"I'm inspired by nature," says Lauren Schwartz, the innovative artist behind Schwa Designs. "I'll see a flowering plant out in the woods and get an idea for how to mix colors." Such organic inspiration is evident in Schwartz's vibrant gemstone combinations: sunny citrine against aqueous chrysoprase; woody garnet next to warm tangerine quartz. This penchant for taking visual cues from the natural world has led the young designer to call her work jewelry of the earth.

Schwartz, who has been selling her unique pieces since 2002, has been crafting jewelry since she was a young girl. When she became a high school teacher, she took to wearing her designs to work, where they were much loved by her fellow instructors. "Friends would buy them off of my neck," she says. When requests began to pile up she realized, "people were really taken with my jewelry."

Part of what explains the popularity of Schwa Designs is what Schwartz calls "earthy elegance." While Schwartz may consider nature her muse, she also has a keen eye for classic sophistication. "When I see a beautiful neckline in a movie or a magazine, I think about what shape would look great there," she explains. With lariats, drops, starbursts, and seemingly impossible suspensions, Schwartz's work reveals a complex understanding of geometry and organic forms. This, combined with the artist's creative use of color, make Schwa Designs both striking and lovely.

What Schwartz loves most about her craft is the opportunity to bring customers into the design process. A lifelong sports player, she emphasizes, "I like working as a team-inviting people to be a part of their own design." Schwartz's openness to collaboration means each piece can be customized and made that much more special.

Sequoia Necklace (NP108) and Earrings (E08) and Gleam Necklace (NP108B)


Photos by Hank Drew Photography.
Website Maintainence, Vinca Designs.