This week we interviewed Aiko Designs. Owned by Christine Aiko Beck, Aiko Designs is a jewelry company producing fresh, gorgeous works of art for weddings, celebrations, and everyday life.
Tell us about your company
My jewelry is a combination of opposites - simplicity and richness, ethereal and organic, strong and subtle. I'm mostly self taught in jewelry design, and am always creating new pieces and seeking out the best stones and materials. My work has been included in exhibitions in the United States, Hong Kong and Japan. You can find my pieces at stores in San Francisco such as Egg & Urban Mercantile in Cole Valley, Circle & Square in Laurel Heights and Adorna Bella in North Beach.
What inspired you to start a jewelry company?
It all started when I was working in the tech industry and going to grad school -- jewelry was a creative outlet for me, something I did purely for fun. Generally I get bored with things or just move on to another hobby or interest, but jewelry stuck with me and turned into a passion. It took a while to go from the hobby to the business, but it grew organically and got to the point where I just wanted to do what I love -- create pretty things that other people love as well.
Tell us about your style of jewelry
I describe my style as sophisticated and elegant, organic yet ethereal. My designs are very simple and subtle, but strikingly pretty and feminine.
What is your favorite style/stone/etc?
Oh, such a hard question to answer! I love labradorite, tourmaline, moonstone, sapphires and diamonds! I also love topaz, kyanite, green amethyst and lapis lazuli. It really depends on the quality of the stones -- I have a hard time choosing one favorite.
Do you ever custom design jewelry for clients?
Yes! Most of the custom pieces I have made have been for brides and bridal parties.
What differentiates you from other jewelers?
There's something about my jewelry that is quite thoughtful -- details are important to me and those who notice this understand what I put into my designs. The subtlety and simplicity of my jewelry is special. It's not always easy to create simple designs that are unique, interesting and pretty -- some designers just can't do simple and tend to over-design.
What type of event do you feel your jewelry is best suited for?
My designs are quite versatile and generally can be worn by someone going to a black tie event to someone going to a picnic in the country.
Who is your typical client?
My clients tend to be women with a sophisticated sense of style that are looking for something special and unique. My customers have ranged between girls in their teens to women in their 70's and they appreciate the little details and simplicity and beauty of my designs.
After our interview, I did a little research and discovered that in addition to producing stunning jewelry, Aiko Designs also contributes to The Princess Project and Nest. The Princess Project is a non-profit organization that collects and distributes prom dresses and accessories to teen girls in the Bay Area that couldn't otherwise afford them. Nest is a non-profit that provides micro-credit loans to women artists and artisans in the developing world to create and maintain sustainable entrepreneurial businesses.
You can find Aiko Designs at the following places: