Cyntia Tomi: Balance with Line
Cyntia Tomi expresses her culture by implementing traditional Japanese elements into her design. Working in different mediums, each piece “transmits ‘lightness, despite the material used.” Tomi created homages to her international influences, from her time studying in Italy to her connection to Brazil. Her signature is the attention to elegant geometric shapes within each piece. Pietra Communications sat down for an exclusive interview, to explore Cyntia Tomi’s design journey.
You have been all over the world, from studying jewelry in the Florence, to continuing to study and work in the US. How did the travel and cultural influences impact your jewelry journey?
Living in different countries gave me the opportunity to see how people live, get to know their lifestyle – this helps me to understand which jewelry style will be more appealing to each population.
In Italy, you’re surrounded by great designs. You can find inspiration in churches, fashion, furniture, cars and even home appliances. I remember admiring the domes in the churches of Florence. The big vault, with no apparent supporting structure in place, gives an impression of lightness and balance, which I apply to my designs. The Cupula Earrings and the Duomo Ring are examples of these influences.
In Valencia, Spain, I was introduced to the great architect Santiago Calatrava, when visiting the City of Arts and Science designed by him. His work strongly speaks to me. The geometric lines and his concept of movement have inspired me many times.
How do you feel your Japanese roots have influenced your designs?
When I look at pictures of their traditional tatami rooms, I see a lot of lines and shapes I try to achieve in my designs. The lightness of the material, the simplicity of their modern design and attention to detail are qualities I admire and follow when in my own designs.
When you are designing a new piece or collection, do you have a routine to get into the zone? How do you decide on what aesthetic gets used for new pieces?
Every time I feel inspired and start creating a new collection, I do a lot of image research on modern architecture and furniture design, as well as revisit some old sketches while listening to classical music. Classical music helps me get in the zone.
Sometimes, the details of a building facade or furniture design are what get my attention. When a specific shape or design speaks to me, I can immediately visualize what it would look like in a ring or in an earring. Then, I start drawing the first piece which will unfold the whole collection.
The aesthetic of the new pieces will naturally depend on my state of mind at that moment.
The Fences Collection was created right after I overcame my depression. I remember how important it was to me that the lines shown on each piece were in balance and controlled in a perfect geometric shape. When my emotions were confused, I had to find a way to balance and control them.
Can you speak to your creative process? What inspires you, and how do you work on a typical day?
I’m very detail-oriented, so I have this insight by looking at an image. It’s the challenge of creating a piece of jewelry with simple geometric elements to make a statement piece that really motivates
My main inspiration are the clean geometric lines I can find in any type of design (modern architecture or furniture). My big challenge now as a small business owner is that I have to overlook every aspect of my business, which is very time consuming. I split my time between design, production, advertising, and management.
I have an office at home where I work every day.
What do you think is the most important part of the jewelry making process?
Every step is essential to obtaining the final product to correctly reflect the way you created it in your mind. But I believe the most important part is when you first develop the prototype based on your idea, which I have found that not every idea turns into a jewelry that may be comfortable, esthetically pleasing or easy to produce, so modifications are made from this prototype. The concept in my jewelry is that it’s not only beautiful, but also easy to wear.
The Colors of Brasil collection mixes a myriad of gemstones and geometric shapes. What inspired this collection, and what does it mean to you?
The collection was a homage to Brazil. I wanted to use the colorful gemstones from Brazil to represent the sunny weather and the lavish colors in the Brazilian nature. During the pandemic last year, I added two new pieces to the collection – Vitrale Earrings and Ring. I felt the need to make pieces that made me remember how colorful life can be.
What celebrity would you love to see wearing your pieces next, and why?
Michelle Obama. I’d love to see my work in an intelligent and kind woman like her. I think her strength, drive and elegance would accent my jewelry.
What is the next step you would like to take for your career and brand?
I’m now in the process of moving back to the U.S. and I’m very excited to bring my work to a new market outside of Brazil. Being able to have my work appreciated there is a dream come true.
Can you tell us about your favorite jewel you’ve created?
One of my favorite pieces is the Cylinder earrings. The process of making these earrings was so exciting to me. I wanted a statement earring, so it had to be large and look expensive, but at the same time, comfortable to wear. It was quite a challenge specially because I had very little experience in making jewelry at the time. The first thing people notice when trying them on is how comfortable they are to wear.
If you could go back in time and speak to your past, up-and-coming entrepreneurial self, what business advice would you give?
I had to study and learn how each step of my business works. In the beginning, we have to take on every step of the process, which can be quite challenging. You increase your chance of success when you have detailed expertise of the operations of a business.