Hey Babe LA, and the Power of Raw Gemstone Jewelry

Our interview with Renata, Creative Director of Hey Babe LA, is an illuminating exploration into the heart and soul of her latest creations. Renata’s passion for non-traditional and raw gem jewelry shines through as she shares insights into her collections. Each piece, infused with Latin American influences and mystery, tells a story of connection, self-acceptance, and spiritual awakening. Renata’s journey, from her background in design and advertising in Brazil to her ethical sourcing practices, underscores her commitment to creating not just jewelry, but purposeful artifacts that inspire and empower. Fostering community and embracing diversity, Renata envisions Hey Babe LA as more than just a brand—it’s a movement toward self-discovery and collective growth. Join us as we delve into Renata’s world of beauty, valor, and integrity, where jewelry becomes a conduit for personal transformation and human connection.

We were delighted to meet you at the Centurion show this year. Can you tell us about your most recent collection, and its meaning to you?

It was my pleasure to have a beautiful exchange with Olga, from Pietra Communications and find our common love and meaning behind non-traditional and raw gem jewelry. The 2 recently evolved collections are baptized Macrame & Higher Self. Individually, they each speak of the different facets of the human body and spirit and how we do not have to define ourselves as only one thing.

Macrame is inspired by my grandmother and the Tree of Life: the weaver and the web, and in between the process by realizing our connection with ourselves and nature are one in the same. Higher Self is divided into 3 capsules, Chakras, Portal, and Alchemy. Chakras is about how we experience the world from different energetic and polarizing points of view; Portal speaks through the heart as our center and witnessing the Present moment as an active participant to heal our Past and how to attract a deserving Future; Alchemy, which features one of a kind gems in tandem with the concept of us being unique Human Beings. Each is cut in ways to celebrate inclusions, rutiles, and other physical aspects of the stones which in gemology are often perceived as imperfections. All Collections are a celebration of self-acceptance, as we are, shaping ourselves in our diverse walks of life and the world.

The Women’s Jewelry Association WJA has been instrumental in your journey; you were specifically chosen for their prestigious Loupe Project. What was that 6-month process like, and what would you say is the most important thing you took from it?

It was a humbling and expansive experience. When I approached the program, it was the last day for the deadline, I had only one best-selling product and a lot of excitement about it, without means of monetization to its highest potential. The popular Elo Necklace which had gone viral. That necklace probably has traveled more than many people I know, by having 14 million global views on a post created by a hired collaborator at the time, just on Instagram. Coming into JLP of course I knew I had a great product, but how could I make that into a collection, or even a business. Having strategic feedback to what was already working: brand message, product design, visual language, and a resonating target audience, helped pivot, direct, and create a growth strategy for the brand.

There was a clear point of view from the perspective of Industry Peers. Perspective was obtained not only from the seasoned WJA Mentors. By observation of  my fellow classmates’ collections and their own experiences and hurdles, it gave me perspective of the current market as a whole and what else was out there. Since we are emerging artists, not only we were going through the same, in our own specific experiences, we were able to give each other perspective and support from the edge of our own seats.

After 6 months, I was able to identify what was good, better and best from my collection, and what needed to be burned in a fire. By the end I was equipped to have figured out pricing, narrow down metals I was graduating from and to, and give legs to cohesive collections. It took me from a solely DTC, to scaling it into wholesale environments that generated repeat and consistent products. I was able to graduate from single one-of-a-kind minerals, into diverse applications that were scalable.

Organically incorporate beautiful briolette style cuts inspired by Vogel Crystals and other one-of-a-kind cut gems that were not necessarily only raw minerals. I was finally able to determine the common thread in the geometry of all my collections. I was quite proud and relieved at the end. Little did I know my graduation party was coming via participation at Centurion.

What an amazing experience that was. Despite the very narrow window of preparation we had for time, it truly brought it full circle. Both Sardwell and I really were cheering each other on and being very supportive to each other while trying to prepare in the 3 weeks we had been gathering information to be able to curate our cases.

It reminded me a little bit of my previous career in advertising, where you learn by being thrown in the fire. But what a fire we built. It was spectacular. We felt well-received by the community of retailers, marketing, and past WJA members. Under the leadership of Jacqueline Cassaway, one of the past presidents it was very enlightening how to direct attention and approach attendees from different parts of the industry. It was a masterclass in itself. Overall, Centurion has proven that there is a friendly and supportive community of jewelers once you are with the right players. I proudly will wear the WJA badge and I recommend the JLP to anyone who is truly looking to embrace themselves and go quantum. But I will say, it is truly what you make of it.

