Barcelona native Blanca Monros Gomez pairs sustainable design with exquisite artistry to create timeless pieces. Her thoughtful designs embody elegance and beauty. With her strong rooted and resourceful thinking, Blanca is no stranger to foraging for materials that inspire her. Nature and nature’s forms can be found as a theme throughout many of her designs and the materials used are consciously chosen to reflect her eco-conscious point of view. All of her jewelry pieces are made by hand, one at a time, locally in New York City. We were lucky enough to meet with Blanca to get an insider perspective into her thoughts, inspirations, and creative origins.
You went to school for industrial design and it was there, silversmithing, that you thought you should be working on a smaller scale and designing jewelry – was there a piece you made that inspired you to move in another direction or was it more of a vision or idea?
I went to school for industrial design at Mass Art, which was very hands on. I originally wanted to pursue furniture design and started taking workshops in different media: glassblowing, woodworking, welding, etc. But when I took a class in silversmithing where we learned how to solder and hand forge metal with hammers, I knew that was it! It was mostly the scale that just really clicked for me.
The intentional irregularity of your work, the lines and the arranging of stones, reminds us of Antoni Gaudi; his structures in Barcelona with whimsical details and organic shapes, inspired by natural forms. Is there a connection? What else inspires you?
I was born and raised in Barcelona and that city obviously determined very much my aesthetic preference and will forever be an influence on my design. I have always been very much inspired by nature and nature’s forms, the Mediterranean landscape and colors. I will constantly scavenge seeds and sticks and pods anywhere we go and all these little things eventually find their way into the jewelry I design one way or other.
Have you always been an eco-conscious designer with a focus on sustainability? Why is that important to you and how do you factor it into your work?
It wasn’t an intentional goal from the beginning but an interest that came organically through working with the materials. Using all the scraps I had on hand very meticulously to make beads and small designs was just something that happened playing with the materials at the studio. Jewelry making can be a pretty dirty exercise so eventually that awareness became a guideline on how to do things and be conscious of its direct impact in our lives.
You have signature styles and seasonal pieces sold in Steven Alan stores (and others across the USA) but you're also known for custom and collaborative work with clients. What kinds of pieces have you made for special clients?
When I first started my jewelry business in 2008 it was from my home, making engagement rings and bands for customers. It started really small from word of mouth and some blog mentions. Eventually I had some stores pick up the line, one of them Steven Alan of course! Now it has probably been about 7-8 years that our jewelry has been at SA stores. It just kind of evolved from there. Our wedding collection is still mainly made to order and we have a lot of Studio Consultations, for customers coming to see our collection of engagement rings and wedding bands to place special orders.
All of your jewelry is made by hand in New York and Brooklyn?
All our pieces are made by hand in NY and finished at our studio by our Production team.
Do you wear any of your designs regularly? Are there specific styles you like to pair together?
Yes, one of the main guidelines in terms of designing is asking myself, if I would wear or buy that piece and also, will I still love it 10 years from now. My favorite pieces that I wear all the time are this stack (pictured below) and our Stitch earrings layered. I usually don’t take my earrings off everyday and I will wear a specific composition for weeks until I get tired of it and need a change! Right now I am wearing a medium and short stitch on my right ear piercings and a long and short stitch on my left side. I love the Stitches and how seamless and comfortable they are. A trick is to double loop each string through 1 piercing so that it will not move. Then I don’t take them off at all - not even for sleeping!
For the summer I am planning on layering them with our handmade medium hoops. I like wearing more than 1 earring on each piercing for a layered look. I also love our diamond pave Carina band and I wear one on my pinky always!
What keeps you going to the studio every day? We image you're fulfilled by the ability to create for a living but you've been doing this for so long that there must be something truly special about it worth sharing.
Working on a new collection, meeting a happy client, and especially working with my studio team!
Do you have any other creative outlets? What do you like to do aside from design and create fine jewelry?
I’m a tinkerer. I can’t help tinkering with things--whether it’s decorating our new house that my husband designed, or planting our garden, or making a new dress for my daughter’s favorite doll.
Photos by Heather Sten