The New York City–based designer is passionate about world travel and giving back to the community
Anyone who cares about sustainable jewelry should know Dana Bronfman. Beyond using reclaimed and fair-mined gold and ethically sourced gems in her substantial designs—her Oculus open space and hammered finish are her signatures—she works behind the scenes for a host of causes: “The Mercury Free Mining Challenge, to find an alternative to mercury for artisanal miners; Pure Earth, which cleans up toxic pollution in the world’s poorest communities; and Publicolor, which empowers high-risk youth through design-based programs,” she says. “I love seeing how design education can change the world.”
Number of years in the biz: Seven.
Describe your personal style: New York chic meets free spirit from the Southwest.
The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: I’m probably still proudest of the Hollow ring because it launched the aesthetic that people recognize as mine today.
Best piece of advice you ever received: “Don’t worry, be happy.”
Worst piece of advice: “You should send your jewelry to a Kardashian.”
First job ever: Wrangler at a guest ranch. It was the best job ever and entailed taking guests on horseback rides, taking care of the horses, and, yes, cleaning up after them.
How did you get started designing jewelry? While traveling during college as a Spanish major, I began to discover unique and interesting jewelry from all parts of the world and was fascinated by the designs and stories. A few years later I decided to attend the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts.
If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? I’d probably be working in the nonprofit sector.
Jewelry you’re wearing right now: My yellow gold pavé Lipstick ring, hammered point ring, Hollow stacking band, gypsy-set palladium white gold hammered band with a rose-cut natural black diamond, Moon & Stars band in palladium white gold; a few tiny coin studs and my Long Faceted Drop earrings; the Hammered Open convertible Silhouette Chain necklace in oxidized sterling and 18 karat yellow gold.
Five items on your desk right now: A pretty little cactus, notebook and pen, jewelry I’m about to ship out, some castings and gemstone parcels to play with, and a whole lot of messy papers!
Five songs on your playlist: “Indestructible,” Robyn; “Cheap Thrills,” Sia; “20 Dollar,” M.I.A.; “Dance Yrself Clean,” LCD Soundsystem; “Speechless,” Lady Gaga.
Exercise regimen: A combination of weight lifting, inclined treadmill power walks, and yoga.
What did you have for breakfast? Espresso and White Moustache plain Greek yogurt with berries and superfood powder.
Guilty pleasure: I’m obsessed with RuPaul’s Drag Race [pictured].
Drink (daytime/evening): Espresso with hemp milk, cacao powder, lucuma, turmeric, and cinnamon; mezcal with an orange squeeze.
First website you check every day (not your own!): The Skimm.
Favorite place you’ve traveled: Too many! Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Tulum [pictured], Jerusalem, Santa Fe.
Scent: Le Labo Lys 41.
How do you unwind? Meditation; yoga; taking walks; reading The Cut, Well+Good, and a few astrology blogs. I also love podcasts. My favorite is Oprah’s SuperSoul Sessions.
Favorite movie: Thelma & Louise or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [pictured].
Who would play you in your life story? Emma Stone. Hey, it’s my movie!
Top: Twilight Dune Surfer earrings with moonstones, pink tourmaline, opal, and rutilated quartz
(Stone: Theo Warger/Wireimage; Tulum: Lunamarina/istock/Getty; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: 20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett)