Dara Ettinger

There's a winning chance you've seen Dara Ettinger's sparkling agate jewelry at some point over the past few years, maybe at Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie. Or maybe you've noticed one of her cocktail rings adorning Paula Abdul or Jessica Alba. Perhaps you even found out about her on my blog (jump to it here). [via Urban Outfitters]

[via Max & Chloe]

Through an (initially) unfortunate series of events concerning my Abby Halo ring that Matt got me for our one year anniversary, I've corresponded with Dara several times over the past few months. She is pretty amazing, so I thought I'd post a quick interview with her.

Q: How did you get into jewelry making? A: I actually fell into it by accident, but I couldn't be happier about that. I was a sweater designer for about 10 years, and had dabbled in some costume design work while living in New York. I moved to LA to get more into film and costume, and ironically left NY the day the writer's strike started. So, without any prayer of a job, I began making bracelets out of buttons I had from an old clothing line, and people started asking where they could buy them. Anthropologie placed my first wholesale order, and my line was officially on it's way!

Q: How long have you been doing this for? A: I have been a jewelry designer for 3 years, but in fashion just about my whole life, it seems. It was a natural progression for me, and it really has been the most rewarding time of my life!

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from for your pieces? A: I'm inspired by nature, by women, and by the stones themselves. They usually dictate how I am going to work, so that's really where all of my designs come from.

Q: What is the thing you love most about your profession? A: I absolutely love being able to have a career where I get to create things on a daily basis, and see that people are really enjoying them. I love hearing people's reactions to what I do, and when someone gets excited about one of my pieces, it really is the most amazing feeling. I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

Q: Who are your favorite jewelry makers or favorite lines out right now? A: To be totally honest, I am pretty much out of the loop when it comes to other designer's work. I know I should be more dialed in, but I like not having other people's designs in the back of my mind. I find it very limiting, and somehow it stifles my own creativity.

I'll sign off with photographs of the two gorgeous replacement rings Dara sent me (to make up for my original lost-in-the-mail ring):

Visit her website here. And you can find loads of Dara's jewels via Max & Chloe here or via National Jean Company here.