An aficionado of natural minerals, stones, and precious metals—each piece by Liz Larios is truly one-of-a-kind. The raw, uncut gems are not only unusual, but give her jewelry a deep connection to the earth. Also, what makes this line so unique is the fact that she works alongside her daughter, Cassandra, who is now a jeweler and stone lover herself. Liz took a moment to chat with LadyLux about building the Liz Larios name and where she plans to take her love for stones, metal and timeless design.
LadyLux: What’s your story?
Liz Larios: I have been an interior designer for quite some time. I had a jewelry line a long time ago and when I started to see a reemergence in handcrafted, unique items in the marketplace, especially in new minerals and stones… it really stimulated me to do it again and put out another line. My daughter also developed an interest so we decided to put another line together.
Why did you leave jewelry?
LL: I never really left, it sort of evolved into something else. I got involved with the interior design trade and I started making home accessories object boxes, candleholders which eventually led to larger furniture and eventually full scope interior design. I kept designing jewelry for specific clients I never making items for family and friends, I always kept the ideas flowing an still drawn to the industry. In many ways much of my furniture and home design is like jewelry for the home. I always integrate metals and minerals in all my projects.
How was your earlier jewelry different than this line?
LL: I am more driven to quality, luxury and long lasting style. My junior/teen trend line was more “hot for 5 min and next”........Very fast paced. I started to find it was unfulfilling to my creativity.
What have you been working on now?
LL: We’re using a lot of the mixed metals. We’ve been doing antique metals now, the silver, which is more of a matte that has an antiquing to it. We’re doing a lot of chunkier stones that are in their natural state versus being cut, refined or polished.
Why is Liz Larios unique?
LL: We try to use primarily all-natural types of ingredients. Ingredients… sounds like a recipe (she laughs). Also, we try to use items that are unique and aren’t seen too much in this marketplace. I shy away from manmade materials, like plastics or resins, and try to stay with natural stones. All our metals are plated in semi-precious, either gold, silver or rhodium. It’s a luxury that’s affordable.
Do you design it all?
LL: All of the line is either designed by myself or my daughter collectively. We go on trips together to find stones for the collections. Right now we’re working on holiday for the end of the year. It’ll go to market in two weeks or so.
How is it working as a mother-daughter team?
LL: It’s fantastic. I consider extremely lucky to have a daughter that is now at an age where she shares my creativity and a mutual love of stones. We have a wonderful relationship and it’s great to bounce ideas off of each other. I like the fresh perspective. We also do a line that I consider that is more across the board… it’s accepted by all generations. When we sell at tradeshows, I’ll have young women that are 21 buy something and then their grandmother will buy a necklace as well… Which is interesting. The pieces really have longevity and they’re keepsakes that you’ll have forever. We focus on trends and what is in fashion this current season… but we try to make them as timeless as we can.
What’s the cross-generational line you mentioned?
LL: MUSE. It will be called Muse because in so many ways she is mine, and in some ways I am hers. I am looking to her to really take the lead and make it more her own inspirations.
What is your favorite collection so far?
LL: Particularly, I love ‘Earth and Naturals’. I’m drawn to the browns and rusts. But I also love the turquoise and bright blue of the ‘Aura’ collection. That is our strongest group right now.
We hear you have some exciting news…
LL: We recently got into Neiman Marcus Cusp stores. We have a couple of items with them. They pick two or three per season.
Also, some fun people have been wearing your designs. Care to share?
LL: We were recently worn at the premieres for” Sex in the City 2” and “Kick Ass” (a film starring Nicholas Cage). The amazing Shira Lazar, who really epitomizes the new era of web media, has worn our pieces. I find it exciting yet humbling that young trendsetters can find our designs beautiful and incorporate them into their wardrobes with the amount of choices available to them. Its truly flattering!
What’s your advice for artists?
LL: I would say to stick with your instinct. Pay attention to your conviction when you’re sourcing a product or looking at a stone. Usually your first instinct is the correct one. It adds an individual perspective to what is out there in the marketplace. The market is really saturated with cheaper imports so I think young designers can look at their individuality and add a fresh variety to the marketplace. People want it. I have the opportunity to have a lot of direct contact with consumers and I have found that they’re looking for that… a fresh perspective.
Where is Liz Larios going?
LL: We’d like to, of course, expand on the jewelry line …but we’d also like to start doing some small leather products…such as handbags and accessories. We’re researching sources right now. I’m going to continue to do home items and we have a few pieces that will be coming out in the next year.
If you create handbags, will they incorporate your great metal skills?
LL: Absolutely. Metal and stone. We’d like to use exotic leather and also some eco-friendly items. We realize there’s a huge market for people that aren’t interested in leather products. We’d like to put together small group of unique items that are fashion forward but at the same time…almost like jewelry for the arm.