Tiffany Kunz is an independent jewelry designer based in Los Angeles. She creates works of art with an eco-conscious approach, focusing on using reclaimed metals and hand-making her pieces in downtown Los Angeles.
In a continued effort to bring light to designers producing their pieces domestically, we reached out to Tiffany to learn more about Tiffany Kunz Jewelry and the designer behind the line.
Darling Magazine: Describe your jewelry line for Darling readers who may not be familiar with your work.
Tiffany: I love creating pieces that transcend fads, compliment a woman’s features and are so comfortable you forget you’re wearing them. I try to have those three elements present in all of the pieces that we create. Using reclaimed and responsibly sourced materials is also very important to me, so we make that a priority for everything we use for the company, from metals to our packaging supplies.
DM: Your grandmother, Ruth LaGrandeur, was also a jewelry designer. How have her designs inspired your pieces? What was it about her jewelry that intrigued you and encouraged you to become a jewelry designer yourself?
Tiffany: Visiting my grandmother’s studio was always so amazing, her approach to jewelry was always very intriguing to me. She embraced irregularly shaped opals (which she cut and polished herself) and imperfect pearls. I think she loved the beauty in imperfection and would create around it rather than trying to cut it away or hide it. I think that perspective has greatly influenced my aesthetic and idea of what I find interesting in life and in jewelry design.
DM: You obtained a graduate gemologist title from the Gemological Institute of America. What does this course of study entail and how has obtaining this degree contributed to your artistic vision?
Tiffany: This is, by far, the most scientific course I have ever done in my life, which was very empowering for me. I’ve always focused on the arts so it was stretching for me to become proficient in understanding detailed, minute measurements and memorizing specific markers that help you to identify each stone.
By the end of the course, to earn your Gemologist title you must be able to identify over 2500 stones. That sounded so daunting to me and it was a great and humbling challenge, but looking back at that now is such a wonderful milestone for me.
Even though the course was focused almost completely on the scientific side of things, getting to know the different stones that are available for us to work with was and continues to be thought provoking. I feel very fortunate to have that education and to be able to draw on it when developing collections and working on custom projects. There are so many unknown, amazing gems that can be used; that’s very exciting and fun to share with my clients.
There are so many unknown, amazing gems that can be used; that’s very exciting and fun to share with my clients.
DM: How do you go about sourcing reclaimed materials and how does this process differ from using non-reclaimed materials?
Tiffany: When I first started my company 8 years ago, this was an agonizing process and one that took months of research to set up. But now it is so much easier to find great resources, which is really exciting to see that our industry has progressed so far in such a short time.
We source from an industrial metal supply plant in Burbank for our bronze and from a wonderful company in West Virginia that collects jewelry that has seen better days and melts it down for our silver and gold. There is so much more awareness now for how important it is to be using reclaimed materials that many suppliers are catching on, but there is always room to grow, so we continually research our options.
DM: You also have a new project underway, Maison Goods. Tell us a little bit about what we can expect from this new endeavor.
Tiffany: My friend Kari Bradberry, who is an amazing designer of so many things (interiors, shoes, accessories etc.), came to me with the idea of collaborating together for home goods. This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time, so it was really exciting that she was in the same head space.
We came up with three designs that we’ll launch this month: A hinged wine tag set in geometric shapes that open up and close around a wine stem, (I am really excited for these as I’m always losing my glass at parties), delicate napkin rings, and cheese markers. It’s a playful and fun project that is opening up and stretching the world of design for me and it is always great to work with other designers that you respect.
Find all featured jewelry on Tiffany’s website.