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Meet Aria Thomas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aria Thomas.

Hi Aria, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
As a young girl at my first gem and mineral show, I watched in awe as a geode was split in two. The boulder’s rough unassuming exterior suddenly became a cave of sparkling crystals before my eyes. Completely entranced, I wanted to learn more about minerals and their origin. I started collecting at the age of three and grew my collection from a humble group of modest stones from the neighborhood park to an extensive array of unique specimens from all corners of the globe. Growing up, I often expressed myself through various mediums of art, leading me to release my first collection of handmade beaded jewelry at the age of ten. My dream became to study at the Gemological Institute of America, a place where I could combine my love for stones and art while pursuing a career at the same time. I was fortunate enough to receive multiple scholarships to GIA and become a certified Gemologist and Jewelry Designer.

Four years ago, my childhood dream became reality and my fine jewelry line Eleux was born. The name was created with the intention of “evolving luxury through exclusive jewelry,” the “e,l,e” in Eleux. My brand specializes in one-of-a-kind jewelry that highlights a variety of colored gemstones and celebrates the uniqueness of each stone.

Jewelry design is an expression of a passion dating back to my earliest memories that allows me to showcase nature’s beauty and diversity through gemstones.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Learning my trade and preparing to be an entrepreneur was smooth but becoming a successful entrepreneur has been far more challenging. There’s nothing more fulfilling than learning a trade you’re passionate about. Whether it was getting a bachelor’s degree in business or diamond and colored stone grading certifications at the Gemological Institute of America, each step I took was intentional.

Owning a business comes with its own challenges. Building a brand from scratch, executing marketing tactics, learning product photography, building a website, and getting your brand noticed is no easy feat. I am really proud of my jewelry and the strides I’m making, however like every small business trying to operate under the weight of a worldwide pandemic, it’s been a challenging time for jewelry. A lot of colored stone mining occurs in more under-developed countries, such as Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Brazil, Myanmar, etc. A lot of mining sites, big and small, were shut down during Covid, making it extremely difficult for designers to access new stones. With little gemstone production, rising gold prices, and a lack of in-person experiences, it was a challenging time to grow my company. Eleux is back and better than ever, creating new collections, attending trade shows and in-person events and I am so excited to see where we go from here.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Most high-end jewelry focuses on diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. These gemstones have their own beauty but what about tourmaline, agates, spinel, opal, and jasper? I’d argue that these stones are more interesting than a diamond. There are hundreds of beautiful stones but they don’t get profiled because the history of the world has highlighted only the big four.

What makes my brand unique is that we can take luxury to another level.

When sourcing gemstones, I hand-select for unique characteristics such as patterning, shape, texture, or color. My design process starts with selecting a ‘centerpiece’ gemstone and then I create the rest of the story with complimentary stones that highlight that center stone. I also love using juxtaposing elements throughout my work such as pairing gemstones that are smooth and flat with a gemstone that is textured or faceted.

By challenging views of traditional luxury gemstones, a whole world of alternative gemstones opens up. I am extremely proud of the work I am doing because I am taking a risk and bringing something new to high-end jewelry.

One of my proudest moments is creating the cabochon-cut gemstone ear climber. Ear climbers are an elongated style of earring that adds interest up the ear. Big name jewelry companies such as Tiffany & Co, Kendra Scott, and David Yurman have their own take on ear climbers. I am extremely proud that I am the only designer who has created an ear climber with the cabochon cutting technique. The cabochon cutting style is where a gemstone is shaped with a flat base and a smooth domed top. Each climber takes around four hours to sculpt by hand before the gemstone is surrounded with a hand-crafted gold setting that perfectly secures the stone in place. These ear climbers are my top sellers and come in a variety of gemstones. You can choose anywhere from an electric green chrysoprase climber to the more neutral agate climber to fit your individual style.

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
I would tell them three things. One, figure out a niche within your market and have the courage to go against the grain. In any industry, it’s so important to find a way to stand out and challenge the status quo. Two, be comfortable in your own skin. There will be so many people that will not understand what you’re doing because it’s different. Lastly, enroll in a mentorship program or join trade or business-specific organizations to help foster your growth. The best thing you can do is surround yourself with like-minded people to evolve your business. Enjoy the process and even the hardship that comes with. As long as you are following your passion, success will come.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.eleux.com
  • Instagram: @eleuxjewelry
  • Facebook: @eleuxjewelry


Image Credits
Jasmine Lairsmith, Kristin Rashid

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