May 31st, 2006
Jewelry designer Geoff Thomas is giving manly men who’d like to experiment with jewelry a reason to celebrate. His hardcore line of bracelets, necklaces, rings, and belt buckles are anything but feminine. That’s not to say that women can’t partake in the unique designs of Thomas. In fact, his one-of-a-kind sterling silver bras are suited particularly for female clientele. Actress Traci Bingham has already snagged one for herself. And we caught Mischa Barton wearing one of his rings during an episode of the O.C. last January. Omiru got a chance to dish with the talented sculptor, painter, and jewelry designer.
O: Your artistic skills: natural gift or were they taught?
G: Well both my parents were artists. As far as being taught, I taught myself pretty much everything, especially with the jewelry. I bought books on everything and sort of put it to practice along the way. I’d say I have a combination of the two. Definitely I have the artist gene in me.
O: You started off as a sculptor and painter and then transitioned into jewelry design. With which profession do you most identify yourself?
G: I consider myself an all-around artist, but I’m definitely a jewelry designer right now more than a painter or a sculptor. I took an immediate liking to jewelry design. I have a fascination with metal, and I’m into the whole fashion world thing too. My skills in the jewelry world are definitely further along than my skills in painting and sculpture. I know a lot of jewelers, old timers, who have been doing this for 20 or so years, who look at my work and are surprised at what I’m doing for my age. I think my strongest talent lies in jewelry. Also, I have to say unfortunately there’s much more of a living to be made with jewelry.
O: Were you always a jewelry fan?
G: Yeah, I’ve always kind of been into it. My mom was a big collector of Southwestern jewelry, and I was always checking that stuff out. I’ve always been fascinated with metal – different forms of it, playing with it, sculpting it – it’s sort of natural that jewelry would be something I was drawn to.
O: What makes your jewelry line unique?
G: Well, it definitely doesn’t look like anything else out there. I draw from a lot of different influences. I was a tattoo artist for a while, so I have that edge in there. My fabrication techniques are self-taught, and for that reason, the way I put the metal together is not like what a lot of other people do. And I have the technical abilities and the artistic vision. You get a lot of jewelry designers that are either very creative or they’re a craftsman on the technical side. I luckily have both of those going on. I can execute my vision in a very specific way. I’ve always been an individualistic kind of guy. I never like wearing the same stuff that everyone else has, so I go out of my way to be as unique as possible. I sort of get lumped into kind of a hard edge category sometimes, though that’s not my only kind of style. I think I have a sleek style too. I come in with that hardcore rock and roll edge with a classy touch to it.
O: How did you turn your dream of jewelry design into reality?
G: I started designing jewelry almost 10 years ago. I started off doing it as another art form. I would say up until a couple years ago it wasn’t really something I was pursuing as a business and becoming a brand name type of designer. It’s only been a couple of years that I’ve been on that track. I had enough people telling me it was something I should do, and I had people believing in me, so it just sort of fell into place.
O: What piece is your personal favorite?
G: My personal favorite piece right now is the Razed Mokume bracelet. It’s pretty over-the-top.
O: What’s your price point?
G: It depends. My one-of-a-kinds, which are in the Geoff Thomas Designs section, go anywhere from $1,000 to $10-15,000. They’re hand-made by me from top to bottom. I also have a more mass produced collection line that is mostly all sterling silver. Everything in that collection line is between $150 and $250; we even have some pieces under $150. However, I’m moving more towards gold and diamonds right now, so those pieces are going to go higher in price.
O: Do you have a team of people helping you?
G: My one-of-a-kinds are all hand-made by me.
O: How long does it take to make a bracelet?
G: It depends. I’d say the Razed Mokume bracelet, between design time and fabrication time, takes about 20-25 hours. Sometimes less, sometimes more. I have a bikini top that’s a collectible and made out of sterling silver and white and yellow sapphires. That one took about 60 hours. I’m usually working on 10-12 pieces at a time. I’ll bounce from one to the next, so sometimes it’s hard to gauge exact times.
O: Where can we buy your jewelry?
G: Right now, online and out of my showroom on Main Street in Santa Monica. I’m right now, as we speak, putting my collection into retail stores. A couple in LA are getting ready to pick up my line. There are also some in Arizona. I’m just getting started with that facet of the business.
Look out for Geoff’s designs in an episode of a major reality TV show as well as three summer movies!