With a mix of trendsetting and timeless pieces, the creator behind Gina Carmen Jewelry is rising to new heights on the local fashion scene and beyond
How did you get your start in handcrafting jewelry?
It all started with a prayer. I worked as a hairstylist for 22 years and prayed God would give me something new where I would have flexibility and could be with my family more. He showed me jewelry. Even though I have only a high school education, I have always been creative. I had never made jewelry, though; so I got online, ordered materials, and begin to create pieces. My mom and my grandmother were both artists, and I grew up with very little, learning to make what I needed from what was available. I think these factors influenced my creativity and gave me a strong work ethic.
How did you begin to sell your pieces?
I sold them at Southern Image Salon in Helena, where I was working at the time, for about a year, and then I decided to do a holiday market in Jonesboro. At the end of that show, the owner of Turnrows Boutique approached me about buying my line. I was floored! That was in October of 2014. From there we have grown to be in a number of stores—all of which have encouraged and supported me.
You use a lot of metal in your necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Why this medium?
Yes, I don’t use any jewels. It’s all metalwork. I hand-make the pendants from sheet metal to give them a little more of an edgy appeal. I have learned more from trial and error than any other method, and usually the designs just come to me. When I see a picture of someone wearing the finished product—my jewelry—I’m just so humbled.
Where is your line sold?
Gina Carmen Jewelry is currently available through Bella in Helena, Antique Rose in Forrest City, Glo in Paragould, Monrow Boutique in Conway, Box Turtle and Scarlett in Little Rock, and Turnrows Boutique in Jonesboro. We’re also expanding to stores around the South.
Gina Carmen Jewelry, Helena, (870) 338-0437