Brazilian-born, Queens-based jewelry designer Silvia D'Avila has long been a kindred spirit. Her playful and sculptural jewelry pieces are showstoppers while feeling light and effortless at the same time. No wonder her jewelry is favored by fashion icons such as Janelle Monae, Alicia Keys, and Jasmine Tookes. Outside of jewelry design, Silvia has a special talent for designing and building out spaces; whether it's demolition or electric wiring, I've always been impressed by her can-do spirit. I would be remiss to leave out her fantastic sense of style, always paired with statement glasses. I'm so pleased to have the opportunity to visit Silvia's jewelry studio and catch up!
Silvia is wearing her NOT Bomber Tie Jacket with Iza by Silvia D'Avila jewelry in her studio.
TELL ME WHAT YOU DO AND HOW YOU GOT STARTED.
Silvia: I have a jewelry brand called Iza by Silvia D'Avila. It took me a while to realize that I was a jewelry designer because that’s not how it started. 11 years ago, I was assisting a jewelry designer with some leather pieces that she needed at the time and that's when I started learning the process of jewelry-making. Soon enough, I opened my own little business.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
Right now I am working on two collaborations in addition to my exclusive line. The goal is to launch a new line in July 2022.
Silvia is wearing NOT Planas Jacket, Iza by Silvia D'Avila jewelry.
Silvia shows off a recent L'Officiel magazine spread with her statement jewelry.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK?
I went to a fine arts school in Brasil. In Brasil, you have to attend classes in every subject: painting, drawing, carpentry, pottery, welding, sculpture, and so on.
Then, I worked for over 20 years in corporate while keeping art (craft) as a hobby. When I moved to New York, I became an assistant for a jewelry designer and that unleashed my creative side again which had been overshadowed for a long time. I decide to pursue jewelry as a new career since sculpture, welding, and carpentry were always my absolute favorites in school. I went back to school and started learning how to solder and manipulate wire. What I love most about my work now is I can be creative and make things using my hands.
WHAT PURCHASE OF $100 OR LESS HAS MOST IMPROVED YOUR LIFE RECENTLY?
I am a tool kind of girl and while I was traveling in Brasil recently, I visited the jewelry district and voilà, I found the square mandrel that I had been looking for for some time.
One of Silvia's work tables with an assortment of jewelry-making tools.
DESCRIBE A MEMORY YOU HAVE WEARING ONE OF YOUR "NOT" PIECES.
I have several NOT pieces, but the one I receive the most compliments for is the Bomber Tie Jacket which I wear quite often because it is so versatile.
Silvia is wearing her NOT Bomber Tie Jacket, Iza by Silvia D'Avila jewelry.
WHAT IS AN UNUSUAL HABIT THAT YOU HAVE?
I like tools, right? I had just bought an apartment before the pandemic hit, and since sales and work were slow, and we could not have contractors for a while, I took things into my hands and did all the demo in the apartment literally. I mean real, grown up, demolition (laughing). Of course, I had guidance. I had a blast and kept my sanity at the same time.
Silvia is wearing NOT Papillon Jacket, Iza by Silvia D'Avila jewelry.