Where the Ramos Duo Sources Its Jewelry Supplies—All Around the Globe
A Ramos moodboard and some cool, in-process jewelry.
Monica and James Ramos dig up the raw materials Monica hand-paints to create punchy, colorful bead-strung cuffs and multi-strand necklaces everywhere from Mexico (where the siblings grew-up) to New York’s Diamond District. We got the scoop on their favorite inside sources—and luckily, some of them have online shops, so you can go on a little armchair-travel sourcing trip if you so desire.
Zocalo District, Mexico City
“Whenever we go back to Mexico, we make sure to visit Calle Del Carmen, which is in the Zocalo district located in downtown Mexico. That street is packed with a variety of stores that sell everything from unique jewelry elements to old books and vintage fabric. Another street in that neighborhood worth checking out for its jewelry supply stores is Republica de el Salvador.”
Mercados, Mexico City
“We also go to many Mexico City markets looking for vintage finds and inspiration. A few of our favorites are Mercado de Sonora, Mercado de Plata, el Bazaar Sabado, and La Lagunilla, which is a great place for antique beads. Finding stores in Mexico is not something that’s easily done on the internet, and we’ve spent a lot of time talking to other Mexican jewelry designers who have pointed us in some interesting directions.”
Painted beads relax before being strung.
“Our glass beads are all from Ghana, a country that has made glass beads for centuries. Local artisans use crushed glass coming from bottles, windows, medicine bottles, cream jars, etc. The beads are baked in kilns in molds made from local clay, and colorants are used to make intricate patterns. We purchase our beads and discs from an Italian woman who lives in Ghana and works with local artisans.” [Ed: Get similar ones through the site Ghana Craft!]
Finds from all over the world snuggle up in a single Ramos statement necklace.
“Many of our finds come from CSJ, which is a 5,000-square-foot space hidden in Midtown that sells everything from vintage close-out beads to stones, wood, chain, and lucite pieces.”
“We also source a lot of gems and stones from a store called Dika, which carries everything you could imagine.”
“Metaliferous is where we get a lot of hard-to-find components, like clasps and little barbells.”
“All of of our custom dust bags are made by local NYC seamstresses with fabric we get from B&J Fabrics, in the Garment District.”
New York Central Art Supply
“We purchase our paints in local art stores, and we especially like New York Central Art Supply. It's been around for ages and has an awesome old-school vibe. We spend a lot time mixing and playing around with color combinations to find colors that we love and that are unique to us.”
Monica Ramos’s test paint swatches—preeeetty.
“We purchase many of our wooden beads from a couple in the Ukraine who uses a variety of woods like Carpathian elm, juniper, and linden and handcrafts many of the wooden pieces themselves. They only use simple tools and non-automatic equipment and only use eco-friendly materials.” [Ed: To source similar beads, try Ukranian Woods.]