Her lighthearted sketches combine loose stones with a healthy amount of fun, and many in industry are starting to take note
Hannah Becker of @Diamondoodles Instagram fame has been delighting fans and brands with her charming and rudimentary sketches since 2014. While working as a gemologist for Kaiser Gems in New York City, she started sketching cute little doodles during her lunch breaks, quickly realizing that they were a hit. With the encouragement of friends and fans, she created the @Diamondoodles Instagram account to house them, and by December 2014, she had landed her first paying gig. Here Becker opens up about projects, skill sets, and what’s next for @Diamondoodles.
Little Red Riding Hood doodle with a Polly Wales jewel
JCK: In a nutshell, what is Diamondoodles?
Hannah Becker: Diamondoodles is a creative and collaborative platform. From the gemstone illustrations that have been my signature since the inception of the Diamondoodles, the gift guide I put together this holiday season with Benjamin Guttery (@ThirdCoastGems), the lush and sparkly marketing visuals I make for jewelry brands and gemstone companies, and even my own line of whimsical enamel pins, Diamondoodles is the way I express my passion for gemstones and excite others about the industry.
JCK: Tell us about your jewelry background. For example, did you go to school for jewelry design or bench work?
Becker: When I was nine years old, I spent three hours a day at summer camp learning loom beading from a camp counselor from Ghana. I had already realized my passion for jewelry at that age and ended up being the only camper to sign up! I have never cited that as the beginning of my jewelry background, but it is probably my earliest training.
After college, I was working in branding and Web design and feeling uninspired. I went with my brother to buy the engagement ring for his fiancée, and our family jeweler told me about GIA’s educational programs. I waited maybe two days and then applied for the Graduate Gemologist and Jewelry Design and Technology courses. I attended the Gemological Institute of America at the Carlsbad [Calif.] campus and spent six months learning CAD and another six becoming a gemologist.
JCK: Are most of your fans in jewelry?
Becker: It’s really a big mix. There are definitely a lot of designers, gemstone companies, and jewelry media/social media names among my followers, but there are a lot of tried-and-true fans who are just sparkle junkies.
A fan favorite: a gemstone-intense bottle of Sriracha sauce
JCK: Would the Kara Ross collaboration in 2015 count as one of your highlights of the year? What did Kara task you to do for that project?
Becker: The Kara Ross collaboration was definitely a highlight of 2015! I met Kara at Couture this past year. I introduced myself and my work, and instantly something clicked. There is a lot of whimsy and playfulness in Kara Ross’s work, so I think we are rather aesthetically kindred. She wanted a window display for her NYC flagship store for fashion week, she wanted to maintain the Diamondoodles style, and she wanted sparkle. I was so on board to design a project that checked off everything from her list.
JCK: What’s the best compliment you have received thus far in your Diamondoodles career?
Becker: It’s hard to pinpoint one compliment, but I think the amazing reception I have had from within the industry has been beyond flattering. I still feel giddy when I introduce myself to industry veterans as Diamondoodles and they know my work. That awareness is so flattering and humbling every time.
JCK: You recently traveled to India. Was it for work, and what kind of India-related doodles should we expect to see on your Instagram account?
Becker: My India trip was more of a mental break and inspiration-gathering trip than a formal work trip. Many of my classmates from the GIA live in India, so no matter whether I was relaxing or visiting their offices and showrooms, the conversation was usually gems and jewelry focused. I can talk jewelry all day, so it never truly feels like work.
I’m not sure if you will see a lot of literal interpretations of what I saw in India pop up in my Instagram. The color palettes and ornamentation in India really inspired me. I want to incorporate some of these observations into my design aesthetic this year. I will never get over a rainbow color palette, but my travels definitely teach me new ways to mix colors together.
A rickshaw doodle was one by-product of Becker’s recent trip to India
JCK: Besides doodling, what else do you do in jewelry for work? For example, design and make custom pieces? Buy gemstones for big companies?
Becker: “What kind of project do you have in mind?” is one of my go-to phrases. My CAD experience, production background, experience in a number of art mediums, and general try-anything-once nature make me really open to taking on any project in this industry that I find inspiring. More formally, I create custom jewelry for private clients and help designers with production. I truly love networking, so when people approach me with projects that I can’t help with, I bet I know someone who can!
JCK: How can retailers benefit from collaborating with you?
Becker: In the same way that my other collaborations are custom-tailored to the designers I work with, I can offer this same experience to retailers. The visual merchandising I did with Kara Ross is just one example of a way to situate Diamondoodles into the retail experience. I would love for retailers to know that I’m a great resource for catalogs, look books, packaging, and corporate gift design. While Diamondoodles has a distinct point of view on my Instagram, I’m great at interpreting the voice of my clients.
JCK: Tell us about some of the jewelry projects you have lined up for 2016.
Becker: I have a fun collaboration with Jean-Noel Soni (@TopNotchFaceting) in the works and a lot of travel planned for this year. The other projects are hush-hush for now, sorry!
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