Former college roommates Rebecca Richards and Jessica Bohrer are the design duo behind dalla nonna, which means "from the grandmother" in Italian. Richards and Bohrer were inspired by vintage pieces once belonging to their mother's and grandmothers and fell in love with the idea of making something old new again.
dalla nonna's chic and modern jewelry designs have been flashed around by some pretty famous faces including Charlize Theron, Emily VanCamp, Zoe Saldana, Emma Stone and Pretty Little Liars star, Ashley Benson. Their sensational and personal keepsake pieces have even made it to the small screen appearing on Chelsea Lately and Castle.
Recently we had a chance to speak to Rebecca and Jessica, and the pair dished on everything from the importance of giving back to the community, their latest pieces and their plans for New York Fashion Week.
Fashion Wrap Up: Tell us a little bit about the current collection you are creating?
dalla nonna: We actually just introduced our little letters on delicate chain bracelets. We’ve had a great response to our little letters (with celebrity fans including Charlize Theron & Zooey Deschanel), which are in our signature font, and we think customers will love seeing words & phrases like “xo”, “bff”, “love” and “mom” peeking from their sweater sleeves. For fall & winter, we are also focused on incorporating the darker sapphire colors – red, blue, purple & of course black! While our collections are really wearable year round, we love the pop of the darker tones, and since jewel tones are big for fall, we want to make sure our customers have a new selection of colors to choose from this season. We’re especially loving our black sapphire portafortuna (“good luck charms”) earrings and rings. These pieces are super wearable and make any outfit feel extra special.
FWU: How did you know that jewelry was your passion?
dalla nonna: Who doesn’t feel passionately about jewelry?! Actually, we both are very close to our grandmothers and have very fond memories of playing in their jewelry boxes when we were little (and big!). We adore these women and the special memories we associate with wearing their jewels. So it’s only natural that this passion for family would inspire us to create dalla nonna. We fell in love with the idea of taking a family treasure with a story—a trinket celebrating a special day—and making it new by adding a modern twist.
FWU: Describe the first piece of jewelry you purchased?
dalla nonna: With a love for jewelry, it’s hard to remember the first piece of jewelry ever purchased. There was the cat ring-bracelet-necklace set that Becca saved her allowance, birthday and holiday money to buy at age 7; the cat was enameled the brightest orange you can imagine. And Jess begged her parents for anything with her birthstone – amethyst, including a heart-shaped amethyst ring in yellow gold – to accompany her arm-full of friendship and beaded bracelets. Although we still have these pieces, which make us smile, we are now saving for timeless pieces that we can pass on to our daughters and granddaughters.
FWU: Where do you draw inspiration for a piece or collection?
dalla nonna: We draw inspiration from everywhere and everything – family, friends, nature, street life, art, runway, etc. Once inspiration strikes, we make sure that we blend new ideas and collections into our existing aesthetic. dalla nonna jewelry is meant to be simple enough to wear every day, but also unique enough to feel special. Personal details give each piece a life and story of its own—from the date you selected for your calendar necklace to the letters you chose for your little letter bracelet. As the line continues to grow, it’s important that all of the new pieces stay true to our chic, custom, vintage-inspired aesthetic.
FWU: Tell us a little bit about this “Calendar Necklace” that is generating so much buzz.
dalla nonna: dalla nonna’s signature piece, the calendar necklace® exemplifies dalla nonna’s blend of tradition and trend. Derived from an old tie pin of Jess’ Grandpa Howard, each piece is executed in 14k rose or yellow gold, or sterling silver, and accented with a sapphire in a color chosen by the wearer to commemorate a date of her choosing - birthday, birth of a baby, graduation, engagement, anniversary, wedding - the list is endless! With its sleek and modern design, the calendar necklace® is a subtle statement piece that allows the wearer to hold a date that is close to her heart even closer still.
FWU: What are your favorite gemstones?
dalla nonna: Sapphires, of course! We love sapphires because they are one of the only precious stones that come in a rainbow of colors (we use red, green, blue, yellow, pink, purple, white & black). We love both the wide range of beautiful colors and the quality.
FWU: Describe what it was like seeing your creations on the red carpet for the first time.
dalla nonna: There is nothing quite like seeing someone wearing something you’ve created, and when that someone is a celebrity it’s exhilarating! Whether it’s a woman on the street or an actress heading into a movie premiere, it’s incredibly gratifying knowing that you’re passion, sweat and tears have paid off. We are touched and honored every time we see someone wearing our pieces…and of course, we phone one another immediately to share our excitement.
FWU: What are your plans for Fashion’s Night Out?
dalla nonna: To survive! Fashion’s Night Out is a super exciting time for the industry & it’s great to see everyone out and on the move soaking in the new trends & fun entertainment. We spent last year taking in the festivities in the Meatpacking District, so this year you’ll probably find us in Soho to mix things up!
FWU: Will you be attending any shows or events during fashion week?
dalla nonna: We love being a part of the NYC fashion world – whether it’s during Fashion Week or any other week of the year – and that’s why we’re based here and why we do most of our manufacturing here as well. It’s hard to match the creativity, diversity and energy NYC has to offer! We’ll be making the rounds to a few shows & events during Fashion Week, and we’ll also be attending Lucky FABB, which we’re super excited about since there are so many wonderful things happening as we grow our social media presence (hard to believe it, but we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram & Polyvore – oh my!).
FWU: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
dalla nonna: We believe in supporting local artisans, all of our pieces are handmade in the USA. Additionally, dalla nonna believes in giving back. In support of promoting breast cancer awareness and prevention efforts, dalla nonna donates 10% of the purchase price of pink bracelets (from any collection, in any metal strung on pink (faux) suede) to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. dalla nonna also donates 20% of the purchase price of our sterling silver lucky star bracelets strung on turquoise (faux) suede to SOS Children's Villages to support their relief efforts in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Customers can feel good knowing that they’re supporting local businesses as well as worthy causes.
~Christy Pastore @christypastore
Image Source: dalla nonna Facebook