If you’re a girl who considers diamonds your best friends, you may have come across one of two Vero trunk shows that took place in Manila and Cebu last month.
Vero, the Cebu-based fine jewelry line designed by Gladys Young, presented its 2017 Holiday Collection dubbed “Art Storm by Vero” in The City Club in Makati and Anzani Prime in Cebu. “It’s my favorite collection to date,” says Gladys, or G, as she is known to many.
That it is G’s favorite among the multiple collections she’s put together in her 14-year career as a jewelry designer is not surprising. “Art Storm,” true to its name, is a marriage of dichotomies, not unlike G herself —delicate and bold, artistic yet tough as nails. One of the pieces G is partial to is a pendant she calls “Powerhouse,” set in 14k gold with a single olive green diamond. “It reflects both strength and grace,” G says. Indeed it does with its abstract form resembling a mermaid with wings, both hands on hips, in a sassy power pose.
When asked who her muses are, G says she is inspired by bold women who do not play safe. The designer knows a thing or two about taking risks. “I worked for our family’s restaurant chain before I started designing jewelry,” she says. “Initially, my family was against my decision to pursue jewelry design as it involved too much risk and required a lot of capital, but I took it as a challenge, instead of a hindrance, to push me forward.”
Like many professional designers, G did not have any formal training. “I took up interior design in the University of San Carlos-Technological Center. It really had no correlation to jewelry design, but I guess it taught me drafting and how to do scaled layouts, as every sketch I make is drawn to scale. I also learned the principle of restraint and attention to detail. At the end of the day, if you are passionate enough, love what you do, and follow through, you excel,” she says.
Artistic pursuits were common in her family so it was inevitable that G would find herself in a creative field. Both her grandmothers manufactured and traded jewelry during their time. “My mom also loves playing around with colors, which has obviously influenced my work. My brother, who is an architect, shares my attachment to geometric shapes and asymmetrical details,” she adds.
Her fondness for asymmetry is most evident in “Scar Face,” a pair of asymmetrical earrings, inspired by Egyptian art and embellished with olive green diamonds. Art is a constant source of inspiration for G, particularly Art Deco and Contemporary Art, as is the case with “Beyond Borders,” a pair of earrings set in 14k solid gold adorned with black diamonds that was inspired by a Lao Lianben painting.
The same subtle but varied layers and textures that you see in a Lianben piece are apparent in “Beyond Borders.” It’s no wonder that, as G says, “It takes us an average of one to two weeks to finish a piece, but the longest was three months.”
When she’s not designing jewelry for clients or friends, G is in what she calls her second home, the gym. A quick look at her Instagram shows a fitness buff who is constantly training, and with abs to show for it too. “I love being in my kitchen, whipping up nutritious vegetarian dishes. I also make a lot of power bowls and Buddha bowls.”
Like many superwomen, her days are a juggling act between motherhood and a career. “I’m a driver to my 14-year-old daughter, Chloe. I also enjoy doing charity work, such as feeding and outreach programs in remote areas in the north and south of Cebu. I started a Facebook page called One Love PH composed of a small group of friends and volunteers who share the same passion. For more than 10 years now, part of the sales from Vero is allotted to my philanthropic efforts. Like my jewelry, I do everything with passion.”
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