If you had to sum up Rebekah Lea in one word, it might be “complex.” With many different influences and interests, it seems fitting that she launched her own four-part jewelry line when it became difficult to find pieces that fit her personality.
“I felt that there was so much jewelry being produced that was quite repetitive in construction and design. I couldn’t find something that felt personal, made with love and that was truly unique. I believe jewelry should represent who you are and who you want to be while wearing it. It is an extension of your personality or a way to evoke a fantasy, so I wanted to create pieces that express exactly that,” Lea shared.
Prior to launching Rebekah Lea Designs this past June, the designer attended art school with the intention to pursue fashion but ultimately fell in love with textile design. Post college, she studied and worked in the hair and make-up field and then became a personal stylist, both of which contributed to her newfound passion for working with her hands.
“I decided to take some jewelry making classes, which eventually led me to start learning the art of true gold-smithing. Always being in the fashion world in one way or another, jewelry just felt like the perfect fit for my skills and passions,” she said.
Lea found inspiration from a little bit of everything, including her experiences living in California, Santa Fe, Nantucket and New York, as well as images from dreams or even a person walking down the street. She never approaches her designs from a single angle, but creates pieces that resonate insides her and embodies a persona.
“Initially, I just started creating pieces that fall into all sorts of different aesthetics and creating pieces that just felt right in the moment. I have so many interests and things that I am drawn to, so I felt like I had to explore all of them. Once I have an overall concept in mind, I just start creating with my hands,” Lea explained. “Creating four collections and a special order collection to launch my line initially just felt right to me because I am a complex person and there are lots of sides to me.”
As a whole, the handmade line of Rebekah Lea Designs epitomizes edginess and sophistication. Each collection represents a different aspect of the designer’s life. “Monomoy” is a sea-inspired collection influenced by summers spent on Nantucket Island. The whimsical sea elements are infused with a surprising note of sharpness, illustrating the woman who enjoys the ocean and her relaxed beach life but has a hint of city inside her. Conversely, “TRV,” which stands for triple V, is solely inspired by New York City.
“Looking out my apartment window one day, I started realizing how the curves of the water towers played up against the straight lines of the buildings. In ‘TRV,’ I wanted to investigate the curved line. I created a symbol that has three V’s in each shape. This collection is really about playing with the architecture of the curve,” the designer explained.
“Stonality” took note from the way shapes and colors play and dance together in a kaleidoscope. The pieces reveal rare moments as colorful cuts of stones are fused together to create a vintage feel. The final collection, “Forbidden Forest,” portrays the beauty of death.
“In creating it, I found real animals parts, cast them into gold, silver, as well as colored stones, and in a sense brought them back to life. Using lizard skulls, a fish head, raven feet, bones, etc., I have tried to give each piece everlasting life. Each one has a story or a curiosity about it. These pieces are edgy, tough and masculine in concept but incredibly delicate and feminine at the same time,” Lea said.
Rebekah Lea Designs also includes a Special Order collection, further proving her enthusiasm for the craft. The exclusive collection includes one of Lea’s personal favorites, a half-face mask and headband made of sterling silver and painstakingly handset Swarovski crystals.
“The thing I love most about being a jeweler is that I can manipulate a raw material, such as metal, and create something extremely beautiful. I enjoy working with my hands and will always make handmade jewelry,” she said.