By Daniella Platt
Each summer, new trends and styles emerge and dominate the fashion scene for the hot and sunny three months that follow. Oftentimes, what’s in one summer will be out the next. But what’s mainstay in summer style? Accessories. With exposed shoulders and wrists and pulled back hair, jewelry has the room to takes center stage. Some go big with bold statement pieces, while others prefer delicate items that capture the light and airy nature of the season. For those on the latter train, look no further than Delicora.
Based in Silicon Valley, Delicora is all about elegance and simplicity. We sat down with Delicora founder Sandra Martinelli to discuss her how her jewelry line embodies the best of summer.
What’s Delicora’s origin story?
I founded Delicora in 2017 in Aptos, California — a small beach town in Santa Cruz County. Starting out with very basic beading, I’ve been hand-making jewelry since 2012. Over a few years, my designs, technique and craft matured to a point where I was getting great feedback from friends and family. In parallel, I was a few years in my tech career working on the seller platform for a large e-commerce marketplace, where I began some competitive analysis on other selling platforms. This led me to posting a few items from my jewelry-making hobby on Etsy — that’s when the fun began! One item sold, then another, and another. While developing an online business, I signed up for local pop-ups and trunk shows wherever I could.
I wanted to give my jewelry line a unique name, but I was holding out for a spark. During one of my most memorable pop-ups, every woman I met commented something along the lines of, “Wow, your line is so delicate!” I took this as a compliment since I always strive for simple and elegant design, but the word “delicate” can sometimes have a connotation that is associated with dainty or weak, which is the opposite of the message I want to send. While the design of the line is delicate, I have every intention to design pieces that are easy to wear and help give women an extra spark igniting confidence and strength — as strong as coral. Delicate + Coral = Delicora. Fast forward a year, a new website, an invitation to Style Con at NYFW, plus a retail presence in over 18 specialty boutique locations across the U.S. later — Delicora was born.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
Family and fashion. I grew up with a mom and grandmother who are jewelry minimalists and gold tone gals, so naturally I became one too. You’ll find predominantly gold tones in the Delicora line. Fashion also plays a large role. Over the years, my sense of fashion has also changed and evolved — less into trends and more into high quality slow fashion. Slow fashion is a goldmine for my inspiration with Delicora. I’ve always looked at jewelry as the finishing touch to your look. I am inspired by fashion that stands the test of time, and love to design pieces that stay true to that philosophy.
What is your design process like?
The design process generally starts with me, my tools, chains and findings, plain wire, and a blank canvas. My two dimensional art skills are very basic, so you will find very few sketches in my portfolio. However, I love using my hands in breaking pieces apart, laying them out in front of me, wire wrapping, wire shaping and mixing in pearls and gems. Once I put a new design together, a photo message or Instagram story goes out to my small team and close ones soliciting feedback.
My friends and customers are not shy about giving feedback on designs, and I love it. Whether it’s positive or negative, I want to hear it. Jewelry is very personal, so it’s a privilege to hear about the way it makes someone feel or about the type of design they are looking for to fit their vision. Feedback has played a major role in the way I think and process jewelry design. I love to marry my vision for what I look for in jewelry with what my customers are looking for. Expanding the line into sterling silver, and The Minis (jewelry collection for Summer 2019), for example, are a result of the feedback I’ve received.
I see each month you donate some proceeds to various organizations. How does this mission fit in with Delicora? Why is supporting these organizations important to you?
Yes, we donate 20% of our profits to a different cause each month. We are driven to deliver something that is far more impactful than what meets the eye. Delicora is an evolving business with a growing social community. While the idea of fostering a community through Delicora is a positive one, the reality is that there are serious issues that exist within our local, national and international communities that span across education, natural disasters, empowerment, health and environmental challenges. We have a special opportunity to connect with our customers and followers through fashion and jewelry design while educating and spreading awareness of these realities and the incredible organizations that are tackling these issues. While we are incredibly passionate about jewelry design and sharing our line with the world, we hold ourselves to social responsibility in giving back to our community and communities in need.
Your pieces are elegant and lightweight, perfect for summer. Did you have summer in mind when designing this collection?
Absolutely! I strive for elegant and lightweight jewelry year round but the gemstones we incorporated this season have everything to do with summer. Our summer gemstones include citrine, aqua quartz and emerald quartz. I fell in love with Pantone’s Color of the Year, Living Coral (obsessed really!), and this special collection of gemstones pair perfectly with that pop of coral and other neutrals. Whether you are rocking a summer dress or a bikini, this collection can stay on your neck and ears as a compliment to every summer look. Because it’s so lightweight and can be worn all day on the beach or to dinner, it’s great to pack for vacations. One pair of earrings and you’re set for the weekend!
If you could choose one summer must-have from your collection, which item would it be?
100% the Rincon Threaders — these girls are my #1 staples! They are super lightweight, and virtually go with every outfit I own. Yes, even the yoga pants and tank I’m hanging out in on a Saturday afternoon.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about Delicora?
We deeply value timeless design, your feedback, giving back to our community and delivering a high quality product strictly using 14k gold filled and sterling silver materials. We hope you find that perfect piece in our collection! If you are passionate about jewelry, we have also kicked off an ambassador program that offers a 15% commission. If it’s the right fit for you, we hope you join our fabulous group of gems. Learn more about becoming an ambassador on our website.