During a day of antiquing, longtime jewelry collector Lena Wald came across a jade ring designed to protect archers’ fingers. She fell in love with it so hard that she decided to try to recreate it herself, having taken enough casting, soldering, and stone-setting classes to give it a go. Pretty soon, she was carving rings out of solid ruby and turquoise—and realizing she’d found her calling. “I loved making the rings and knew I didn’t want to design clothes,” says Lena, who left her job as fabric buyer for the L.A. designer Richard Tyler to start a badass fine-jewelry line in 1998.
As with her first creation, Lena is often inspired to create a piece to fill a void in her own collection, and given her four ear piercings, she had some wants and needs on that front. Looking to spell “Lena” in her ears, she began making subtle-but-sick diamond initial earrings, and, when the requests started pouring in from her fans (which include the likes of, oh, Kate Moss and Madonna), she added sparkling alligators, crowns, and—heck—dollar signs to the stud mix.
In case you aren’t bowled over by Lena’s cool factor yet, get this: She has another envy-inducing gig. She’s the curator of Maxfield Gallery, showcasing the furniture collection of the very-big-deal boutique Maxfield Los Angeles—further proof that Lena knows her way around good design, of all kinds. —meghana gandhi
BEHIND THE SCENES
Hey, Leo: Feel free to send some earrings our way!
Key to the City Lena Wald Gives Us a Way-Chic Tour of Paris’s Left Bank
This will make you want to take a two-year trip to the city, too.