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When Rebecca Lavoritano of San Clemente sees jewelry on gals in public, she tends to shield her eyes. "There's a lot of beautiful jewelry out there," she says, "but I just don't want to be influenced by anything else."
Instead, the founder of La Reunion Jewelry draws inspiration for her bold, colorful necklaces by letting the pieces guide her. She'll start with one bead, a bit of leather or chain, and build from there. "There's a lot of trial and error," Lavoritano says. "Then finally something comes out of the materials I [am] working with."
The result is a unique, stylistic brand that stands out in a sea of handcrafted jewelry. Many of her designs are statement pieces with a geometric yet organic feel. She hopes her necklaces will cause people to pause.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are her simple, elegant, leather-wrapped bracelets. She takes one thick piece of leather and wraps a thinner piece of leather in a second color around it, tying a knot at the end; the signature knot is actually La Reunion's logo.
She came up with the design by accident. "I was playing around and thought, 'Wow, this is really simple but cool at the same time,'" she recalls. "As I kept making more, everything fell into place." The bracelets come in more than 20 colors, with designs for men and women.
Leather is working its way into her designs more and more. She even has leather-wrapped cuff links.
She started making jewelry after falling out of painting and drawing. She wanted a new creative outlet and gave it a shot. The happiness and relaxation she got from making jewelry kept her going.
"I've always had a big accessories collection. They really make the outfit," she says. "You can wear a very simple outfit and have it be transformed by your accessories."