My takeaway is that community is a very important aspect of the business as well as the foundation to what we create as human beings. Human connection is something that we will never evolve, which is the foundation of our existence.

Can you share a bit about how your background in design and advertising in Brazil influenced your jewelry designs at HeyBabe LA?

I believe my background helped me build my “brand” and I put the brand in quotes, because it feels bigger than that. It feels like purpose. By understanding people, I could holistically build a community of like hearted individuals. Just doing jewelry is not the purpose, it’s part of it. It’s uncovering the larger component it serves.

I understand that may sound strange to people when I first approach it from this angle. But when you create something that serves a purpose of healing or awakening something profound in people, it becomes something others want to be a part of. Because you are creating something not for the creator or the creation, but the ones who appreciate that art to heal within the expansion of their own hearts, which is restoring faith in themselves and confidence to live a life well lived. We all have a gift, and we often seek for that to be seen, but for it to be seen we must first reveal it and see it ourselves.

Sometimes we feel misunderstood by it and tend to see our gifts as imperfections. My goal is so we shift that mindset through jewelry. It sounds big, and it is, but internally that is a very small shift. Through looking at an object that acts as a daily reminder, something beautiful to look at, acts as a practice that reminds us of our own beauty. To adorn becomes an act of embodiment of the beauty within.  That is why I work with raw gems, because learning to love the imperfect, allows us to love the imperfect within, as an act of self-compassion and self-forgiveness, that can channel and focus the ability we have to transform ourselves into seeing our highest potential. We hear this as being a “woo woo” or new age concept, but if you think about it, it is deeply rooted in science and studies of humanist arts,  philosophical teachings and psychological tools to elevate consciousness and heal depression and even social anxiety. This has been around for thousands of years and it’s rooted in our history. And so is jewelry, which I am confident was created with that purpose since its inception. I design to evoke emotion, but also to remind souls of their purpose. When we are reminded that we even have a purpose an object of art becomes an empowering tool.

Which it brings me to advertising also merely being a tool. A single step to this staircase,  that allows me to make this belief approachable and linear from a communication standpoint. It also allows me to get to know my consumer in more humanist fashion. When I am able to create something that serves people and the greater good of the world, I too, awaken my purpose. It completes the circle.

You describe your work as infused with Latin American influences and mystery. Could you elaborate on how these elements come out in your current collections?

It all comes from ancestral knowledge and knowledge within, which is one in the same. We always dance with the topic of purpose, consciously or not. We always wonder and toy with the questions “ Why Am I here?” “Where do I come from” – All the allegories created through time within history have tried to answer that question.

The mystery doesn’t belong to the South American culture only. But through the South American culture, there is a way of looking at it from a certain lens. The warm Latin American way of living combined with the ancestral spiritual component and mysticism around crystals, presents itself as a more purposeful way of living. It’s not the only way of living a life of purpose, but it’s one of them that is generally unknown to the North American Continent. The indigenous from Brazil believe we find our gifts and purpose by reawakening our relationship and harmony with nature. By going back to it consciously. When we look at it from those principles, there is no mystery at all. The mystery is to uncover the personal interaction within those parameters within ourselves and bring that back into the world we live in. When we make that as part of our reality, we live a fuller and more purposeful life.

I bring this into my collections by creating a journey that allows one to travel through their own awakening. It is actually very interesting to see people connecting with different pieces. Because the pieces they connect to normally tell me what stage they are in their awakening. The Chakras collection is about the duality of the world. Two opposing concepts that create a threshold of experiences. Although oftentimes we feel these experiences are outside of ourselves – they are actually internal. We are the creators of those experiences. Even when they don’t feel good and bad things seem to happen to us. I like to reframe that these experiences happen for us, because we choose the point of view from which we can experience them. It highly depends on what energy we put into them.

Chakras is a collection about those energy centers, expressing it through colors that represent each energetic channel we use to go through life moments. We experience the world through channels of grounding, creativity, empowered action, emotional intelligence, rapport, intuition and higher intelligence. And for each of these, there are engineered AAA Triplet Quartz,  that are hand dyed and featured in emerald cuts sitting on a double band of 14k Yellow Gold and 0.04ct lab grown diamonds. It made sense to have them hand dyed, and the diamonds be engineered, which speaks to the fact that we, as humans, are the creators of our own reality. And we often mimic nature although most times we make an effort to stay separate from it.

Portal is all about the self and mastering the way of walking life through the lens of our heart. Understanding that we are and hold the power to heal our past and envision our future through the resent moment. For that I chose three Vogel cut crystals that point to the center of a round pendant so the wearer is reminded to stay focused on their hearts. This design is very connected to the basic forms of sacred geometry.

