Sustainable materials and virtual models coexisting with traditional craftsmanship. This is how the future of the jewelry industry looks for the upcoming designers
Carolina Dória and Virginia Evangelista. The jewelry artists on taking inspiration from nature
In the midst of a rapidly changing industry, jewelry designers Carolina Dória and Virginia Evangelista have decided to create items that embody their attention and affinity towards natural surroundings and material novelty. The Portuguese designer born in Lisbon, Dória is the winner of the Milan-based Istituto Maragoni’s Prototipo Contest organized in partnership with Lampoon Magazine. She developed the awarded collection titled Wings throughout her master’s course in Fine Jewelry, drawing inspiration from the transformations taking place in nature. «The process of metamorphoses that transforms a caterpillar into something beautiful, which communicates a message of hope in the hard times we are living» becomes her statement when submitting the creations. Exotic animals and elements of our landscape become recurrent leitmotifs in Dória’s designs. The first jewelry assemble she created was composed by the necklace and earrings dedicated to water’s fragility: «It was inspired by drops of water and it was where I learned how I could translate a concept into real jewelry. It was more of a discovery of myself» she remembers.
With an Italian ethos, Virginia Evangelista’s label has its roots in the creator’s hometown, Como. The body ornaments reflect the imprints of Evangelista’s strong skills in research and design and Clarissa Chareun’s communication and co-art direction experience. The duo brought their project to life in 2019, shortly before the beginning of the pandemic: «even though we weren’t that close at the time, I knew that she was the only one that could understand my pieces and what was behind the visual aspect of it» says the artist. In order to create something unique, Evangelista enveloped her designs in the fascination for paleontology and archeology that gave shape to the first jewelry item, ‘Embryo’, mirroring the features of a dinosaur egg.
Inspiration and development methodologies
After a courageous career shift, Carolina Dória has been slowly building her imaginary and visual language in the realms of design, turning away from her previous studies in Graphics and Advertising. She admits to working with primary sources as a form of inspiration, trusting her curiosity and thirst for exploration: «I always learn something through my work. When you’re creating you give a lot of yourself, so you always receive back as well». Creating each item becomes an intimate process where everything Dória collects translates into crafted items.
From photographs to drawings, the designer values every recollection of her surroundings. «They are my tools, it’s the way I communicate. I’m not good with words, I’m good with images» she states. Therefore, Dória’s technique remains loyal to traditional creative tools such as a pencil and a notebook. A hand-made identity surfaces through her sketches that utterly attest to Doria’s interest in illustrating while morphing different entities. In her drawing series titled Transformation is Possible, the artist morphs a kitchen mixer into a tiger, while other sketches depict zebra stripes materialized in elegant bracelet motifs and Gerbera petals reshaped in precious rings. «I worked a lot with the repetition of shapes, creating patterns, creating a functional mechanism, and I’ve never really worked like this before, so it was fun actually» confesses Doria.
For Virginia Evangelista, «a piece should remind you of something ancient and archaic, but at the same time to not be so sure about it. It’s a hybrid piece». She cultivated a drive for discovery and research while her passion for topics such as archeology and paleontology guided her since childhood. With a degree in Art History from Brera Academy in Milan, Vangelista didn’t benefit from an academic preparation in jewelry design. She favors observing the artisanal techniques and individual practice of the craftsmen within her local area in Como. «When I need to make something, and I don’t know how I just drive to an artisan near my house and ask them how to make it. I wouldn’t learn the same things with a course or workshop as I do with someone who did this job for fifty years» she admits when describing the development of the collections. Nonetheless, Evangelista seeks the progressive character embedded in 3D modeling that the duo uses as an instrument in the architecture of the pieces.While for Dória, people become part of the storytelling behind the brand, Evangelista is experimenting with virtually constructed muses that can perfectly embody the meeting point of different eras.
The Portuguese designer also imagines a dialogue with the wearers of her pieces while trying to visualize different archetypes. «Even if I don’t have a specific target, I sometimes invent one. I invent a character. I even write out notes about the personality of this imaginary person,» says Doria eventually adding, «I ask myself, “Is this person loud? Would they wear big colorful designs? Or are they a more reserved person, more minimalist?” It’s a tool to help me during the process, then of course later, whoever feels related to the design, wears it; it’s sometimes surprising and it doesn’t match what I imagined».
New meanings of valuable materials
The replacement of common precious body ornaments with sustainable and hand-crafted jewelry lays at the foundation of the Virginia Evangelista brand. The duo achieves uniqueness through their couture-infused approach over production. They create approximately twenty pieces per collection, avoiding fueling the spirit of over-consumption with their work. The unconventional materials Evangelista chooses for her items take part in the label’s journey toward the redefinition of sustainable fine jewelry. Aluminum becomes the protagonist of her designs enriching the result with its easily recyclable and malleable characteristics. Evangelista additionally sources her materials from antique shops where she stumbles upon the silver found in old objects and unused scraps or jewelry. The label’s line realized on commission reinforces their emphasis on circularity and up-cycling methods. Using the remaining and discarded materials from customers’ old items, Evangelista manages to extend the substance vocabulary of exquisite jewelry.
With a different view over matter, Carolina Doria blends hues of gold with blue and pink sapphires among the sparks of diamonds. Her interpretation of innovation comes from the storytelling behind the creations that can evolve towards new meanings: «At the end, you see people engaging with that story you created, so that’s the most rewarding part for me. When people wear it, when people look at a design, when they do their own interpretation, anything that is part of understanding that story, it’s very interesting to see».
Jewelry designer based in London, she is now focusing on developing fresh ideas and new designs after having completed her master’s degree at Istituto Marangoni Fashion School in Milan. With locations in Milan and Florence in Italy, London and Paris, Shanghai and Shenzhen in China, Mumbai in India and Miami in the United States, the school is characterized by its international ethos and Italian style, blending academic learning with creative and practical activities
Artisanal brand of body ornaments based in Milan and Como founded in 2019. The project arises with the contribution of Virginia Evangelista as the designer, and her studies in the fields of paleontology, biology, and geology, along with Clarissa Chareun and her work in communication and co-art directing. The brand aims to create hand-made pieces that empower the wearer with ancient inspirations and a futuristic visual language, while upholding sustainability through the production processes and materials used