Lara Gems: From applied mathematics to corporate marketing to being a founder of a designer jewelry brand… making it all happen in my time shared between Moscow and Sydney. Today, when I look back I see it all as a very natural and logical journey through the things I’ve been passionate about and wanted to share with others. I am so happy that I can bring clear geometry, creative storytelling, and natural gemstones together to offer the world my take on jewelry: minimalistic, elegant and authentic: www.gemsinstyle.com
What did you study? – I found it really fascinating, that someone with a degree in math and electronics become a founder of a jewelry company.
LG: After graduating high school I had a choice: to further my study of mathematics or in literature, I was good at both. Math was much harder, but because of this, there was less competition on entry exams at a university in Moscow, my hometown. The same applies to business. A niche that is easier to play in will be much more crowded. Math taught me how to express complexity by a simple formula and build logical links between all elements of an equation in life. And the most importantly it taught me persistence: keep figuring it out until you crack it.
However, math was not the only thing I loved; there was a creative part of me that had always wanted to be engaged in the process. That is why, later on, I landed in a corporate world working for more than fifteen years in Marketing and Communications for big brands in the beauty industry.
I loved my job, it meant constant self-development and constant challenge. Big brands, big projects. It was life full-on and non-stop and I enjoyed it. In the prime time of my career, I moved to Australia but kept working in the corporate world. However, after a while, I had a feeling that even though I run fast and get really great results I didn’t move anywhere in terms of my real personal potential. There was something in me that started “knocking on the door” and asking to be expressed differently. I realized that corporate world gave me a chance to tell exciting stories about other people and products the way I saw them, but it kept me away from discovering my own ‘true story’.
It was enough for so long, but not any longer. I feel the time came to express my vision and values outside of the corporate world. And the moment I realized it was a game changer for me.
What made you choose this type of business?
LG: Frustration. As simple as it is. I couldn’t find what I wanted to, got disappointed and then boom, Eureka: if I can’t find, I will make it! I did no deep market analysis and other professional things you would expect from a marketer. Why haven’t I done it? Because the idea perfectly clicked with one of my biggest passion, natural gemstones, and my constant personal quest for an elegant and minimalistic jewelry that I could wear every day in the office: high quality, simple, modern jewelry made of semi-precious stones. I still remember the day, when I’ve got the full concept of what I am going to do from now on…
On a beautiful summer weekend, I was hunting for new semi-precious stones for my gem collection in one of these lovely Sydney shops that sell crystals and minerals. My other goal was to buy a necklace with a natural stone for my office wardrobe. However after two hours of gazing at displays, I still could not find ‘the right’ design according to my taste: clean lines, simple geometry, contemporary elegant with the high production quality. Everything felt to me like an ‘old school’ and way too traditional. It was not me.
Next day while meditating I had my aha moment that changed my career: If I can’t find it, I will make it. I will bring gems, jewelry, and clear geometry together on my conditions. It was a really striking experience; I just saw everything as a whole concept and even got a name for my newborn brand: Gems In Style. When I opened my eyes I felt like a different person with a clear direction. I knew what I was going to build and how it should look and feel like. I found ‘my story’ that only I can tell the world the way I see it. And it felt fantastic!
What inspires you?
LG: My inspiration comes from my passion for natural gems, especially semi-precious stones like Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, Larimar, Labradorite, Howlite, Onyx, Opal, Agate and many other precious beauties.
Many thousands of years the Earth was ‘cooking’ these gemstones and then for maybe another million years these treasures were waiting to be found! Extreme pressure, heat, water, complex geological processes and now we have all these captivating colors, textures and crazy patterns. All natural, no man’s hand involved, not a single pattern is the same. Mother Nature is a pretty wild artist! This is what really fascinates me and what I want to share with others the way I see it: modern minimalistic and elegant designs with best possible production quality.
You know when you live in a business environment — as I did for all my professional life — you don’t want to wear jewelry that is too ‘loud’ and eccentric or made of materials of unknown origin (imitation stones and cheap metals). Hippy-like or even boho style jewelry won’t look relevant either. But if you are a gem lover that’s almost all you have to choose from. I wanted to create a genuine product that perfectly solves the problem of styling your day: only natural stones and noble metals, modern and a hint of unconventional designs that help to bring up (but don’t overpower) your individuality. Jewellery with style and integrity of all materials yet affordable and long lasting, that was my vision.
Who designs the jewelry?
LG: All jewelry is designed by me. Honestly speaking designing the collections and working with the stones is my favorite part of the process. It is my creative outlet where I am not limited by any preconceptions or traditions. I keep a real woman in mind, think about how her day goes, and what her needs are. This is how I came up with the concept of 2-in-1 necklaces where each side of the pendant has different look or features a different gemstone. If the pendant has two sides why should one be called ‘back’? Let’s make both sides ‘front’. You just flip the pendant on the go and have a completely new look.
Another crucial point in my work is the integrity of the materials in my jewelry. I use only high quality 925 Sterling Silver with Rhodium or 14K Gold plating. But what really makes Gems In Style different is our relationship with gems. Working with natural material is a complex task due to the variety of colors and patterns they introduce within the same type of gemstone. That is why big brands very often use imitation or reconstructed gems. For me, it has never been an option. In my collection, I don’t use any dyed, reconstructed, imitation or synthetic gemstones. I want my clients to connect to the natural beauty of gems, which are happily married to modern and elegant designs.
I would say I see it as my mission. I believe that through the beauty and the vibe of genuine gems we can better connect to our own individuality — well, it definitely worked for me as you see. Gemstones not only look mesmerizing, they make us see, feel and perceive the world around us deeper. Let’s say I believe genuine things bring more substance to our lives and help us to connect to who we are.
When you are faced with a creativity block, how do you overcome it?
LG: My remedy is very simple yet it is very personal. When I feel down or stuck I take my raw gemstone collection and simply start gazing at gems. I have a very deep connection to the nature of minerals, it just speaks to me. I see the beauty of gems, feel what is behind it and it mesmerizes me! I can describe each gemstone as it would be a person with its character and personality. It might sound weird to someone, but it strengthens my spirit and renew my creativity in a matter of seconds. I feel inspired and full of enthusiasm again.
What is your formula for success?
Find what you love to do the most even though you are not getting paid for it.
Find a way how to get paid for it.
When you do what makes you happy, what you believe in, you will inevitably find a way to make your customers happy. Isn’t it a success?
Almost all people who see or buy my jewelry say the same thing: “This is so beautiful, simple and elegant. Nothing in excess, just as I like and was looking for so long.” For me, this is the success because this is exactly what I wanted to create and share with others. Means it worked out!
What would be your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
LG: Never give up on your dream. If something doesn’t work, try a different way, but don’t stop. There is only one YOU in this word. Nobody sees things like you see them, doesn’t matter how many competitors you have. Find people who share your craziness and move on. And remember it is never late to start a new journey! Never! But sometimes life gives you a kick, so don’t miss the right time to start! Listen to yourself…
Where can people find out more about Gems In Style?