Growing up in Mexico City, siblings James and Monica Ramos were surrounded by the bold—and enticing—colors that show up in the city’s traditional artwork, architecture, and clothing. That, combined with their training and the fact that the tight-knit duo was raised by entrepreneurs, gave them a pretty solid foundation for building a jewelry line: James (who, FWIW, describes himself as “notoriously fashion-challenged”) worked in the finance industry for years and very much gets the business side of things, while Monica worked for pop painter John Wesley, a contemporary of Donald Judd.
Monica had an artist’s interest in making her own jewelry, but it wasn’t until she started collecting wooden beads from their hometown and painting them that everything started to click: “Painting allows a flexibility—you can be so much more spontaneous and use so many more colors and patterns. Our jewelry is so focused around the colors,” she says of the high-energy tropical pinks, blue, and greens she gravitates to. Inspired by his sister’s experiments, James channeled some serious brotherly love and quit his job to help her run operations. Less than a year later in spring 2015, Ramos was off to the races, strung together with materials sourced from far-flung locations like Ghana and Turkey. Says James, “For us, it’s not only putting colors together, but also putting different cultures together in one necklace.” And, yes, of course: making their parents super proud. — Lindsay O'Rourke