Rachel Dooley

Whether she was crafting lanyard necklaces to sell at the community pool or indulging in impromptu glass-smashing sessions to create beautiful mosaics, Rachel Dooley discovered her love of creation at a young age. However, it wasn’t until she finished college at the University of Michigan and law school that she decided to launch her CFDA-nominated jewelry line, Gemma Redux. Within months, Rachel’s designs started appearing in major fashion publications like WWD, Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar and began accruing trend-setting celebrity clients like Blake Lively and Molly Sims. We talked to the Michigan native and asked her to tell us the hottest jewelry trends this season and to offer her advice to the next generation of designers.

How would you describe the Gemma Redux girl?

She lives the imperfect perfect life. She eats what she loves, dresses in what makes her feel beautiful and wears jewelry to add a touch of unfussy fantasy to her life.

All of your designs are stunning, but are there any that you count as favorites

It changes daily for me, but I love the Tina necklace and the Zoe Bismuth Collar.

What are your some of your favorite accessory trends this season?

I have been a fan of oversized clutches for years, and I’m still rocking one of those. My favorites are shoulder bag finds from vintage stores, which I buy and then alter the straps. I also love a great cuff bracelet, which you can see from our fall collection. I am currently really into leather boots that fit like rain boots and aren’t tight around the leg. My favorite is a black patent leather crocodile-pattern pair.

What was the biggest inspiration for this season’s collection?

This collection is inspired by topography, the idea that the earth has layers of color and texture. We played with a gradient in metals that have an ombre effect and also with combinations of stones that vary from light to dark. At the bottom of the topography is where you find gorgeous natural gemstones, which are always a highlight in our collection.

Which two pieces of jewelry should every girl have in her jewelry box and why?

A statement cuff and a great metallic necklace. We have cuffs with big slabs of stone, like lapis, set on top of them, and they are so wearable but still a great statement piece. You can wear them to the office or out…they brighten up any outfit. The metallic necklace transitions from season to season and brings just the right amount of sparkle. We named our large ombre metal necklace the Tina because it reminded all of us of Tina Turner’s outfits from way back in the day with its incredible movement –the pieces rock out like the original Tina.

How would you describe your personal style?

My style is modern classic—I rarely wear patterns or embellished clothing. I love black, neutrals and bright, bright colors, and I love a good asymmetrical neckline.

What's your favorite way to wear your hair?

I have curly hair that has become even curlier since being pregnant, so I go for a messy vibe. I either leave it down or put it up in a messy bun or ponytail. I don’t try and fight the texture.

In your opinion, which hairstyle best shows off a statement pair of earrings?

For hair like mine that has texture and layers, I love a low ponytail that is pinned under in back, with pieces falling around the face in the front to look almost like a short bob.

What advice would you give to aspiring jewelry designers? What's the best advice you've ever received?

Stay true to your vision and don’t be afraid to experiment! Every season, we experiment with new materials and processes and that’s what keeps our aesthetic fresh. Not everyone gets it, and that’s okay. Young designers need to develop a voice and stick to it to make sure the industry and their customers understand who they are, from season to season. The best advice I ever got was actually more of a statement on life. When I was thinking about launching the Gemma Redux collection, someone I trust told me that the greater evil is not to regret doing but to regret not doing. I try to live by that every day…so far it has done me well.
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