As travel comes to a halt, it has been difficult to navigate our vacation daydreams. Many of us had dates marked on our calendar signaling lands unknown or perhaps lands as familiar as the contours of our heart; fragrant daydreams of foods we love or have dreamt of tasting for years, relics we've yearned to visit and vistas we've digitally earmarked for months. The promise of exploration and discovery is seemingly suspended as we are invited to pay closer attention to our immediate surroundings.
In order to indulge our restless spirit of exploration, we've decided to share a journal series called, Travel is a State of Mind. Inspired by a dear friend of ours who confided in us that she and her husband were planning international meals to transport them beyond the confines of their L.A home, we've decided to ask our designers to take us with them on their escapist day-dreams.
In these entries, we'll attempt to spotlight the faraway places and people that contribute so deeply to Spirit of the Earth's texture and the destination muses that inspire our makers and the treasures that they create.
First up to host us in our travels is Octavia Zamagias, Designer and Founder of Octavia Elizabeth Fine Jewelry. Based between Venice in Los Angeles and the West Village of Downtown New York, Octavia's work features a signature hand-hammering and a range of stones in oceanic tones.
If you could click your heels and go anywhere right now where would you go and why?
Normally I might say Big Sur. It’s one of my favorite places in the world and its beauty is mesmerizing—the perfect escape. Though, right now, I am really craving a place that is chock full of energy and movement. The Old Medina in Marrakesh with its twisting streets, fragrant smells and hidden treasures sounds so tempting right now.
What's your most cherished vacation memory?
Growing up I spent summer in Bermuda with my family and though we did spend the weekends at the beach, during the weekdays my siblings and I were thrust into sailing camps. None of us were good sailors and honestly, we never became more than proficient, but spending the days on the water with my siblings and getting hit in the head by the boom (ouch!) are always on my mind.
Are there any travel influences or destination(s) that have been reoccurring muses in your design process? Are there any pieces you can point to that were inspired by any travels or references to faraway lands?
Absolutely! Nature is at the helm of all of my designs, but so much of the nature I find inspiring is what I see on travels. I fell in love with Chrysoprase, an Australian stone while on a trip there and I have continued to use it since. A few of my favorites are these earrings and this ring.
Australia also opened my eyes to the magnificent world of sapphires. Traditionally, I had only used Sri Lankan sapphires, but the smokey and different tones found in Australian sapphires are fundamental in my Depth’s Collection. Don’t even get me started on Australian Opals and Moonstones!
My first trip to Columbia, inspired me to really dive into Emeralds and make them a staple in all of my collections. From clouded to perfectly transparent, I see the beauty in all Emeralds—my Leslie Earrings and Leslie Pendant are two of my favorites. I could go on and on about travel and inspiration, bottom line… It's fundamental in my process.
For a lot of us it can be scary to travel with fine jewelry, what's your favorite Octavia Elizabeth Jewelry travel look?
Gosh, not to be a target when traveling, but I wear my jewelry! Not all of it at once if I am somewhere hectic, but my Charmed Micro Gabby Hoops are always in my ears and my Etoile Band and Celestial Signet on my fingers no matter the location. Then I just bring pieces to layer at night like a few bangles and a great pendant for the night. My goal when traveling is to bring pieces I can layer when the moment is right, but be able to tone down if I need to.
Actually, my Ivy Anniversary bands were created with travel in mind. I love being able to show the stone side up at night or when appropriate, but then flip it upside down when I need to be more mindful of the time and place.
What's your favorite recipe from your travels?
Hummus! In Israel, I loved trying each restaurant’s style and trying to get their secrets out of them. The key I found was fresh, good quality tahini and soaking your chickpea’s (even if they are coming out of a can, which mine usually do). It’s a super simple recipe and quick, so it's great for me—simmer your chickpeas on the stove in water with a pinch of baking soda until they almost start to break down a bit. About 1 hour. While those are simmering, add lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin and tahini in your blender. Then once the chickpeas a ready, drain them and add them to the blender. I especially love when the chickpeas are still hot so you can have a warm hummus. It’s a perfect smooth and creamy texture with a nutty-warmth that I seem to want to put on everything.
What scent or fragrance is most transportive?
Night-blooming jasmine! There is a tree near my home in CA and when I walk by it at night it instantly brings me to Bermuda where it grows all over the island and opens up at night. It's such a sweet, soft smell that I love.
What song takes you vacation?
Favorite travel reads?
I am a sucker for Reese Witherspoon’s book club recommendations—anything off of there tends to transport me pretty quickly, but not feel like a cheap beach read. I also love to pick up a Vanity Fair for the flight. It’s the perfect balance of Hollywood and politics.
How do you create moments of exploration and discovery at home?
I find so much peace and creativity in being home. Sitting at my desk with my watercolors and gemstones or at my bench with gold and gemstones—both are two very inspirational places for me and I am grateful for the time to create without a time constraint. On a less “jewelry designer” note, I have been loving pulling recipes off of goop and from Ina Garten and really just going for it.
What is your favorite SOTE work-from-home look?
I have been living in SILVERLAKE denim, a Two New York top or a knit by Monica Cordera. On a day to day basis, I tend to favor neutrals in luxe materials hence why I love understated fine jewelry that translates from day to night and doesn’t need to be swapped out.
Favorite SOTE vacation-at-home look?