Michelle Fantaci‘s jewelry caught my attention on Instagram. I fell in love with its ability to be worn in layers, which is something I tend to do naturally. Then I learned more about the designer behind the brand and admired even more! Michelle isn’t one of those who sketch and send things off to be created by a CAD specialist–she is a true creator: sculpting, inventing, hand-crafting. She is deeply rooted in her love and passion of jewelry and jewelry design. I knew I wanted to share her story and designs with my readers, so I am thankful she took the time to answer a few questions for Gem Gossip:
I am really excited about my new collection launching early February! I don’t typically use a lot of color but this collection will include Red Garnets, soft Gray Moonstone, Black Diamonds, and dark Rubies. The designs have a radiating motif and a regal feeling. The inspiration is the queen in Chess. I was exploring works by Richard Serra, Constantin Brancusi and Alexander McQueen and their defined, clean but sensual lines. As I sketched, certain elements developed further into something new.
I started young. From when I was little and coveted my mother’s beaded choker, to my teenage obsession with Native American jewelry. By the time I was 15, I began metal-smithing. My senior year in high school, I took jewelry making classes at Parsons School of Design. I went on to study jewelry and metal-smithing in Florence.
Despite my love for jewelry design, I couldn’t imagine making a living from having my own line, I pursued other areas of the jewelry business. I was a sales associate at H. Stern in Rio de Janiero shortly after college, worked in production at Me and Ro and was the jewelry manager at Steven Alan. It wasn’t until later while studying interior design at Pratt Institute graduate program that I realized I missed working with my hands. Jewelry was it. I left Pratt and studied wax modeling with Fred de Vos in New York. By 2007 I felt ready to launch my collection.
Three of my collections were inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni’s films, L’Avventura, La Notte and Eclipse. They are very atmospheric and have a feeling of journey and discovery that I wanted to evoke in the collections. Ernst Haeckel’s Art Forms in Nature was very inspiring to me when I launched my first collection and is still inspiring. I’m drawn to self-protective elements like thorns, spikes, horns.
I would like to do more collaboration. I’d love to work with my friend, artist Reed Anderson on a capsule collection and create a jewelry line for a men’s label. I feel lucky to do what I love and that it has introduced me to so many people who are passionate about what they do.
For our 5th anniversary my husband gave me a beautiful, rare black opal and I designed the 18k pendant for it with pink diamonds. It’s my most personal piece— I wear it a lot with my shooting star lariat. And my Octagonal Hinge bracelet does not leave my body.