Paula Mendoza Jewelry


Ten years ago, the Colombian journalist turned jewelry designer first started making jewelry purely as a hobby. She figured it would make some nice pocket money while studying journalism. Nothing more, nothing less. It wasn’t until a gallery in Boston actually picked up her jewelry pieces that a light bulb went off. “Hey I can actually make money with this!”. She quit journalism and fully submerged herself in the world of jewelry designing. She studied gemology and jewelry techniques in Brazil and Peru. And returned to her native Bogotá to study jewelry making. She moved to Washington and took a course called “Jewelry as Sculpture” at the Corocan Institute. It forced her to look at her jewelry designing in a new way. Jewelry not as simply jewelry, but also as small sculptures. It is this concept that took her jewelry the next level.

Her philosophy of seeing jewelry as sculptures is really evident in her jewelry. Bold, serpentine bracelets swirl around the arms. Armorlike necklaces are architectural, fierce and sexy. Sculptural and geometric jewelry is really nothing new. Geometric jewelry is a big trend at the moment, and sculptural jewelry has been designed (by architects mostly) for ages. This is the most original take on both trends that I’ve seen however. Her style is instantly recognizable, because there is simply no other jewelry like it!

Even though she moved to NY in 2012, her jewelry remains deeply rooted in her native Colombia. First, Paula designs and makes the prototypes herself. Then every piece is handcrafted in her family-run workshop in Bogotá by a group of local artisans. People she has worked with for ten years. She favors working with brass because it allows her to translate jewelry trends in a chic way, while still remaining affordable. As a finishing touch, every piece is gold-plated with 24 kt gold.

Ever since I saw her jewelry in 2013 for the first time, I’ve been hooked. And fortunately, I’m not the only one taking notice! Throughout her career, there have been some pivotal moments. To begin with, her statement jewelry lends itself perfectly for fashion editorials and videos. Combined with some seriously intense networking skills (almost stalking buyers ;-) ) and smart use of social media, stylists and buyers started paying attention. What really took her brand to the next level was being featured in Beyoncé’s “XO” video. Beyoncé’s stylist first noticed her jewelry via Mendoza’s instagram account. It was on this same instagram account that retailer Net-a-Porter first spotted her jewelry. They went on to buy the A/W 2014 ORO collection. Moda Operandi soon followed suit. The last battleground to conquer was the Red Carpet. Dakota Fanning obliged, but it was Kate Beckinsale’s look with a Zimmermann dress and Mendoza choker that really turned heads.

The new S/S 2015 collection, Aranjuez, is nothing short of stunning. Inspired by the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, this collection has a regal quality. The collection contains her signature snake coil jewelry, but also new pieces adorned with rich colored stones. The campaign photos look like oil paintings that could adorn the palace walls of this 16th century palace.

Mendoza said that her instagram-followers react the strongest to pictures of her wearing her own jewelry. And with all that eye candy at her disposal it’s not exactly hard to see why. So instead of choosing mostly lookbook photos to showcase her beautiful jewelry, I’m letting her gorgeous instagram photos do all the talking.