Ascension is made of one-of-a-kind gems which are selected based on many features that normally would get them rejected in the world, where traditionally only perfect diamonds have value. Like human beings, imperfections are what make gems unique and through them we celebrate the imperfections within ourselves. And instead of feeling like they are what is wrong about us, they shift into being what is right about us, our gift. For this collection, I use Citrine, Spessartine Garnet, Labradorite, Malachite, Moss Agate, and Rutilated Gems, like Topaz and Quartz. They all display qualities like inclusions, rainbows, rutiles, and interesting features. Always in celebration of what makes gems and humans unique.

Discuss the significance of the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah and Sacred Geometry in your designs, and how do these concepts manifest in your work?

The way I have been looking at life as of recently is that everything follows the same geometry. And as we get closer into the smallest of creatures, like an atom, we realize the way it reacts and carries itself in the world, it is the simplest form of being. If you run a scientific experimentation of two atoms that react on a petri dish, you will realize life works very much in the same way. In that small microscopic existence, it is just simpler. Atoms do not have the compulsion of emotion, motives around social conditioning and all the other layers we create to shape our reality and give ourselves limits and parameters to what is ok and what isn’t ok. Atoms simply react, attract or repel, without judgment to what is right or wrong. And they are true to their Blueprint. The same is the Universe, which is too large to have those constraints. So the one thing that ties all of those together is one simple spiral that we call the golden rule which is also the foundation of sacred geometry. And if we are to bring a human component to this structure, with our human traits, we bring in the Virtues of Humankind, which is the tree of life. The Tree of Life has been a topic of study throughout history and has been interpreted in many ways by religion, science and the arts, by masters like Leonardo Da Vinci, Helena Blavatsky and Marcel Vogel even, who explored all branches of the tree of life of the Kabbalah through the exploration of their own gifts.

The physical manifestation of my work through design, uses the foundation of that geometry. The foundation is the triangle and the rhombus.

My best-selling necklace, Elo, and its collection is probably the one that encompasses this most clearly from a visual standpoint, as well as the Portal Collection. Elo Modular Convertible necklace in 14K yellow gold has a mesh, patent-pending cradle setting with moveable rondelles giving access to a removable gemstone. It is inspired by macrame and crochet which comes from my grandmother as my ancestral point of origin.

Most of my clients, who purchase this piece, are mineral lovers because of the ability to transform their collection of raw minerals into jewelry. Some of them are in the spiritual community, and use their necklace for self-healing, breathwork, intention setting, and healing others. They connect within and see it as a bridge to connect with nature and our planet. For that purpose, I enjoy using rough and raw gemstones. For the particular purpose of the healing arts, I enjoy using and teachings behind Vogel Crystals. Those are custom cut by a lapidary I work with out of clear quartz. I also have been exploring other quartz derivatives like Citrine, Smoky Quartz, Rose Quartz, and Amethyst, as well as other stones that do well with that cut, like Obsidian, which are linked to native american principles and usage as tools for healing as well.

Vogel crystals are cut based on the Tree of Life, which takes us back to answering the question and the significance of it in my work. The Tree of Life holds our foundation, to physical, emotional, mind and spiritual bodies. It is the basic blueprint and structure of our chakra system and our energy centers that encompasses our meridians and nervous system. My goal is when you explore the Tree of Life, you get to explore Archetypes. Those Archetypes give you a path of ancient and lost knowledge to explore yourself in a way you haven’t yet.

By looking within you reveal the mysteries that lie within you. Setting intention to what your mission is and finding your greater purpose, instead of thinking you are here to simply live a life of conditions that need to be met. I hope whoever wears my jewelry explore themselves deeply. That they may realize they are a point of departure to all they create. And in that same process I hope they realize they are also a point of connection. Realizing we are in it together, connected and each have a unique contribution to create a better world. The world we want to birth as the new ancestors reviving the renaissance of the old forgotten knowledge: to KNOW THYSELF to become instruments of goodness.

