Not everyone can say they knew what they wanted to be when they grew up, but Claire Morgan can. She's been designing jewelry since the tender age of 8. "When I was young, I would make jewelry with fishing line and sell it to flower girls for weddings," she says.
Today, the Dallas resident and Texas Christian University graduate has her own line called Gemelli, available online and at stores throughout the country, including PerriBerri in Austin. The sparkly, nature-inspired collection of necklaces and bracelets has become a celebrity favorite, and it's about to get another high-profile moment when it's featured on Extra TV on August 7.
Morgan's love for beads and baubles has remained constant. Here's some insight into the blinged-out world of the Gemelli designer.
"The biggest form of flattery is seeing someone I don't know wearing my designs," says Gemelli designer Claire Morgan.
CultureMap: Did you have a formal jewelry design education?
Claire Morgan: I did not. I majored in fashion merchandising at TCU and completed an internship with Gucci in New York City, so I always had a love for design and fashion.
CultureMap: What was the inspiration for your line?
CM: I always try and create vibrant, colorful pieces of jewelry that are trend-savvy and wearable for all ages. I love to incorporate stones and other raw materials, with crystals and jewel tone accents. I am also very conscious to create pieces that women can wear with every article of clothing and that can transition from day to night.
CultureMap: Who is the Gemelli girl?
CM: I love designing jewelry that is compatible with any style, and I have created different collections that can be mixed and matched with each other. My ultimate goal is to make a women feel confident and beautiful in my designs. It may be a simple, dainty piece of jewelry or a bling-bling statement piece. No matter your style, you will be noticed in a Gemelli design.
CultureMap: How do you choose materials?
CM: I chose my materials by their quality and how unique they are. I enjoy going to rock shows, finding rare gems and stones to incorporate into my designs.
CultureMap: How did you react when Gemelli first took off?
CM: I am very grateful and overjoyed that my hobby has grown into a successful business so quickly. No matter how many celebrities wear my designs or how big the stores are that Gemelli is in, the biggest form of flattery is seeing someone I don't know wearing my designs.
CultureMap: Did you ever expect stars like Hayden Panettiere and Vanessa Hudgens to wear your jewelry?
CM: No. I am blown away that celebrities I admire are wearing my designs, and I greatly appreciate their support.
CultureMap: What's the best advice you've received?
CM: My dad has given me the best advice. I cannot pinpoint the best piece, because he gives me great advice daily.
CultureMap: What are five things you can't live without?
CM: My Chanel lip gloss, Paradise Bakery cookies, Captain Morgan and Diet Coke (also known as a Skinny Pirate), FaceTime with my family, and the Gemelli team ("G" Team).