I love hoop earrings, and since high school, I’ve worn bamboo hoops. Although I still wear them, I feel they are looking a bit try-hard on me if not with just the right outfit. I don’t walk around with a t-shirt saying, “No really, I’ve worn these earrings for 25 years” and a middle-aged white suburban mom in them feels kinda wrong. I started thinking about how I’d like a replacement. A large hoop that provides a similar silhouette but is something completely unique and a bit more elegant. Last year DC Style Factory had a collaboration with DC jewelry designer Denisa Piatti and I attended the launch party and almost purchased the Twisted Wrack hoops. I put them on and did an Instagram Story polling viewers if I should buy them. 80% said no, and most replied with why. I don’t wear brushed gold/brass, and they’re not big enough (I like big hoops and I cannot lie). And those who replied… you were right. I left the party without a purchase but I had an idea.
I’ve loved Denisa Piatti’s work for a while. As someone who grew up spending part of her summers on the Maine shore and her adult life visiting Atlantic beaches as often as possible, I see beauty and feel some nostalgia when it comes to seaweed. When I saw Denisa Piatti’s seaweed collection, mixing colorful acrylic with metals, I was instantly in love. I was invited to be part of her “I Am” campaign last year and through it met many of her customers who own several pieces and have commissioned unique pieces of jewelry. I started thinking what kind of custom piece I’d get if I could afford it. Would it have acrylic? What color metal? I always was thinking the piece would be earrings.
After that launch party I realized I wanted a pair of hoops from Denisa Piatti. Not the Twisted Wrack Hoops, something like the Arame Hoops but much bigger. And not brushed but in shiny silver to match the cuff I’ve been wearing since 1997. Could I afford this? Was this a ridiculous purchase?
How I Justified Commissioning a Custom Piece of Jewelry
I went through my purchases from the past year or so; it was easy considering 90% of them were bought online. All the earrings I bought, the ones from the craft fair, from Baublebar, from Nordstrom, from Jenny Bird, from Etsy. I looked at price and how much they were worn. I found the earrings that were under $50 (which was about 80% of them) weren’t worn often, usually purchased either for one specific outfit or because I was swayed by social media. And from those, more than half of them were now broken, chipped, or I don’t wear because they’re impractical or uncomfortable (hello the vintage earring kick I was on at the end of 2017…). The more expensive earrings I didn’t buy quickly. Usually they were in a virtual shopping cart for a couple weeks, I searched online for reviews, I looked for a promo code. They weren’t impulse buys and because of that thought they get a ton of wear (hello 99% of every piece I’ve bought from Jenny Bird).
If I didn’t buy all those impulse buys, I’d have more than enough money for a pair of Denisa Piatti earrings. And if I’ve been thinking about her earrings for over a year, I had a feeling I’d get a really good cost per wear. This is my mindset now for all items I add to my wardrobe and home.
Maybe it’s not earrings for you, maybe it’s witty t-shirts, or lattes, or enamel pins, or renting movies On Demand, or lip glosses, or books that you end up passing on or donating after one read. There’s a good chance that money you could spend on what you really want and is unique and perfect for you is being spent on something that three months from now you can’t even recall or ended up donating. But really analyzing where my money went both helped me justify make such a purchase and helped me save money from now on.
How to Commission a Piece of Custom Jewelry with Denisa Piatti
While I have met Denisa a few times and adore her, it’s not like we're close friends who chat regularly. I reached out to her through her website's contact form with my general idea like any other customer. She got back to me quickly, as she would with any customer. Through email we discussed my ideas and how she could put them into actuality, her suggestions for size and material, and pricing. Please understand this is not a sponsored post; I paid for my earrings and am sharing because this was an experience I never really considered until I knew it existed. And maybe like me, you too never thought about creating custom jewelry.
Since I had a very definite idea of what I wanted, it was relatively simple to plot it out. Denisa did suggest a smaller size to ensure the earrings were a comfortable weight and we did email back and forth regarding other details. Denisa loves helping clients create the perfect piece, no matter how defined or general an idea. She will meet with them or over email share ideas and take random thoughts and pull them into possibility. No need to be a local to commission a custom piece with her. You can see some of her custom pieces on her website.
Creating Custom Jewelry with Denisa Piatti
This is a gallery; click on any of the thumbails to see all photos larger and use the arrows to navigate.
Denisa captured photos of the process of making my custom hoop earrings. I can’t tell you how excited I was when she emailed me the photo of the cut-out hoops in the palm of her hand. I was really getting these cool unique hoops, this was really happening!
If you follow me on Instagram Stories you know a couple of weeks ago I went to Denisa Piatti’s studio in DC to pick up my new earrings. She has a beautiful space full of light and it was cool to see the behind the scenes where the magic happens. She wrapped up my earrings in a gift bag and box and each earring came in its own bag to prevent scratching and tarnishing. I have to say the earrings were cooler than I could have imagined, I loved them and loved how they made a statement without screaming (and were quite lightweight too!).
Denisa shared her sketchbook with me and it was cool to see the drawings and then the actual pieces that were created from them. I was psyched to get to try on this amazing acrylic collar she created; talk about a work of art!
About Denisa Piatti
Denisa moved to Scotland where she continued with a degree in Three-Dimensional Design –glass, ceramics and jewelry. Instead of just gold and silver, she started working with porcelain, wood, plastics and resin and these non-traditional materials really resonated with her. Today Denisa combines her love for traditional jewelry techniques with contemporary organic designs and combines precious metals and stones with the non-precious and ordinary.
Denisa’s collections are heavily influenced from her time living in Zanzibar. The Seaweed Collection pays tribute to the local women who harvest seaweed at great effort and the intricate shapes of seaweed are reflected in the designs.
All Denisa Piatti’s work is handcrafted in Washington, DC. Denisa ships in the United States for a $10 flat-rate priority shipping fee and will work with international clients to ship to their location.
Denisa Piatti Promotional Code
Denisa Piatti was kind enough to provide Wardrobe Oxygen readers with a promo code. Use WOXYGEN15 to get 15% off any items for purchase on her website. This code is valid through June 17, 2019. If you're looking to commission your own custom piece, contact Denisa directly through her website or by email and she is offering a 20% discount at checkout upon completion of the piece. You must mention you heard about this through Wardrobe Oxygen to receive the discount. Please note that custom work takes a minimum of two weeks; if you're looking to make a Mother's Day gift (and what a phenomenal gift it would be), please place you order prior to May 5th.
If you have any questions regarding the process or the artist, don’t hesitate to ask. I will be honest as I wish you to make smart purchases that will benefit your style long term.