JCK Asks…Ippolita



The former sculptress reveals the philosophy behind her big bangle theories

You don’t need a sweet tooth to love Rock Candy—Ippolita’s  delicious gem-studded collection to which women everywhere have developed a serious addiction. Even the Ippolita styles are yummy—Lollipop earrings, Gelato bangles…all crafted with fresh, juicy jewels like Brazilian ­amethyst, blue topaz, and champagne citrine. JCK was experiencing a serious sugar craving, so we called the Manhattan-based, Italian-born artist  (she studied sculpture at Florence’s Istituto d’Arte) to get our fix.

Age: Ageless

Number of years in the biz: 17

Number of employees you oversee: 50, with lots of help

Jet Set earrings

Family/pets: I have a daughter, Maya.

Describe your personal style: Extravagant from the neck up

First piece you ever designed: Gold Squiggle bangle

The single piece of jewelry you can’t live without: Jet Set earrings

Best piece of advice you ever received: “Do what you love, not what makes you rich.”


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Grapes on the vine

Worst piece of advice: “Play it safe.”

First job ever: Picking grapes on the farm where I grew up in Tuscany

How did you get started designing jewelry? My love of art and craft led me to design. As a sculptor and painter, it was a natural transition to create “wearable art.”

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? Painting, sculpting, teaching art

Why “Rock Candy”? It perfectly describes the brilliantly cut, colorful stones in this collection.

Favorite gemstones: Diamonds, turquoise, and London blue topaz

Rock Candy bangles

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: Jet Set ­earrings, gold paper clip necklace, and 13 gold and diamond bangles

Five items on your desk right now: A stack of magazines, an itinerary for my trip to Thailand, a picture of my best friends, my sketchbooks, a small glass hand

Five songs on your playlist: “A&E,” Goldfrapp; “Sympathy for the Devil,” the Rolling Stones; “Pink Moon,” Nick Drake; “The Look of Love,” Nina Simone; “Take Five,” Dave Brubeck

First website you check every day: WWD.com

Scent: Bois Oriental by Serge Lutens

Exercise regimen: Ideally—torture by personal trainer three times a week. Reality—running through airports

What did you have for breakfast? Espresso with half-and-half

Guilty pleasure: Häagen-Dazs dulce de leche ice cream

Drink (daytime/evening): Coffee/wine

How do you unwind? Dinner with friends at Blue Ribbon Sushi in Brooklyn

Favorite museum in Florence: Palazzo Davanzati

Superstitious? Only in a crisis

Book you’re reading: The Possessed: ­Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, by Elif Batuman

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez

Preferred news source: NPR

Main means of transportation: Subway

Favorite movie: Minnie and Moskowitz, by John Cassavetes

Who would play you in your life story? Penélope Cruz

Personal motto: “Art matters.”