Young, bright and beautiful, 28-year-old Ilana Sarna is the inspiring Tel Aviv-based jewelry designer and founder behind fine jewelry brand Ilana Ariel. We picked her brains on her love for fine jewelry and uncover her journey as a visionary entrepreneur.
Ilana Sarna: From a very young age I loved making things. Whether it was clothing for my Barbie dolls, clothing for myself, or paintings and drawings; I spent a great deal of time on my bedroom floor creating.
One summer in high school, a friend of mine and I decided it would be fun to learn how to wire wrap, and returned to school in the fall with a bunch of new earrings we had made for ourselves. People took a real liking to our work and it was then that I decided I would eventually start my own jewelry line.
I took some jewelry making courses in college and while I was in law school, it further enhanced my passion for starting my own jewelry company one day. As soon as I finished law school and took the bar, I created Ilana Ariel and here we are today.
Even though I have always loved jewelry, in some ways I stumbled upon jewelry making. Once I decided to go that route, however: the dream of starting my own business and creating my very own designs became palpable very quickly.
Ilana Ariel is a fine jewelry company established since 2012 and based in New York City. Notable for the seamless union of polished and edgy aesthetics in the designs, the jewelry is rendered in 14k and 18k gold. Many of the pieces are also set with precious and semi precious stones, some of which are diamonds, rubies, emeralds, turquoise and tourmalines. The pieces can be purchased from Fivestory NY, Marlee’s By Tappers, Plan Deville NYC, Spring, and stephaniegottlieb.com.
I wanted to create a jewelry brand that was rooted in thoughtful design; to make everyday pieces that are sophisticated yet simultaneously approachable.
With each piece, I want my customers to feel like they stand out even while wearing something more understated. The confidence doesn’t come from being ostentatious, rather from the elegance and design integrity of the piece.
I have three collections that are aesthetically different from one another. Still, they all reflect my love of asymmetry, which I express either through color or proportion.
I draw inspiration from the powerful women in my family who taught and continue to teach me the meaning of grace and self-expression. I’m also heavily inspired by landscapes and cityscapes I’ve encountered while traveling.
I look at old pictures of my grandmothers, mother and aunts, as well as reflect on my travels and the tokens I picked up along the way. Lately, I’ve also been hitting the streets of Tel Aviv in search of interesting floor tiles to inspire new shapes.
The ‘Ella’ ring with diamonds is by far my favorite. It’s a real showstopper, just like the woman it’s named for (my late maternal grandmother). The scalloped design adds a hint of femininity to an otherwise bulky ring, so it makes a statement while still being tasteful.
I just launched ‘Primary’, which is exclusively available at Fivestory NY. The pieces feature a series of vibrant stones. When strung together, the first letter of each gem spells out a word. For example, the ‘Care’ pieces are set with Citrine, Aquamarine, Ruby and Emerald.
I really love interior design. I intentionally called my brand ‘Ilana Ariel Collections’, instead of jewelry because I hope one day to expand and design home décor. All in good time!
Whimsical, intelligent, and approachable
I would like to think so, yes.
Truly every day is different. I wear a lot of hats. Some days are focused on designing, while others involve more administrative work like updating line sheets, my website, and contacting retailers.
Never starting the day without a warm cup of coffee, Wani is a 24-year-old Singaporean who loves writing about her travel and dining adventures.