Q&A with Paula Mendoza

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Photo: Courtesy of Paula Mendoza

You’ve seen her jewelry all over luxury e-commerce sites like Net-a-Porter, Moda Operandi, and Luisa Via Roma, as well as on Beyoncé, who was decked out in her gold-plated, beaded bubble ring and bracelet in the popular ‘XO’ music video. But did you know the meaning behind Paula Mendoza‘s bubble-inspired jewelry or that the Colombian-born designer dreams of dressing Sofia Coppola? Get to know one of the hottest accessories designers of the moment in the exclusive interview below, in which Mendoza reveals to Savoir Flair the importance of her Colombian roots and her future plans for the Middle East.

Setting up your own jewelry line must have been quite the adventure. What were the biggest challenges and the most rewarding moments? 
Coming to America eight years ago without speaking English was definitely a challenge, and also not having the financial backing I needed to create my jewelry. My highest high so far was seeing Beyoncé covered in my jewelry for her ‘XO’ music video – that was an amazing feeling!

How does living in New York and your Colombian roots influence the way you design?
I am hugely influenced by my Colombian roots, particularly El Dorado and the rich color of Colombian gold that I use to make my jewelry. Living in NYC, I am influenced by just walking everywhere and seeing such a mix of people, each with their own style.

Do you use organic and raw materials in all of your pieces?
Yes, particularly raw emeralds. I love how each raw stone is unique in its shape and coloration.

Where do you source your materials?
All my materials – gold, stones, etc. – are sourced from Colombia, and my workshop is also there.

What are your biggest inspirations when designing?
My clients, those who already wear my jewelry, or people I envision wearing my jewelry.

Bubbles are the signature motif of Paula Mendoza. Where did the idea to incorporate bubbles into your jewelry come from?
The holes in the bubbles actually came before the bubbles themselves! I created the holes to remove weight from each piece and make the jewelry as comfortable as possible, especially the earrings. The bubbles were a natural progression after that.

Do the bubbles mean or represent something specific to you?
Yes, the bubbles are a symbol of completeness, without a beginning or an end. The possibilities of a circle are infinite.

You use a lot of precious stones in your jewelry, such as amethyst, onyx, and turquoise. What draws you to these stones?
Using these stones from Columbia is a way to showcase the natural beauty of my country and all that it has to offer. I always want to give back to where I came from, which is another reason I keep my workshop there.

If you had to describe Paula Mendoza jewelry in four words, what would they be?
Bold, organic, timeless, and comfortable!

Who would be your dream celebrity client, past or present?
Today I would love to see Sofia Coppola wearing my jewelry. From the past, it would be Diana Vreeland.

How would you describe your personal style?
I love accessories and vintage. Mixing new pieces with old ones is my favorite combination.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I meditate every morning.

Do you have plans to expand or open a boutique in the Middle East?
We have great personal clients in the Middle East and some boutiques that carry our line, but we would love to expand our presence there. We will hopefully be having a trunk show soon to meet all of our fashionable clients in the region!

Click through the gallery below to view the latest Paula Mendoza accessories collection.

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