GiGi Ferranti: Bold and Brilliant
Jewelry Designer, GiGi Ferranti, designs stunning jewelry inspired by her Italian heritage and fashion industry background. A humanitarian and advocate for ethical sourcing, Ferranti creates pieces that reflect each woman’s individuality.
Was there an “ah-ha!’ moment when you discovered your passion for jewelry design, or decided to pursue making your own line? When and how did you decide to start your own business?
After Graduating GIA with my graduate gemologist degree I starting working for David Yurman in production and grading gemstones. I had to check the stones and make sure they were the right color ad cut to fit into the casting properly. Being involved in the production of his designs my creative mind starting exploring, so much so that I left Yurman and went back to GIA for a jewelry design sketch course.
Tell us about the first piece of jewelry you ever made. Have your designs changed a lot since?
The first piece of jewelry I ever made was while in GIA design class. I took a Tiger Eye stone that was my dad’s and re-mounted it in a custom ring that I designed. He wears it all the time and it has so much sentimental value for me! But my first collection I made was sterling silver with 18l gold, it was a very chunky look. My designs since then have definitely streamlined and have become more cohesive as a brand.
Within your designs, you utilize a diamond shape that has become a part of your brand’s signature. Can you tell us a bit about this? What inspired this iconic design element?
I have an infatuation with architectural elements and geometric shapes as they pertain to architecture. I love the symmetry and balance of these elements. The diamond shape really to shape in my Lucia collection wear it mimics stained glass windows with all its colors. The fuller meaning is letting your inner light shine (Lucia means light in Italian) When I visited Italy, the churches and stained glass windows really had an impact on my designs. When you look at one of my Lucia ring stacks, it gives the appearance of one of these stained glass windows.
You mention that you are are deeply inspired by Italian made jewelry from your childhood. Are there any pieces in particular that sparked your interest in jewelry design?
My grandparents visited Italy every year and always brought back gifts of jewelry for me and my sister. There wasn’t a specific piece that inspired me but made wearing jewelry part of my everyday wardrobe. I can say one piece that everyone wore was a solid gold horn. I recently added a horn to my Portofino Collection as well as a baby horn to my charms a piece that was long overdue for me!
To continue, you have also mentioned that your current designs are inspired by your Italian heritage. How is this inspiration shown in your designs?
My recent collection Portofino was inspired by the Italian Riviera. In this case instead of just focusing on just the architecture, I created a collection that was inspired by the landscape of the candy colored buildings and the blue hues of the sea. A place that is picture-perfect, that is synonymous with an opulent lifestyle. The collection features 18k gold pieces with vibrant colored gemstones and brilliant diamonds as well as a Penne Necklace and Bracelet inspired by the penne pasta shape. My Italian horn was first introduced in this collection as well, a piece that was long overdue for me!
Would you say your background in the fashion industry has had an impact your current role in the jewelry industry? If so, how?
Yes, it definitely has! Since I started designing my first objective was to create a collection that was wearable with the current fashion. My goal was to create jewelry that was chic, timeless and wearable no matter what styles you were wearing. You can wear my pieces with stylish sweat suits, jeans, career blazer looks and fancy dresses! My jewelry is not super trendy and I want women to be able to hand down to their daughter’s jewelry that will be enjoyed for a lifetime. I design with my personal fashion style in mind and what I would wear everyday!
How does your experience in gemology differentiate you from other companies in the industry? What drew you to study it?
I think having the knowledge in diamonds and gemstones and their characteristics gives me an informative approach on using the right stones for my designs as far as wearability, quality and price. Also, when choosing a stone for a custom design for a client, you can share the knowledge with them so they can make a good choice for them. This was my second career, when I started researching the industry GIA Institute came up in my search. I wanted to learn more about what I was embarking on, so I set up an appointment to tour the School with the career counselor and immediately fell in love! Being in GIA felt really right for me!
What influenced you to make the decision to use ethically sourced diamonds? Does this decision make the design process more difficult? How do you go about choosing where to source from?
I was at a Rappaport conference about this topic in the beginning of my career. They showed how some of the miners were physically abused in certain regions, it really hit home with me. As a business women, I operate with integrity in all aspects of my job. I don’t think it makes the design process difficult but you need to be more aware of who you are buying from, so it might take more time to get to the right sources. I am a big believer of getting recommendations by people that have been in the industry longer and who have a lot of experience as well as them being a part of organizations like AGTA. I think it’s impossible to always know 100% but I think the industry has come a long way on this topic!
Your company’s slogan is “delicately bold fine jewelry.” How do you manage to create pieces that embody this somewhat polar aesthetic?
I believe this slogan reflects who I am as a person, therefore reflecting in what I create. The delicate side to my personality is being a humanitarian, yet the boldness comes in to play because of my strength. My jewelry has a boldness and strength because of the shapes and construction but the colors and gemstones choices ads the delicacy.
We love that your pieces have a unique and elegant flare. Which of your designs has been your favorite to create?
My favorite design that I created was the One of a kind “Cleaopatra Ring” I took my time to create this ring and I just love the shape, size and gemstones used in the design.. This ring was a winner in the AGTA GemDiva award for eveningwear! It’s my prized Design and I just love it!
Much of your jewelry has a symbolic meaning within the design. Is this an important part of your design process? What symbol in your work resonates with you the most?
The symbolism came after my first two collections. I wanted to give women a reason to buy a piece other than its beauty, precious metal and what gems were used! It is definitely important to me and The Lucia- meaning light resonates with me the most! If you look up inner light- the definition is a divine presence held to enlighten and guide the soul. I think this is important for every individual to have!
A pair of your earrings was spotted on Joelle Fletcher on the Bachelorette. Did this affect your brand?
I actually, did sell them after the show! It doesn’t always lead to a sale, but what it does do is give your brand a credibility with consumers because out of many designers the stylist picked those earrings to show on a celebrity on National TV. This kind of press is amazing and gives you the exposure that a smaller brand needs to get noticed.
Philanthropy is a large part of your company ethos, and you regularly donate to organizations, such as The American Cancer Society and the William’s Syndrome Association. What made you decide to donate to these charities in particular?
For the American Cancer Society, I feel most of us have people in our lives that have been touched in some way by cancer. I had the opportunity through a friend to visit the Hope Lodge in NYC who gives people going through treatment and ther’re caregivers a place to stay while getting treatment. This really resonated with me. The Williams Syndrome is a charity not as well know, but I have a dear friend who has a child with Williams Syndrome, so it was close to home for me.
14. What is next for Gigi Ferranti Jewelry? Are there any styles you are looking to experiment with, or anything or readers can keep an eye out for?
I do have something in the works and hoping to launch before Christmas this year. Not to give it away, but it will be modern, clean and chic – a little younger and playful too!
To keep learning about GiGi Ferranti’s journey and process, visit her website https://www.gigiferrantijewelry.com/, or check out her Instagram @gigiferrantijewelry https://www.instagram.com/gigiferrantijewelry/?hl=en.