Interview with Aziza Clara Navarro Mondonedo
Jewelry designer Aziza Mondoñedo creates a collection of unique rings, necklaces and earrings that reflect the vivacity life. Each unique piece is a realization of a dream, built with a rainbow of colors made up of aquamarine, kunzite, tanzanite, topaz, citrine, moonstones, amethyst, sapphires, quartz, cabochon all in various colors. The play of light on textures such turquoise, agate, sandstone and onyx create different dimensions to the stones and a different sparkle each time the light changes.
Inspiration transcends time, history. Pieces are reminiscent of ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman jewelry that showcase the stone’s bold shapes. Others bear the angular art deco inspired settings of the 1920’s, while others are jaw dropping, rapper worthy bling. The colors, shimmer and shine of everything from a stack of Parisian macaroons to the colors of sunrise on the water lend their hues to the combination of stones.
Aziza, it is a pleasure to meet you. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your childhood?
Pleasure to meet you, too! Well I was born in Las Vegas and grew up mostly in Manila. I went on to study in Switzerland..We traveled a lot as a family. I’m glad to say we’ve been all over most of the world. I started traveling at a very young age and I feel like the bite of that traveling bug has stayed with me through out the rest of my life.
I understand that not only are you an amazing jewelry designer but you are also Vice President of Operations for Restaurant Aziza and Z Bar in Cebu, a very popular venue. How did you move from the corporate world to the jewelry designing world?
Actually, I am still very much involved with The Tinder Box, Restaurant Aziza and Z. In fact, that’s where I got the capital to start my jewelry business. I suppose you could say I always had an artistic side, and designing jewelry became my outlet. In fact, I started designing pieces only for myself and it was my father who suggested I turn it into a business. He always had a good eye for jewelry as well and he though that other people might like my pieces. Thank God, he was right! Besides…I believe that jewelry and food are both art forms, just carried out in different ways.
What do you love most about designing and creating your own jewelry?
I love that I can do whatever I want. I love the freedom it gives me. If I want a piece to look a certain way, I just do it. I don’t need to follow any rules. And most of all, I love it when other people understand my designs and love the pieces as well.
What are some of your favorite materials to work with and create with?
I love working with faceted gems the most. I love anything that sparkles or shines or glitter, therefore I try to create most of my pieces with this effect.
If you could sum up your look and aesthetic in three words, what would they be and why?
Unique. – because I try to create pieces that don’t really match or that aren’t really symmetrical. I try to design unpredictable styles. I feel they’re more exciting when you don’t know what to expect or it’s not what people expect.
Bold. – some of my pieces are pretty big and definitely create a statement. I admit that it takes a certain amount of confidence and guts to wear my designs.
Beautiful. – because of the first 2 words and because of the people who wear my pieces and carry them well.
What type of women would be your target audience?
Women who are modern and edgy but can still be classy and elegant at the same time. Women who are beautiful inside and out. Women who are confident and successful and are unapologetic for the modern development of the world.
What have you taken from your experiences that you felt has made you a better designer?
I believe that being exposed to different cultures and art forms has made me a better designer. Learning new techniques and aesthetics.. Also studying my clients and what they have to say. That’s important for me so I can develop my designs to better suit my market.
Is there a piece that you’re most proud of? If so, why and what does it mean to you?
Probably the Duchess Earrings because they belong to Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas. And also my Murano Necklace because I made it from extra pieces of Murano glass and I didn’t really know how it would turn out. It ended becoming one of my favorite designs because it was a sketch that I kept trying to carry out but never could until I made the Murano necklace. And also because I don’t know if I can find the same pieces to re-create it.
What has been inspiring/influencing your work lately?
For my latest collection, I’ve been inspired a lot by oddly shaped stones and I’m also beginning to use pearls in my designs.
I understand with your next collection you may play with black and white. Can you tell us a little about it?
Actually, this was for my last holiday collection in 2011. I used black and white stones (black onyx, white agate, white topaz and sapphires, light aquamarine, etc) and set in silver and gold. I wanted to create a neutral look and at the same time, show that neutral is anything but boring.
Who are your favorite artists in your field?
I’m a huge fan and customer of Tiffany & Co, Harry Winston and Ivanka Trump. Locally, I love Arnel Papa.
Name the most stunning piece of jewelery you’ve ever seen?
This is too difficult. There are too many. I’m going to say that the jewelry I saw in Antwerp and Turkey are the most breath-taking. Unfortunately I do not recall the name..
When not working, if you are ever not working, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy traveling! To anywhere! The more exotic the place, the better. Whether it’s to a cold place like the Swiss Alps or the warm coastline of the Adriatic Sea, I love exploring every corner of the world.
And I love watching movies, playing badminton, working out and KARAOKE!
Where can we go to find out more about you and your work?
Please visit my website: www.azizacollection.com
Facebook page: The Aziza Collection
or email me at: email@example.com
In the Philippines, my pieces are available in Firma, Greenbelt 3; and House of Laurel.