THE FIELD WORK OF A GYPSY
Around the World with Jewelry Designer DANA BRONFMAN
By Eden Herbstman
All designers cite sources of inspirations for their pieces, but New York based jewelry designer Dana Bronfman doesn’t just stick to the Manhattan city limits. Bronfman’s talent and eye for design stems from her passion for traveling, experiencing, and ingesting other cultures. Travel sometimes implies leisure, other times self-exploration, but I would call Dana’s design and travel mix more like field work. The end product of her journeys: her autonomous jewelry label, transmitting the beauties of the world into her jewelry line.
Based in Brooklyn, Bronfman’s designs are perfect everyday go-to staples. No muss, no fuss. She incorporates metals and craftsmanship that can vibe with older and younger consumers. Why we like her? She’s been around the block, international blocks that is, and has an understanding and appreciation for global fashion customers. We caught up with Dana just before 2015 hit, and the talented designer dished on her worldly thoughts, design aesthetic, and thoughts going into the new year.
Eden Herbstman: You are a self proclaimed “gypsy.” I love that, by the way. How do you think this reflects in your designs?
Dana Bronfman: Whether I’m on a trip or just wandering around town, I tend to view everything as fresh, or with a “traveler’s eye.” Since I’m often relatively new to a place, I notice details other people might overlook. I’ll see a texture or a cool shape I like, snap a photo, and that image will inspire a texture or shape I can incorporate into my designs.
EH: What would you say are the top three most meaningful places you have traveled to, and impacted you the most?
DB: The first would have to be Barcelona. I first went there to study during college, and the imaginative architecture there motivated me to begin creating art again. I had put aside my creative urges for a long time, but I couldn’t ignore them in such an inspiring city. The open-minded culture and energy there are incredible–it’s the only place I can stay out dancing till 7am. Then there’s Santa Fe, New Mexico. Being in Santa Fe is like being in three different countries at once. The desert has this palpable, spiritually grounding energy. The town has a super vibrant art scene, and the jewelry art is particularly fantastic. It’s actually where I was when I decided to begin designing jewelry. The sunsets there are the brightest I’ve ever seen. I plan to move there one day and live out my days as an old hippie. I could not leave Jerusalem out of my top three. I can’t think of any other place that represents human connection so completely. It’s where our stories begin and intersect.
EH: Are there any places you wouldn”t return to given a bad experience for example?
DB: I don’t think any place is “bad,” just different, but if I had to pick a place to never return to, it would probably be Moscow, purely judging from a miserably long eight hours I spent in the airport on a layover.
EH: When we spoke it was just at the turning point of 2015, so I had to ask, do you believe in New Years resolutions?
DB: I love that you asked this because I think I”m one of the few people I know that doesn”t. I do believe in resolutions, but I believe if you want to make a change in your life you should make the decision and commit to it, regardless of the time of year. That being said, I made one this year to become more organized. The timing just happened to line up!
EH: If your jewelry could “speak” what would you want it to say?
DB: It should imply, “I love you,” and “you are very special to me,” but the real power of a significant piece of jewelry is that it speaks for itself; no words are necessary. The exchange of jewelry between individuals is the exchange of love and not many other material objects have the potential to hold such sentimental value. I love jewelry for its ability to hold a high concentration of beauty and emotion in a small object. I want the women who wear my designs to feel powerful and confident.
EH: When not designing what can we find you doing?
DB: You’ll find me practicing yoga, trying new farm-to-table restaurants, checking out art galleries, going out with friends, exploring a new neighborhood, or dreaming of my next travel adventure.
EH: What do you think is the most underrated Brooklyn hang out spot?
DB: Baba Cool in Fort Greene. It”s a tiny café with delicious coffee and amazing seasonal food. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon chilling with a friend or alone with a book.
Dana Bronfman is jewelry designer based in New York specializing in fine, elegant, and hand crafted pieces. Dana trained as a Graduate Bench Jeweler at the Revere Academy of Jewlery Arts in San Francisco. Following these studies, she apprenticed with jewelers and designers on the west coast and in New York before founding her namesake brand.
Written by Eden Herbstman
Photography Courtesy of One Pr
Design by Mina Darius
Photography Courtesy of One Pr