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Elizabeth Street Jewelry's founder and owner Katie Finn (side note: megababe) is managing what other designers can only dream about; she's found the line between old-fashioned and contemporary and she's not letting go. Taylor Swift was spotted on the cover of GQ sporting one of her fabulous opals, and Katy Perry recently bought an enormous diamond off Finn (if Orlando buys one, then we'll speculate). Originally from New Orleans and inspired by things like the artsy quality of paint chipping off old buildings, Finn herself is both old-school and modern, with a Jessica Rabbit figure, gorgeous tattoos, and a smart, polite manner.
Having moved out of New York, Finn's creations are all hand-crafted in her LA studio, and she has a preternatural knack for finding the perfect gems—her current work with opals is off the chain—not to mention sourcing luscious, high-karat gold. With an aesthetic she describes as "loosely based off the contents of my grandmother's jewelry box," it's no surprise that Finn has forayed into bespoke bridal rings, using lots of rose cut diamonds and mastering the art of pavé. We sat down with the designer and got the scoop on her inspirations, tips for creating the ideal ring stack, and her favorite shopping spots in LA.
What are your favorite gems or precious stones to work with?
It varies with what I find when I'm buying. I'm really feeling opals lately. That fire and coloring is so celestial. But I always have a soft spot for diamonds which is a good thing because I love doing custom engagement rings.
What goes in to putting together the perfect ring stack?
Well, for me I don't really tend towards a dainty stack. I like a lot of variation in stone color, texture and height. The more chaos, the better. As long as it's functional. You have to be able to use your hands no matter what.
Where do you currently draw the most inspiration from?
Stones. I start with the stone and work the shape of a piece off that. I love this too because it gives me miles of free will when designing. I don't really sketch. I start by carving waxes for rings or layout the stones how I want them to configure in the piece and go from there. I try not to look at a lot of current designers these days; it's really important with all this social media madness not to be too derivative and the best way for me to avoid that is not let other designers imagery sneak into my subconscious.
Give us your 5 favorite shopping spots in LA.
1. The Reformation (I'm standing behind brands that are producing locally and using environmentally conscious processes. Plus all their girly sexy dresses really appeal to me).
2. Mohawk General Store.
3. Just discovered THE LINE BY K: such sexy easy pieces. Made in LA, she only has an online store as far as I know.
4. Pretty much all the great little spots in Atwater Village; it's close to my house and the farmers market is rad.
5. Being that I moved here from New York I'm still always thrilled to cruise down Abbot Kinney in the middle of winter dressed for warm weather.
How would you describe your brand?
That description is constantly changing for me. I'd say sensual and precious. I don't think of my work as being on trend. I avoid that, I want it to have staying power for generations to come. So, sexy modern heirlooms; that feels right to me right now.