Traveling the world inspires so much of the creative process for designers. For Gina Love, that was jewelry. More specifically, jewelry consisting of only the highest karat 22 karat and 24 karat gold.
Love found that while traveling everywhere from Peru to Japan, Greece, Prague, and India, it was nearly impossible to find such high-karat luxury gold anywhere in the U.S. Even the most luxe brands often only work with 14 karat and 18 karat gold. It was this realization that inspired her to create Auvere, a direct-to-consumer luxury jewelry line using only this hard-to-find high-karat gold.
“While growing up in Jamaica, I was exposed to high-karat gold,” Love told Departures. “But, for the most part, 22 and 24 karat gold jewelry is rarely made and sold by major jewelry stores in the United States. So, when I traveled to other countries, I would look out for any opportunity to buy high karat gold. Then I decided to make my own.” Taking in how others live and wear their jewelry—in both the ancient world and today—Love’s travels helped create awareness about the art of true gold and made her more creative and informed during her design process. Here she shares some personal travel experiences that prompted her to launch Auvere and the specific pieces from collections directly inspired by these beautiful countries.
“I went to Greece in the summer of 2005 with two girlfriends. While my friends were buying t-shirts, flip flops, and cute hats, I spent my time in the jewelry stores in Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos and ended up buying several pieces, including a 24 karat gold ring that was handcrafted for me. I had to order it and then wait for two months while it was made and sent to me. That experience reignited my love for high karat gold jewelry."
“I went to Istanbul in 2008—at a time when I was still practicing law. My sister lived in London, so anytime I went to visit her, I would also visit another country—often by myself. This time it was Istanbul. There is a place in Istanbul called the Grand Bazaar, and it is filled with all different kinds of shops, including so many jewelry stores where they sell 22 and 24 karat pure gold handcrafted jewelry. I came away with one special piece, which I still wear and treasure today—a necklace with a tulip pendant.”
“I was starting to think about creating Auvere in the summer and fall of 2016—around the time when my husband and I were planning our January 2017 trip to Columbia. I chose it because I had heard about the Museum of Gold in Bogota and thought it would be incredible to see what the ancient Incans had designed. It was amazing to see how modern some of the pieces seemed some millennia later. Colombia is also known for its emeralds. So, we visited the Emerald District—an area in Bogota where there are lots of emerald wholesalers. And that was the beginning of designing Auvere’s first collection."
“Steven and I went to Jaipur, India, in January 2018 because it is one of the places where our jewelry is made (the other place is New York). We went there to spend time with the people who make our pieces and to review and refine the process. While in India, I fell in love with the ruby. I bought a ring with a large ruby in it, which made me want to add colored stones to our gold pieces. We did so in two pieces—the Cage Cocktail Ring and the Byzantium.”
“We went to Peru in July 2018. This was more of a hiking trip and to see Machu Picchu. While in Peru, we learned about the history of gold, which was quite tragic—in that the Spanish stole it. It made me appreciate the ancient culture and beauty behind true gold.”