Designer Q+A: Jia-Jia Zhu
We're so excited to welcome Jia-Jia to Sunroom this month — a jewelry line founded by Jia-Jia Zhu, whose namesake line of fine jewelry ethically sources and intuitively selects each gem in her collection, aiming to create beautiful, symbolism-rich pieces, each steeped in meaning and personal significance.
To learn more about Jia-Jia's journey, inspirations, and story — read on!
Can you share a bit more about your transition from fashion to building your own jewelry line inspired by the earth?
I was a buyer and in the fashion industry since I was 18 years old. As I was turning 30, I decided to take a year off to live and learn in Bali. I dove into a holistic lifestyle, became a yoga teacher, and had a consistent meditation practice. I experienced a vision during one of my meditations – it was calling me to share what I was learning and experiencing in this journey that lead me to Bali through the world of crystals. I booked a trip to a gem show a few days after to dive into the world of gems and crystals. I met some incredible miners and gemologists there - was gifted a box of crystals for jewelry. Returned back to New York and started making jewelry. Everything fell into place, it was like magic. The journey was and continues to be a lesson of trusting in the universe, the energy and magic our earth provides us.
Can you share more about how you source the stones and materials for your pieces?
I select each stone that goes into each piece. Since all the crystals are one of a kind, it’s important for me to see, touch, feel, each one. I go on a few large sourcing trips a year and keep in close touch with our mines to see what they are discovering. Designs are dependent on what stones are being discovered and what I am gravitating towards energetically.
We’re so excited about some of the pieces that are arriving at Sunroom! Can you tell us more about the Arizona collection that these pieces are from?
Sunroom has curated a beautiful and colorful selection from the Arizona collection – this is inspired by the colors of the Arizona desert. Each piece is hand strung in New York and finished in 14 karat gold. The different colors in rainbow sapphires are associated with healing the entire chakra system. Wearing sapphire supports us in tapping into our own sources of inspiration and to hear the voices of our muses unlocking our areas of need.
Do you have any advice / resources you can share for someone perhaps new to learning about the properties of crystals who is curious to learn more and expand their knowledge of their energetic connection?
Judy Hall writes great crystal books. One of my teachers gave me my first crystal book by her. It’s always great to not overthink it and choose a crystal you are drawn to and learn about it from there – I’m always surprised how aligned I am to the one I choose! It’s fun.
Your line considers crystals’ nature of being imbued with properties that support the intentions of the beholder - can you share more about how you regard jewelry as a talisman?
Talismans are a symbol of magic. I believe there’s a special energy in stones that come from our earth and there’s a purpose we are drawn to certain pieces at certain times of our lives. It’s nice to carry a reminder that magic is all around us all the time.
+ Quick Fire!
What are some small things you're doing right now to take care of yourself (mentally, physically, and/or emotionally)?
Going outside and spending quality time with my family every day.
My creative/design ethos in three words: beauty, love, truth
I always start my day with: water, tea, and shower
Secret talent: Tarot
Song or musician I’m loving right now: “Just the Two of Us” by Grover Washington and Bill Withers
The thing I find myself recommending over and over again...
My family and I are always on the go so I always carry a snack in my bag – almonds, popcorn, sakara beauty bars, fruit
My ultimate escape – real or imagined: Bali
Shop Jia-Jia at Sunroom