She has the accent of a true New Yorker, yet, Anita Ko is the epitomy of the California girl. She started designing jewelry professionally in 2003 but only decided 3 years later to launch her eponymous brand.
Her specialty is diamonds … yet she can set big stones for special client’s request… Adored by celebrities, Anita Ko adorns them. With a starting point around $400 going up to the million, Anita Ko is celebrating her 10thanniversary this year. Opening up to The Eye of Jewelry in the alleys of the Couture Show in Las Vegas, she showing us her latest fine Jewelry creations exquisitely paved with diamonds!
How did you jump into jewelry in the first place?
I was that child who always made her own jewelry. In highschool I’d ask my father to drop me off at the jewelry center of Los Angeles so I can make my own stuff. I would spend all day there and I would look at pieces and gemstones all night to then start designing things within my budget. Of course the pieces were much smaller, but I had to design my own thing as I couldn’t find – even as a teenager- what I was looking for.
What do you love about design?
What I love about designing jewelry is that all these girls have a different style. They wear the same jewelry but it looks different on each person. That’s the thing about jewelry it conveys individuality. Women would wear one type of earring in five different earholes, so how do you sell pairs to everybody? Today, I design for myself, for my friends and the people I admire in style and fashion.
I love Rosie Huntington Whitely style, she’s tall and glamorous, she has a natural style about her. I adore Kate Moss, she is someone with a natural elegance. I must admit that I really admire the French girls.
Any rules about designing jewelry?
The rule that I have for myself is to use high-quality diamonds 18 karat probe, I try to really get value with my product, where it’s going to last a long time.
Favorite product in your line?
I love my diamond necklace. I love the way it suits my lifestyle in New York.
Feeling about what you have accomplished in terms of brand and reputation?
I’m very grateful and especially grateful for everyone that works with me in my office in my team, including my PR team that really supported me when I had only 8 pieces in my line, and I’m very proud to be able to work in this business and be successful.
What made your success possible?
Being born and raised in LA as I have, I know how important it is to be authentic to yourself but also more importantly to be able to work with people who can also assist you in terms of branding. I have a lot of celebrities in my city that I can work with and build relationships with them. That helps y brand. I have clients that are extremely loyal to me, that look like goths on the outside, and I have girls that are models and movie stars that look stunning in my jewelry, and I’m so grateful, but I love all of them.
Any thought about the European market?
I think the EU market is great, I’ve always wanted to break in to the EU market. I’ve found that the European market loves fashion and lately it has been following the L.A. west coast life style with sneakers and jeans, but when I visit Pairs twice a year how similar we all dress now. When I’d come to Paris as a teenager I’d see the jeans were higher up and they dressed differently.
Do you feel the new upcoming designers like your are taking over the direction of the jewelry fashion world?
I think lately some of the mainstream brands are following our trends. But I do find that some of the brands are trying to modernize some of their look and they’re turning to us the younger brands for inspiration.
American vs. European designer?
I do believe that today, the American jewelry designer – especially a girl who does well- is edgier, more creative and willing to take more risks.
And why is that?
Because I really believe now that the way people are shopping in America, they’re spending their money on handbags and jewelry as opposed to clothing. That’s what they’re asking of us to create for them that’s different.
Do you think that people lack of information when it comes to jewelry?
I think now people are educating themselves a little bit more, they Google a piece, see how much it costs and how many carats it has. For the last few years, people have become more educated… especially in America. That’s why I try to create jewelry using high quality diamonds set on gold.
I love rose-gold. I feel it brings out the pink tones in our skin. Yellow brings out the brown tone in your skin… it looks great when you’re tan. White gold highlights diamonds very well but it’s not flattering to everyone.
Last question – how about men jewelry?
I came to realize that men love to buy and wear jewelry. They prefer to own jewelry that other men do not have. They want to be wearing something more edgy, more custom. Especially in high-end jewelry I feel men tend to want more individuality with it. So I design custom for them. I have things in my line that I’ve expanded to fit their wrist. What we need to remember is that men love Jewelry and they love spending money on themselves.