Exclusive Interview with Jasmine Pennamma

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Jasmine first began creating signature jewelry designs for herself and friends years ago while living in New York City. One night, after having a ‘Carrie’ moment, she missed the dry cleaner pick up time of the dress she was going to wear to one of the evening shows at New York Fashion Week. Never being one to miss a show, she decided to accessorize jeans and a simple white shirt with a statement necklace that WAS the outfit!When she wore her jewelry that night, fashion’s high-society took notice and tried to buy the very pieces she created off her neck. At this moment Jasmine knew it was time to take her talent and vision to the next level! A short time later she found herself enrolled in NYC’s Fashion Institute of Technology to further her design skills. Now living in Los Angeles, Jasmine has the ability to merge the grit and soul of NYC with the natural elements of the West coast.

Jasmine Pennamma jewelry can be found draped around the necks and fingers of the elite in fashion, music, and film. Each item is hand crafted by Jasmine to be conversation starters and meant to inspire tons of complements!

Her motto: “The right accessories can transform any look.”

The designer herself granted us an exclusive first interview:

JSD: How did you become a jewelry designer and how did you start Jasmine Pennamma?
Jasmine: I went into my first bead shop the day after the NYC blackout because it was one of the few stores still open that day. I felt like a child who got to play with all of her mother’s jewels! All of the different candy colors and shapes were so overwhelming. I bought a sting of beads, but I didn’t know how to do anything other than put it on a stretchy string and tie it around my neck! A little later, a friend walked me into a bead shop to set me up with the pliers, wire, and other items that I needed to make earrings. Once she showed me how to start, she left me the earrings to practice hooking it together and I became obsessed! I started creating more because I could never find exactly what I wanted to wear with outfits, I’m such a girly girl! I started doing necklaces when I had a big event I wanted to wear this beautiful backless dress but I couldn’t find any jewelry to complement my back being open. I created this massive piece that was a choker which connected down my back and around my waist. By the time the fashion week season came around, I had so many pieces that I created for myself and friends. I had the backless dress I wanted to wear again, but I missed my dry cleaning pickup! I ended up going in another statement necklace with simple jeans and white t-shirt, but I got so many complements on my jewelry! I always figured my friends were just being nice to me, but it felt really good to have positive opinions from people who’s job is to live fashion. From there I decided to enroll in jewelry classes at FIT and the rest is history!

ECA_9864.jpg picture by jsdailyJSD: Wow, what a great story! Tell us about the name of your line. Obviously Jasmine is your name, but what does Pennamma mean?
Jasmine: Pennamma is my mother’s name and also my middle name. She’s from southern India and it means ‘mother-like’ or ‘nurturer’.’

JSD: Where do you draw your inspiration when creating a piece?
Jasmine: A lot of the inspiration I have these days still comes from fashion magazines or tv shows. I sit and look at what the models or actresses have on, and I think to myself “she would have looked really great if she had a turquoise necklace to really pop against that dress!” I also get a lot of inspiration just from seeing the different colors of the stones. I may go in and choose a string of rose quartz without knowing what I want to do with it, but I get attracted to the color. The actual design usually comes late at night.

JSD: How long does it take to create a piece?
Jasmine: Each piece is different. The most work comes from the inspiration because I usually sit and play with the stones and chain for a while with different outfits until I get it to where I love it. Once the item is designed, it may take a few hours to make it, except some chain designs I have to split into a few hours or a few days.

JSD: Describe the Jasmine Pennamma clientele.
Jasmine: The Jasmine Pennamma client is self-confident and knows what she likes. She is stylish and sophisticated wheather she is an uptown girl in search of something for an evening of elligance or more of a downtown trendsetter. My pieces are for every champagne flirt, it’s just a matter of how you style it!

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JSD: What are your long term goals for the line?
Jasmine: My long term goal is to grow the line into mens as well as incorporate more metals and precious stones. I also hope to expand my jewelry throughout the country.

JSD: What advice do you have for people who design jewelry?
Jasmine: Sometimes you have to be your own inspiration. 20 minutes of time to yourself can feed your creative spirit tremendously.

JSD: Where is Jasmine Pennamma sold?
Jasmine: Right now I’m starting with California as I see what people like and learn more about the business. I would like to be in New York city stores by the spring time!

JSD: What is the price range?
Jasmine: $75-$350

JSD: Who would be your dream person to see wearing your jewelry?
Jasmine: Rhianna because I love a girl that ‘dresses’ even when dressing down.

JSD: What are my working on now? Do you have any new projects?
Jasmine: I just came back from New York Fashion Week so I’m absorbing all the color trends and searching for stones to complement them. One of the two finger rings, The Delilah, was picked up by The CW new series Melrose Place so I’ve been Tivoing every episode to catch it on air!

JSD: That’s awesome, congratulations! What are your top fashion & beauty must-haves?
Jasmine: For fashion, I’m not a big jeans or flat shoe type of girl so it’s been hard to adjust to Cali casual for me. If I had a choice, I’d live in dresses. Brunch is actually my favorite meal just because I think it’s the perfect excuse to throw on a Tracy Reese dress. For fall I’m a huge fan of over the knee boots and tights with bright colors or beautiful patterns, but I’ll probably pull them out on my trips back to NYC. It’s far to warm for that here in LA! I’m a girls girl so you will never catch me without mascara and lip gloss, but my biggest beauty must have is a good skincare system. I found a super hydrating moisturizer called ice cream double scoop by Freeze 24/7 that I love! I also just ordered a face wash from Clark’s Botanicals that I can’t wait to get here!

*While we were in the W Lounge hidden backstage in the tents at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, we spotted a fashionista draped in Jasmine Pennamma jewelry.
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For more information please visit JasminePennamma.com

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Henri Bendel is hosting a trunk show for JASMINE PENNAMMA Jewelry, and the designer will be on hand from Los Angeles to meet, greet, and show how to style this luxurious spin on boho-chic jewelry. The trunk show will take place:
Date: Thursday, May 20th – Saturday, May 22nd
Time: 10am – 8pm
Henri Bendel
712 Fifth Ave at 56th Street.
Tell her John Simon Daily sent you 🙂