to start designing at a very young age.
How do your designs usually come to life. Do you work on several collections at a time or do you focus on creating one particular collection?
I normally try to focus on one gold and diamonds collection and one couture collection every 6 months, but in truth I always end up designing more than this! I have miner friends in Brasil always looking for unusual gemstones and when they send them my way I love designing one of a kind pieces in between collections. It always results into expanding our best collections by adding unique pieces throughout the seasons.
Some of your most glamorous and dazzling designs feature a rare type of Tourmaline, Paraiba Tourmaline. Can you tell us how you discovered this gemstone and what energy would you say it represent for you?
Ahhhh… my favourite gemstone in the world!! Interesting enough I discovered Paraiba Tourmaline 18 years ago while walking GJX (the Gem and Jewelry Exchange) at the Tucson Gem Show. I could not believe that it was a natural gem and from my native country!! I was mesmerised by the vibrancy, the light, the electric energy and lifeforce emanating from this gemstone. Paraiba Tourmaline embodies who I am and what my country stands for; its shades of blue and green are alike the sky, the ocean and the forests which I grew up with. The Brasilian people and their energy, like this stone, brighten up the world! The rarity of Paraiba Tourmaline makes it even more attractive and I started using it in my designs over 15 years ago when it was still very much unknown.
Your jewelry is worn by celebrities and Graziela Gems knows a significant degree of fame, yet you are deeply compassionate. Do you find that the jewelry you create gives you that sense of strength and grounding? What gives you the most serenity?
I've been blessed to have had over 300 celebrities wear my jewelry throughout the years, the fact that my pieces are chosen by Hollywood leading creative personalities is extremely humbling and I feel honoured. Yet every woman that chooses to wear my jewelry pieces is as important as the celebrities who wear them. In my daily life, what brings me the most amount of peace and serenity is my daily walks with my dogs to the lake and my time with my family. Very simple things.
Lastly, I know that you are dedicated not only to jewelry but also to making the world a better place by looking after animal welfare. Can you tell us about your philanthropic passion?
Since a very young age I could feel an extremely deep connection with all animals. This connection is a curse and a gift at the same time! A curse because I feel their pain and anxieties while others around me don’t notice it the same way. Puppy mills, animal farming, and so many others forms of animal abuse exist in the world, I decided to commit to raising awareness and to donate a percentage from all my proceeds to help the betterment of their lives. With the help of many friends and kindred spirits we were able to save over 10.000 animals in the past 10 years and I am the VP of a beautiful organization named www.mcprescue.org where we rehabilitate animals and find them their forever homes. I am passionate about gemstones and jewelry and the fact this passion allows me to helps so many animal organizations gives me the desire to work harder every day.