To center is to orient our hearts. Which brings us to Portal, which is about using the heart as an instrument of presence to harness this goodness and use it in the everyday. Portal uses the triangle as the basic foundation and hexagons and the circle to bring it into unity. Three 6 sided vogel cut gems, set on the inner portion of a ring, pointing to one single direction: the center of the ring. This design was created to remind us of our wholeness and completion when we are present. When we look within, we are in harmony and safe. The triangle is the most stable structure, and the 3 gems are placed on the ring from each point of a triangle, pointing downward so we remember to look within and stay grounded. The triangle is the shape of creation, the trinity created by two concepts coming together: the manifested world created by a world of duality becomes more colorful when the number three comes into play. The third-party brings in the spectrum of two items combined. It is there to remind us to respect our process. Which some of us call time. But time has been a concept hijacked from us. Because not all of us work at the same timeframe for things. Some of us slower, some of us faster, and a whole spectrum in between. Especially today with technology, we have forced ourselves in the constraints of consuming at an accelerated and inhuman pace. Portal reminds us that time and rhythm can be harmonized with presence, and honoring our personal process. It is when we are able to identify the opportunity that best serves us, instead of taking too much in for fear of missing out. The present moment is the portal to healing our past, and using that healing as the instrument to bridge ourselves into our future and fulfilling our vision. It is the only way into living a life of wholeness.

We know that ethical sourcing of raw and polished gemstones is important to you. How do you ensure that you are responsible sourcing, and why is this a cornerstone of your brand and ethos?

I look to work with family businesses. Businesses like mine. But I also look for referrals and connections to businesses that share the same values. When they don’t, they quickly reveal themselves. I also am looking to serve the community in a greater way. The next steps, is to partner with a Mine in Brazil, which is family-owned, by a fellow in the business who is very respected. He and his wife, synchronically met Marcel Vogel. They both are involved with community and humanitarian actions, which I am partaking in and hoping that will increase positive social impact. More and more, I am looking to partner with sustainable companies, responsible practices and humans who are in service of the greater good.

I hope to bring beauty, not just through aesthetics. The ethos of my brand lies on 3 pillars: beauty, valor, and integrity. Beauty of the heart, the one that is responsible for courage, which is the one who acts with heart, from the Latin cor. Valor, which is the one who stands for others, even when in the face of danger, especially in battle, letting go of control and leaning on emotional intelligence and diplomacy to reach the greater good. Integrity, which is the most important to reach the ultimate truth, which isn’t individual, but collective. Elo necklace is the symbol of all those, and the official adornment of that movement.

I have just affiliated with organizations and made contacts with gemstones dealers who were in Phoenix at Centurion and AGTA in Tucson and am now doing business by referral with businesses that are connected to trusted contacts and industry peers. To me community is what creates these trusted partnerships and I am looking forward to growing in that direction. My next step is to look into Fairmined gold and some non-profits that are connected to that organization that restore the land and teach miners how to mine gold without mercury and consider their well-being in the process of mining by doing it safely and consciously.

You mentioned to us that one of your priorities is fostering community through Hey Babe LA. What successes have you found so far with that process, and what do you think the jewelry community can do to better develop community with its customers and other art and fashion-related industries?

I tend to listen to what my customers are going through. What is the current cultural moment but ultimately what we are going through together. Having community creates a sense of knowing that whatever they are individually going through, the community is also going through. They are not alone. I think when we had a piece of content go viral via a collaborator we were able to see people sharing what they loved and having the pleasure to see something transforming before their eyes in a surprising fashion. When they see something like that and its potential, they recognize the same potential within themselves.

The next step is to take this into the real world.

What are your aspirations for the future of Hey Babe LA?

Expanding the collection and creating a bigger community in a physical space is the goal. Not just business-driven but also as a way to serve the community. In an increasingly fragmented world where the search for meaning and purpose becomes ever more urgent the idea of getting together in community commands attention. In a collective space we will be curating jewelry and crystals but also other disciplines that support expansion. We are going to be launching day retreats to and retreat experiences where we can be in our joy, get back to nature and connect with it and each other through all senses.

By communing with empowered humans in this space, we could start a bigger movement and create non-profit and humanist movements that support other creators who want to study the arts we will be curating. The start of that is a collaboration I am working on the details already, but it’s still confidential, that will serve this greater purpose. The product and collection we are designing will provide a percentage to this cause. Of course, we will continue to be doing one-of-a-kind pieces, expanding the textures of macrame style jewels and potentially try collaborating with other brands that are fashion-driven with both clothing and accessories.

Tell us your personal and professional mantra.

I rather regret something I have done than something I haven’t done. Then transmute those regrets into milestones, like a pearl is to grains of sand

The true power of ancient wisdom lies in its ability to transform the world one heart at a time.

You are a human, a parent, a friend, a partner, a multitude of avatars, so why should your jewelry be only one thing?

Learn more about Hey Babe LA on their website https://heybabe.la/, or follow Hey Babe LA on IG here.

Image Credit: Docu Style Photographer, Li Michelle

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