Mexico City native Gabriela Artigas started her collection in 2003. She started by accident a year or so earlier while in Mexico City. Her designs were considered “to wild”
She was 21 back then and her debut collection was named after that point in time. Jewelry had been an extra-curricular activity up to that point, but suddenly stores and press were requiring her attention, so she delved into it full time, and hasn’t let go for a single day since.
In many ways things have changed quite a bit with Gabriela Artigas, while so many have stayed the same. Even though the pieces are now sold worldwide, and the pieces have gone far and away in design, production and geography yet they all start where everything once started. Her designs are still hand-made in limited productions after all these successful years. Most of the manufacturing is still done in-house in Mexico City, and when not assembled by an Artigas directly, be it Gabriela herself or Teresita, Gabriela’s older sister, every piece goes through their hands before it leaves.
Gabriela Artigas’s production is a representation not just of the designer’s aesthetic, but also of the way in which she lives. Most of the pieces are conceived and built under the same roof; while the production numbers tend to hover in the dozen. A piece’s production cycle is rarely continued after its initial run, by keeping numbers low she is forced into perpetual reinvention. A reinvention not dictated by the fashion cycle of summer, winter and cruise collections but by a slower and thorough commitment towards craft.
The collections has evolved and changed throughout time from the use of semi-precious stones, amber, horn, and coral to a greater use of vintage chains, precious metals, to include crystals, leathers and silks. The range of materials has grown exponentially just as the range of products has expanded incrementally. Growth has come in a conscientious, focused way, closer in spirit to staying small than to ever trying to dominate the world.
The early pieces consisted mostly of necklaces and chokers while the latest collections have included bracelets, earrings, rings, and even scarfs. The collections continue to expand in other directions, yet the use of stone in the latest pieces showcases a return towards those “initial materials”. While the range of questions of how to wear and what a necklace is keeps on being the main investigation.