Category Archives: From The Studio

06.11.2014

Dresses That Inspire

Fashion Inspiration

A few days ago, while I was going through the content in my old blog, I came across these images and I thought it would be neat to share them with you. As I have told you before, one of the places where I found inspiration for some of my favorite pieces in the upcoming collection was on fabric patterns. Today I want to share three dresses that did exactly that.

Sommi Jewelry Inspiration

Let’s start with this image (pictured above). This particular dress provided the inspiration for this ring. Like I told you on this post, as soon as I saw this photo on Pinterest my eyes were immediately drawn to a particular set of lines. From there, I started imagining how these lines could wrap around a finger instead of her body. I sketched about four different designs and started testing different carving techniques until I created the final wax model.

Sommi Jewelry Inspiration

On the dress pictured in this black and white photo, the design elements that provided inspiration were the diagonal lines that intersect together at a single point. I wanted to use this intersecting concept in a ring design, but in an innovative way. The result was this cuff ring, where the back side is closed in a similar manner with six shanks becoming one in an X point.

Sommi Jewelry Inspiration

Last but not least is this open back dress. I drew a ring design inspired by the pattern on the back of the skirt area. This ring didn’t make it to the final selection for the launch, but perhaps I will include it in one of my future collections.

So what do you guys think? Do you have a favorite design?

P.S. I found all these photos a while back on Pinterest, but I was not able to find their original sources. If any of you know where they come from, please do not hesitate to let me know. I would like to give credit, where credit is due!

–Alexandra

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06.04.2014

Approach 04 / Stacking Ring

Sommi Jewelry Stacking Ring

One of the things I wanted to include in the collection was stackable rings. I explored the idea of dainty and organic rings while sketching, but somehow, every time I started drawing ideas, what came out on paper were architectural designs with dynamic angles. It became clear to me that the books on ancient architecture and art that I had submerged myself in, before I started the design process, were coming out in my designs. So I decided to let my ideas run free, and I pursued an approach to stacking rings where they would have a slightly chunkier and geometrical feel.

While designing this ring, I thought a lot about how the angles could create an interesting visual, especially when reflecting light. One way to do this was to apply some continuity on the design by extending the multiple angles on top of the ring through its sides. After thinking all this through and drawing the concept on paper, the hardest part began. The carving process was really slow as I had to constantly stop to check for symmetry of both sides of the ring.

Sommi Jewelry Wax Carving

Above you can see the sequence of photos illustrating the main steps I took to complete the design (total of thirteen hours), starting with a solid wax shank and ending with a shaped ring. When the wax model is ready I send it to be cast in metal. And once I get it back, I polish the piece to a bright shine and oxidize the arrow markings on top of the ring.

I’ll share how this ring can be stacked on one of my upcoming approach posts. Stay tuned!

–Alexandra

05.30.2014

Carving, Inventory and Progress

Instagram Sommi Jewelry As you can imagine I am very anxious to launch, and although I’m not ready just yet I want to share an update about what has been going on. On the production side, I’m very happy to say that I’m done with all the wax carving I have to do. Once I launch, I may have to carve a few wax models here and there if I get some odd ring sizes requests, but this should be minimal.

While planning the logistics for selling my product, I came to the realization that it would be a good idea to make a small investment and have small quantities of the pieces in stock. Even though my selling approach will be to make the jewelry items as they are ordered (instead of having a big inventory), having these few extra pieces should make things easier for me and improve the customer experience by shortening some of the wait time.

As we speak, fabrication is on hold while I wait to get the extra cast pieces from NY, but in the meantime I have plenty to work on, like finishing packaging and the website. Once I get the pieces, I’ll finish production by polishing and assembling what will be my small inventory. Eeeek! There is so much to do still, but I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and I feel energized and excited.

BTW, the photos on this post come from my Instagram!

–Alexandra

05.23.2014

Approach / 03: Cuff Ring

Sommi Jewelry Cuff Ring

When I started designing the jewelry that will be part of the FW14 collection, it became clear to me that the majority of its pieces would be worn on our fingers. I can’t explain why, but almost all of my designs came in the form of rings. Although I wanted to include earrings, bracelets and necklaces in the collection, I decided to let my ideas flow in whichever way felt right.

Sommi Jewelry Alexandra Nieto Sketching

As a result, I had a lot of options when it came to deciding which rings I would carve in wax. The selection process was slow. I carved many rings that in the end didn’t make it to the final group. At the same time, I had a few sketched ideas, that even before I started carving, I knew would become part of the collection. One of these rings is the cuff ring shown in the first photo of
this post.

I loved the idea of designing a cuff ring where I could visually use the negative space created by the opening. I explored the idea of lines and how these could wrap around a finger creating an intricate, yet simple, visual. I thought it would be interesting to close the opening lines of each side of the cuff, resulting on an open polygon as the focal point on the top of the finger.

Sommi Jewelry Carving Cuff Ring

Above you can see the sequence of photos illustrating the main steps I took to carve the design (total of 12 hours), starting with a solid wax shank and ending with a ring ready to be cast in metal. Once the wax model is ready, I send it to NYC where they cast it and send it back to me. I, then, polish it to a bright shine.

(If you want to see more on my approach, you can do so here!)

–Alexandra

05.14.2014

Approach / 02: Cuff Bracelet

Sommi Jewelry Cuff Bracelet

 I spend a lot of my time carving the designs I sketch. Lately, I have been trying to take photos of my process, so that I can describe how the pieces come to life. A few weeks back I showed you the inspiration behind this ring and how it went from an idea to a finished product. Today, I want to share a few photos of one of the cuff bracelets that will be available once we launch.

