An Interview with Jordan Dzierwa, Founder and Designer of Skydog Jewelry
Jordan Dzierwa is the founder and designer of Skydog Jewelry. A Los Angeles jewelry designer for nearly five years, he sends his handmade rings to customers all over the world and is truly invested in the customer experience.
Jordan particularly loves working with natural materials, like Carico turquoise mined from an ancient lake bed in central Nevada, dreamy Australian opals, and custom-cut diamonds.
In this interview, Jordan provides insight into the Skydog Jewelry origin story, shares his hopes and plans for the future of the brand, and describes the vision for an upcoming new silver collection.
How did you start designing jewelry, and how long have you been doing it?
Five years ago, I saw various people online hand-making jewelry and was drawn to it. So I bought a bunch of tools and supplies and figured I’d teach myself. I was instantly hooked and sold everything I owned to fund this new project.
Eventually I quit my job to pursue this full time. It was a bold move but one that has paid off. My father and his father were both jewelers, so I definitely inherited some skills. By the time I was grown, my dad had already retired from the business, so there was never any talk of me being a jeweler. But I somehow found my way into the industry anyway.
Skydog will be five years old in August, and I feel a sense of composure and confidence in designing jewelry. It has been such a trial by fire, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
What are the people, places, and things that have been influencing your most recent designs?
Many of my pieces are inspired by two factors: wearability and quality stones. I usually start with the stones that I’m obsessing over and try to design pieces anyone can wear. Most of the pieces I make are fairly simple, so I can focus on making them well and using high-quality materials.
I have also been mildly obsessing over Paul Newman, who often wore a simple gold ID bracelet, a classic piece that can go with anything.
When you imagine the person wearing your new pieces, what do you see? What kind of lifestyle does she lead, and what's her aesthetic?
Most of my pieces can be worn by anyone who appreciates well-made jewelry. Each piece is versatile and classic, something you can wear everyday and have a hard time taking off. And that applies to both the silver pieces and the fine jewelry. Some of the natural stones like turquoise have limitations and require a little extra care, but for the most part the jewelry is designed to be a part of you. An extension of self.
How do you want customers to feel when wearing your jewelry?
I want them to feel overjoyed that they’ve purchased a well-made piece of jewelry from someone who spends every waking minute thinking about jewelry and the people who will wear it. I care about where the jewelry ends up. I want to know that you love your jewelry. I want to know if you break it. Owning this company isn’t just about making money or being perceived in a certain way. I design jewelry because I love knowing that these pieces will adorn people’s bodies, in such an intimate way, for years to come.
Which materials are you most excited about for the rest of the summer and fall?
Turquoise is definitely a summer stone - and a favorite I’ll never stop using. I’m also really crushing on malachite and emeralds, or anything green. Tourmaline and garnets. I have a hard time picking favorites!
Why did you decide to launch a silver collection, and what can customers expect from it?
The first pieces of jewelry I ever made were of silver, and I primarily worked with silver for the first few years. Eventually, I got burned out sitting at the bench for hours at a time. Needing a fresh perspective, I slowly transitioned into fine/bridal jewelry and have been making engagement rings with primarily gold and platinum.
I’m ready to bring both aspects together so that I can cater to all of my wonderful clients and followers! I love the idea of offering a broad range of price points so that more people can afford and wear my jewelry.
Why is now a great time to buy jewelry?
Is there ever a bad time to buy jewelry?! I really feel like it’s the best gift. Something colorful or something sparkly, something that you can wear for many years to come! What’s not to love?
What’s the process for having a custom piece made?
Great question! The process can vary. Sometimes a client will have lots of reference photos and know exactly what they want. Sometimes they just know they like a certain stone and then give me creative freedom. There’s usually some back and forth, at which point I quote a price. I collect 50% up front and the rest when the ring is complete. Once the deposit is paid, I make 3D digital renderings, so the client can see the ring before it’s made and then revise it until it’s perfect. At that point I go ahead and make the ring! When it’s finished, I send photos and videos and collect the balance before shipping.
Do you offer in-person consultations as well?
Totally! Although most of my clients don’t live in Los Angeles, I do get a handful each month that are able to meet, discuss details, and pick up the ring in person.
What are your plans for the future?
So many plans! After this silver collection launches, I’ll be working on a fine jewelry collection that will have lots of higher-priced pieces and engagement rings. I also hope to design some seasonal collections and wild statement pieces.
Any parting words?
Just a sincere thank you to anybody who has purchased one of my pieces or helped me in any capacity. I’m truly grateful and wouldn’t be designing jewelry without all of the amazing people who support me.