Did you always want to be a jewelry designer? No; I wrote a business plan and finally got two loans for my startup boutique, but just when I was ready to move to Charleston, South Carolina and set up, my personal life fell apart. My dream was about to come true, but I no longer felt it was the right path for me.

How did you start as a jewelry designer? I moved to New Orleans instead and was so inspired by the artistically rich culture that I started crafting jewelry.
Tell us about the Live in Wonder collection. It is inspired by Alice in Wonderland and is about looking at life with fresh eyes every day.

Why do you think there’s ‘space’ for you in New Orleans? I think there’s room for every artist in New Orleans. We are all so different because people are so different.

Where do you find the repurposed items? Everywhere I go! Estate sales, warehouses, Lowes, the French Quarter, antique stores…

How did you decide to create this kind of jewelry? I have always loved antique store hunting, and when I started making jewelry I saw a way to mix two things I already love doing.

What are your favorite pieces?  The large faceted bezel necklaces and the crowns.

What is your most popular piece? The tiny bezels that are choker-length; they can be worn every day and the quality is amazing for the price.

Who buys your jewelry? My line has something for everyone. Making unique, one-of-a-kind items makes my customers feel unique themselves. 

Jess Leigh Jewels, JessLeighJewels.com