Each piece of KINGS&PRIESTS jewelry has a symbolic charm about it, making it personal for any woman wearing it. Haute Street's Contributing Editor, Jessi Jones, brings you an up close and personal interview with the beauty and brains behind the brand. This is the official interview with KINGS&PRIESTS founder & designer, Clare Briglio.
JJ: So glad that we are able to connect and do this interview! We are loving Kings&Priests. Every piece really has a special one-of-a-kind natural feel to it. Now I read that you grew up in Ojai, CA which is stereotypically known as a haven for artists, musicians and health enthusiasts. Would you say that the neighborhood culture inspired the start of your company & your designs??
CB: Thank you! I feel truly fortunate to have been able to grow up in Ojai. The Valley attracts people who journey there to find beauty, health and a deeper connection to spirituality. As a result of this attraction, Ojai hosts a diverse community of people that live in harmony in spite of different belief systems and ways of life.
Now as an adult, I appreciate the exposure to differing values, lifestyles and religions growing up. I know it has shaped my world view and it is something I bring to the creative process when I am designing new pieces. I combine wood prayer beads from different religions (Buddhist, Hindu, and Hebrew) and gemstones with sacred meaning to bring a harmony and awareness to the beauty of belief without telling people what to believe in. Every wood prayer bead is antique and therefore it has been touched, worn and blessed which does give each piece a one-of-a-kind natural feel. I love to create balance between the ancient and modern by using antique prayer beads, ancient symbols and modern stones.
JJ: Tell us about the thought process you go through when creating a new piece. How would you describe the girl wearing Kings&Priests.
CB: It is easy to be original when you know who you are. The KINGS&PRIESTS girl knows who she is, has a discerning eye, appreciates things that are unique and has a strong and independent spirit.
JJ: Do tell… Where do you get these intricate materials for your designs and what is your favorite to create with? Do you have a signature piece?
CB: Finding unique materials is the best part of the design process! Most of the prayer beads I use come from Nepal and Tibet. I also love working with antique African trade beads. I traveled to Africa in 2009 and was deeply impacted and inspired by what I saw in their history of adornment and craftsmanship. A lot of my pieces contain antique African trade beads because of my love for the continent.
My signature piece would have to be “The Craftsman” necklace. It is our most popular necklace and one of the first pieces I designed- a mother of pearl Tibetan horn, Tibetan prayer beads, Indian brass beads, Hill Tribe sterling silver hammered rings and leather cord. This piece is particularly meaningful to me because it was inspired by a dream I had as described on a recent blog post.
Essentially, the horn represents creative authority and the release of new designs and creativity. The piece is really powerful and both men and women have responded to it. It is definitely a “cross over” piece for men who like to wear statement necklaces.
JJ: How did you come up with the name “Kings&Priests?”
CB: I attended a Catholic kindergarten in Ojai called St. Thomas Aquinas. We were required to go to mass every Friday morning with one of the Sisters. I remember loving the beauty of the religious icons and ceremonies that we participated in. We were taught that we were “kings and priests” called to serve a Divine being. I did not have an understanding of what that meant at the time, but later in life the phrase resonated with me because kings and priests are people of extreme influence. Whether figurative or literal, these people influence culture more than any other group. My pieces appeal to women and men who are powerful in their realm of influence. The gemstones that I use represent kings and the prayer beads represent the priests. In ancient times, kings and priests were the first to incorporate gemstones into jewelry… so the name just fits.
JJ: The “House of King&Priest’s” Blog is so positive & uplifting! What other blogs do you currently have bookmarked or are following?
CB: Thank you! We have the opportunity to expose ourselves with so much information today. I wanted the blog to be a space of encouragement and deeper understanding of what and why we create. I love catching up on blogs when I have time! My favorite thing to do on a Sunday morning is to review posts from The Sartorialist and read the LA Times.
JJ: And last but not least, Where can our readers get K&P Jewelry and what are some upcoming projects/pieces Haute Street daily readers can look forward to?!?!
CB: Select pieces of each collection can be found in 9 boutiques from Santa Ynez to Corona del Mar.
We also release limited pieces each season on our website.
I am very excited about this next season as we are releasing new signature pieces that are inspired by my love of icons and symbols. The next collection, ICON, is due for release Summer 2013!
Keep up with Clare Briglio on Instagram: @kingsandpriests