Meet our next #FREDAGirl, Sausalito neighbor, and jewelry designer behind our latest collaboration, Sarah Swell. We love Sarah’s organic design aesthetic, inspired by ancient civilizations and her ability to create accessories that are both feminine and tough. She wholly embodies our FREDA Girl and we are so thrilled to have collaborated with her for our Pre-Fall collection.
Shop the collaboration here and get an inside look at Sarah’s seaside design studio below.
We are longtime fans of your namesake jewelry collection and each own more than our fair share of few pieces. Tell us a bit about your journey to now. How did you get into accessories design?
Aw, thanks! I’ve always been creative and was pursuing a fine arts path after high school while living in Boston. I soon realized that studying painting most likely wasn’t going to also satisfy my dream of being a business owner. I took a jewelry class on a whim and fell in love with the process. Jewelry seemed like a much more viable way to combine creativity with business. I decided to drop out of art school and move to California where I attended a jewelry trade school. I continued on to work for other designers before launching my own company in 2009. And, clearly never left California!
Where do you find inspiration and how do you stay inspired?
My two main sources of inspiration are nature and ancient civilizations. I’m constantly out in nature, observing shapes and textures. I also do a lot of research on ancient and antique jewelry online, at the library and by visiting museums. I stay inspired by seeing how customers style their jewelry and I also pay attention to what is happening in the fashion and design world.
Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished piece. Any standouts or longtime favorites?
I always have a sketchbook on hand for times when creativity strikes. It’s difficult for me to sit down and design on cue. Usually, sketches and ideas from over time come together to form a new piece of jewelry. The idea is then hand carved into wax and cast in metal, or completely made by hand out of sheet metal and wire. I’ve always been proud of my fishbone designs. They are the most technically interesting pieces we make and also feel really great to wear.
A favorite piece that you own? Why is it so special to you?
It would have to be my engagement ring, which is special for obvious reasons, but also because it holds my grandmother’s diamond. I created the ring myself and in a nod to Egyptian revival jewelry, it features pyramids and snakeheads – very nontraditional!
Best part of doing what you do and biggest moment? Any regrets?
I love when couples pick up wedding rings we’ve created for them and their faces just light up. It’s pretty magical to be involved in such a special process and purchase.
One of my biggest moments was opening our flagship studio and store, it has always been a major dream of mine.
Regrets? Sometimes I do regret working away ALL of my 20’s. There probably should’ve been a little more leisure time involved during that period of my life.
Create things, travel as much as possible, eat good food and love hard.