by Amanda Beland
Lucia Perluck is the one woman band behind Lucia Pearl Jewelry, a Brooklyn-based freelance jewelry business.
Although the company is a fairly new venture, Perluck’s been designing and building jewelry for close to a decade.
Perluck started designing and crafting jewelry in high school. She took a class in metalsmithing at the Rhode Island School of Design, but didn’t particularly care for it. When it came down to choosing her senior year capstone project, however, she decided to give the medium another chance.
“We had to do this thing in high school called ‘senior project’ where we decided on something we wanted to learn that we didn’t already know how to do,” said Perluck. “We had to find a mentor and basically intern or apprentice with them, and then do a presentation in the end that showed that it was worthwhile and we were ready to enter the real world. If you failed, you didn’t get to graduate.”
Perluck had learned the basics of jewelry making at RISD, but her senior year apprenticeship rounded out her skills. She presented a small line of jewelry, including a couple necklaces, bracelets and earrings, for her final project.
“I graduated!” said Perluck. “It worked!”
Perluck attended Temple University after high school and graduated in 2010. Originally, she said she wasn’t sure if she wanted to major in jewelry making, so she applied to colleges with jewelry programs. She dabbled in other majors and departments including anthropology and journalism, before settling officially into the small jewelry program at Temple.
“A typical jeweler’s education consists of what we call ‘bench practices’ which are techniques used at the bench,” said Perluck. “A jeweler’s bench or desk is designed very specifically for things they would need to do. There’s a bench pin which is a piece of wood sticking out in the middle that you saw on, drill on, etc. For example, the first things I learned in that metalsmithing class at RISD was sawing through metal, fold-forming hollow shapes, soldering pieces together, stuff like that. Once you know the basics, then there are a million other possibilities. There are lots of machinery and specialized tools for doing almost anything.”
At Temple, Perluck also got the opportunity to dabble in other mediums for jewelry making.
“My education was probably half that stuff (traditional jewelry making) and then half CAD because it’s the hip, new thing that everybody’s doing,” said Perluck. “It takes out all the fun, dirty and natural stuff that goes along with making things and puts you behind a computer. It’s actually a really cool tool, but totally different from making something by hand and maybe sometimes it is faster. It’s helped me a lot since moving to NYC.”
Perluck moved to New York City almost immediately after graduating. She made jewelry for a period under someone else’s aesthetic, but quickly changed gears and began designing and freelancing under the name “Lucia Pearl Jewelry”.
Perluck describes her style as minimalistic.
“I like to keep things simple most of the time because I like the focus to be on the jewelry’s function and versatility,” said Perluck.
Perluck is constantly looking for new opportunities to be creative and learn new skills – including starting to design “tech jewelry” to be used with computers and phones.
“It’s a big trend that’s taking off I guess … jewelry that you connect to your phone via bluetooth and you can set it to notify you by lighting up when you get a call,” said Perluck.
On a more traditional trajectory, Perluck completed a jewelry residency last fall in Morocco.
“I got to work with an engraver in Fes, Morocco and he’s been using traditional techniques of engraving by hand for like 30 plus years,” said Perluck. “He taught me techniques and we created some work together while we were there. But, he really wanted to continue the partnership after I left, so we’ve been talking on Facebook… I send him drawings and he prints them and engraves them on metal. I just mailed him a sheet of silver a couple weeks ago and then he sends it back and I make stuff out of it. It’s funny cause he doesn’t speak much English, and I don’t speak Arabic, so the Google translate conversations are all jarbled.”
Perluck’s favorite piece and style of jewelry were actually inspired and made while she was in Morocco.
“My favorites are the fibula sweater clips,” said Perluck. “I like that piece because you don’t see a lot of sweater clips these days, and they’re really handy, I think. Also, its a design that was inspired by my trip to Morocco.
Fibulas are really common in northern Africa in a traditional sense – women used to wear these huge fibulas that pinned their clothes together. You’ll see them in every book about Berber culture and in all the museums in Morocco.”
Perluck says she draws inspiration from many things including her family.
My grandma was a dress maker and I still have some clothes that she made,” said Perluck. “They have her tag inside and it says ‘Mayan Originals by Gertrude Perluck‘. She used to go to Guatemala and buy fabrics and make really beautiful tailored things out of them. I kind of modeled my logo after her tag. She’s a big influence and I guess it kind of runs in my blood. Plus – making jewelry is a good way to express myself and my ideas.”
Perluck designs and sells her jewelry through her website and Facebook page. She also attends and sells pieces are various markets and events throughout NYC – more information on those can be found on her Facebook. All pieces are sketched, designed and built by her in her Brooklyn-based studio.