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When Gabriela Artigas started designing jewelry, she didn’t really mean to. She was just humoring her mom, who wanted some not-too-fancy pieces to wear to a wedding in Mexico City, where Gabriela was raised and was studying textile design. But on a trip to L.A. to visit her brother, who was enrolled in architecture school there, she got her first order: “Someone at Maxfield bought the first piece I ever designed right off of my mom’s neck,” she recalls. Something about Los Angeles and Gabriela worked. And soon enough she made the permanent move north. “I decided to just come here for a few months,” she says. “And then I never went back.” Those early designs—big, bold necklaces that brought together coral, ebony, mother of pearl, and whatever materials were luring her in at the moment—have evolved into the dynamic sort of line that’s full of surprises: tiny gold rings sit alongside heavy body chains and bohemian leather wrist wraps play off aggressive, coated-steel necklaces. The whole range of designs pays tribute to her two hometowns. “All of the pieces are made in Los Angeles or in Mexico City—nothing is produced overseas. Everyone who I work with has been doing this for a really long time, so they have the skills and experience,” she explains. And, at it since 2003, so does she. —erica
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