The shape of this design was inspired by Arabian arches like the ones on the cover of this book. My goal was for the top of the cuff to resemble these architectural elements. I also enhanced the sides of the cuff by incorporating some geometrical textureinspired by ancient African art. I wanted the texture to be prominent, so I made sure to make the grooves deep as to create enough contrast once the cuff was finished.

Wax Carving Cuff Bracelet

Above you can see the sequence of photos illustrating the main steps I took to complete the design (total of eight hours), starting with a solid wax block and ending with a shaped cuff ready to be cast in metal. When the wax model is ready, I send it to NYC where they cast it and send it back to me. I, then, oxidize the textured grooves and polish it to a bright shine.

–Alexandra

05.09.2014

SOMMI’s Business Cards

Sommi Business Card A few weeks back I received a special package in the mail from Moo. This is the first time I use this company to print business cards and I’m happy to say that they meet all of my expectations. The colors are spot on and the extra thickness of the Luxe cards truly feels great to the touch.

Sommi Jewelry Business Cards And what about that packaging? “Attention to detail” is the first thing that came to mind when I saw it. The white box, the purple ribbon and the wax seal looked great and made the experience of getting my business cards feel that much more special.

Sommi Jewelry Business Cards From Moo Sommi Jewelry Business Cards Package

** If you want to see the Before & After for the pattern I designed for the card, you can do so on my Instagram account!

–Alexandra

04.30.2014

Approach / 01: Double Band Ring

Sommi Jewelry Ring

Today I want to take you guys behind the scenes and share with you a little of my design process by describing how this ring, shown above, came about. When I sketched this design on paper I had already submerged myself in art and architecture books from ancient civilizations. But it wasn’t until I stumbled upon an image of a dress (from a fashion show) with a very interesting pattern on it, that the idea of this ring took place.

As soon as I saw this dress, a specific set of lines drew me in and the concept for the ring was born. I sketched about five versions of this ring and tried two of them in wax. Below you can see a sequence of photos that depict the steps I took to complete the design (total of 12 hours), beginning with a wax cylinder and ending with a tridimensional version of the sketched design.

Sommi Jewelry Carving Process

Once I’m done with the wax model I send it to NYC, where is cast in metal and a mold is made. It usually takes about 10 days to get the ring back, at which moment I begin the finishing process by grinding off any porosities and excess metal on the piece, and polish it to a bright shine.

As you guys can imagine, I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I see a design come to live from concept to a ready-to-wear piece. I hope you enjoyed taking a peek at my process and now have a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes!

–Alexandra

04.23.2014

Coming Soon Page

Sommi Coming Soon Page Sommi Coming Soon Page

SOMMI’s coming soon page is live! You can get there by clicking on the “shop” link on the main menu or by clicking here. Once you are there, don’t forget to sign up to be notified of our launch. As a thank you, you will receive an exclusive early bird discount with our official announcement that you will be able to use towards your first purchase!

–Alexandra

04.16.2014

Selecting The Final Logo

Logo Options For Sommi

Throughout the past few months, there have been a lot of decisions to make. But selecting the final logo for SOMMI was, by far, one of the hardest.

Before I started the design process I made a short list of the musts haves for the logo:

  • It should be classic with a little bit of an edge.
  • It should be easily differentiated from other brands.
  • It should have a brand mark that could go with or without the typographical component of the logo.
  • It should be versatile, so that it could sit along an eclectic group of jewelry collections without clashing.

Because the concept for the brand is about being a dreamer, I played a lot around with the idea of using some literal and not so literal wings in the design (some initial concepts shown above). I then narrowed all options to four and with the helpful feedback from a targeted focus group, I refined the best two options and settled on the final logo (shown below). It took me a long time to finish this project, but I’m so glad I didn’t rush through the design process.

Sommi Final Logo

If you haven’t seen our Coming Soon page yet, I would like to invite you check it out and, while you are there, to sign up to be notified of our launch. We’ll be sending out an exclusive early bird discount with our official announcement to those who sign up!

–Alexandra

04.09.2014

The Meaning Of Sommi

The Meaning Of Sommi

About four months ago I settled on the name for my jewelry line. If you read my old blog before you may have come across a post that went over how I came up with “SOMMI”. However, because many of you are new around here, and most likely didn’t get a chance to read it, I wanted to share a brief explanation that captures the gist of its meaning.

The first thing to know about SOMMI is that it is a made up word. I came up with it by modifying the Latin word “sommium,” which means “dream.” But more than a dream, SOMMI represents the idea of being a dreamer. Dreamers who are constantly searching for exciting and fulfilling life experiences, who travel and explore the world, and who enjoy building friendships with dreamers alike.

I get very excited when I think about the SOMMI concept because it really resonates with the way I want to live my life. I admit that this is not something that comes easy to me, as I probably would enjoy a little bit too much cuddling in my couch watching movies all day. However, for a while now I have been making a conscious effort to pursue my dreams and to adopt a lifestyle conducive to meeting interesting people and experiencing exciting and meaningful moments.

If you can relate to these ideas and find value in pursuing a creative life I want to invite you to stick around, as that is what this blog is all about. Perhaps we can go through the journey of chasing our dreams together? I sure would love some company.

–Alexandra