CEO & Jewelry Designer, Cristy’s Collection, Inc.
Photo by Jeffery Johnston
How did you start your company? I grew up in the jewelry industry, and when I was a sophomore in high school Hurricane Katrina forced me to move to Florida until Hurricane Wilma forced me back home. That whole experience was so life-changing, and as an artist I began expressing my feelings through drawings. Eventually, people began paying me for my drawings and it gave me the confidence to keep moving in that direction. I did my college internship at a jewelry manufacturer in Thailand, where I turned some of my drawings into jewelry designs. At 22 years old, I ventured out on my own.
What were your first pieces? I started learning how to make jewelry when I was 14 by stringing necklaces and experimenting with different techniques. I used as high a quality of material as I could afford, like freshwater pearls, semi-precious stones and sterling silver findings.
Where do you find your inspiration? My inspiration comes from within. As cliché as that sounds, it’s a collective of my experiences and emotions in combination with world conversations that inspire me.
Do you only sell in New Orleans? No, I do have dealers outside the city and I’m always looking for reputable dealers in other parts of the country; and I sell online.
Do your pieces only reflect life in New Orleans? Initially, I focused primarily on New Orleans-inspired designs because I wanted to capture the essence of New Orleans. Now my designs reflect my three “Cs”: consciousness, compassion and creativity.
Is there anything coming up you’d like to tell readers about? I have a line of solid 18 karat gold and diamond jewelry in development right now, as well as a new men’s collection.