Meet Sarah Ortega of Sarah O. Jewelry. Custom jewelry is her calling and she now has her own line that speaks to the diamond in the rough.
Back to basics: When did you first get into the trade of jewelry making?
My mother opened Ooh Aah Jewelry in Albuquerque. It was a dream come true for a 10-year-old to be around jewelry all day, so I started working in her store any chance I got. During my time working there, one of my mom’s employees started to show me the ropes of making jewelry, which I loved right away. My first project was when a customer came into the store for a custom necklace for her wedding. We didn’t have exactly what she wanted in the store so I made her and her bridal party jewelry. I really enjoyed the process of working with the bride, and after that it became a passion of mine.
Tell us when Sarah O. Jewelry began and why?
The idea for Sarah O. began about seven years ago when our original store, Ooh Aah Jewelry in Denver, started to make custom jewelry for customers who didn’t find what they were looking for either in our store or other jewelry stores. I’ve always loved designing jewelry for others and dreamed of creating my own line of engagement rings so when we ran out of room at Ooh Aah Jewelry, I knew it was time to open Sarah O., dedicated to custom jewelry and the Sarah O. line.
What inspires you?
My inspiration comes largely from vintage jewelry; I could look at vintage jewelry all day. I am always amazed by how detailed vintage jewelry is and how they made these pieces by hand. Today, we have software that helps us create and carve waxes to be precise in creating our jewelry, but to know they didn’t have that back then is truly amazing. Vintage jewelry is so timeless. Some of the most beautiful jewelry I’ve ever seen is over a 100 years old and I hope that someday my designs still hold this incredible beauty.
How would you describe your designs aesthetic?
Most our jewelry is minimal with a spin of vintage.
Designers you admire?
I admire so many designers. I would say some of my favorite designers right now include Liven, Rebecca Overman and Gem and Blue.
What is your process when starting a new piece?
When we start a custom piece, we usually begin by looking at the stones we will be using since the stones will largely influence the design. From there, we start sketching design ideas with our customers to come up with a rough idea of what the piece will look like. With the sketch, we can then have a 3D rendering made on the computer to review and make adjustments to. Once that looks good, we have a wax model of the piece made to review once again and finally, the actual piece is made by our jeweler.
What can your lovely customers expect for the future of Sarah O. Jewelry?
We are excited to start to expanding our own line of jewelry. We are headed to a couple of the largest gem shows in the United States this year and can’t wait to find new stones to create some truly one-of-a-kind pieces this year.
Sarah O. Jewelry
4301 Tennyson Street