Photographs courtesy of AsOne Jewelry
Jewelry can be a personal and meaningful accessory to anyone who wears it. Whether a dainty delicate bracelet bought on a memorable summer vacation, or an elegant pair of earrings passed down through generations. For new maker Talia Moine, it’s also a celebration of school spirit and achieving an important life milestone.
The enterprising 17-year-old jewelry designer, herself a matriculating Class of 2020 high school senior, recently launched her own business, AsOne, designing custom necklaces to celebrate school graduations -- both high school and college. Her creations delicately weave together tiny semi-precious, colorful stones that correspond to the colors of a school, spaced to spell out the graduation year in Morse code.
“I research each school’s primary and secondary colors and include those in the Morse codes with the primary representing the dashes and the secondary representing the dots,” she told New York Makers. “For example, Princeton’s primary is black and the secondary is orange, so it will be a combination of both. I then select the semi-precious stones and string them on gold wire, with hand-wrapped finishes on a gold filled chain.” Among the stones she uses are amethyst, green onyx, topaz, garnet and even tiny pearls.
For her own school -- The Clinton School in New York City’s Union Square -- she used black spinel and tiny gold nuggets to commemorate the Class of 2020. Moine recently graduated with an International Baccalaureate diploma, and is taking a gap year before heading off to study STEM -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.
Moine recently spoke to New York Makers, and took us through her creative process and business strategy:
NEW YORK MAKERS: How did you first get into jewelry? Were you into art and design prior to starting your brand?
TALIA MOINE: I think that jewelry making and entrepreneurship runs in my family because both my grandmother and mother run jewelry companies. For the past few years, I have helped my mom at her pop-up events, where I learned about various techniques and different stones. Jewelry making was also an opportunity for me to spend time with my grandmother because we didn’t get to see one another often, so it was a time to bond.
I have also always been a creative person, whether it be with my artistic abilities or in my writing. I enjoy graphics, so designing my logo and Instagram posts has been fun for me because I am able to develop my skills while aiming for a certain aesthetic.
NYM: Why did you choose to focus on high school and university graduations as the concept for your necklaces?
TM: During these unusual circumstances, I was looking for graduation gifts for my fellow high school graduates and wanted something simple, delicate, relatively low cost, and timeless. I looked for ideas online and struggled until I came up with the concept of Morse code necklaces with the graduation year. That was ultimately the inspiration for AsOne, in honor of the Class of 2020 because, despite every challenge we have faced and the physical distance between us, we have and will always stand AsOne.
NYM: What materials do you work with?
TM: I chose to work with semi-precious stones because I wanted to offer a more sophisticated line of jewelry, as well as ensure a lasting level of quality. Many of the graduation necklaces I had seen used cheaper materials, and I wanted to make sure my necklaces would last and not tarnish upon one wear. For the same reason, I chose to use vermeil — 22kt gold over sterling silver chains (never brass, nickel, or other metals).
NYM: Do you have any ideas for future collaborations, or maybe expanding your brand to do other types of jewelry?
TM: I would love to expand with a tailgate collection, where the necklaces would be coded to say a school’s name, tagline, or mascot name. I would also like to create bracelets in the future.
NYM: Have there been any challenges you’ve faced in your work?TM: Yes, I have faced many challenges. I have never had a full-time job such as this one, let alone run a company by myself. Luckily, my mom has been very supportive of me through this journey and has continuously offered her expertise to guide me, since she has been through this process a few times. I am very grateful to have her by my side and attribute much of my success to her.