My name is Lorena Martinez-Neustadt, and I’m a jeweler living in Amsterdam with my husband. I was born and raised in Mexico (where I studied industrial design), and learned jewelry craftsmanship while living in Argentina. I have a passion for jewelry making and I illustrate for fun. You can see the outcome in my shop, Gemagenta.
I think of Gemagenta as an open book full of short stories coming straight from my heart and imagination. I don’t have a fixed style; my inspiration comes from many different sources including memories, trips, books, legends, objects, nature, and geometry.
My creative process starts with the story I want to tell. I like taking notes, collecting things, taking hundreds of pictures, and also researching symbols and peculiar details. My aim is to go beyond creating just a pretty object. I generally sketch a lot until I get the final designs, and I like to share this process on my blog.
Most of my pieces are made directly on sheets of metal using traditional jewelry techniques, and I cast some of my other pieces from wax models. (You can see me in action in this video.) I also like experimenting with new ideas, like my Moroccan Sugar collection, which I cast in silver from models made out of real sugar. This idea seemed unfeasible to the casters at first, but then they saw that it could work. It’s one of my favorite collections because it took a lot of time, effort and mistakes.
I make jewelry because it’s art, it’s portable, and most of all because it’s magical. It has a curious and irresistible magnetism, marking peoples’ lives for thousands of years. It’s exciting for me to know some of the secrets for turning raw materials into jewels.
Through my pieces, I have been part of special moments all around the world. The last one I knew was from a guy in Hong Kong who proposed to his girlfriend using one of my rings. Isn’t that amazing?
All my life I dreamed about traveling the world and my dream came true. My husband and I are kind of nomads right now, but it works. I know I can pack a bag with my tools and my studio will move with me. With Etsy, my shop comes along as well; it’s a great business partner. In Etsy, I’ve also found a very open and generous creative community. I’ve made really good friends and it has enriched my personal life in addition to my business.
Working as an independent creative is a continuous learning curve. Wearing all the hats in a business gives you freedom, but all the responsibilities fall on you. I have learned that it is crucial to be able to find opportunities instead of excuses when things don’t go smoothly. Few people in the world are able to do what they love as a job and I am very lucky to be one of them.
All photographs by Gemagenta.