Elisabeth Soscia and I met at JCK Las Vegas in 2015 and immediately hit it off. She is a buyer for Squash Blossom and is also a very talented jeweler. We got to talking about our journeys, and I was surprised to learn that she has worked for some of the best in business. The Squash Blossom owners will be at the JCK Tucson show in February, and it got Soscia thinking. She quickly realized this is a show not to be missed and asked me what I thought about her displaying her own line at the Design Center. I was thrilled! Meet Earth Below Sky Creations, handcrafted with care in Colorado. I’m so excited that Soscia (pictured here with her children) has taken the plunge and decided to use JCK Tucson as the place to debut her wares. The industry definitely could use a few more of her: new to the wholesale scene, energetic, positive, talented, and ready to give it all she’s got.
You’ve exhibited at many incredible galleries and won quite a few awards. What has been the proudest moment in your jewelry journey thus far and why?
Elisabeth Soscia: I’d have to say, by far being featured on your blog for JCK! Participating in the JCK Tucson show is a huge step in my endeavors as a studio jeweler. It’s truly an honor to be featured by JCK and be among so many talented designers.
Les Fleurs oxidized sterling silver and 22k gold ring
Soscia: Both Todd and Barbara are incredibly talented artists and all-around amazing people and parents. Both have been such an inspiration to me in staying true to my vision as an artist, creating work/life balance as a parent, and staying positive throughout the ups and downs of the trade. Barbara is an incredibly gifted goldsmith with amazing attention to detail. She really taught me to raise the bar in terms of my goldsmithing and stone-setting skills. Todd is extremely talented at out-of-the-box thinking and creating a vision for what you want and bringing that vision to fruition. I truly believe spending time in both of their studios as a jeweler has brought so much to my life, both personally and professionally.
In holding back on establishing my own studio, I gained invaluable experience and knowledge through observing how they thought as entrepreneurs, created their designs, worked with galleries, and overcame small and large challenges in their studios—insight and experience I might not have gained otherwise.
Relic leather wrap bracelets
Currently, you are the art director/buyer at Squash Blossom in Colorado Springs, Colo. How has this retail experience helped you with merchandising your own line?
Soscia: Again, learning through working with others experienced in your field is priceless. Patti Cogswell has great taste and holds high standards for choosing designers, our displays, and merchandising of products. This has really helped me envision my designs not just as individual pieces but as an entire cohesive line that is just as attractive in the case as it is on the client.
What are changes you’d like to see happen in the industry, if any?
Soscia: I would like to see more jewelry stores be the trendsetters in terms of choosing new designers. I understand the attraction in selling an established brand rather than pushing the limits with creative new designers. If you believe in an artist and are excited by their work, your customers will be as well.
I would also love to see more manufacturers and designers be more conscientious about the sourcing and production of their products. If we don’t create a standard for ethically sourcing and recycling materials, who will? I don’t believe anyone’s success should come at the expense of other people or the planet.
Sterling silver Sunstar navette slide
How are your designs inspired? I see you use a lot of matte finishes. Is this part of your signature style or do you see yourself departing from this aesthetic? What’s next?
Soscia: My designs are inspired by the amazing Colorado landscapes and the contrasts I see all around me. My use of matte surfaces is more about the excitement it adds to design when it is juxtaposed with a brightly polished bezel or burnished edge. What’s next? More gold work and incorporating gemstones that bring out that element of rough contrasted with the refined.
Why are you choosing to debut your wholesale line at JCK Tucson?
Soscia: The stars aligned, and I was presented with the perfect opportunity to be there. In combination with JCK’s push this year to highlight new designers and connect them with well-established buyers in the market, I knew this was the year to jump in. Tucson will always hold a special place in my heart, as the very first year I attended the show some very fortuitous events came out of it, including meeting Todd Reed and creating the name for my company.
Tide Pool sterling silver and 22k gold earrings
Why are you excited for the show?
Soscia: Things have really come full circle for me as a designer in coming to this year’s show. As a young artist, just out of school, I attended the Tucson show with stars in my eyes only dreaming of bringing my work to a show like JCK. That was about 15 years ago and was my first introduction to Todd Reed and his statement raw diamonds. It was just him in his tiny booth, and I was so inspired by his work. Lo and behold he is now the keynote speaker, and I will now be exhibiting for the first time!