It was looking through her mother's lavish jewelry box as a child that sparked Gia Bahm's passion for jewelry-making. "She lived in a small town in Arizona for a long time, so she has a lot of silver and turquoise," Bahm explains. "As a child, it was so mind opening to imagine where these special things came from, how they were crafted and who made each unique thing in there -- it was like traveling to an unknown world."
There is something rather other-worldly about Bahm's jewelry collection, Unearthen, founded five years ago while the designer was still working as a wardrobe stylist. Using rough crystals and uncut minerals set in used bullet casings (some of which were sourced in the Mojave Desert), Bahm's work calls to mind a Space Age adventuress, her crystal talismans at once protective, healing or calming.
Of course, Bahm prefers to leave that interpretation to her customers. "I try to be conscious of that idea in my work -- to tell a story -- and I want the wearer of my pieces to be part of that story, and feel connected to their adornments," she explains.
In addition to her crystal necklaces and rings, Bahm will introduce a range of earrings and bracelets this fall, as well as new versions of the signature necklaces. The only problem, of course, is deciding which crystal is destined for your neck: "People ask for recommendations of which stone would be right for them all the time," says Bahm. "In the end, we feel like, as most things are in life, the right choice is ultimately the one you make for yourself. It's a satisfying exercise to practice; No one knows what is truly the best for one more than oneself."