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Five for Friday: Jewelry Designer + Metalsmith Cat Janiga

Five for Friday: Jewelry Designer + Metalsmith Cat Janiga

Five questions with Cat Janiga, designer and owner of Cat Janiga Jewelry. Her modern pieces are designed for exceptional women, rooted in both the natural world and architectural details. Her graphic moonstone, silver, and gold pieces have been huge hits in the A+T jewel box, and her approach to business and the world is as inspiring and lovely as her jewelry.

1. Where do you find style inspiration?
CJ: My work is primarily inspired by two things: moments of magic in my everyday life, and the extraordinary women I’ve met around the world. The cycle of inspiration continues when my pieces become physical talismans of inspiration for these women - a way for them to express themselves, too.

Authenticity is important to me. My collections are an expression of my own surroundings and experiences. Each of my pieces is an honest and raw declaration of an element of my journey, and they resonate because they speak to the shared experience of modern womanhood. She is bold like the sunset, soft like twilight, and sensuous like the movement of the ocean. My jewelry serves as a meaningful talismans of power, mystery, radiant beauty, and magic we all carry.

2. How would you describe your style?
CJ: I always struggle with this question because my style is based on my mood. 
I would say that whatever look I'm going for usually incorporates clean lines, neutral colours, and contemporary aesthetic. It's easy to accessorize that kind of an outfit to fit your mood or just about any event/occasion.

Aside from that, lord knows I LOVE a good jumpsuit or caftan. 2020 might be the year I just live in caftans.

3. If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
CJ: My maternal grandmother. She died when I was 8 and we never met. She had a crazy life, though. She was born a countess, but her parents died when she was a child. She was sold off as a maid by family members that were supposed to take care of her. She fled from Nazis and Russians, and then she escaped to Poland to start a new life. Those are just the small bits I know, so I can only imagine the stories she would have to tell!

4. What advice would you give someone trying to get into your profession? 
 I would strongly recommend working in the industry, whether it’s in a paid position or an internship.  Experience is KEY. The experience I gained from my jobs and internships were INVALUABLE.  I could go on all day, but my top 3 reasons are...
  1. You get a realistic picture of the ins and out of what it takes to not only to build a brand, but also learn what your day-to-day is going to look like. It's not all mood boards, design sessions, and fun parties.
  2. You have the opportunity to learn your industry with hands-on experience so you can plan your strategy. That way you, can avoid potentially costly mistakes when you're ready to start out on your own.
  3. It helps you determine what your 'thing' is going to be. Are you going to be a designer? Are you going to be a goldsmith? Will you do production runs or just one of a kind pieces? Are you going to make fashion, costume, demi-fine, or fine jewelry? When I finished my degree, I was SURE I wanted to be a bench jeweler and work on only fine or one-of-a-kind pieces. I got a job at a fine jewelry company as a goldsmith, and I QUICKLY realized that was absolutely not what I wanted. 
Experience is the best teacher, and working for someone else gives insights that you won't gain any other way.
 5. What is your personal motto? 
 CJ: Everything is temporary.
It helps me appreciate the good moments and how fucking incredible this world is... as well as getting me through hard or stressful times.

Many thanks to Cat for finding the time to chat with us! 

Have someone you'd like to see interviewed for our Five for Friday feature? Let us know via email or our contact us page.