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Before taking the entrepreneurial plunge and founding Unearthen—her line of raw, sophisticated gems—in 2007, Gia Bahm was living in New York and working as a wardrobe stylist. “I realized I was happiest when I was just messing around on set and improvising little accessories out of scraps,” explains the designer, who spent childhood weekends in her native Seattle shuttling between various arts-and-crafts classes. “I just knew I wanted to try doing my own thing for a while and see what came of it.”

When Gia got down to experimenting, she whipped up pendants that paired gemstones with bullet casings, and they got so much love that she then needed to determine a name for this undertaking. “I agonized over what to call it,” Gia, now an L.A.-dweller, admits. “I wanted something that sounded natural and mysterious, and ‘Unearthen’ just felt right. I like that it’s not a real word. It kind of allows you to interpret it however you want.” And although the line has expanded well beyond its inaugural necklace into a range that now includes rings, bracelets, lockets, and even pocketknives (why not?), Gia is still all about the making. “I’m obsessively hands-on,” she says. “It sounds insane, but I love finding the perfect setting, the perfect little home for each crystal.” Sounds like, in the process, she’s made a pretty fine home for herself as well. —mattie kahn