I have such high respect for those who make a career change within their life, especially if it involves taking a risk to follow what makes you happy! Misa Hamamoto and I have that in common. After going to college and graduating with a BA in Economics, attaining a corporate job left her feeling empty and unfulfilled. She decided to chase her dreams and follow her passion for jewelry. And we’re so glad she did! Her stunning designs are so subtly chic–I think she captures the laid-back luxurious aspect of her native Hawaii within her creations. Lots of delicate, stackable rings, cool earrings, lariat necklace and an expanding wedding line.
With the holiday bustle and her busy Misa Jewelry workshop (which to me, is way better than Santa’s workshop) we are grateful Misa took some time out to answer some questions. Enjoy!
I’m expanding my bridal jewelry, by creating custom engagement rings and wedding bands for my wonderful clients. It’s such an honor to be a small part of their big day and journey.
It all started during my high school years in Hawaii. My school was one of the few schools in the country to offer jewelry classes as an extracurricular. This wasn’t a beading or friendship bracelet-making class; it was a real metalsmith class where I learned how to solder and saw metal. It was very empowering and Flashdance-esque, learning to become a female welder. Unfortunately, during my college days, I went the “normal and safe” route and studied economics and computer programming, so all of my creativity was in hibernation. After I graduated, I again went the normal and safe route and worked in the finance industry for a few years, but I found myself always taking art classes at night and on the weekends. I came across a jewelry-carving class, and I was immediately hooked. All of my knowledge of metalsmith quickly came back to me, and I naturally merged those skills with my newly acquired lost wax casting skills.
My friend and then co-worker in finance was wearing a necklace that I created for her and was stopped by a store buyer, who asked where she got her necklace. My friend gave her my phone number, the buyer immediately placed an order, and I received a check for $1,000 the following day! Despite not having a clue on how to create an invoice or even product-style numbers, my most memorable moment was this buyer’s excitement and eagerness to purchase my handmade jewelry — all being made on my dining-room table at the time. It was the boost that started Misa Jewelry, and I’m forever grateful for my supportive friends and buyers.
I would love to work with more gemstones and big diamonds. Gemstones are so magical and beautiful that I not only love wearing them, but I love hand-selecting them on my world travels. I am very lucky to often hear from my clients about how much they love wearing their Misa Jewelry because it makes them “feel” special. I truly do put so much love into my jewelry-making — from hand-carving the designs to selecting the stones myself — that I’m so touched that they can actually FEEL it.
I love my Branch Diamond Ring! It was one of my first fine jewelry pieces that inspired me to keep creating my luxury, yet everyday pieces. Every piece of Misa Jewelry is a balanced union of nature’s beauty and the spirit of the modern city, and I believe the Branch Ring represents this exactly. I also wore this ring on my wedding day in Downtown LA, where I met my husband, went on my first date with him and also where my jewelry studio is located. I love wearing this ring next to my equally special engagement ring that my husband picked out all by himself. Can you imagine the pressure he must have felt shopping for a ring for his jewelry designer wife-hopeful??