interview + photography / JORGE PEREZCHICA
I just try and make it as different as possible. The more rainbows and glitz I can add to it, the more magical.
— Lunar Jewelz
Can you tell us about yourself and where you grew up?
I’m from Palm Springs originally. I grew up here my whole life, never really left the valley. I’ve been an artist my whole life. Painting is what I started with and it evolved into jewelry. When I was in high school like about 15, I started hot-gluing beads and crystals on to like ring bases and I just started fiddling with stuff that I had. But I’ve always had a passion and interest in gems and minerals. I’ve always loved crystals and I’ve always just included them in my work.
Was there a moment you felt it was possible to pursue jewelry-making as a career?
When I started making my own stuff in high school, people would just stop and ask me where I got it from and if they can get one too. So, I started making them for people and they gave me money for it. I just started from there, it was like a donation kind of thing. Then I just started a little business from there.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I would describe the aesthetic of my designs to be very cosmic and galactic bright and colorful. I do like to play with just simplicity as well as like clear quartz and just simple gems. But I’ve been obsessed with rainbows and magic.
What’s the story behind your brand name Lunar Jewelz?
Well my mom and my grandma’s last name is Luna. So I’ve always had an affinity with the moon and celestial bodies in space. Luna definitely had to be there and the jewels, I’m all about jewels. My middle name is Julian so Lunar Jewelz kind of meshed together, but I added a Z.
When did you first start doing the pop-ups?
I started about two years ago. My first one was in Cathedral City, a random swap meet kind of thing next to the IMAX and that’s where it started. From there, I kind of jumped around and found a whole bunch of stuff on social media, met different artisans that let me know different pop-ups. So it’s just kind of sprouted from there
How do you find inspiration within the festival lifestyle?
Festivals have been a lifestyle that I’ve been kind of living the last couple of years since high school and I’m obsessed. I met so many amazing, beautiful souls and they admire my work and I feel like my work is meant to be at major festivals. I just love the essence of freedom, you can literally just wear whatever and rock it out, vibe and just be a gypsy.
What was it like doing your first workshop at a festival?
My first official workshop was at Desert Trip. That was amazing. Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, I mean it cannot get any better. Two weekends, it was bliss, pure bliss magic. It was amazing working with just complete strangers that were just happy to be there, working with you, because you had free crystals to wire wrap with and I had an amazing time. It was just the coolest thing to make hands-on jewelry, teaching them the simplest technique, not even telling them what to do. They literally would just do their thing and it was just so cool.
Your work is more unusual than what I see out there. Where do you find the bones to make your jewelry?
I collected bones and stones all throughout my life. I’ve just had a knack for going on hikes, finding bones and just not being able to leave them there. So these bones have been in my collection for years. Also I’ve had friends that know I have a passion for bone work and taxidermy art and they send me them in the mail. They’re like, “I found this jaw bone, I’ll send it to you.” And then, the crystals I’ve always found in different gem events I go to, different gem expos and all sorts of stuff, even thrift shops. You never know what you’ll find.
Is there a bone you haven’t worked with yet but would love to?
I would love shark jawbone, like a shark jaw mouth intact with the bones you can literally just make a giant choker with shark teeth —yeah shark jaw. I like jaw and mandibles, they look really cool, they’re usually more sturdy.
Can you tell us about your creative process behind your work?
I definitely have a different collection of different things. I have simple stuff that I know I can make in less than an hour. And then I have the stuff that I work hours on end with that I play with for days and that could have a lot of intention and thought put into. But I honestly just grab what calls to me with the stones and I just start wrapping or I’ll start braiding and make a choker or a headpiece. I’m just always on the go and creating. So even if I’m at a pop-up you’ll find me making something.
You had your first fashion show this year at Art Pop, tell us about it.
That was my first official runway fashion show at Art Pop. It was really awesome. I was honored to have that going on. Everything was thrifted vintage clothing that my friends and I have collected in the valley. It’s all sourced at Angel Views & Gypsyland, just a whole bunch of stuff that I’ve collected. And the jewelry that went into it was just based on the last five years of my work.
Do you plan on opening your own shop some day?
Definitely want to open my own shop. That’s the main goal and I would give that the 10-year goal. But in-between all of that I would love to vend in major music festivals, Lightning In The Bottle and Coachella fest. I also do my workshops at music festivals — it’s been amazing. If I can do more with workshopping and teaching people how to make hands-on DIY jewelry it would be kind of fun, and then also have my jewelry and design business with me on the side.
What are you currently working on?
I’m actually working on perfecting and refining my designs, I want to do silversmithing and metalsmithing, so all sorts of metals but silver is my love. I have to make some really awesome engagement rings in the near future and just awesome fine jewelry.
What makes your work different and stand out from the crowd?
Every piece is one-of-a-kind. As much as I try and replicate a piece, it will never look like the original piece. I don’t often really see a whole bunch of bone jewelry out there, but I just try and make it as different as possible. The more rainbows and glitz I can add to it, the more magical.